Exclusive : Matt Patricia hasn’t been the difference and there may not be a solution for the Eagles defense…

Exclusive : Matt Patricia hasn't been the difference and there may not be a solution for the Eagles defense...

 

The Eagles suffered the worst loss of the Nick Sirianni era — and perhaps even longer — collapsing late against the Arizona Cardinals for their fourth loss in five games. The 35-31 loss takes the NFC East title out of the Eagles’ control and could be the result that finally dashed what hope remained that this team is truly a Super Bowl contender.

 

Exclusive : Matt Patricia hasn't been the difference and there may not be a solution for the Eagles defense...
It shouldn’t come as a great surprise, especially when considering the clunky transition brought on by Nick Sirianni following the Dec. 10 loss at Dallas. Still, the defense has been more of the same — or perhaps worse — since Sirianni demoted defensive coordinator Sean Desai and handed the play-calling reins over to Patricia last month.

It felt like a panic move at the time and three games later, the aftereffects have become painfully apparent.

The Cardinals went into the weekend ranked 26th in scoring offense. They were third in average yards per rushing attempt, but 22nd in average time of possession. That was not the case on Sunday, when Arizona ran at will en route to four consecutive touchdown drives in the second half. Discounting a two-play possession to close out the first half, all seven of the Cardinals’ drives reached the Eagles’ 20-yard line.

Patricia has brought plenty of changes to the defense since taking over, but the personnel deficiencies that led to Desai’s demotion are beyond repair at this point in the season. The Eagles defensive front, despite heavy investment through the draft and free agency, was overmatched by the Cardinals in the run game and registered just one sack for a second week in a row. The middle-field defense, occupied by a makeshift group of linebackers and safeties that has been constantly changing all season, was porous as well. Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was 9-for-9 for 62 yards and a touchdown when targeting the intermediate middle part of the field.