By: Joseph Santoliquito
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There seemed to be countless times the Eagles had the Tennessee Titans beat. Fourth-and-15, fourth-and-4, fourth-and-2, and in overtime the Titans kept converting, and the Eagles kept shrinking in big moments.
Add in a mix of missed tackles, six dropped passes, some conservative play calling, and every time Carson Wentz looked up, a Titan was in his face. It seemed and it all added up to one of the most disappointing losses in recent years by the Eagles, 26-23, in overtime.
Simply put, the Eagles had the game won and let it go.
“As I said in the locker room, you have to hate this feeling more than you enjoy winning,” Eagles’ coach Doug Pederson said. “It comes down to each guy, starting with myself. Effort obviously is always there. It’s all fixable. The mistakes we’re making are all fixable.
“Things that we can correct in practice during the week and that’s what we have to do. No one is going to feel sorry for us. We don’t feel sorry for ourselves. We just have to continue to work.”
In the fourth quarter, after just missing Zach Ertz over the middle, Wentz showed his frustration by snapping his chin strap off. The Titans came at Wentz from the left, from the right, up the middle, and sometimes it seemed as if Wentz had no one in front of him at all.
Sometimes it forced Wentz into rushing his throws, sometimes Wentz’s indecision and holding on to the ball too long led to the heat.
Wentz still threw for 348 yards, completing 33 of 50, including two touchdowns. Wentz was also sacked four times for minus-33 yards and he’s been sacked a combined nine times for minus-61 yards the last two games.
Still, it was the defense that snapped.
The Eagles had the Titans pinned three times on fourth down in overtime. Yet, each time Tennessee converted.
The biggest play came on fourth-and-15 at the Titans’ 31, when Marcus Mariota hit Taywan Taylor for a 19-yard pick up, thanks to Taylor slipping behind Corey Graham, who didn’t know where Taylor was. On fourth-and-two, at the Eagles’ 32, Mariota flipped a short pass to former Eagle Dion Lewis, who slipped through the hands of seemingly everyone in midnight green to gain 17 yards.
Four plays later, Mariota threw a high pass to Corey Davis in the end zone over Avonte Maddox for the 10-yard winning score with five seconds left in overtime.
Punt returner DeAndre Carter’s fourth-quarter 42-yard return, setting up Jake Elliott’s game-tying 30-yard field with 16 seconds to play in regulation.
Kicker Jake Elliott’s 30-yard field goal with 16 seconds left tying the score at 20-20. Elliott later booted a 37-yard field goal in overtime that gave the Eagles a 23-20 lead.
Rookie safety Avonte Maddox’s first career interception and 23-yard return late in the first half, setting the Eagles up at the Titans’ 17.
Wide receiver Jordan Matthews’ 56-yard TD reception with 4:04 left in the first half.
Tight end Zach Ertz’s 10 catches for a team-high 112 yards. His two catches for 23 yards during the Eagles’ first scoring drive, one reception came on a third-and-four.
Running back Wendell Smallwood’s clutch five-yard run on third-and-three at the Eagles’ 10 with 7:00 left in the first half. It preserved the Eagles’ first scoring drive, which resulted in the Wentz-to-Matthews’ 56-yard TD connection. Smallwood finished with 39 yards on five carries, averaging 7.8 yards a carry.
Safety Malcolm Jenkins’ tackle on Dion Lewis on second-and-four from the Eagles’ 29 with 13:27 left to play. Jenkins later came up with a pass deflection in overtime. A few plays later, Jenkins again made a stellar play on Dion Lewis for minus-2 yards at the Eagles’ 44. Jenkins seemed to be the only one doing anything in overtime.
Safety Corey Graham’s open-field tackle on Derrick Henry for a six-yard loss with 10:50 left to play, forcing Tennessee into a 33-yard Ryan Succop field goal with 9:22 in the fourth quarter.
Linebacker Jordan Hicks’ missed tackle in the second quarter on second-and-12 from the Titans’ 28.
Cornerback Jalen Mills’ coverage on the Titans’ first possession, when Marcus Mariota completed a 28-yard pass to Corey Davis on a third-and-three from the Titans’ 45. Mills later missed a tackle in the second quarter on second-and-12 from the Titans’ 28.
Tackle Lane Johnson going offsides on third-and-19 at the Eagles’ 38, making it third-and-24 with less than a minute left in the half.
Eagles’ pass protection in the first half, resulting in two sacks for minus-18 yards.
Quarterback Carson Wentz failing to see a wide-open Nelson Agholor, who beat his man, after the Maddox interception.
Coach Doug Pederson opting to run the ball on third-and-three at the Titans’ 10 with 11 seconds left in the half. What made Pederson, “Pederson,” last season, was taking shots at the end zone during key moments in games. His conservative play call to run Jay Ajayi seemed to go against the 2017 Super Bowl champion playbook.
Matthews drop on a second-and-20 from the Titans’ 40 with 14:09 left to play, the next play Wentz was stripped from behind, which gave the ball back to Tennessee.
Agholor’s drop on third-and-six from the Eagles’ 29 with 8:06 to play.
Three fourth-down conversations in overtime says it all.
Guard Brandon Brooks called for a rare holding call in the red zone with 8:44 left in the third quarter.
Receiver Kamar Aiken called for a holding call after the holding call on Brooks.
Graham’s whiff on the Titans’ second-and-22 at the Tennessee 42 in third quarter.
Mills being called for a debatable interference call at the Eagles’ 5 with 3:49 left in the third quarter, which led to Marcus Mariota’s two-yard TD run with 2:51 left in the third quarter, drawing the Titans within a touchdown, 17-10. Mills later got burned by Davis on a 51-yard catch with 7:05 left.
Cornerback Sidney Jones’ interference call. Jones earlier lost Tajae Sharpe on the Titans’ 11-yard scoring pass with 5:01 left to play that gave Tennessee a 20-17 lead.