Eagles-Redskins Postgame: Bad Season Capsulized in One Game
The Philadelphia Eagles entire miserable season was perfectly capsulized in their embarrassing 38-24 loss to the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday night. All of the reasons that the 6-9 Eagles will finish the season with a losing record and out of the playoffs for the second straight year were on full display in the loss.
The offense couldn't generate enough points and was terribly inconsistent throughout, while committing too many penalties and turnovers. Meanwhile, the defense was downright awful, as they have been for most of the season. They haven't held an opponent under 20 points since mid-October, which helps explain the Eagles 3-5 record at home this season. And the main reason behind all of those failures can be traced back to Chip Kelly the GM. His offseason moves decimated a team with talent and replaced it with this dreck.
Let's start with the positives, since that won't take long at all. Sam Bradford wasn't the reason the Eagles lost this game. Oh sure, he missed a wide open Zach Ertz in the second quarter for what would have been an easy TD, but he had a nice game. Bradford completed 37 of 56 passes for 380 yards and a TD without throwing an interception. He also led the team down the field on their opening possession for a TD to take a 7-0 lead. TE Zach Ertz had 13 receptions for 122 yards, but he did also have a fumble. Fletcher Cox was a disruptive force on defense as usual with 2 more sacks. And punter Donnie Jones continued to pin the opponent inside the 20 on Saturday night, making the Redskins travel the length of the field for most of their points. This is the end of the positive portion of this article.
The Eagles were in the game until late in the third quarter, but they never got their running game going and only logged 17 carries all game for 33 yards. That is pathetic. The RBs have been horrible this season, but none have been worse than free agent bust DeMarco Murray. Murray actually led the team in carries (6) and yards rushing (15), while even scoring a TD. Sadly, his fumble on a stupid pitch-out on 3rd and 2 in the third quarter ended any chance the Eagles had of winning the game. The play-call was completely unnecessary with a light rain falling and DeAngelo Hall recovered the fumble and returned it 17 yards for a TD. That put the Redskins up 30-17. Murray should be deactivated for the last game, so that fumble is the lasting impression of his work this season.
As bad as Chip Kelly has been with his offensive play-calling on offense this season, defensive coordinator Bill Davis has actually been worse. For some perspective on the horrors we have witnessed from Davis' defenses the last three seasons, just know that next week the Eagles will easily give up 6,000 yards for the season. That will be three seasons in a row that the Eagles defense has done that. And it will be only the second time in NFL history that a defense has given up that many yards for three consecutive seasons. Davis should also be "deactivated" for next week's game and then summarily fired for his ineptitude.
If Davis had read my scintillating and informative game preview, he would have known that he should have used safety Malcolm Jenkins to cover Washington TE Jordan Reed. Davis is a bit slow, so he didn't start using Jenkins on Reed until the Redskins' third drive. Unfortunately, by then Reed had already scored two TDs. The Redskins tied the score at 7-7 when Reed beat LB DeMeco Ryans for his first TD and they took a 14-7 lead when Reed beat LB Mychal Kendricks for his second score. Reed finished the game with 9 receptions for 129 yards and those two scores.
Remember when the season first started and we all wondered how Davis would be able to find enough time at inside LB for all three of his "great" LBs? Well, Ryans looks like his career is completely over. Kendricks looks lost. And Kiko Alonso continued to make the trade where the Eagles gave up the franchise leader in yards rushing, LeSean McCoy, for him look like the worst trade ever. Alonso was beaten for a TD while futilely trying to cover RB Chris Thompson. After the game Jenkins said that although he was in the vicinity on that play, Alonso had the coverage on that play. He also made it clear that he thought it was a bad idea to have Alonso trying to cover Thompson on that play. Or maybe trying to cover anybody on any play all season. Jenkins has had a front row seat to Alonso's many, many failings throughout this season.
Oh wait, I have another positive to bring up. The Eagles held former teammate DeSean Jackson to only 40 yards on 4 catches. With starting CBs Byron Maxwell and Nolan Carroll out, E.J. Biggers, rookie Eric Rowe, Ed Reynolds and Jaylen Watkins didn't play terrible at all. Yes, Washington QB Kirk Cousins completed 31 of 46 passes for 365 yards and 4 TDs without an INT, but most of the damage was done in the middle of the field.
At this point of his Hall of Fame career, LT Jason Peters looks to be losing his battle against Father Time. Peters proved that he was elected to his 8th Pro Bowl this year on reputation alone. I have been critical of Peters' play and willingness to play hurt all season and he showed both failings in this game. Peters gave up two sacks and was flagged for yet another false start penalty. It was also reported after the game that Peters took himself out of the game in the latter stages because he didn't want to risk getting hurt. Pathetic.
There has been no question all season that the Eagles have the worst WRs in the entire NFL and it showed up again on Saturday night. Jordan Matthews caught 6 passes for 104 yards and a garbage time TD, when the Redskins were playing prevent defense, but the rest of the WRs came up small, as usual. Nelson Agholor had 2 catches for 35 yards, including a horrific drop in the endzone. Josh Huff had 1 catch for 8 yards, and Riley Cooper showed that as a receiver, he's a good blocker, after he was held without a single reception.
Besides Cox, no other Eagle got a sack and the defense also failed to force any turnovers. Not getting pressure on the opposing QB and not forcing any turnovers isn't normally a recipe for success in the NFL and Bill Davis' unit proved that once again.
After the game, Kelly had no answers for what went wrong in this game or this disaster of a season. Obviously he doesn't own a mirror, because Chip Kelly the GM and Chip Kelly the coach teamed up to create this nightmare of a team.
NFC East Standings
New York Giants
What was Chip Kelly's Worst Move as GM?
Every move Chip Kelly the GM made this offseason blew up in his face. Even if you think Bradford has shown improvement, the team is still 6-9 and out of the playoffs. All Nick Foles did as a starter for Chip Kelly was win games. Oh and don't forget about the second round pick Chipper threw into that deal. The running game was a mess all season without McCoy and Alonso looks horrible in a 3-4 defense without two big DTs in front of him to keep offensive linemen off of him. Ryan Mathews continued his history of getting hurt and Murray will battle Byron Maxwell for the title of biggest free agent bust of the season in the entire league. Oh, and don't forget the offensive line. Chip Kelly did. Or rather, he forgot to find even decent replacements for Todd Herremans and Pro Bowler Evan Matthis when he tossed them aside.
And to make matters even worse, Kelly is such an arrogant jerk that he is incapable of learning from his own mistakes. Even though the Eagles have already been eliminated from the playoffs, he is going repeat his mistake from last season. Just like last season, Kelly said the Eagles will not be playing young players in their meaningless Week 17 game against the Giants. Last year, the Eagles won that meaningless Week 17 game against the Giants and all that did was cost them a few spots in the draft and possibly the chance to trade for Marcus Mariota. I wonder if I'll be criticized by Eagles fans this time when I suggest that it would be in the best interests of the team to lose to the Giants next week. I certainly was last year, so I'm sure I'll be hearing from those same people again. I guess Kelly isn't the only one around here that doesn't learn from their past mistakes.
The Beginning of the End for the Eagles Franchise
Chip Kelly is going backwards. After making the playoffs in his first year, with the previous regime's players, he missed the playoffs last year and now will have a losing record after getting full control of personnel and gutting the roster. It is going to take years to correct what Kelly has done to this roster, but the rebuilding is at least a year or two off because owner Jeffrey Lurie is an idiot who won't get rid of Kelly just yet.
Get used to losing records and missing out on the playoffs Eagles fans. It's going to be your future for the next few seasons, thanks to Lurie and Kelly.
The past, present and future of the franchise were summed up nicely in that Saturday night loss to the Redskins and it is not a pretty picture.