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Eagles Have More To Battle After Sluggish Offensive Performance


The Eagles held on to defeat the Patriots 25-20 in their season-opening game in New England on Sunday, but their offense struggled mightily.

They only managed 251 yards of offense, had just one offensive play longer than 16 yards, averaged less than 4.0 yards per carry, went 10 drives without a touchdown, and had just one play longer than 23 yards.

They scored 18 points on Sunday, but they scored 28 points per game on offense last year. Last year, they fell 138 yards short of their average of 389 yards. Last year, they averaged 148 rushing yards a game, but on Sunday, they fell short of that mark.

“It’s always good to win, but it’s not good to play like that, and we are going to put a lot of work in to make corrections,” Jason Kelce said.

“We have a short week so it’s going to be sped up a bit. I think you’re always happy to win but you know we need to play a lot better than this if we are going to reach the potential and level of play we want this year.”

Nobody anticipated 251 yards, one offensive touchdown, no big plays, and a three-hour slog at Gillette Stadium in the season opener after an NFL-record offensive season, an unstoppable postseason, a Super Bowl close call, and arguably the league’s greatest skill player lineup along with an elite offensive line.

But the truth is as it is.

Jalen Hurts was unable to find his rhythm during Brian Johnson’s debut game as the Eagles’ play-caller, and with Hurts out of sync, the entire offense appeared out of sync.

On their first drive, the Eagles went 61 yards for a field goal, and on their second possession, they converted a short field after a takeaway into a touchdown.

On those first two drives, they received eight first downs, but only nine on their following 11.

They had five possessions at one point, totaling two offensive yards.

In the final 47 minutes of play, they scored just four field goals from Jake Elliott, including 48, 51, and 56.

Hurts completed just 170 passes, gained only 37 yards on nine carries, and failed to complete any of the seven third downs that were designated as pass plays. With 3 1/2 minutes remaining, he committed a potentially fatal fumble deep in Eagles territory.

With 9 1/2 minutes left in the game, he completed his longest pass, a 23-yarder to A.J. Brown. He didn’t have a completion of at least 25 yards for just the fourth time in his 39 career starts.

He wasn’t that bad. Had a great touchdown pass in the first quarter to DeVonta Smith. He didn’t, however, appear to be a candidate for MVP.

“Winning is the only thing that matters and that’s something that I’ve always said,” Hurts said. “And so that is the mentality right now. That will always be the mentality. I think we obviously have things that we need to work on and have to be better in those situations when the ball is in my hands, and I take full accountability for that.”

Yes, it was pouring rain. And yes, on the opposing sideline is one of the NFL’s top defensive brains. And yes, Bill Belichick shouldn’t be given the entire offseason to prepare for a game.

However, this new Eagles offense still had a very poor first day.

“Bill Belichick-coached team, it’s going to be well-coached, and I thought that’s exactly what it was,” said Nick Sirianni, now 3-0 on opening day. “Now, was it our cleanest performance offensively? No. We have a lot of mistakes to clean up and we’ve got a short time to do so.

“But, shoot, I thought that we just didn’t finish some drives. We got in a rut a little bit in the second quarter and didn’t finish some drives late in the game.”

Dallas Goedert only had one target, which came in the fourth quarter, and failed to catch a ball. D’Andre Swift gained no yards from one carry and one catch. Rashaad Penny was barely moving.

“I don’t ever want to come out of a game where D’Andre Swift has only two touches,” Sirianni said.

Even though it was Johnson’s first game as an NFL play caller and he was up against one of the best coaches in history, the offense lacked originality and predictability.

The Eagles make another attempt against the Vikings on Thursday night at the Linc.

“I thought he called a great game,” Sirianni said of Johnson. “I thought he made some adjustments in the second half to throw it a little bit more knowing that we were struggling in the running game. 

“If we throw it 20 times in a row, that’s because we think that’s the right thing to do. If we run it 20 times in a row, it’s because we think that’s the right thing to do, and that’s conviction. I thought Brian had conviction today.”

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