Five Takeaways From Eagles Week 1 Loss vs. Falcons

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2.) The Devil in the Details

Sep 14, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles kicker Cody Parkey (1) reacts after missing a 44 year field goal against the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth quarter at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the fact that they came up decidedly short in the intensity department, the Eagles found themselves in a position to win a game they trailed throughout. Much like last season’s game against the Cowboys in Philadelphia, the Eagles were able to overcome a sluggish start to take a lead and position themselves for a win. Though maybe not to the extent that fans would have liked to have seen, the talent on the roster was on display. Teams with a lack of talent don’t make up a 17-point halftime deficit in a flash and set themselves up for a potential go-ahead field goal late in a contest on the road.

Their could be some overlap between this and the previous observation, but one has to think the Eagles will go back and look at the little things that cost them a week one win. Dropped passes, penalties, and a rare special teams snafu could tell the story of this game as much as anything Atlanta did. Malcolm Jenkins dropped a pair of potential interceptions that could have turned the tide of the game. The Eagles cost themselves 86 yards on 10 penalties, several at particularly inopportune times. Even if some of the flags thrown at the expense of the Eagles seemed iffy, one has to realize the state of the NFL in that regard.

The Kiko Alonso illegal contact penalty prior to Julio Jones’ second touchdown of the first half was a prime example. Not only did this flag negate a sack-fumble caused by the Eagles defense, but it allowed the Falcons to head into the locker room with a 17-point lead and all the momentum. Even though the Eagles were able to seize it back for basically the rest of the game, falling into that type of hole is never a recipe for success. One can also point to the handful of holding penalties called on the offensive line as a potential reason for the Eagles run game to sputter the way it did.

Though there are so many other areas to point to as to why the Eagles did not win this game, a pair of plays defined by their sloppiness will ultimately serve as the lasting images of the contest. After a moment of indecision, Chip Kelly decided to rush out the Eagles field goal kicking unit for a 44-yard field goal try after coming up short of first down yardage. With just seconds on the play clock, Cody Parkey’s attempt sailed wide right and kept the Eagles on the wrong side of the score sheet. Was it a kick Parkey should be depended on to make? Probably. All the same, the decision of whether or not to attempt the try should have been made well in advance.

With the defense having come up with just the type of stop the team needed, the Eagles got the ball once more for a chance at a dramatic game-winning drive. After playing an integral role in bringing the team back from a major deficit, it’s a real shame that Jordan Matthews will only remember one play from Monday’s game. With first down yardage already having been accomplished, Matthews let a catchable (albeit slightly high) pass from Bradford bounce off of him and into the arms of Ricardo Allen. Matthews crumbled to the turf and the game was all but over.

Players are allowed to make mistakes over the course of a play, game, and season. The key is to minimize these mistakes and depend on certain individuals to make them less than others. Not only did the Eagles make a ton of mistakes on Monday night, but they were made by players expected to set the example for the rest of the roster. Maybe a demoralizing loss such as the one that took place in Atlanta brings about a new sense of focus and urgency to focus on the details. Otherwise, all that talent will go to waste.