Birds Roundup Week 4: Penalties plague Eagles in tough loss to Chiefs

Penalties, poor game management, and an inability to stop the run plagued the Eagles in their Week 4 loss to Kansas City.

Philly had opportunities to win this game. But each and every time they reached the doorstep, they shot themselves in the foot. Whether it was an ill-timed penalty or a complete lapse in Nick Sirianni’s play calling, all of it was self inflicted in this one.

There are a few things to breakdown following this loss, so let’s jump right into it.

The penalties are too much to overcome

We can talk about the play calling, Jalen Hurts’ mistimed throws on occasion, or the defensive lapses, but none of those things plagued the Eagles as much as the penalties did.

Three touchdowns were taken off the board because of penalties. The Chiefs had a few 3rd-and-8’s turn into 3rd-and-3’s thanks the some untimely offsides calls. And it’s not just Derek Barnett. Josh Sweat had two bone headed offsides called against him. Andre Dillard had three calls against him on the offensive side of the ball.

It’s inexcusable. There’s no other way around it.

This team will not win any close games if they continue to play this recklessly. It starts with the coaching staff, and more specifically Nick Sirianni. If there’s one thing that could really jeopardize his future with the team past this year, it’s the constant self inflicting wounds.

Gannon’s defense has a serious problem

After two solid weeks from Jonathan Gannon’s defense, they’ve completely dropped the ball in their past two contests. Over 30 points surrendered in back-to-back games is not ideal, regardless of the offenses your facing.

What’s really concerning for this group is their inability to stop the run. For years, the Eagles secondary has been the Achilles heal of an otherwise stout defensive group. It’s been reversed this season. Ever since Brandon Graham went down for the year, the run defense has seen a major regression.

It was bit understandable facing the Cowboys last week, but giving up over 200 yards on the ground to a team that doesn’t even want to run the ball is laughable. The linebackers are terrible at flowing to the ball carrier, and the defensive line has trouble shedding blocks.

The fact that a team boasting Patrick Mahomes and a plethora of outside weapons was able to rack up over 200 yards on the ground is telling. I’m not sure how they fix it this season either. Their personnel is just not up to par.

Jalen Hurts did improve from last week

While there were a handful of missed passes and one interception worthy play that got overturned, Hurts looked much more poised against the Chiefs than he did last week. Of course, that should be the case facing a defense as bad as Kansas City’s, but he was able to put up points nonetheless.

He threw the ball a total of 48 times, which is just too much for Hurts, but he completed 32 of those attempts for 387 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Even with pressure in his face from time to time, Hurts managed to get the ball out to his guys. And when he did break the pocket, he made plays happen.

His limitations are still there. Like accuracy and some iffy decision making. But it was an improvement over last week.

Sirianni still neglects the running game

I understand facing a Chiefs offense that clearly can score at will can force a play caller to abandon the run at times, but the Eagles were facing the second-worst run defense in the league entering Week 4. Only 10 rushing attempts to your running backs is not enough, especially when a handful of drives got derailed inside the red zone.

Only two rushing attempts to the backs inside the 10 yard line is crazy. Stop trying to be cute and just give the ball to one of your playmakers. Both Miles Sanders and Kenny Gainwell are capable to finding pay dirt down by the goal line. It feels like Sirianni just forgets to run it in these situations and it’s infuriating to watch.

The run-pass ratio was lopsided, but it’s the refusal to run it close to the goal line that really blows my mind. The Eagles were able to pass it up and down the field, but the play calling just fell apart once the offense got close to scoring.

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