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  • Writer's pictureAl Thompson


Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith darts to the end zone in the fourth quarter of the Eagles game against the Los Angeles Chargers at the Linc. Smith's TD tied the game 24-24 but it wasn't enough. The Chargers scored on a 29-yard field goal with two seconds left to win the game. Photo by Andy Lewis

The Philadelphia Eagles offense and special team units played well enough to be the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday at Linc.

Second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts and rookie wide receiver DeVonta Smith played brilliantly in the second half.

But it wasn’t enough as the Eagles, as they have so many times this season, had no answer for a good quarterback – this time it was Justin Herbert – and dropped a 27-24 decision to the Chargers dropping their record to 3-6.

Dustin Hopkins drilled a 29-yard field goal with two seconds left in the game seal the Birds fate.

The Eagles tied an NFL record set by the 2015 Tampa Bay Buccaneers when Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert went 32 of 38 for 356 yards and two touchdown passes Sunday.

The second-year signal caller out of Oregon became the fifth player to complete at least 80 percent of his passes this season against he Birds. And the Eagles have eight more games left to play.

Head coach Nick Sirianni was asked after the game about Herbert’s 84 percent completion rate and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon doing his job to the level he expected?

“Obviously any time you play a quarterback like Justin Herbert -- there is no surprise,” Sirianni said. “I think he's a good quarterback, we all know he's a good quarterback -- you have to be on your A game. It starts with us as coaches. So, I'm not going to say Jonathan anything because that's -- my name is on that, right? So, whatever happens on that field my name is on, offensively, defensively. I'm not the offensive coordinator, I'm the head coach.”

Sirianni continued to take the blame.

Eagles running back Jordan Howard scores on a four-yard run the second quarter. Photo by Andy Lewis

“So, again, it's all of us together,” he said. “So, it's first myself, getting the right calls and putting the players in position, then Jonathan, then the players executing. So of course, again, when a guy comes away and he’s 84 percent, you're going to say, ‘We didn't do our job,’ right? We just got to be better.

Herbert was not sacked, nor did he have a single one of his passes knocked down. The Eagles defense front seven managed exactly one quarterback hit over 60 minutes.

And yet they were in the game until the last play. In fact, the Chargers score just 16 points through three quarters and trailed the Birds 17-16 after three quarters. But the Chargers outscored the Eagles 11-7 in the fourth.

“At the end of the day, we didn’t make enough plays,” Linebacker T.J. Edwards said after the game. “I can only speak for the defensive unit and special teams. We didn’t make enough plays to win the game. I thought we were in position at times and it comes down to the details of things. I thought all of the guys gave so much effort and put so much into it. To fall short, it hurts for sure.”

The time of possession was not that bad. The Chargers had the ball for 33:37 minutes to the Eagles 26:23.

Eagles safety Marcus Epps tackles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen during Birds 27-24 loss to the Chargers. Allen finished with 12 catches for 104 yards. Photo by Andy Lewis.

The offense ran the ball 39 times for 176 yards (4.5 yards per carry). After the half, Hurts was outstanding, finishing the game 11 of 17 for 162 yards including a 28-yard highlight reel touchdown pass to Smith with 6:07 left in the fourth quarter that tied the game 24-24.

Smith, who finished with a 116 yards on five catches, said every time he makes a catch, he has one intention.

“Every time I get the ball in my hands, my intentions are to score,” Smith said. “So, I was there and then I got in.”

But the Eagles defense could not get off the field on the Chargers final drive. Herbert and his offensive line drained the life out of the home team with a 15-play, 64-yard drive that led to the Hopkins field goal.

The Eagles had their chances with two fourth down situations. The Chargers converted both of them. The first was at the Eagles 39-yard line when Austin Ekeler dove for two yards. The second was at the Birds 28-yard line where Herbert snuck the ball for the yard he needed.

Hurts was asked how tough it was to be on the sidelines while the Eagles defense failed to get those crucial stops.

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts played well against the Chargers, but it wasn't enough. Photo by Andy Lewis.

“It was very tough. I think for me, I always look at it like, ‘What could I have done better to change the outcome of the game?’ Hurts said post game. “That’s how I look at it all the time. Look at every opportunity you have and take advantage of every opportunity. There are some opportunities whether there’s a perfect situation or not, whether there’s a perfect pocket or not, whatever it was – I didn’t make the play early in the game. Those are the things that are on my mind right now. The things that I didn’t do to help this team win this football game. It hurts to see another team go out there and it not be in your hands at the end of the game to go out there and win it.

“That’s why you play the game, that’s why you play this position – to have it in your hands to go win it in the end. We put ourselves in a good situation, a good position, to obviously go tie and continue to keep it in the game. Ultimately, in the end we didn’t get the ball back and didn’t get an opportunity to go out there and score. It’s a really good football team we just played. I have a lot of respect for Justin Herbert, a guy that came out the same year I did. I have a lot of respect for him and a lot of respect for the team.”

Ekeler finished with 17 carries for 59 yards.

Jordan Howard led the Eagles with 71 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown. Boston Scott rushed 10 times for 40 yards. Hurts carried the ball 10 times for 62 yards including a full somersault four-yard play that saved a scoring drive in the third quarter.

Tight end Dallas Goedert finished with three catches for 43 yards. Kenneth Gainwell carried twice for three yards and one-yard touchdown in third quarter.

On the Chargers side, the Birds defense had no answer for wide receiver Keenan Allen who caught 12 passes for 104 yards.

Tight end Stephen Anderson grabbed four passes for 39 yards and a score and fellow tight end Donald Parham, Jr. snagged three passes for 39 yards and a touchdown.

Eagles defensive players said Herbert was getting rid of the ball too fast to put pressure on him. Javon Hargrave was asked what can the defense do when a passer his hitting on 84 percent of his throws.

“We just have to keep rushing it and hopefully one time they give us a chance and we make the play.”

That is not much of a plan. *

NOTE: Chargers punter Ty Long and long snapper Matt Overton were booed off the field at halftime when they tried to practice kicking while the Marines were doing their ultra-disciplined rifle drill.

At one point the Lincoln Financial Field crowd started a U-S-A chant.

The two politely walked off the field until the Marines were done. Then the Linc crowd booed them again when they came back on the field to practice.

Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii

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