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NY Post
New York Post
16 Dec 2023


NextImg:Not-so flying high Eagles in hot water across all units at the worst time

The Eagles were flying.

The rest of the NFC, particularly those in the East, were in the Birds’ rearview mirror with a second consecutive division title seemingly fait accompli. The Eagles were 10-1 and en route to a second consecutive playoff home-field advantage.

Then San Francisco happened.

And, after that, Dallas happened.

The 42-19 rout at the hands of the 49ers in Philadelphia was alarming, but thought of by some as an aberration, a hiccup.

But last week’s 33-13 loss to the Cowboys has left the City of Brotherly Love suddenly hating a bit, wondering if the Eagles defense, after allowing 75 points in two games, is going to be able to stop anyone in the playoffs when it really counts.

There’s a lot hand-wringing going on right now. A lot of questions: “What’s wrong with the Eagles?’’

The Eagles suddenly find themselves in hot water after back-to-back blowout losses to the 49ers and Cowboys. AP

The loss to Dallas left the Eagles and Cowboys with the same 10-3 record, but the Cowboys currently own the tiebreaker for first place in the NFC East.

Next up for the Eagles is a road game against the 6-7 Seahawks on Monday night, and after that the schedule gets easier, with a Christmas Day home game against the Giants (5-8) followed by a road game against the Cardinals (3-10) and another against the Giants.

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts has a 27-5 record since the start of the 2022 season, but even he has endured some criticism from the fickle home fans, as has head coach Nick Sirianni — who’s led the team to wins in 24 of its past 30 games, including last season’s Super Bowl runner-up.

“To say I have the magic answer right now, I don’t think that’s realistic,” Sirianni said after the loss to Dallas. “We’re not doing well enough right now coaching or playing. That’s just the fact.”

Offensively, Hurts and the Eagles are turning the ball over at an alarming rate. Hurts has 15 giveaways in 13 games — 10 interceptions and five fumbles lost. He’s fumbled the ball in seven consecutive games and hasn’t gone a game without a fumble since Week 6.

The Eagles are also struggling in the running game, where they were ranked No. 1 in the NFL the previous two seasons. This season, they’re ranked eighth, but since Week 4, they’re 27th in the league in yards per carry (3.8) and 31st in yards after contact per rush (2.32).

“This is something we’re going through, not something we’re stuck in,” Hurts said.

Defensively, the Eagles allowed the Cowboys to score points on seven of nine drives, and the 49ers scored touchdowns on their final six drives, excluding kneel downs.

DeVonta Smith (6) fumbles the ball after being hit by Dallas Cowboys safety Markquese Bell (14) in the fourth quarter. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con
Jake Ferguson #87 of the Dallas Cowboys hurdles a Philadelphia Eagles defender after catching a pass. Getty Images

“Let’s be honest: We got punched in the mouth two weeks in a row,” Eagles defensive lineman Fletcher Cox said. “We got a little blood dripping from our lip. We’ll get it stitched up. I think the biggest thing for this team now is really find out who the dudes are.

“I’ve been part of teams where the dudes in the locker room do something about it. And I’ve been a part of the team where you know, it kind of crumbles. But now it’s time to see the real leadership. The real players. The guys that are elite on this team, myself included, step up and do something about it. Get this team another win.”

The thing about this mini-slump that’s concerning is that it’s not merely one phase of the team that’s lacking. The leaks in the ship are everywhere.

“I know that everybody that’s in that locker room has been through s–t in their lives and has made it to this point,” Sirianni said. “They’ve made it to this point because of the s–t they’ve been through. That adversity has made a lot of us in that locker room where we are today, and we’ve got to remember that. We’ve got to internalize that, and we’ve got to make sure that they have adversity that we’re facing right now we’re able to get through and make sure we get better from it.”