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QBs picking apart Eagles' D at historic rate

reuben frank csnphilly

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:54 PM


QBs picking apart Eagles' D at historic rate

November 12, 2012, 11:55 am

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Another game, another nearly flawless performance by an opposing quarterback.

That’s three in a row, if you’re not keeping track.

Over the past three weeks, opposing quarterbacks have passed for over 700 yards against the Eagles, have thrown seven touchdown passes and no interceptions, have put up 68 points and have thrown all of ... 18 incomplete passes.

The Eagles put up virtually no resistance against Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Tony Romo, who each completed over 70 percent of their passes, threw multiple touchdowns, passed for over 200 yards, didn’t throw an interception and led their teams to lopsided wins over the struggling Eagles.

Ryan was 22-of-29 passing for 262 yards and three TDs. Brees was 21-for-27 for 239 yards and two TDs. And Romo on Sunday went 19-for-26 for 209 yards with two TDs.

The Eagles are the first team in NFL history to allow three consecutive quarterbacks to complete 70 percent of their passes with more than one touchdown and no interceptions.

Ryan, Brees and Romo fashioned passer ratings of 137.4, 128.2 and 122.1 against the Eagles, marking the first time in franchise history they've allowed three quarterbacks in a row to record passer ratings of 120 or higher.

Jim Johnson was the Eagles’ defensive coordinator for 10 years, and only two QBs – Kerry Collins in 2000 and Peyton Manning in 2002 – had games in which they threw for 200 yards, hit on 70 percent of their passes and had more than one TD and no interceptions.

Todd Bowles has been defensive coordinator for a month, and he’s already seen three quarterbacks do it.

Ryan, Brees and Romo are all Pro Bowl quarterbacks. Ryan may be the first-half MVP, Brees is a Hall of Famer and Romo has the fifth-highest passer rating in NFL history.

Still. Bowles has been defensive coordinator for three games, and they’ve been three of the worst pass performances in franchise history by the Eagles’ secondary.

Consider this: Seven QBs had a passer rating of 120 or higher against the Eagles in Johnson's 10 years here. Three have now done it in the span of 22 days.

Not all his fault, obviously, but not an encouraging sign.

The Eagles’ pass defense has become one of the worst in the NFL and one of the worst in recent Eagles’ history.

After an encouraging start – the Eagles had five interceptions and allowed just one TD pass in season-opening wins over the Browns and Ravens – the numbers are ominous the last seven weeks.

Since Week 3, the Eagles are 1-6 and opposing quarterbacks have completed 64 percent of their passes (147-for-231) for 1,703 yards with 13 touchdowns and just two interceptions.

That’s a 102.2 passer rating against the Eagles during that span is the worst in the NFL during that six-week span.

The Eagles believed coming into the season that they had one of the NFL’s top defensive backfields. They thought they’d be sounder with Asante Samuel gone, with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie back outside, with Nnamdi Asomugha being used more sensibly, with Brandon Boykin replacing Joselio Hanson at nickel, with Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman a year older and more experienced.

Instead, disaster.

After a quick start, DRC has struggled. Asomugha has been mysteriously uneven, following very good stretches of man coverage with bewildering lapses. Allen and Coleman haven’t played as bad as it appears but neither has been making plays, and Allen has struggled with his tackling.

All of this comes with the understanding that any secondary would struggle if it’s playing behind a woefully inadequate pass rush.

Still ... 13 touchdowns and two interceptions in seven games? Three straight passer ratings of 122 or higher? Four turnovers in seven games?

That’s hard to believe.

The Eagles did play better overall on defense Sunday. They allowed only 17 points for the first time since the Pittsburgh game, they recorded three sacks for the first time since the Arizona game, they held the Cowboys to 45 rushing yards on 16 carries after the first quarter.

But the bottom line is another quarterback picking apart the secondary, another game without a turnover, another performance that just wasn’t good enough. And another loss in a season of endless losses.

E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com