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Eagles v. Buccaneers: 20 winners, losers, and I dunnos

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Life is like a box of chocolates; and Ryan Fitzpatrick stole all of the tasty raspberry ones before you got there

Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

I’m not sure if I’m more or less angry that the Eagles weren’t able to string together the comeback.

Probably more angry because the play on which the comeback hopes ended — the 3rd down Mike Evans completion — really should have been called the other way. Probably less angry because Tampa ran the most predictable play on 2nd and 13 to further eat up clock on their final drive, and it still worked against the Eagle corners. I dunno.

What I am happy about is that the Eagles’ record (1-1) is now Carson Wentz’s number, which is definitely a good sign. Also, the only notable NFC contender currently undefeated is the Rams (2-0 after beating the Cardinals). Tampa is also undefeated, but I’m not sure how legit they are. Minnesota and Green Bay tying, as well as Atlanta topping Carolina and Indy beating Washington, proves good news for the Eagles.

Winners

The Buccaneers

At the end of the contest, the Buccaneers had more points than the Eagles. This makes them winners.

Corey Clement

I was upset with a few things during this past game — more so than I typically am, I think. You should listen to the Kist and Solak Show (what a sneaky plug) to hear about them all, but my primary gripe was the reliance on Wendell Smallwood in the running game when Corey Clement was running the ball so darn well.

Clement is such an ideal RB3 because, while he’s an excellent special-teamer, he’s very well-rounded. He can run power and zone both relatively well. He’s a good pass-catcher and a decent pass-blocker. He can give you elusiveness and power and burst all to generally equal degrees. If you’re not going to use him accordingly when you’re dealing with injury, that value evaporates.

Malcolm Jenkins

Malcolm Jenkins stripping that ball could have gone down as an unbelievable, game-altering play...had the Eagles won. But the timing and placement on that strip — the intuition when watching Evans break the tackle and generating an angle to play on the ball — that’s unteachable. It’s the definition of a veteran play, in that you can only execute it if you’ve been playing the game long enough to just feel it.

That play almost made me forget about him going straight headless chicken on the initial DJax touchdown.

Zach Ertz

Man it was nice to see Ertz get back in the saddle after a tough opener. Not only was that great news for Nick Foles, who desperately needs an elite underneath receiver in order to survive, but it helps the entire Eagle offense rely less on explosive plays and stay ahead of the sticks. Seemingly every good drive on Sunday looked to Ertz (and not Eagles legend and future Hall of Famer Kamar Aiken) for that consistent juice.

Nelson Agholor

And when it was big-play time, instead of throwing another screen (!), Agholor saw quick space plays that allowed him to maximize that characteristic explosiveness. When he can take an underneath crosser, win the corner, and hit Philly’s most explosive play by far in a moment the offense desperately needed the jolt, he makes it clear how essential he is to this operation.

Even before Mike Wallace went down, the expectation for the Eagles’ offense against Tampa was that Agholor would play a big role. He responded to a high target influx — especially later, in the second half, with some huge plays. Let’s not forget that wild catch through contact as well. What a stud.

Michael Bennett

Bennett provides such meaningful snaps for Philly, man. I’m not sure what his snap count will look like today — I think it’ll be up from the Atlanta game — but he thrives as a penetrator, and Schwartz lets him eat in the interior gaps. So much of Philly’s run defense is about the first guy causing the first problem, then the second guy causing the next problem — it’s a big rally and team effort. Bennett is often the first domino to fall. Thank goodness he was signed.

Dallas Goedert

Hey! He had way less drops than Josh Perkins, so...lol jk he’s a loser scroll down.

Cameron Johnston

I am as upset as anybody that I’m putting a punter as a winner, but here we are. Johnston punted well, despite the fact that punting is for cowards.

Losers

The Eagles

See: The Buccaneers

Nick Foles

As it typically is with Saint Nick, this game was an arresting swing between thrilling creation and willing self-destruction. Foles simply missed so many throws — not via accuracy, but via omission. Doug Pederson appropriately dialed up some long-ball shots when Philly needed the shot to their arm, and Foles never hung it out there; he had open receivers early when the game was close and late when the Eagles were surging back, and he missed them.

Foles has never processed well. He has never been a great deep passer. Sometimes you can get away with that, and sometimes it handicaps you too much as an offense. Today was one of the latter days.

Kamar Aiken

Kamar Aiken is not very good at football.

Jim Schwartz

A good deal of blame can go to Mills/Darby, both of whom struggled to remain connected with Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, and Chris Godwin as they worked the go route/comeback dichotomy on the boundary. But I place the brunt of the guilt on Schwartz’s shoulders, because he simply didn’t do anything to stop it.

You have to know your personnel as a coordinator, and understand their limitations. In my evaluation of the Eagles personnel, I’d say that these corners didn’t have the chops to hang with Tampa’s receivers in pure Cover 3 coverage for four quarters. Schwartz clearly disagreed to start the game — he played almost exclusively Cover 3 between the 20s — and paid the price for it in the first half.

But that’s not the problem — Schwartz knows his personnel better than I do. But once you get sliced and diced, you need to come out of the half with a solution. And Schwartz again leaned heavily on Cover 3, and just gave up the 10-15 yard comeback/stop route/quick out again and again and again.

There’s scheme, and then there’s obstinance. This felt too much the wrong way.

Brandon Graham

You gotta wonder where Brandon Graham was on a day the Eagles desperately needed some sacks late. Again, Fitzpatrick was getting the ball out mighty quick — always to his first read, because Schwartz was leaving that comeback open — but Graham didn’t make much noise against a weak tackle duo in Demar Dotson and Donovan Smith.

It’s likely that Schwartz’s theoretical solution to the coverage issues was “get more pressure, faster.” That’s a mighty tough ask, in my opinion, but if it was the ask, Graham and Co. weren’t able to get it done.

Ronald Darby

Darby hates dealing with the deep ball. He doesn’t have great length to challenge the catch point and he struggles, in my opinion, to maintain long speed when working with physical receivers/turning his head to locate the football. He wants to keep everything in front of him.

But you can only play so soft in a deep third, man. Mills had a predictably rough day against some of the best WR2s he’s gonna see, but for Darby to just give up the same concept again and again and again, even with the limitations schematically, is embarrassing for a starting-caliber player.

Also that tackle attempt against Howard offended me.

Me

I wrote about how I thought Darby was gonna have a great season last week. Whoopsy-daisy.

Jake Elliott

It’s pretty cut and dry as a kicker: miss a field goal, and you have to hit the loser column. I am sorry my friend, but in order to justify your shaky short accuracy, you gotta hit the 40+ yarders when you get them.

Dallas Goedert

Terrible block on the QB sneak. Just inexcusable.

I’m just kidding I have no idea how he did on his three offensive snaps. He’s an ‘I dunno’ so scroll down.

I Dunnos

Doug Pederson

At the end of the day, Doug’s a winner because he won the game that mattered (Super Bowl). He also, when you take a step back, dealt relatively well with a super depleted offense and kept his team competitive, on the road and in the heat, with a high-powered offense.

Questioning Doug’s decisions is hard, because you know how methodically and deliberately he measures everything. There wasn’t a fourth-down call I didn’t like, but I was left wondering about Doug’s dedication to screens around the 40s, and his heavy reliance on lower-impact skill players. I won’t question the lack of Goedert, because we have no information about him, but we do know that Philadelphia kept DeAndre Carter and Shelton Gibson over Kamar Aiken, but seemed focused on getting him touches; Corey Clement over Wendell Smallwood, yet nearly split the carries down the middle. That strikes me as odd.

I think my aversion to screen calls just exists with every coach the Eagles will ever have. I’ve just come to accept the pain at this point.

Dallas Goedert

I don’t know why he didn’t get any chances. I don’t know why he isn’t built into situation subpackages at least. I don’t know what’s going on with him at camp.

I do know he’s a better player than Josh Perkins.

Jason Peters

I dunno if he’s healthy enough to play this season. That’s not a good feeling in my tummy, man.