What a difference one play can make.
The Eagles needed three yards, just three yards, to most likely improve to 5-2 heading into the bye week. LeSean McCoy fumbled on the Titans three yard line in the third quarter and the Titans never looked back. They went on to score 30 points after that play and outperform the Eagles in practically every statistical category.
The complete and utter destruction that came in the second half was contrary to how the Eagles played in the first half. The defense stepped up and made plays in the first half, especially when it came to stopping the most dynamic runner in the NFL in Chris Johnson. The offense could have extended the score, but still controlled the possession for most of the first half. In the second half, the Eagles didn’t seem to have anything going. Aside from the fumble on the three-yard line, the defense could not contain a mediocre wide receiver at best in Kenny Britt. He torched the Eagles with seven receptions for 225 yards and a touchdown (159 in the fourth quarter alone) … and he didn’t even play the first quarter. This marked the most receiving yards the Eagles have EVER given up.
It was a loss the Eagles could not afford to have heading into the bye week. They were riding a two-game winning streak, but the team proved that they still have a lot of weaknesses and loopholes in their talent to really be considered one of the top teams in the NFC.
After back-to-back passer ratings above 100, Kevin Kolb looked far from efficient on Sunday. He completed just 26 of 48 passes for 231 yards, had one touchdown, but also tossed two interceptions. The first interception was a panic-pass that Kolb just aimlessly threw into the air. He made a number of good passes, but they were overshadowed by his lack of play-making ability. It was a setback in Kolb’s effort to prove himself as the future of the Eagles organization.
But it’s not like Kolb is playing for anything because Andy Reid already named Michael Vick the starter for the Colts game in two weeks.
Running back: C+
LeSean McCoy had probably his worst outing of the season against the Titans. They stopped him a number of times at the line of scrimmage and didn’t seem to get anything going outside of the hash marks. For the second straight game he was held to just three yards per carry, and he finished with 48 yards total. On a positive note, McCoy did have six receptions for 54 yards.
Wide Receiver: B –
Despite a solid outing by Jason Avant (6 receptions for 60 yards), this game proved just how important DeSean Jackson is to the Eagles offense. He creates an entirely different matchup for opposing defenses and in turn improves the production of the other receivers. Jeremy Maclin was shut down by the Tennessee secondary and showed that he is still far away from being able to handle the top job. The most exciting aspect of the receiving game came from rookie Riley Cooper. He recorded his first touchdown in an Eagle uniform and averaged 17 yards per catch.
Offensive Line: C
Just when the offensive line finally looked like they were coming together, they went back to their old ways. They only allowed one sack, but Kevin Kolb got hit seven times during the game. They failed to open up good holes for McCoy as he was stopped multiple times behind the line of scrimmage. On pass defense, the Titans recorded six pass deflections which had a lot to do with the space they created from the Eagles offensive line.
Defensive Line: B
The Eagles front seven actually had a solid outing on Sunday afternoon. Trent Cole, Quintin Mikell, and Antonio Dixon all sacked Kerry Collins. More impressively, the Eagles completely shut down the running game Chris Johnson. He only had 66 yards on the ground and averaged a mere 2.8 yards per carry.
Further, the linebackers finally shut down an opposing tight end. Bo Scaife only had one reception for seven yards, which is the worst production by a tight end against the Eagles all season.
Secondary: D –
The complete collapse by the Eagles was mostly due to the secondary. Any time that a 50+ year old quarterback throws for three touchdowns in the second half (after coming into the half with a 40.7 passer rating), there are serious problems. Rookie Nate Allen and veteran Quintin Mikell provided no help over the top against Kenny Britt. Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott tried to put Asante Samuel on Britt, but not even he could stop the Titans receiver.
The Eagles defense as a whole was penalized 10 times for 100 yards. It was a tale of two different Eagles defenses. In the first half they shut down the Titans in every aspect of the game, and in the second half they watched the game slip away in one quarter.
Special Teams: C
The collapse was capped off by the punt return fumble by Jorrick Calvin. He was relatively productive all year for the Eagles but committed a turnover in the worst possible moment for the Eagles to try and amount a comeback late in the fourth quarter.
Aside from that game-changing play by Calvin, the Eagles special teams did a good job against the Titans. David Akers was four-for-four on field goals, Sav Rocca had a 63-yard punt, and Calvin averaged over 31 yards on his kick returns.
This was not exactly the way the Eagles saw themselves entering the bye week. They beat themselves against the Titans and have to rely on the rest of the NFC East to help them out. After the bye week, Philadelphia takes on the Indianapolis Colts and their schedule doesn’t get much easier after that. They have to play five more divisional games and almost every other game is against a team that is .500 or better. Let the Michael Vick show continue once again.