Sunday, September 16, 2012
Halftime thoughts: Butter-talons
By Dan Graziano
PHILADELPHIA -- Got to be honest here. I thought about going back and finding some of my early-season Philadelphia Eagles blog posts and copying one of them here. Because a game and a half into the 2012 season, the Eagles' biggest problem is the same as it was in 2011. They just can't stop giving the ball to the other team.
After committing five turnovers but somehow coming back to beat the Browns anyway last week in Cleveland, the Eagles have committed three turnovers -- including two in the red zone -- so far today. It's the main reason they trail the Baltimore Ravens 17-7 at the half in spite of outgaining Baltimore 222 yards to 179 and possessing the ball for 18:15 out of the first 30 minutes.
Quarterback Michael Vick threw a terrible interception in the end zone at the end of the Eagles' first drive, throwing across his body while running toward the sideline and never seeing the defender. The Eagles got the ball right back and scored, so that one wasn't too costly. But after Vick and Bryce Brown fumbled a handoff in the second quarter, Baltimore cashed in with a 21-yard touchdown pass on which Jacoby Jones roasted Nnamdi Asomugha and put the Ravens up 14-7. And after LeSean McCoy fumbled on the Ravens' 9-yard line later in the second quarter, Baltimore moved the ball far enough down the field to pin the Eagles at their own 6-yard line with a punt. Just before halftime, they got the ball back, and rookie kicker Justin Tucker drilled a 56-yard field goal to set the halftime score.
I have little doubt that Andy Reid is absolutely letting the Eagles have it in the locker room right now about the turnovers, but the question is when will this problem get better? It plagued the Eagles throughout the early part of the disappointing 2011 season and, so far in 2012, does not seem to have improved. A small sample size is just that, but eight turnovers in six quarters feels like the sign of a deep-seated problem. If the Eagles don't figure out a way to hold onto the ball, they're not going to contend this year. This is the Ravens. You don't get to play the Browns every week.