The Philadelphia Eagles offense struggled to gain any traction for most of the first half and early third quarter of Thursday night's 28-22 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Outside of the first drive, which was aided by a 45-yard defensive pass interference penalty, the Eagles offense had no more than three plays on six straight possessions in the second and third quarters (five three-and-outs and one interception).
"They came out and had a great plan," Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts said, via the official transcript. "Like I said, it is on us to be able to adjust, recognize what they are doing, and combat that. My mind doesn't change on any of this in terms of the mentality that it is on us. We control the destiny of everything we do, everything we touch, and everything we put our hands on. We have to be better and I have to be better for this football team. I have to be better."
Hurts struggled mightily early, unable to find the range on anything. The young QB was skipping passes, missing open targets, sailing passes high and long. It's the latest game in which Hurts has come out wobbly, unable to catch a groove until the game is out of reach.
Hurts finished 12-for-26 passing for 115 yards and a touchdown, an INT, and added 44 rushing yards on 10 attempts with two rushing scores.
Eagles coach Nick Sirianni hasn't helped his young QB out much. The lack of a run game has riled up Philly fans who are at their wit's end with the lack of carries for Miles Sanders.
Sirianni was asked if leaning on run-pass options as their primary ground-game weapon puts too much pressure on Hurts to make the correct decision instead of just calling direct run plays.
"No, I don't think so," the coach responded. "He's been doing that a long time that his RPO game and how he reads things, so I don't believe that's an issue."
While trying to run at the Bucs' brick wall might not have been advisable Thursday night, Sirianni's offense did little to try to help its young QB. There were very few easy throws. Hurts didn't even attempt a pass between the numbers less than 20 yards.
The coach's love of receiver screens has been figured out by defenses, making that outlet futile and putting the offense behind the sticks too often.
Hurts shouldered the blame for the inconsistent offense.
"I think I haven't executed well enough to win clearly," he said. "I take responsibility for that. I always take responsibility for that because the ball is in my hands every play, and I enjoy that, and I like that. I have to be better."
The Philly offense has been a mess for weeks. There lacks an identity or perceivable plan of attack, particularly when the screen game is negated. The Eagles' best plays have been long DPIs. In the past several weeks, only when they go hurry-up and play with their hair on fire has the offense resembled anything that can be considered close to potent.
"This whole year, we kind of shot ourselves in the foot and we know, and we believe," Hurts said. "I have unwavering faith in the guys on this football team and everybody on this field and that we have everything we need. It is just a matter of us putting that together. It is tough but I have unwavering faith with everyone in this building and that it will come. To go toe-to-toe with a team like that, as bad as I started. It is bad and we didn't click early. When it came down to clutch time, at the end of the game, we ran out of time."
Philly ran out of time because it couldn't find the gas pedal for more than two quarters. It's not the first time this season the offense has struggled to move the ball. Sirianni sorely needs to re-evaluate his offensive plan if the Eagles are to salvage the season before they run out of time on the entire 2021 campaign.