Despite a secondary that features three Pro Bowlers, the Eagles have
given up 13 touchdown passes in their last five games, including four
Sunday to the Broncos' Jake Plummer. Plummer completed 16 of 22 passes
in the first half as the Broncos jumped out to a 28-0 lead.
"We aren't covering well," defensive coordinator Jim Johnson
said. "We're giving up touchdown passes. People are getting beat."
Defending the pass has been the least of Johnson's concerns during
his seven seasons with the Eagles. Last year, the Eagles gave up just 16
touchdown passes all season. That's just three fewer than they've given
up in the last five games.
Since Week 3, opposing quarterbacks have averaged a disturbing 8.04
yards per attempt against the Eagles. In those five games, they've given
up 20 pass plays of 20 yards or more, including six Sunday to Plummer
and the Broncos.
"We're just giving up too many big plays," Pro Bowl free safety Brian Dawkins said. "Some are blown assignments, mental mistakes. We have to
run our defensive gameplan to perfection and we're not doing that."
--The Eagles' offense continues to be ineffective in the first
quarter, when the team has been outscored 62-14. They've managed to
score on one of their first two possessions of the game just once in
Quarterback Donovan McNabb has completed just 12 of 35 passes on the
Eagles' first two possessions of games. He was 0-for-5 Sunday and
0-for-10 in the first quarter.
"We go into games wanting to start fast," coach Andy Reid said. "But
we're not doing a very good job of it."
The Eagles spotted Denver a 28-0 lead, then came roaring back to
within seven points, only to fade in the homestretch and lose, 49-21.
The 49 points were the most given up by an Eagles defense since 1972
when they gave up 62 to the New York Giants.
Donovan McNabb continued to struggle. He didn't complete his first
pass until 8 minutes into the second quarter and finished with just 12
completions in 34 attempts.
--CB Lito Sheppard left the game in the first half. He injured his
knee in practice during the week and tried playing on it, but was
ineffective. He is hopeful of being able to play this week.
--DE Jevon Kearse left the game in the first quarter after injuring
his shoulder. He will have an MRI on the shoulder Monday.
--DT Sam Rayburn had to leave Sunday's game in the second half after
suffering a stinger. The Eagles are hopeful he'll be able to play this
week against Washington.
--QB Donovan McNabb, who is playing with a sports hernia injury, took
a lot of hits Sunday. He completed just 12 of 34 passes.
--PK Jose Cortez's debut with the Eagles went well. He didn't have
any field-goal attempts, but got most of his kickoffs high and deep.