We could fill this newspaper without finishing the list of horrors from Sunday night’s 40-17 loss to Arizona. Start with four turnovers, the shelving of DeMarco Murray, and Nelson Agholor’s continued disappearance.
For now, let’s focus on one aspect that should rankle hard-core Eagles fans even more than Jordan Matthews’ ill-conceived “Rocky” celebration with his team down 20.
The lazy, unsound, sometimes chicken-bleep tackling was an embarrassment to a franchise historically built on tough defense. The lack of effort and guts from Billy Davis’s unit should disgust 68,000 hometown fans and millions more who watched that monstrosity on national TV.
Let’s go through the tape:
In the Cards’ first drive, tight end Darren Fells caught a pass 16 yards downfield – and then galloped another 20 with Byron Maxwell riding him like a kid on piggy-back. I’ll grant you that Fells is a 6-foot-7 behemoth, but Maxwell came here from a sturdy Seattle defense that prided itself in knocking people over. Top cornerbacks aren’t taken for amusement park rides.
In the second quarter we witnessed the humiliation of David Johnson’s 47-yard touchdown run, during which at least five Eagles defenders missed tackles. Some took poor angles, some bit on fakes, some were run over. Defense, as rising media star Seth Joyner loves to remind us, is about attitude. The attitude on that play seemed to be, “Let’s not stick our neck into someone else’s business here.”
Watching it, you got the sense that the Eagles never practice tacking. Which, in fact, they don’t.
In the third quarter, Johnson scored his third TD on the way to a 187-yard rushing day. On the play, you see Kiko Alonso wrestle with Johnson a yard shy of the end zone. Then you see Alonso peel off and surrender the goal line.
What the hell was Alonso trying to do? You never want to accuse a linebacker of playing in fear, but the “legend of Kiko Alonso” appears to be that he prefers to avoid contact.
Is it injury?
“I don’t think he’s 100 percent,” coach Chip Kelly offered Monday, “but I don’t think he’s playing hurt either. He should have had the tackle.”
Maxwell and Alonso were GM Kelly’s top defensive acquisitions this season. His top offensive prize — DeMarco Murray – carried twice for three yards. New QB Sam Bradford had a mixed game, throwing effectively at times, but mixing in two interceptions and a fumble.
Overall, it was a humbling night for a team that has now given up 40 or more points three times in the last month.
At least you would think so.
In the postgame locker-room, linebacker Mychel Kendricks – who spent most of his night caught out of position – offered this: “If I know this team and I know myself, man, the Redskins got something coming to them. For real. And that’s real s—. That’s all I’ve got to say.”
Sometimes it’s better to say is absolutely nothing. Show us, don’t tell us. For real.