McMullen’s Quick Hits: Drop It Like Its Hot
When Hurricane Joaquin was threatening the East Coast back in September Chip Kelly started one practice by blaring "Rock You Like a Hurricane."
If the Eagles coach stays true to his playful nature the next time his team hits the practice field he might great them with "Drop It Like Its Hot."
A troubling season-long habit of dropping the football continued in Charlotte Sunday night as Philadelphia fell to unbeaten Carolina 27-16.
Sam Bradford continued his disappointing play and will likely play the villain to the Eagles fan base after completing just 26-of-46 passes for a minuscule 205 yards with one interception. He was hardly helped by his egregious receiving cops, however, which piled up a mind-numbing seven drops.
The ball placement wasn't always great but Jordan Matthews, Darren Sproles, Zach Ertz and Miles Austin all pitched in with drive-killing mistakes as the once high-powered Chip Kelly offense continued its descent toward mediocrity.
Ryan Mathews was the only bright spot in the Tar Heel State, piling up 97 yards on just six rushes, including a 63-yard scamper for a touchdown. DeMarco Murray added 65 yards on 18 carries but continues to look like the lesser option when compared to the speedier Mathews.
The defense held up its end of the bargain again, picking off Cam Newton three times and allowing the dual threat to amass just 197 passing yards.
THE BIGGER LOSS
The Eagles lost far more than a football game in Carolina as left tackle Jason Peters was carted off late in the first quarter with what sure looked like another Achilles injury.
Luckily it wasn't the big man's Achilles again and was quickly labeled a lower back issue which at least opens up the possibility that the injury is not a season-ender.
That said Peters was obviously in a great deal of pain and judging by his mannerisms when he hit the turf, a nerve issue could be in play.
Matt Tobin kicked out to left tackle as Peters' replacement with Dennis Kelly entering at right guard. Tobin actually held up pretty well until late in the game when veteran pass rusher Jared Allen turned it up a notch and got to Bradford on two different occasions.
If Peters is going to be out for a significant period of time the Eagles may entertain moving Lane Johnson over from right tackle.
In this chicken versus the egg argument Chip picked sides, saying the Eagles "had to help Sam out" in relation to all the drops.
Of course Randy Moss and Terrell Owens could have been outside the numbers in their primes and it's hard to imagine Bradford having consistent success the way he is throwing the football but it would certainly be better at least
The seven drops were the most in nine years for Philadelphia and the Eagles receiving corps is proving to be one of the most under whelming in all of football.
By the end of tonight's game, it was clear that the only receiver Bradford had any confidence in was veteran Miles Austin, who had the last drop of the night on the fourth down that sealed the game for Carolina, the Panthers' 10 straight win dating back to last season.
STRENGTH VS. STRENGTH
The Eagles came in with one of the best run defenses in football and the knowledge that Carolina likes to run the football.
In the matchup of strength against strength the Panthers won, piling up 204 yards on the ground at over six yards per clip.
Philadelphia had allowed only one rushing TD in six games coming in and gave up two tonight while allowing a 100-yard rusher, Jonathan Stewart (24 for 125) for first time in 19 games.
MATHEWS AND MURRAY
One week after Murray broke out for a season-high 112 rushing yards, Mathews was the star against the Panthers, putting up big-time production in limited touches.
After the huge 63-yard TD run, Mathews had only one more carry the rest of the way with Murray touching it 10 times after that point, leaving many to question why Duce Staley just doesn't ride the hot hand.
The answers are obvious -- money, reputation and resume -- so don't expect the workload to change any time soon.
FIRST TO THIRD
No the Eagles weren't taking the extra base.
The setback, coupled with the Giants win over the Cowboys earlier in the afternoon, left Philadelphia deadlocked with the Redskins at 3-4, one game behind the Giants in a poor NFC East.
It's time to start the self-scout with the Week 8 bye upon us and some significant soul searching must be done because this is not a very good football team on the offensive side of the ball right now.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen