Offensive Struggles Continue To Plague Eagles
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Philadelphia Eagles were shutout in the first quarter Sunday for the tenth time in 13 games this season. It was another sluggish start for the Eagles offense that did not start to produce until the second half.
The Eagles ran just 17 plays in the first half for a total of 70 yards. They managed to get four first downs in that time. Somehow, the Philadelphia defense kept the team in the game preventing the Dallas Cowboys from getting into the endzone and holding them to just nine first half points.
There continues to be little to no rhythm or flow to the offensive play-calling early in the game. Once again, the Eagles have no answers as to why those struggles continue.
“It’s absolutely frustrating,” Quarterback Carson Wentz said after the loss. “The time we had on the offensive side of the ball, we just couldn’t execute, couldn’t sustain drives.”
“I wish I had an answer,” Tackle Lane Johnson shrugged. “We’ve been seeing that for most of the year. We try, but trying is not good enough.”
Personnel decisions in certain situations are baffling along with situational play-calls. The Eagles ran an option with Carson Wentz to the short-side of the field on third down. It was stopped for a loss. The once aggressive Doug Pederson had a chance to go for two and take the lead after a penalty against the Cowboys on the extra point attempt. Pederson had done that earlier in the season and converted the two-point attempt. He elected this time to keep the game tied late in the fourth quarter and enforce the penalty on the ensuing kickoff.
“The decision-making was to kick the extra point and tie it up,” Pederson explained. “We had a little discussion (about going for two), but we felt where we were as a team at the time, we felt good about keeping the points on the board.”
Back to personnel decisions. Running Back Josh Adams ran the ball very well in recent weeks. He carried the ball three times for 30 yards on the opening drive and did not get another carry until the third quarter.
I asked Adams if he was healthy or if any injury kept him off the field during that time.
“No, I’m good,” Adams answered.
So I pressed him if he was surprised he went that long between touches.
“I’m here to do anything I can do to help my team,” Adams replied. “Whatever they call on me to do, I am all for it. If that means you don’t get a touch until the third (quarter), I’m just trying to help my team get into the best position to win games.”
Another questionable personnel decision occurred with the Eagles inside the Red Zone. Corey Clement was on the sideline due to injury. Wendell Smallwood had not had a touch the entire game, but he got the ball and gained three yards which was well short of the endzone.
Pederson sounded a little irritated when he was asked after the loss if that was an odd spot for Smallwood to go into the game.
“When Corey went down, it was not so much of an odd spot anymore,” Pederson stated.
Running Backs carried the ball just ten times in a game with the Eagles’ largest deficit sitting at just nine points. A balanced attack the last two weeks led to wins in both games and allowed the offense to get into a rhythm.
Typically a team will try and pick on an opposing player or try to put the opponent in a specific situation and exploit that. At no time during the loss to the Cowboys did it appear the Eagles were trying to do that to their opponent.
Pederson and Offensive Coordinator Mike Groh have three weeks to try and figure it out. This team is not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs although they need a lot of help at this point. There needs to be a sense of urgency towards fixing this offense to generate a little positive momentum to take into the 2019 season.