The Philadelphia Eagles offense came up short in the final minutes of a one-score game. Stop if you heard that before. For the second consecutive week, the Eagles offense had the ball in the final five minutes trailing by a score and failed to deliver the tying/winning score. Twice the Eagles offense had the ball in the final 3:16, twice they failed to earn a first down. Nine plays, 13 yards. Two four-and-outs. The Eagles made plenty of self-inflicted errors to put themselves in that position, including head coach Doug Pederson — his play-calling on the majority of those plays has come under fire in the aftermath of the team’s 27-24 loss to the Detroit Lions in Week 3.
Pederson refuses to second guess his own decision making on the team’s final two possessions.
“I wouldn’t take any back. We understood exactly what they were doing,” Pederson said. “They were obviously putting pressure with two guys on Zach [Ertz] trying to eliminate him. Then we had one-on-ones across the board. Great defense by them, and it’s a good learning experience for our guys.”
Plenty of errors led to the Eagles’ offensive inefficiency. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz had a fourth-and-5 pass to Darren Sproles taken away by an offensive pass interference call on Sproles and a drop by J.J. Arcega-Whiteside on the ensuring fourth-and-15 play that would have given the Eagles a first-and-goal inside the 5-yard line with 41 seconds left. Wentz was 2 for 7 for 7 yards on the final two possessions, two of those incompletions were drops that would have extended the drive.
“It’s part of the game. Guys are going to drop passes,” Wentz said. “We’re going to put the ball on the ground. I’m going to throw picks. We’re going to miss reads. Things happen. Guys make mistakes. Any time somebody drops a pass or something like that I make sure I go right up to them and tell them it’s coming their way the next time and just try to keep building them up. Staying positive. Again it’s frustrating. No one wants to make mistakes but there’s nothing you can really do about it. Just have to keep building those guys up.”
The miscues by the Eagles (three fumbles, seven dropped passes, three offensive pass interference penalties) were just too much for Philadelphia to overcome a ten-point deficit. The Eagles were still able to have an opportunity to win the game thanks to Malcolm Jenkins blocking a field goal and putting the Eagles at midfield with 1:37 left. Philadelphia needed just 15 yards to get in range for a Jake Elliott field goal, but actually lost five yards thanks to the Sproles pass interference penalty on the fourth-and-5.
The Eagles committed errors across the board, issues they vow to correct.
“We talked about it after the game. This is not a defining moment for our season at all,” Pederson said. “Again, only three games in. We have to get some things fixed. We know that.”