Yes, the injuries in the Eagles’ 24-20 loss at Atlanta on Sunday were brutal, but the Eagles continued a pattern that dates back to last year by once again starting out slowly. For the second time in two games the Eagles didn’t score in the first quarter. Last year they scored just 41 first-quarter points. While everybody will be focused on the finish and how Zach Ertz was a yard shy of a first down on the final drive, and that is all fair game, the slow starts are something the Eagles have to rectify. It is not just the first quarter. The Eagles have been outscored by 30-13 in the first half of their games this season.
— Marc Narducci (email@example.com)
The Eagles have gone scoreless during the first quarter in 12 of their last 18 regular-season games. It’s not all on quarterback Carson Wentz, but playing on the road in a raucous stadium, nobody can quiet the crowd early more than the opposing quarterback.
That obviously didn’t happen in the Mercedez Benz Dome Sunday. During the first half, Wentz had a passer rating of 6.2. That is no misprint. He completed 6 of 16 passes for 47 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions.
He certainly wasn’t helped by the rushing game. The Eagles gained 32 yards on 11 first-half carries, an average of 2.9 yards.
Starting receivers DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery were forced to the sideline due to injury, and tight end Dallas Goedert suffered a calf injury in pregame warm-ups and didn’t play.
It also didn’t help that Wentz was taking some wicked hits all evening. He was sacked three times, and the Falcons had 10 quarterback hits.
To Wentz’s credit, he almost led the Eagles to a win, despite so much that went wrong during the game. Still, he understands that he and the team must come out of the gates quicker.
“Slow start, we were trying to get dialed in to what they were trying to do against us and just missed plays,” he said during his postgame news conference.
Wentz and his teammates played heroically in a physically brutal game. He talked after the game about how proud he was about his team’s resiliency, and all that is correct. Yet the Eagles are making it hard on themselves with the slow starts, They got away with it in their opening win over Washington. Atlanta, a better team coming off a woeful performance in its opening loss at Minnesota, made the Eagles pay.