January 18, 2019
There's nothing like beating a dead horse after a narrow playoff loss.
While Philadelphia has been surprisingly coolheaded about last weekend's 20-14 loss to the New Orleans Saints, the national media this week placed a microscope on the Saints' galvanizing fake punt that occurred early in the first half of the game.
The theory here is that the Saints specifically targeted defensive tackle Fletcher Cox because of a lackadaisical tendency they saw on his special teams film. A clip that takes some snaps from the wild card game against the Bears seems to show that Cox didn't charge full steam on a couple of punts.
Never take plays off.— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) January 17, 2019
👀 Incredible video:
On one of the biggest plays of the game, the Saints WANTED to run a fake punt into the Eagles *regular defense* because they knew Fletcher Cox was going to play passively from film study. They ran right at him & converted the 1st down. pic.twitter.com/DhlWD8Yt9Q
Cox, who had a career year and led the team with 10.5 sacks, isn't having any of it. He responded on Twitter Thursday by blasting his critics.
All y’all some clowns if you ever catch me not going 100% then call me out matter facts it’s the exact play I got hurt on!!!!!! Don’t @ me anymore about y’all problems https://t.co/1wElsJMSNW— fletcher cox (@fcoxx_91) January 17, 2019
As others have pointed out, Cox was triple-teamed on the play, anyway, and it took an additional push from Taysom Hill to pick up the first down. The fact is, the Eagles were beaten several times on fake punts over the course of the year. They never seemed fully prepared for them.
There are a number of reasons why the Eagles lost to the Saints, but Fletcher Cox's effort isn't one of them.