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.
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Taking too long to get in gear
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.
What you need to know about the Eagles
Les Bowen has all the details in his game story on the Eagles loss to the Falcons.
Bob Ford describes the result as a gut-punch loss for the Eagles and writes how important it is for Super Bowl contenders to win regular-season road games.
Paul Domowitch has five takeaways from the loss and, not surprisingly, he leads off by talking about the injuries.
Jeff McLane writes about the near comeback engineered by Carson Wentz and what went wrong and right during an evening in which there were plenty of positives and negatives for the Eagles quarterback.
It was a rough night for Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby, as David Murphy writes.
Domo has his postgame report card, where you can also weigh in on how the Eagles performed.
Here is a look back at the game as it was happening, with our comments, video highlights, photos, and tweets from our writers covering the game.
After the game in his news conference coach Doug Pederson talked about the relentless pressure Wentz faced.
In his Eagles notes, Lew Bowen has the details on the many injuries that the Eagles suffered against the Falcons.
EJ Smith has the social media reaction, with Falcons receiver Julio Jones, who had five receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns, earning plenty of praise.
From the mailbag
We assume NR, you are referring to the story that ESPN’s Chris Mortensen broke about Miami Dolphins safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Mortensen wrote that Fitzpatrick has been given permission by the Dolphins to seek a trade. A former first-round pick, Fitzpatrick had six tackles, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery in Miami’s embarrassing, 43-0 loss to New England on Sunday. He is only in his second year after being the 11th overall selection in the 2018 draft out of Alabama. Fitzpatrick has the ability to play either corner or safety, though safety is his better position. The Eagles, or anybody who is interested, would likely have to offer a first-round pick. He is a skilled player who would help the Eagles’ secondary, but whether they would be willing to pay an expected high price remains to be seen.