Eagles Fall To 1-3 In Loss To Chiefs
The Philadelphia Eagles’ 1-0 start already feels like a bit of a distant memory.
Following a 32-6 blowout win over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1, the Eagles have now dropped three straight contests.
The latest was a high scoring back-and-forth 42-30 affair against old friend Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.
To make matters worse, all three of Philadelphia’s division rivals won on Sunday. The NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys moved to 3-1 with a victory over the Carolina Panthers.
Jalen Hurts had one of the best performances of his young career, completing 32 of 48 pass attempts for 387 yards and two touchdowns without any picks. He added 47 rushing yards on eight attempts despite facing immense pressure from the Chiefs’ front seven (three sacks).
At any rate, the Eagles need to put Week 4 behind them and try to get back on track when they visit the surprising 3-1 Carolina Panthers this Sunday.
Eagles fans may be interested to know that Pennsylvania is one of the top online sports betting states. Philadelphia opens the Week 5 tilt against Carolina as a four-point underdog.
Rebuilt Offense Is Oozing With Potential
Expectations weren’t awfully high for the Eagles coming into 2021, so the 1-3 start shouldn’t be considered that surprising nor disappointing.
The franchise commenced a rebuild by replacing Super Bowl-winning coach Doug Pederson with Nick Sirianni, who served as the Indianapolis Colts’ offensive coordinator from 2018 to 2020.
This is the first head coaching gig for the 40-year-old Sirianni. He’s also working with a young quarterback who only made four starts last season, replacing the struggling Carson Wentz — who was sent to the Colts in an offseason blockbuster trade.
The Eagles were also comfortable trading down from the No. 6 spot in this year’s draft, sending it to the Miami Dolphins who proceeded to draft Alabama wideout Jaylen Waddle
GM Howie Roseman then swung a deal with the rival Cowboys to move up from 12 to 10, selecting another Alabama receiver, Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, 10th overall.
Based on Roseman’s offseason work, it’s evident that the Eagles have their eyes focused on the long-term future, rather than the present.
The 1-3 start is about where you’d expect them to be right now.
So far, the rebuilt offense has shown plenty of promise. Hurts looks like a long-term answer at quarterback in the early going, completing 66.2 percent of his passes for 1,167 yards and seven touchdowns against just two picks.
Just as encouragingly, the offense line looks much better through four games after surrendering a league-high 65 sacks last year. Wentz took 50 of those despite not playing in four games last season.
Hurts has only been sacked eight times on the year, and the revived o-line starts with All-Pro center Jason kelce.
Hurts is mostly getting it done despite little help from the rushing game. Starting running back Miles Sanders has just 169 yards on 37 total carries.
So far, Smith is on pace to reach the 1,000-yard receiving mark. Sophomore wideout Quez Watkins has been an early-season surprise with 10 receptions for 219 yards.
Defense Has Shown Signs Of A Turnaround
Last year, the Eagles allowed an average of 26.1 points per game. Through four games, they’re actually above that mark, allowing an average of 26.5 per contest.
But the defense simply won’t allow 40-plus points very often like they did against the high-powered and star-studded Cowboys (Week 3) and Chiefs.
Despite playing four explosive offenses through four weeks, the Eagles have only allowed an average of 204 passing yards per game. They’ve even given up less total yards (1,417) than the 4-0 Arizona Cardinals, always-stingy Baltimore Ravens and defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Pro Bowl corner Darius Slay has bounced back nicely after a sluggish first season in Philly. PFF has graded Slay at 72.7 overall through four games, a noticeable improvement from his 2020 season grade of 62.9
The pass rush has been anchored by Javon Hargave, who is absolutely dominating with five sacks and seven quarterback hits. Superstar defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (zero sacks) hasn’t hit his stride yet, but if and when that happens, the Eagles’ usually stout pass rush could start taking over games again.
Eagles fans are used to an ultra-competitive team in the playoff race. They don’t have the makings to be a contender this year, but it’s hard not to be encouraged by the early developments of the young offense and improved defense.
The Eagles should at least be able to push for seven-to-nine wins this season, and they’re more than capable of playing spoiler in an NFC that’s loaded with Super Bowl contenders and playoff hopefuls.
Again, this team is focused on building towards the future, not on winning the Super Bowl in 2021.