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Did Mac Jones Just Break the Eagles? In Philly, Many are Asking.

Maddie Meyer. Getty Images.

It wasn't necessarily a career day for Mac Jones in his 32nd NFL start. Granted, he set personal bests in completions (35), attempts (54), and touchdowns (three, tied with three other games), and threw for his third most yards (316). All behind a makeshift offensive line with two mid-round rookies at guard and a part time left tackle at right tackle. And while his WR1 was limited to about half the snaps and his WR2 was missing altogether. 

But the Patriots lost. Too many unforced errors and bad decisions cost them the game. And since around here, every game is a Pass/Fail test, there's no reason to celebrate. Just to take the bad with the good, do some self-scouting, fix what needs to be fixed and improve that which was imperfect, and get better by the Dolphins game Sunday night. 

Yet sometimes you can learn more about where you're at by what you're opponents think of you than by your own opinion. And while Jones was taking the whole loss on his mighty shoulders:

… in Philly they're asking how badly he damaged the Eagles. And whether it's permanent:

Source - Remember last year? When the Eagles had the top-ranked pass defense in the NFL?

They don’t anymore.

That defense doesn’t exist anymore, and the Eagles have some work to do after allowing Mac Jones to have a career day Sunday. …

[The Eagles defense] allowed Mac Jones to throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns for the first time in his three-year career, and he became the least accomplished quarterback with a 300-yard, three-TD performance against the Eagles since Austin Davis … for the St. Louis Rams in 2014.

Jones was a 1st-round pick a couple years ago, but he’s not a guy you expect to light up your secondary to the tune of 316 yards and three TDs. …

The only other quarterback to throw for 300 yards and three TDs against the Eagles since Nick Sirianni became head coach was Dak Prescott last year on Christmas Eve.

The Eagles allowed an NFL-low 179 passing yards per game last year and Jones nearly doubled that. They only allowed four passing TDs in their first five games. Jones put up three in one game.

This was only the second time since 1984 the Eagles allowed a 300-yard, 3-TD passer on opening day. Washington's Case Keenum of all people did it in 2019.

And let's be honest: The Patriots don’t really have any big-time offensive skill guys. But undrafted veteran receiver Kendrick Bourne, running back Rhamondre Stevenson, tight end Hunter Henry and rookie 6th-round pick Demario Douglas combined for 21 catches for 224 yards.

It’s not like the Eagles were facing Tom Brady, Stanley Morgan and Gronk here. 

And I'll interject here to remind you they didn't have John Hannah, Logan Mankins and Bruce Armstrong on the line, either. It continues:

The Eagles as a rule don’t make their coordinators available to the media after games, but Sean Desai will be available on Tuesday. …

[T]here is work to do in the back seven, and it will be interesting to see if there are any lineup changes going into the Vikings game Thursday night at the Linc.

Interesting. Very interesting, indeed. The Eagles are so alarmed by the way Mac Jones was able to carve them up with the terrible swift sword of Bill O'Brien's system that they're making their coordinator face the about it? And the Philadelphia media is speculating about changes coming at the second and third levels of Sean Desai's defense?

This all sounds vaguely familiar somehow. Like the words to a song I haven't heard in so long, but it's still there stored deep in my brain and is starting to come back to me. I think this is the sort of thing we used to hear around 2003 or so. That time when our quarterback stopped being considered a "caretaker" whose job it was to just hand the ball off and not turn it over so the defense and special teams could win the game, and he became someone who could carry his team to victory. It took a long time for people to reconcile that. To realize what they were truly dealing with. 

Until they did, there was a lot of consternation and frustration about how a great defense (think Dick Lebeau's Steelers) could let this slow, unathletic, noodle-armed slapdick to do them what Peyton Mannings, your Brett Favres and your Steve McNairs could not. Andy by the time they finally realized how good he was, it was too late. Tom Brady stayed ahead of all their adjustments, strategies and counter-measures invented to stop him. And the rest is history. 

This is how it begins for Mac Jones. Those back to back touchdown drives. Seven completions on one drive to seven different targets. The 11 straight completions ending with a rookie not getting his feet in bounds on a perfect sideline throw. And the best pass defense in football last year by far, which improved greatly through the draft for this year, not knowing what hit them. 

My only question is, do I want Philly to stay permanently broken? Or would it be better to have them revert back to where they were in 2022, thus demonstrating how far McCorkle has come in his third season? But then I realize I don't care. That's the NFC East's problem. I'm just focused on him cleaning up the mistakes he's taking the blame for and making the rest of the schedule question whether they need to make wholesale changes after what he did to them.