The Eagles got a little piece of humble pie served to them on Monday night against the Commanders. With a lackluster effort in the first half combined with poor calls and unfortunate turnovers in the second half, the Eagles could never get any momentum going to knock off a streaking Commanders team.
The fortunate thing is that they are still 8-1 and no longer have the undefeated season narrative following them around. But now the game plan to beat them is on tape and they do have some vulnerabilities that were exposed by Washington.
Every team loses but great teams respond and the Eagles will have that opportunity on Sunday against newly-hired Jeff Saturday and the Colts.
Stopping the Run
This was undoubtedly one of the biggest issues in their 32-21 loss to the Commanders as Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson combined for 130 yards on the ground. Ripping off what seemed to be 3 and 4-yard games whenever they wanted, the Eagles could not force the Commanders into third-and-long situations which killed their chances to get off the field.
One of the biggest storylines surrounding the Eagles and this game is the drastic decline of Fletcher Cox who was kept silent last night and was visibly being moved with ease in the run game.
Eagles PFF DT rankings
Javon Hargrave: 9th
Jordan Davis: 13th
Fletcher Cox: 64th
Marlon Tuipulotu: 91st
The Eagles need Jordan Davis back.
— Brenden Deeg (@BrendenDeeg_) November 15, 2022
Fletcher Cox’s last six games:
289 snaps played, 0 sacks, 1 TFL, 2 QB hits.
Cox ranks 45th out of 66 DTs graded by @PFF this year.
Making top 10 interior DL money.#Eagles
— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) November 15, 2022
Without rookie Jordan Davis for at least the next two games who looked much better than Cox, Fletcher will need to find some of his old self if the Eagles want to have any chance of stopping Jonathan Taylor and the Colts.
At 31 years old, Cox has looked a step slow this season in both the run and pass game and looks like their third-best defensive tackle compared to Javon Hargrave and Jordan Davis.
Besides Cox, the rest of the run defense is also going to need to ramp it up as they have Jonathan Taylor, Derrick Henry, Saquon Barkley (twice) and Aaron Jones left on the schedule. But it seems that they already know this is what teams are going to be looking to exploit.
Brandon Graham on opponents staying committed to the run against them: "That's going to happen, for sure, until we stop it. So I'm ready. Come on. Bring it on."
— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) November 15, 2022
Get Back to Possessing the Ball
The Eagles have been their best when they pound and ground the opposition and keep control of the ball. On Monday night, the Commanders flipped the script on the Eagles as the Commanders held the ball on offense for over 40 minutes. With that Miles Sanders was kept to just a few carries in the first half as the Eagles struggled to get into a groove.
Running the ball just 20 times for 94 yards, it was a big step back from what we’re used to and It led to the Eagles being outpossessed by a wide margin.
But to get the run game going, the defense will need to get off the field quickly which they were unable to do for much of the game against Washington. Going 12/21 on third-down, the Commanders seemed to exploit the Eagles defense right as the defense was about to get off the field.
Clean Up the Turnovers
Arguably the biggest key to the Eagles success through their first 8 games was the way they took care of the football. With three turnovers in 8 games, the Eagles matched that number last night with an interception and two fumbles. Honestly, all three were pretty crap luck as one fumble happened after a 40 yard gain and another after a blatant missed facemask penalty.
Quez Watkins fumbles 👀
Eagles with 3 turnovers tonight
Had 3 in first 8 games
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) November 15, 2022
Maybe Dallas Goedert fumbled because he got poked in the eye while his face mask was being pulled?
— MLFootball (@_MLFootball) November 15, 2022
Furthermore, Jalen Hurts’ lone intereception also landed right in A.J. Brown’s hands before being taken away which can’t even be blamed on Hurts.
Jalen Hurts interception‼️
— Daily Hedge (@Daily_Hedge) November 15, 2022
Monday night seemed like an outlier for the Eagles who have taken great care of the ball and own the best turnover margin in the league. Regardless, the Eagles have to make sure they hang on to the ball moving forward (even after a completely obvious facemask, apparently).
Featured Image: David Maialetti / Staff Photographer