After a horrific first quarter where it seemed like everything that could wrong for the Philadelphia Eagles did, they showed some life in the second quarter, but in the end, were defeated 48-7 by the New Orleans Saints.
The Eagles did not have any answers for the Saints, who dominated Philly on both sides of the ball. Future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees continued his MVP-caliber play on Sunday, completing 73 percent of his passes for 364 yards and four touchdowns.
In addition to Brees, the Eagles’ defense also had issues stopping the dynamic duo of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. Even though Kamara did not have an outstanding game, Ingram made his mark immediately, ripping off a 38-yard run to put the Saints in great position to put points on the board.
The duo combined for 212 total yards and three touchdowns. While the defense was having their struggles and losing players to injuries, the Eagles’ offense was not better. Philly’s leading receiver, tight end Zach Ertz was held to two receptions (three targets) for a pedestrian 15 yards.
They also could not handle the pressure that New Orleans’ defense was bringing, which made life harder for third-year quarterback Carson Wentz, who threw three interceptions. With the loss, the Eagles are now 4-6 and find themselves on the outside of the NFC playoff race.
Here are three takeaways from their demoralizing road loss in the Big Easy:
1. First quarter woes continue for Eagles’ offense
Heading into Sunday’s game against the Saints, the Eagles’ offense came in averaging a disappointing 2.3 first-quarter points per game, worst in the NFL. If they wanted to have a chance to win, the Eagles needed to get off to a great start.
However, that did not happen as the first-team offense could only muster 15 total yards (5 rushing) in the opening frame. Then to make matters worse, Wentz threw an ill-advised pass into double coverage, leading to an interception. It was his second first-quarter interception in as many weeks.
Along with the interception, the Eagles’ offense could not convert a third down and did not get a first down until the 12-minute mark in the second quarter. There is really not much more to say about the Eagles’ offense at this point because they are who they are.
You know the saying, a tiger cannot change its stripes? Well, the Eagles have not changed theirs and its time to start holding offensive coordinator Mike Groh and head coach Doug Pederson accountable for the offense’s slow start.
2. Other Saints WRs not named Mike Thomas shine
Everyone knew coming into this game that the Eagles secondary would have their issues with star wide receiver Mike Thomas. However, it was not Thomas, who had the defense looking out of sync to start off.
It was the unheralded trio of Keith Kirkwood, Tre’Quan Smith and Austin Carr that made plays for their All-Pro quarterback. Kirkwood, who played college football at Temple, was able to find space underneath against Philly’s defense, racking up three receptions (five targets) for 33 yards.
Then on top of what Kirkwood was able to do, Carr also had a nice touchdown grab inside the red zone. But the star of Sunday’s game was Smith, who was able to do whatever he wanted to Philly’s defense.
The rookie wideout out of UCF beat the Eagles inexperienced corners on short and intermediate routes, but also deep too. He finished with a career-high 10 receptions (13 targets) for 157 yards and a touchdown.
3. Josh Adams is a lone bright spot for the Eagles
As previously mentioned, the Eagles’ offense did get off to a good start and it haunted them for the rest of the game. However, the only bright spot came in the second quarter as undrafted free agent running back Josh Adams scored the Eagles only points of the game.
The former Notre Dame standout picked up his first NFL touchdown on a 28-yard run and finished the game with 53 yards on seven carries.
Over the last three games, Adams has continued to run the ball better and it appears that the coaching staff is placing a lot of trust in him. Therefore, it would not come as a surprise to see the young running back entrenched as the lead back for the rest of the season.