By Kevin McGuire
Two weeks ago the Philadelphia Eagles suffered the worst loss of the Chip Kelly Era. Last week they sunk to a new low in a blowout loss at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The downward spiral continued Thanksgiving Day with another flat-out embarrassing loss from start to finish against the Detroit Lions. The Eagles were blasted and carved by the Lions, 45-14, to drop to 4-7 on the year.
The Eagles running game was non-existent against the Lions, with DeMarco Murray rushing for just 30 yards on 14 carries and Kenjon Barner adding 25 yards. The Eagles were held to fewer than 70 rushing yards in the game. Backup quarterback Mark Sanchez completed 19 of 27 pass attempts for two touchdowns without an interception, but the offensive line was shaky all day long. The Eagles managed just 222 yards of total offense in the game and held the football for just 22 minutes.
The offense was bad, but the defense was even worse. The Eagles allowed Matthew Stafford to throw five touchdowns, with three going to Calvin Johnson. Once again an inability to cover and tackle was a deadly combination for the Birds, who at one point literally allowed Golden Tate to walk into the end zone. No, really, once he dodged a tackle, Tate casually and confidently walked into the end zone despite being in the middle of the action. The Lions had one fewer offensive possession than the Eagles, yet managed to put together 200 more yards of offense. Detroit picked up an average of 6.1 yards per play, making things very easy most of the day against a terrible Eagles defense.
Special Teams: D
Punter Donnie Jones continued to be the most reliable special teams player for the Eagles. Jones punted six times and managed to pin two inside the 20-yard line. Kicker Caleb Sturgis missed his lone field goal try, but he did convert both extra-point attempts he attempted. The return game was once again anemic. Darren Sproles fielded two punts and totaled three return yards. Despite Detroit scoring as often as they did, there was not one kickoff return by the Eagles.
It was a short week to prepare for a road game and the Eagles were playing with a backup quarterback, but Chip Kelly once again gave plenty of reason to criticize his abilities as a head coach. The Eagles were not prepared and it was clear they were not equipped to slow down Detroit’s offense. The defense is getting torched by opposing offenses now, and the instability of the offensive line continues to be a hurdle. So get ready for another week of Kelly criticism. It will certainly be warranted.
With another ugly loss, the talk about the future of this franchise will continue. Should the Eagles fire Chip Kelly? Plenty will suggest that be the case for the Eagles, but do not expect any drastic changes just yet. Kelly was just given general manager responsibilities, and Jeff Lurie has shown he will not rush to change coaches when a change appears to be needed. Brace yourselves though, as the Eagles next head to New England to play the Patriots. Uh-oh.
Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.