Didinger still optimistic despite blowout
Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas caught nine passes for 86 yards and two touchdowns against the Eagles on Sunday. (AP)
DENVER – Ten random observations after the Eagles allowed 50 points in a game for the first time in 41 years.
We’ll start with the one positive.
● I know how brutal that game was, but the Broncos are doing this to everybody right now. It’s important for the Eagles to not get too down on themselves after one of the ugliest losses in franchise history. They’re still only a game out of first place in the NFC East and undefeated in the conference and division. And look at the Eagles’ next eight opponents: Giants (0-4), Buccaneers (0-4), Cowboys (2-2), Giants (0-4), Raiders (1-3), Packers (1-2), Redskins (1-3) and Cards (2-2). If the Eagles keep losing during that stretch, that’s going to be pretty disturbing. They have issues in all three phases, but I don’t believe they’re this bad.
● The Eagles’ last three trips to Denver: 41-16 loss in 1998, 49-21 loss in 2005, 52-20 loss Sunday. So the Eagles have given up an average of 47 points their last three games here. And lost by an average of 28 points. There’s something about this place. And that’s against three different quarterbacks -- Bubby Brister in 1998, Jake Plummer in 2005 and Peyton Manning Sunday. The good news is the Eagles won’t be back until 2021.
● When do the Chip Kelly-to-USC rumors start? Yeah, just kidding, but think about this: Kelly has now lost as many games in the span of 15 days as he lost in the previous 973 days. He’s already matched his career-high of three losses in a season. He’s never had to deal with anything like this. Ever. Will be interesting to see whether his sunny demeanor changes in the wake of a three-game losing streak and a 32-point loss Sunday.
● The Eagles’ need for a second outside wide receiver has never been more glaring. It’s not fair to DeSean Jackson to not give him any help, and it’s not fair to Michael Vick to not give him any more weapons. Get Greg Salas signed off the practice squad. Heck, Jeff Maehl had a couple nice catches late. Get him in there. Do something. Gotta get Vick some help.
● I wonder sometimes if Kelly is too enamored with the running game. The Eagles keep running it and keep losing. I get that the passing attack is lacking weapons right now but down 35-13, I don’t want to see draw plays. I want to see a team go down chucking the ball up and down the field. Go down firing.
● Special teams. This was Bobby April-bad. Heck, this was Danny Smith-bad. A 105-yard punt return for a touchdown, a blocked punt for a touchdown and another Alex Henery miss? That’s three straight games with a miss for Henery, and I know he was pretty solid his first two years, but it’s time to start looking at kickers.
● I don’t know what options the Eagles have in the secondary, but here are the numbers for their pass defense through four games: 117-for-167 (70 percent) with nine TDs and two interceptions. Last year they had one of the worst secondaries in NFL history, and they’ve been worse this year. Manning is the first quarterback to throw for 300 passing yards and four TDs with no INTs against the Eagles since Phil Simms in 1984. That’s 29 years ago. The 1,357 net passing yards they’ve allowed is sixth-most in NFL history. I guess there’s nothing they can do except face worse quarterbacks and hope things improve dramatically.
● I was going to write something about how Cedric Thornton has played pretty well this year, but then I looked up at the scoreboard and saw 52 points, and I just couldn’t do it.
● We knew the defense was going to be brutal, but here’s the most discouraging thing about the Eagles’ recent struggles. The offense keeps looking worse and worse and worse. They just can’t finish. After scoring touchdowns on four of their first nine drives against the Redskins, they’ve scored TDs on six of their last 37 drives with Vick at quarterback. They’re piling up tons of yards – another 450 yards Sunday, but they can’t finish. That was the Marty Mornhinweg offense. So far, it’s the Kelly offense, too. They’re the first team in NFL history to gain 430 yards in each of their first four games, and they’re 1-3. Not good. I know people are going to start calling for Nick Foles after he drove the offense down for a late touchdown, but as long as Vick is healthy, that’s not going to happen. Vick isn’t the problem.
● Meanwhile … Andy Reid is 4-0 in Kansas City with a team that won half as many games last year as the Eagles did. Not sure what that means, but it’s hard to believe. The Eagles have given up 138 points. The Chiefs have given up 41.