HomeDa Birds NewsEagles Defense Continues to Struggle Despite Matt Patricia's Efforts

Eagles Defense Continues to Struggle Despite Matt Patricia’s Efforts

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Matt Patricia was handed the controls of the defense this week with the Philadelphia Eagles sending defensive coordinator Sean Desai to the coach’s booth and stripping him of calling the defensive plays.

It didn’t help the slumping Philadelphia Eagles. Patricia’s defense crashed when it mattered most.

The Seattle Seahawks were down by four points with 1:52 to play in Monday night’s game and sitting at their 8-yard line. Ten plays and 92 yards later, the Seahawks took their first lead when rookie receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba zipped past veteran cornerback James Bradberry for a 29-yard touchdown with 28 seconds to play.

That touchdown stood up in a 20-17 win by the Seahawks, which ended their four-game losing streak with a backup quarterback in Drew Lock.

After getting blown out the last two weeks, this one will hurt because of the way they lost, especially with a veteran like Bradberry getting beaten like that. It’s been that kind of season for him. He just doesn’t resemble the player he was last year when he was second-team All-Pro.

Bradberry surrendering a touchdown to a rookie and a backup had nothing to do with Patricia, though he did call for one-on-one coverage. Still, a veteran like Bradberry simply cannot get beaten over the top by a rookie. He wasn’t really in the vicinity of Smith-Njigba.

Was it Patricia’s fault that the Eagles still can’t stop the run? They did a nice job of it in the first half, but Kenneth Walker shook loose in the second half and had 86 yards on 19 carries.

Was it Patricia’s fault that the Eagles still have trouble sacking the quarterback? They had two, with Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham sharing one and rookie Jalen Carter notching his fifth.

When it mattered most, with the defense needing to make a play to stop the Seahawks from driving 92 yards to win their first game in a month, it didn’t happen.

At some point, the players have to take their share of the blame.

And so does head coach Nick Sirianni.

Jalen HurtsUSA Today

Sirianni said the decision to hand Patricia the play-calling duties was all his idea, and it was made midweek when game-planning began, even though the Eagles didn’t release the information to the national media until Sunday.

He called it a tough decision, but it will be a collaborative effort going forward with Patricia having the final say.

More tough decisions wait for the head coach.

The Eagles have lost three in a row. They hadn’t lost three games under Sirianni since his early days as the team’s head coach. Now, they have, and they have all come in December when the games matter most.

Now at 10-4, the Eagles are in danger of losing their grip on the No. 2 seed and having to go on the road to open the playoffs. The top seed in the NFC playoffs is all but gone now. The San Francisco 49ers would have to lose twice and Philly would have to win out for that to happen.

Not likely.

Sirianni is in charge of this team, especially the offense. Brian Johnson gets lambasted for his play-calling, but the head coach has a big hand in that, too. It’s an offense that has gone three straight weeks without cresting 20 points.

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts was downgraded to questionable a day before the game. He was ill enough that he had to fly west by himself, without his teammates, so, yeah, let’s let him run the ball 13 times.

Hurts threw two more interceptions, both of them in the fourth quarter. He has 12 of those this season and has turned the ball over 17 times when his lost fumbles are factored in.

Related: WATCH: Jalen Hurts Ties NFL Record With Rushing TD

Hurts also rushed for a pair of 1-yard touchdowns and has 14 of those, which is a new career-high and tied Cam Newton’s single-season record set in Newton’s rookie year in 2011.

Stats like that mean nothing for the Eagles, who had Hurts throw the ball deep to Quez Watkins despite picking up two first downs to get to Seattle’s 45 with 8:08 to go in the final quarter. Watkins was held and a pass interference should have been called. It wasn’t and Julian Love intercepted the ball, one of his two key picks.

The defense forced a three-and-out. The offense couldn’t run out the clock, punting it back from midfield with 1:52 to play.

That’s when the crash came, and there may be more of those over these final three games, two against the Giants with the first game on Christmas Day and the Arizona Cardinals sandwiched between those two against New York.

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