Carolina's next offensive drive resulted in a punt, and the Eagles spent the rest of the third quarter and a bit of the fourth driving into Carolina territory. Sturgis was set up for a 50 yard field goal, but he missed it wide left. This is where remind the readers at home to never go full Sturgis.
They really have to get a new announcer to replace Cris Collinsworth on Sunday Night Football soon. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When NBC gives you Cris Collinsworth, make use of your mute button.
The ensuing three minute Panther drive resulted in a Graham Gano field goal from 35 yards out. The Eagles started their next drive by allowing a sack from Kawann Short, and were eventually forced to punt after a three and out. The offensive line has been shaky all game. With Peters gone, Bradford was constantly under duress. All of the false starts didn't help either.
On Carolina's next possession, the Panthers were running the ball well with Stewart, who had Eagles defenders bouncing off him. However, on a crucial 3rd and 2, they decided to go to the rookie Cameron Artis-Payne, who was stopped behind the first down marker, which forced Carolina to punt on the next play.
It was a good decision to punt however, as the Eagles were pinned inside the 10 to start their drive. A Jared Allen sack and forced fumble pushed the Eagles offense to the 4 yard line. A pass interference call eventually gave the Eagles the first down, but Jared Allen got to Bradford yet again, exposing Matt Tobin at left tackle. If Peters has to miss an extended period of time, they may have to look for an upgrade over Tobin either internally or through waivers.
They might also want to look elsewhere for a receiver with two hands as well. On 4th and 9, Bradford found Miles Austin over the first down line, but he dropped it, thus ending all chances of a victory. With Jordan Matthews and Austin dropping so many crucial catches, it will be tough to keep moving the chains.
On the positive side, the running game looked better, with Murray and Mathews combining for 162 rushing yards on 24 carries. It not only helped to set up the passing game, but it kept the offense on the field for longer periods of time.
The Eagles actually improved quite a bit in time of possession tonight from earlier in the season. The offense was on the field for much longer and the defense was able to get more rest. The Eagles spent nearly 31 minutes of the game on offense, up a lot from the usual 21 minute average from the first four weeks.
The game let everyone know how Carolina is still undefeated. They run the ball well, they stop opponents on defense, and they make the big plays when they need to be made. Those are the three major components of all the top teams in the NFL this season. The Eagles are improving in the first category, are excellent in the second category, but still aren't getting it done towards the end of the game.
Down by just one possession late in the game, they were never able to sustain a long enough drive to set them up for a game tying touchdown. The Carolina front seven was able to put pressure on Bradford and Jared Allen was able to sack him twice on the same drive. Kawann Short had a sack on Bradford on the prior drive. The Eagles offensive line was a weak point before the Peters injury. It's clear to see that they need to make a couple of changes this season if they want to win this division.
The receivers need to step up as well. Bradford has received his fair share of criticism this season, but he was putting the ball where it needed to be tonight when he wasn't busy getting sacked. The dropped passes are momentum killers and they ruin the trust between a QB and his receivers. Bradford is what he is; he can't just take a game over at will. His receivers need to help him out and set him up with a few more chances to score.
The Eagles are now 3-4 entering the bye week. Hopefully the Peters injury isn't too serious, but even if he is ready to go, Chip Kelly needs to make some adjustments and be ready to go for the last nine games.
By: Dan Goggin
Follow us on twitter @BroadStBeat