Week 9 takeaways: What next for erratic Eagles?

November 07 [Thu], 2013, 1:49

No matter where the Philadelphia Eagles end up in the standings ― and with the way the NFC East is going, that could be anywhere from first to fourth ― it's safe to say they'll go down as the most unpredictable team of 2013.


Nick Foles' record-tying performance in Sunday's 49-20 rout of the Oakland Raiders came in the Eagles' fifth game scoring at least 30 points, and on the heels of two games in which they scored 10 points total ― both division losses, to the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants.


Foles, 24, became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw seven touchdown passes (tying a record held by six players) and post a perfect 158.3 passer rating in the same game, two weeks after he was 11-of-29 passing for 80 yards against the Cowboys before suffering a concussion.


That's the same Cowboys team that made Christian Ponder look downright competent Sunday before a couple of turnovers and another defensive collapse cost the Minnesota Vikings an upset, keeping Dallas' division lead over the Eagles and Washington Redskins at 1½ games.


The Raiders defense had been playing well, until Foles ― back in the lineup after Michael Vick's latest hamstring setback ― carved them up at the O.Co Coliseum and made that warp-speed Eagles offense look capable of doing something other than setting a record for punts again.


Foles can't move like Vick. But he's capable of being a much more accurate passer, which can be even more valuable in making all those fake handoffs in Chip Kelly's scheme stick. In six games (three starts) this season, Foles has 13 touchdown passes and still no interceptions.


The task figures to be tougher next week at Green Bay, with the Packers capable of putting up point in big chunks even without all the extra possessions. Then again, with these Eagles, who knows?


― Does any team look like it needs a bye more than the Seattle Seahawks? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn't even need Doug Martin to run the ball down their throats, gaining 205 yards on 36 carries and taking a 21-0 lead before Seattle rallied to escape in overtime. Injuries along the offensive line have made life difficult for quarterback Russell Wilson. Wide receiver Percy Harvin (hip) still is trying to make his debut. The schedule provides a break, with the struggling Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings the next two weeks ― but facing the QB-less St. Lous Rams and still-winless Bucs the past two weeks wasn't supposed to be this tough either.


― Who'd have thought bringing partying left tackle Bryant McKinnie home to South Beach would end up looking like the smartest of the Dolphins' personnel moves? He's been their best-protecting tackle since he arrived and became more important than ever to their wild-card hopes when Jonathan Martin left the team. To have success, Miami's offense has to run the ball first and foremost. McKinnie never has been strong there. But keeping quarterback Ryan Tannehill upright is awfully important, too, and turning to an inexperienced backup on the blind side at this stage would have been a killer.


PHOTOS: Best of Week 9

Bears receiver Brandon Marshall (15) celebrates his 23-yard touchdown catch during the first quarter against the Packers in Green Bay.


Jeff Hanisch, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Mike James (25) passes the ball to Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Tom Crabtree (84) (not pictured) for a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half at CenturyLink Field.


Steven Bisig, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Indianapolis Colts tight end Coby Fleener (80) makes a catch on a two point conversion during the fourth quarter as Houston Texans strong safety D.J. Swearinger (36) defends at Reliant Stadium. The Colts defeated the Texans 27-24.


Troy Taormina, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

San Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead (39) runs with the ball as Washington Redskins free safety David Amerson (39) defends in the fourth quarter at FedEx Field. The Washington Redskins won 30-24 in overtime.


Geoff Burke, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Packers running back James Starks (44) shakes off Bears defender Charles Tillman (33) on his way to a 32-yard touchdown run during the first quarter in Green Bay.


Jeff Hanisch, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden (23) intercepts a tipped pass against the Baltimore Ravens during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium.


Ken Blaze, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson (80) makes a touchdown reception during the first quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Reliant Stadium.


Troy Taormina, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (10) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum.


Bob Stanton, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Packers defender Chris Banjo (32) brings down Bears returner Devin Hester (23) during the first half in Green Bay.


Benny Sieu, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount (29) scores a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second half at Gillette Stadium.


David Butler II, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Timothy Wright (81) tumbles over after being tackled down against the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter at CenturyLink Field.


Joe Nicholson, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) stiff arms Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Michael Adams (21) during the first half at CenturyLink Field.


Steven Bisig, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) is hit as he throws by Cleveland Browns defensive end Desmond Bryant (92) during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium.


Ken Blaze, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) catches a pass as New England Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (37) defends during the first half at Gillette Stadium.


Mark L. Baer, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) carries the ball against New England Patriots strong safety Steve Gregory (28) and defensive end Rob Ninkovich (50) during the first half at Gillette Stadium.


Mark L. Baer, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Seattle Seahawks running back Robert Turbin (22) is tackled by Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Lavonte David (bottom) during the first quarter at CenturyLink Field.


Joe Nicholson, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeff Maehl (88) catches a pass against Oakland Raiders free safety Charles Woodson (24) during the first quarter at O.co Coliseum.


Ed Szczepanski, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) jumps in the arms of tight end Jason Witten (82) after he threw the game winning touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at AT&T Stadium.


Tim Heitman, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

St. Louis Rams tight end Lance Kendricks (88) is unable to catch a pass as Tennessee Titans strong safety Bernard Pollard (31) defends during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. Tennessee defeated St. Louis 28-21.


Jeff Curry, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Cooper (31) breaks up a pass to Buffalo Bills wide receiver Robert Woods (10) during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium.


Timothy T. Ludwig, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Dallas Cowboys receiver Dwayne Harris dives for the game-winning touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings. The Cowboys won 27-23.


Matthew Emmons, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo celebrates the game-winning touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings with head coach Jason Garrett.


Matthew Emmons, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith reacts during his team's 34-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Bob Donnan, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton hurdles the restraint after the game. The Panthers defeated the Falcons 34-10.


Bob Donnan, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson runs the ball during the first quarter while pursued by Dallas Cowboys free safety Barry Church (42) and defensive end Everette Brown.


Tim Heitman, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III leaps over San Diego Chargers linebacker Thomas Keiser during the third quarter.


Tommy Gilligan, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrance Williams is tackled by Minnesota Vikings defenders after a reception.


Matthew Emmons, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen celebrates sacking Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo during the second quarter.


Matthew Emmons, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Cooper breaks up a first-half pass intended for Buffalo Bills wide receiver T.J. Graham.


Timothy T. Ludwig, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham dunks the ball over the goal post after scoring a touchdown against the New York Jets.


Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Robert Meachem tries to catch a pass while defended by New York Jets cornerback Dee Milliner during the first half.


Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

New York Jets running back Chris Ivory is tackled by New Orleans Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis.

William Perlman, The Star-Ledger/USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker attempts a first-half pass while pressured by St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long.


Scott Rovak, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

St. Louis Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson breaks up a pass intended for Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson during the first half.


Scott Rovak, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

St. Louis Rams running back Zac Stacy celebrates a touchdown run during the first half against the Tennessee Titans.


Jeff Curry, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey sacks St. Louis Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens during the first half.


Scott Rovak, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin catches a first-half touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs.


Kevin Hoffman, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Buffalo Bills free safety Aaron Williams tackles Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe during the first half.


Kevin Hoffman, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Akeem Jordan tackles Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson during the first quarter.


Timothy T. Ludwig, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams hits Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith during the first half.


Kevin Hoffman, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dexter McCluster makes a first-half catch while defended by Buffalo Bills defensive back Nickell Robey.


Kevin Hoffman, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan throws the ball during the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers.


Bob Donnan, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen scores a touchdown during the second quarter.

Bob Donnan, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams breaks a tackle from Atalanta Falcons safety William Moore.


Sam Sharpe, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III throws a first-quarter pass against the San Diego Chargers.


Geoff Burke, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed catches the ball for a first down during the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers.


Tommy Gilligan, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris is tackled by San Diego Chargers defenders during the first quarter.


Geoff Burke, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder is tackled on a first-quarter scramble by Dallas Cowboys cornerback B.W Webb.


Matthew Emmons, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray runs with the ball while pursued by Minnesota Vikings safety Mistral Raymond (41).


Matthew Emmons, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith calls a play during the first half against the New Orleans Saints.


Joe Camporeale, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lance Moore is tackled during the first quarter by New York Jets free safety Antonio Allen (39) and cornerback Kyle Wilson.


Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) asks for crowd noise during the first half against the New Orleans Saints.


Joe Camporeale, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan (left) talks with New York Jets head coach, and brother, Rex Ryan before the game at MetLife Stadium.


Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Dolphins cornerback Dimitri Patterson intercepts a pass in front of Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green in the second quarter at Sun Life Stadium.


Robert Mayer, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Bengals running back Gio Bernard dives in for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium.


Steve Mitchell, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton passes the ball against the Miami Dolphins in the first quarter at Sun Life Stadium.


Robert Mayer, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis kicks a field goal in the second quarter against the Bengals at Sun Life Stadium.


Robert Mayer, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

Week 9 takeaways: What next for erratic Eagles?

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill passes the ball in the first quarter against the Bengals at Sun Life Stadium.


Robert Mayer, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenLike this topic? You may also like these photo galleries:Replay1 of 58AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext Slide***


TAKEAWAYS

Chiefs 23: Take nothing away from that defense, but three straight wins over third-string QBs doesn't prove much. They get Peyton Manning out of the bye.


Bills 13: A brutal pick-six notwithstanding, undrafted rookie QB Jeff Tuel gave the Bills a chance. Why throw deep on fourth-and-2?


Falcons 10: WR Roddy White can't save the Falcons now. QB Matt Ryan already has 10 interceptions, four shy of a career high.


Panthers 34: The streak is at four, but they've yet to beat a team that has a winning record. Next up: 49ers, Patriots.


Vikings 23: Punting instead of trying to convert fourth-and-5 would be OK if the defense could stop anyone inside of 2 minutes.


Cowboys 27: So WR Dez Bryant's sideline rant wasn't a big deal. Is getting two 15-yard penalties at once over the line?


Saints 20: Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will be harping on tackling all week. They missed a chance to put the game on QB Geno Smith's shoulders.


Jets 26: When WR Josh Cribbs is completing 25-yard passes from the Wildcat, it's your day.

Titans 28: WR Kendall Wright quietly is on pace for 1,000 yards in his second NFL season. He has 502 on 43 catches through eight games.


Rams 21: QB Kellen Clemens is light years more competent than expected. Problem was, Jeff Fisher's defense couldn't stop his old back.


Chargers 24: The margin for error is razor-thin. Failing to convert first-and-goal from inside the 1 could haunt their playoff push.


Redskins 30: QB Robert Griffin III is fun to watch when he's playing so recklessly. It also has to make Mike Shanahan nervous.


Eagles 49: This team isn't built to win big when RB LeSean McCoy is a non-factor. But QB Nick Foles picked up the slack.


Raiders 20: Defensive coordinator Jason Tarver has been working wonders with a group of castoffs and retreads. This time, they got exposed.


Bucs 24: Who is RB Mike James? The rookie sixth-round pick from Miami ran for 158 yards and threw a TD pass.


Seahawks 27: QB Russell Wilson pulled off another single-handed jump start ― and overcame the late INT.


Ravens 18: So much starts and ends with RB Ray Rice. When he's mitigated (38 yards on 14 touches), the Ravens are doomed.


Browns 24: Five different players had sacks. Six defended passes. No matter who's at QB, defense is the Browns' calling card.


Steelers 31: Allowing 610 yards and four straight TDs to seal defeat is another low in this lost season. An overhaul is coming.


Patriots 55: Finally, TE Rob Gronkowski and WR Danny Amendola are both on the field. They combined for 265 receiving yards and two TDs.


***

Rams running back Zac Stacy celebrates after scoring one of his two touchdowns Sunday,(Photo: Jeff Curry, USA TODAY Sports)


STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

0 Rushing touchdowns entering Sunday for the Rams, who got two from Zac Stacy in a loss to the Titans.


.846 Tony Romo's career winning percentage in November after Sunday's victory over the Vikings improved his record to 22-4 ― the best of any quarterback with at least 20 starts in the Super Bowl era.


2 Head coaches who have faced the team they previously led for at least 17 seasons. Rams coach Jeff Fisher, who led the Titans from 1994-2010, did it Sunday. Packers founder Curly Lambeau, who later coached the Cardinals and Redskins, was the other.


55 Points allowed by Steelers against the Patriots, the most in the franchise history.

100 Yardage difference between the pick-sixes of Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith, who went the length of the field, and Chargers defensive Sean Lissemore, who hauled in a batted pass thrown in the end zone.


STAT OF THE DAY

Titans RB Chris Johnson had more rushing yards (150 on 23 carries with 2 TDs) in a 28-21 win over the Rams than he had in his previous four games combined (110 on 47 carries, no scores). That's a solid St. Louis front, too, albeit one that entered the game ranked 23rd against the run. If the Titans can keep that going ― and keep ascending third-year QB Jake Locker healthy ― their playoff hopes will look like much less of a long shot in the wide-open race for the sixth AFC seed.


***

MONDAY

Chicago at Green Bay, 8:40 p.m. ET, ESPN

The 185th regular-season meeting between the Bears and Packers features two teams dealing with significant injuries ― Chicago to its quarterback, Green Bay to seemingly everyone but. Can Josh McCown make enough plays against a Clay Matthews-less defense to keep this one close? Or will Aaron Rodgers light it up with several weapons sidelined for a fifth straight win?


***

Follow Tom Pelissero on Twitter @TomPelissero

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