Did we just time travel back to Tennessee? No that actually happened. The Eagles once again blew a fourth-quarter lead, falling to 3-4 on the season.
This isn’t your 2017 Eagles. You may see glimpses of them. Carson Wentz throwing darts all over the field to Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz in the first half. Celebrating in fun different ways like they did last year, blowing out teams in route to a 13-3 regular season record.
But then they become the self-destructing mechanism that Eagles fans have gotten used too for the past seven weeks.
The headlines went from “A statement win puts the 4-3 Eagles back in serious contention” to “Self Destruction” the story of the 2018 Philadelphia Eagles.
There are a lot of people to blame and a lot of factors that resulted in the Panthers scoring 21 unanswered in the fourth quarter to win the game.
The best candidates to get angry at?
Schwartz once again did a nice job of changing up the scheme in the first three quarters. Playing up close to the line with his secondary, attacking Newton from the middle and taking away running lanes. Then suddenly with an entire quarter to go, it was prevent, prevent, and more prevent defense.
It wasn’t the first time the Eagles defense got soft when it mattered most. Against the Titans, Vikings, and Panthers offenses drove the length of the field on the defense without any pushback.
With all the talent this defense has. With how dominant they were for the vast majority of the game, they should be embarrassed.
It wasn’t all on Schwartz, Brandon Graham needed to get Newton down on that 4th and 10. The tackling was sloppy all quarter. But the change in scheme, the conservative, playing scared change in scheme was deadly.
Speaking of coaching scared. Doug Pederson went from having the best play calling day of his career to looking more like the Buffalo Bills offense.
Like the defense, the offense looked way too comfortable. They thought they had it in the bag.
The final drive would have made you think Andy Reid was coaching with the decisions Pederson was making. Despite not deserving any of the chances they were given to get the game back, including a pass interference on Alshon Jeffery to put the Eagles in the red zone, the Eagles had the win within reach.
A run up the middle to Wendell Smallwood set up a 3rd and 2 with plenty of time and two timeouts. Instead of trying to gain a first down and give the offense four plays with under a minute left and one timeout….Pederson elected to let the clock run and take two bad shots to the end zone.
The coaching performance from Pederson and Schwartz in the fourth quarter was inexcusable.
For three quarters Carson Wentz looked like an NFL MVP candidate. He finished with an 81% completion percentage, threw for two touchdowns and had a 119.6 QBR. He was a mechanic on third downs, he was accurate in the pocket, he was simply on fire.
Then (continuing the theme of this article) in the final drive Wentz looked like a rookie again. His decision making was confusing and he let two passes sail out of his hands that both should have been intercepted.
He needed to be better with a great situation to take the lead back.
Now the Eagles have to take a long road trip as they are in London next Sunday morning against the Jacksonville Jaguars. What could have been an opportunity for the team to take advantage of a struggling Jacksonville team, and take back control of the season at 5-3, the Eagles now are in a must-win situation.
Disappointing, embarrassing, disheartening, just plain angering.
That will be a tough one to swallow for a while.
Digging into the Curry reunion
On today’s Locked on Eagles podcast:
Was bringing Vinny Curry back the right move?
What does it mean for Chris Long and potentially drafting another DE?
Is signing a bunch of 30+ year olds a concern?
The stars are aligning for Josh Jacobs to the Eagles
On today’s Locked on Eagles podcast:
Are you worried about Howie Roseman handling the RB position?
The stars are aligning for Josh Jacobs at 25 despite running a 4.6?
Where does Jacobs rank among past top prospects?
Why bring back Darby?
On today’s Locked on Eagles podcast, Louie gets into why the Eagles bringing back CB Ronald Darby on a one-year contract was the wrong decision.
Will Howie Roseman try to trade one of the other five young corners? Will Rasul Douglas, Sidney Jones, and Avonte Maddox get a fair shake at beating out Jalen Mills on the other side?
What about in 2020 and beyond?
Check out this secondary special on the Locked on Eagles podcast!