Philadelphia Eagles: Nick Sirianni’s first loss was a mixed bag of ugly

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

And just like that, the 2021 NFL season is over… sike.

I know, I know, it’s never fun to see the Philadelphia Eagles lose, and even if it got exciting at the end of the game, that is very much what happened, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not the worst thing ever.

Why? Because right now, the San Francisco 49ers are the better team.

Still, even if dropping to 1-1 isn’t the sort of season-ending loss many a fan may suggest after riding like Icarus after a Week 1 win over Atlanta, there really were a number of really ugly performances that artificially made things harder and need to be shored up as the season inches closer and closer to October.

The Philadelphia Eagles have room to grow heading into Week 3.

Jalen Hurts went 12-23 for 190 yards and zero touchdowns in his second start of the 2021 NFL season.

That stat line is fine. Nothing flashy, but fine.

Heck, factor in 82 more yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown, and for fantasy football fans, Hurts’ Game 2 outing was actually pretty impressive.

However, if you throw out a single 91-yard reception from Quez Watkins, those numbers turn tragic in a hurry.

In a lot of ways, Hurts’ line is pretty darn representative of the Philadelphia Eagles’ Week 2 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Some things looked good, like Kenneth Gainwell‘s do-it-all game, Javon Hargraves’ penetration, and Watkins’ all-around dominance versus not-so-athletic outside options like Josh Norman, but for every bit of excitement, there was another moment of misery that stopped any sort of momentum from growing.

I mean, think about it; how often does a team rack up a called-back touchdown, a blocked field goal, a blown 4th-and-3 from the three, and then give up a 93-yard drive heading into the half? How about a called-back fumble due to helmet-to-helmet contact on a crucial fourth-quarter drive?

For the most part, the Eagles’ receivers didn’t get open. For the most part, the Eagles’ tight ends were non-existent save a shovel pass screen to Dallas Goedert. For goodness sake, how often will you see the Eagles’ defensive line, arguably the team’s biggest strength, give up three yards on any given quarterback sneak? That’s just irregular and rare.

And what about the injuries? The Birds lost the two Brandons – Brooks and Graham – midway through the game, and even though they had solid Day 2 reserves in Landon Dickerson and Milton Williams, their presence was sorely missed.

Throw that all together, and you’re left with a game that was probably a good bit closer than it had any right to be and a loss that won’t age particularly well as the week goes on.

Next. Trey Burton throws shade at the not-so-Philly Special. dark

Fortunately for the Philadelphia Eagles, the San Francisco 49ers aren’t their scheduled opponent for the next 15 games of the season. They won’t have to deal with a run-stifling defensive line, have to worry about a collapsed pocket on virtually every single play, and will hopefully find a little more luck in the peripherals of the game. With DeMarcus Lawrence out indefinitely and the Dallas Cowboys already not particularly known for their defensive efforts, Jalen Hurts and company should at least be able to move the ball better in Week 3 than in Week 2, which could bode well for a bit more offensive success moving forward.