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December 09, 2019

First half observations: Giants 17, Eagles 3

In their season-long quest to keep setting the bar lower, the Eagles once again outdid themselves in the first 30 minutes of Monday Night Football. They trail the two-win Giants at halftime, 17-3.

Here's what I saw.

The Good

• One of the only good things of the second half of this season has been watching Miles Sanders go to work as a featured player. There are still some miscues to clean up — he missed an assignment or two as a blocker in the first half — but he's the only guy who routinely makes the games enjoyable to watch, even if those moments are fleeting. His vision has improved, his hesitation has all but disappeared, and he makes them a credible play-action team. Or at least he would if their passing attack was anything other than a disaster.

Unfortunately for Sanders, the Eagles have bigger issues on offense that a promising rookie running back can't overcome. The breakout for him will probably have to wait until at least next year.

The Bad

• Jason Peters was an elite lineman for many years and a great leader in the locker room through good times and bad. But he has absolutely hurt the Eagles recently, and at this point, they would be better off trying to get Andre Dillard developmental reps to prepare for the future. He took a terrible penalty on the team's opening possession, and that left side of the line was just getting absolutely smoked in the first half. It's one thing for the Eagles to be bad, but being bad and old and building toward nothing moving forward is a terrible cocktail.

There are some big-picture questions to ask of management here, by the way. This is an expensive group the Eagles have up front and they were still getting pushed around by a terrible Giants defense.

• After putting it on the turf on their second possession of the game, Carson Wentz has 42 fumbles (and counting) in 53 games played. He generally does a good job of limiting interceptions, but his ball security has been atrocious since entering the league.

I would say the concern at this point is about a lot more than his ball security. The offensive line isn't helping him, the receivers are bad, we've heard it all before. The fact remains there are times when he has a clean pocket and no one pressuring him and still manages to find a way to miss the target in one way or another. High and outside, low and into the turf, they're all bad at the end of the day.

He is not contributing to this offense getting any better. That's all that really needs to be said at this point. 24 yards on three possessions is not even close to good enough.

• Ronald Darby has spent the past couple of weeks getting straight-up embarrassed, so of course, he picked up right where he left off, getting left in the dust for New York's first touchdown of the game. I'm not asking for every member of the Eagles' secondary to hit like Brian Dawkins, but it's like watching the lowlight reel for the Little Giants at the start of the movie. Some of these efforts are straight-up pathetic.

No one in Philadelphia wants to watch this dude anymore, I can promise you that. It's not like he's making up for terrible tackling with superior coverage, either. 

• Presented without comment:

This is a professional football team and a guy who is supposed to be one of their best offensive weapons.

• Honestly, the biggest indictment of this Eagles team might be how little there was to even analyze from that first half. Everything I put in these sections tonight is a variation of something you've heard before, and the only reason I can't sit and rip this team a hundred different ways is that the Giants are not very good. A better team would be up by roughly a billion points on the Eagles going into halftime, but everyone will have to hang on to see how bad it gets after 30 more minutes.

Eagles players are getting carried by Saquon Barkley as he runs for first downs, members of the secondary are playing nine yards off against a quarterback who wants to deliver it quickly, the offense stinks, nothing about this current team is good. Their very first play of the game went to Boston Scott. Boston Scott! Darius Slayton ran right past two members of the Eagles' secondary for their second score before halftime, scoring without any resistance from Philly.

It's like trying to discuss the fourth preseason game. They're not really good enough to care about or thoughtfully analyze. The Giants, who are dead in the water, played with more heart and more fight than the Eagles did for the opening 30 minutes.

• God bless anyone who is at that stadium and still getting fired up for this team, and for anyone reading this story with the state this team is in. I admire your passion, but you don't have to let this team hurt you anymore.

The Ugly

• Coming into a game with three healthy wide receivers is absolutely ridiculous. It was predictable that it would come back to haunt them swiftly, and Alshon Jeffery was taken to the locker room on a cart before the first half even ended.

It is an organizational failure to come into a game this unprepared, this clueless about the state of an important position. The Eagles have suffered so many self-inflicted wounds this season that it's hard to keep track of them all. They have more healthy wideouts on their practice squad than they have available to play in the second half of Monday Night Football, unless Jeffery somehow returns.

• As if things couldn't get bad enough, Lane Johnson got rolled up on late in the first half and was writhing in pain. He limped to the sideline and went to the blue tent immediately, and I'm at the point where I think the Eagles should just sit anyone who is even remotely important to their future. This is a dead-end team that would get absolutely destroyed even if they back into the playoffs. Burn it down and regroup.

(By the way, Peters was the only reason Johnson was in a position to get rolled up on in the first place. Peters got smoked on the other side of the line leading up to that moment. It's time to move on.)

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