3 Up and 3 Down From Eagles Home Opening Loss to 49ers
After the Philadelphia Eagles opened the 2021 season with an impressive win on the road against Atlanta, they came back down to earth in a Week 2 loss to San Francisco.
A week after tossing three touchdowns, quarterback Jalen Hurts came back to earth, as the Eagles dropped their home opener 17-11 to the 49ers on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
Hurts completed just 12-of-23 passes for 190 yards, 91 of which came on one pass play to Quez Watkins, adding 10 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown.
Here are 3 up and 3 down from the win:
1. Quez Watkins: Watkins provided the lone bright spot on the offensive side of the ball, reeling in a 91-yard pass from Hurts, catching two passes for 117 yards in the loss to the 49ers. While the Eagles were unable to score, turning the ball over on downs, Watkins showed his explosive speed can be a big part of the offense. You can expect the Eagles to continue to utilize Watkins in a variety of ways in the offense this season.
2. Javon Hargrave: Hargrave had two sacks and added six total tackles and three QB hits in Week 1 and followed that up with another impressive showing against the 49ers. The veteran defensive tackle is healthy and it shows, making seven total tackles in the game with two for loss and a QB hit.
3. Eagles Linebackers: The much-maligned linebacker unit was torched by George Kittle in their 2020 meeting, giving up 15 catches on 15 targets for 183 yards and a touchdown. This time around the Eagles linebackers did a much better job keeping Kittle in check, holding him to just four catches for 17 yards in the game, and helped the run defense giving up just 3.1 yards per carry.
1. Nick Sirianni: Sirianni essentially admitted after the game, that he could have done a better job -- and he's right.
"It was my fault," Sirianni admitted. "I didn't call good enough plays right there. I didn't put the players in good enough positions, but we're all in this together, coaches and players."
After connecting for a 91-yard completion, the team was unable to punch the ball in and left with no points on the board, turning the ball over on downs. If they we able to score in that series, the Eagles could have had a 10-0 lead heading into the second quarter. of the game.
"I think I should have called a better play and put our guys in a better position to score," Sirianni explained. "So, I take full responsibility for that. Again, if it works, then great, we're up 10-0. It didn't. In hindsight, I just wanted a different play call. I didn't call the right play in the right time."
2. Derek Barnett and K'Von Wallace: Back-to-back penalties really hurt the Eagles and its becoming the norm for Barnett. Barnett's output doesn't justify the personal foul calls he continues to rack up. His unnecessary hit resulted in a 15-yard penalty, giving the 49ers a 1st and 10 from their own 42 instead of 3rd and 15 from their own 27.
According to Zach Berman of The Athletic, Barnett has now been flagged for eight personal fouls in his career (six unnecessary roughness penalties, two roughing the QBs).
The very next play it was Wallace who was flagged for a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty.
"They said that he led with his helmet, and I've just got to trust that they did their job right," Sirianni said about the call on Wallace. "The tape doesn't lie. We'll figure it out from the tape. But I've just got to trust that they did their job well and it was what it was."
"I don’t agree with the call," Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox stated. "It is what it is. They threw the flag, they stuck with it and that was a big turning point in the game for us and, as a player, being honest, it just sucked the air out of you when things like that happen."
The end result, a 46-yard field goal making it a 17-3 49ers advantage with 5:07 left in the game.
3. Jalen Reagor: Sometimes it's the little things that separate what makes a good player a great player. In Week 1, Reagor showed that he belongs, showing great speed, catching six balls for 49 yards and a touchdown. This week, however, Reagor had a rough day at the office, catching just two passes for five yards. His day could have been bigger, as Hurts connected with Reagor for what appeared to be a touchdown pass. However, Reagor stepped out of bounds before he caught the ball, negating what would have been an Eagles score.
"That's the main thing right there is how you release to save some room on the sideline so even if you get bumped, you don't get pushed out," explained Sirianni. "So, he was probably a little closer than what we'd like."
Instead of scoring a touchdown, the Eagles had a 47-yard field goal blocked.
“If it’s a touchdown, it’s probably a whole different outcome of the game," Jalen Hurts acknowledged.
Philadelphia continues to play Monday Night, Sept. 27, in an NFC East game in Dallas against the Cowboys. Radio broadcast coverage from the Eagles Radio Network begins at 7 p.m.with Merrill Reese and Mick Quick will be on 97.3 ESPN at 8:15 p.m.