3 Takeaways from Eagles' Week 6 Loss
The Philadelphia Eagles did enough to make things interesting late Thursday night. But that's not quite enough when you're going up against the Super Bowl champions.
Although the Eagles trimmed a 21-point deficit to six, their comeback attempt fell short, as they took a 28-22 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lincoln Financial Field. Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts scored on a 2-yard touchdown run with five minutes, 54 seconds to go and then completed a two-point conversion pass to Quez Watkins. However, the Eagles never got the ball back after that.
Philadelphia fell to 2-4 and couldn't orchestrate its first winning streak of the season after knocking off the Carolina Panthers on the road in its previous game.
Here are three takeaways from the Eagles' Week 6 loss.
Hurts Did a Lot, But He Was Also Inconsistent
On the Eagles' opening drive, Hurts led them 75 yards on seven plays and threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Zach Ertz. Hurts also had a pair of rushing touchdowns late in the second half that got Philadelphia back into the game. Those were all positives.
However, there were also a few negatives from Hurts' latest inconsistent performance. He completed only 12 of his 26 passing attempts (a season-low completion percentage of 46.2), while the Eagles offense went cold for a long stretch of the night.
It didn't help Hurts that Philadelphia's running game was nearly nonexistent again—he had 44 yards on 10 carries, and Miles Sanders rushed for 56 yards on nine attempts. But Hurts was mostly ineffective through the air despite facing the Buccaneers, who ranked last in the NFL in passing defense and have lost key defensive backs to injuries.
"We're always going to be thinking about how do we get him to be the passer first," Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said, per Dan Gelston of the Associated Press. "The secondary part is to be the runner."
Hurts needs to be a more consistent passer, though. While he has a pair of 300-yard games this season, he's also now been held under 200 yards three times.
Defense Kept Eagles in It, Showed Improvement
It's never going to be easy for a defense to go up against Tampa Bay's high-powered offense, led by future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. And that was evident early Thursday, as Philadelphia allowed Brady to immediately lead a pair of touchdown drives on the Bucs' first two possessions.
But things got better for the Eagles defense throughout the night. Anthony Harris picked off Brady late in the first half and then Philadelphia forced Tampa Bay to punt and turn over the ball on downs on consecutive possessions while trying to come back late in the second half.
The Eagles couldn't get a stop late on, though, as the Buccaneers ran out the final 5:54 by picking up four first downs to seal their victory. Still, Philadelphia's defense kept Tampa Bay under 400 total yards, even though the Bucs had the ball for a whopping 39 minutes, 56 seconds.
Although the Eagles entered this game with one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, they held the Buccaneers to 102 rushing yards on 31 attempts (3.3 yards per carry).
Philadelphia's defense now needs to work on getting off to better starts considering it's never easy for a team to try to climb out of an early hole.
The Toughest Part of the Schedule May Be Complete
The Eagles' 2-4 record may not be impressive, but consider their opponents for those four losses: the San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs and the Buccaneers. That's not an easy run, especially early in the season.
Even though Philadelphia is off to a tough start, it's too soon to count it out of the NFC playoff picture. There's time for the Eagles to correct some of their issues, get hot and make a run in the second half of the regular season. And the schedule should be more forgiving in the weeks ahead.
Before October is out, Philadelphia goes on the road to face the Las Vegas Raiders (who are now being led by interim head coach Rich Bisaccia) and the Detroit Lions (who are 0-5). From Weeks 12-17, the Eagles play five straight games against teams that have sub-.500 records entering Week 6.
It's possible Philadelphia never gets going and this ends up being a learning year under Sirianni and the new coaching staff. But it's still too early to know whether that's the case.