Too many turnovers have doomed Eagles


Theyre on pace to record one of the 10-highest offensive yardage totals in NFL History.

And theyre ranked 16th this year in scoring.

How is this even possible?

Because turnovers destroyed this team.

Oh, there are certainly other issues. Missed tackles, penalties, blown coverages, dropped passes, red-zone defense, blah, blah, blah. But nothing has been more damaging than the turnovers.

Its like youre moving the ball for nothing, NFC rushing leader LeSean McCoy said. You go all the way down the field and you dont even score. You dont get three. You dont get seven. You dont get anything. So it is frustrating. Its hard to win games like that.

McCoy, who trails Maurice Jones-Drew by three yards for the NFL rushing lead, hasnt committed any turnovers, but his teammates have committed an NFL-high 29, or nearly 2 12 per game.

With four games left, the Eagles are on pace for 39 turnovers, which would be their most in 20 yearssince the 1991 team committed 43.

The Eagles committed two or more turnovers in nine of their 12 games, and theyre 2-7 in those games. When theyve had one or fewer, theyre 2-1, beating the Rams on opening day with one turnover and the Cowboys in October with none and losing to the Patriots after committing one turnover.

Turnovers are the most important stat in football.

League-wide, teams committing no turnovers this year are 60-20, a .750 winning percentage.

Teams committing one are 79-49, a .617 winning percentage.

Teams with two turnovers in a game are 44-60, which is .423.

Teams with three are 7-36, a .162 winning percentage.

And teams giving the ball away four or more times are 3-26, a .103 winning percentage.

With each successive turnover, your chances of winning go down enormously.

And the Eagles cant stop committing them.

How damaging have turnovers been to the Eagles? Theyre on pace for 6,601 yards this year, which would be the ninth-most in NFL history.

Yet theyre averaging only 22.6 points per game, 16th-most this year in the NFL.

In NFL history, 69 teams have netted 6,000 yards in a season. Only one of those 69 teams (the 1983 Chargers) has averaged 22.6 points per game or less.


Were ranked very highly in almost every category, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. The ones that were lowand there are important ones where were loware directly correlated with turnovers. Done. And you can directly correlate it.

Were 21st in the red zone. Heck, wed be in the top five if we havent turned the ball over eight times, right? So everything thereand theres only a few where we arent very highis directly correlated with the turnovers.

The players know that. Our players are proud guys, and theyre working hard and preparing hard. And were doing everything we can to eliminate them yet still stay aggressive.

I dont like it. Heck, were third on offense, were first in not going three-and-out, but, hey, the biggest statistic that correlates with winning or losing is turnovers. Done.

The Eagles have fumbed 15 times, losing seven. Michael Vick has lost three and Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Ronnie Brown and DeSean Jackson one apiece, Jacksons coming on a punt return and not offense.

The big culprit has been interceptions. The Eagles three QBs have combined for an NFL-leading 22 interceptions, nearly two per game. In the past decade, only one team has had more through 12 gamesthe 2009 Lions, with Matt Stafford, Daunte Culpepper and Drew Stanton combining for 24.

Michael Vick has thrown 11, Vince Young nine and Mike Kafka two. This is the first time since 1975Roman Gabriel and Mike Borylatwo different Eagles QBs have thrown nine or more interceptions in the same season.

Last year, Vick and Young threw a combined 528 passes with nine interceptions.

This year, Vick and Young have thrown a combined 414 passes and 20 interceptions.

You dont want to throw the ball to the other team, but I think at the end of the day when were playing in the game we have to be conscious of what were doing, Mornhinweg said. Turnovers are going to happen, but its better to have one than three or four. Usually that team doesnt win the game. So we just have to be conscious of that.

Why so many interceptions?

I mean, we have more interceptions because we threw the ball to the other team, Vick said. You know, I know Ive thrown a lot this season and wish I could have had a couple of those throws back this season, but I still think I do a good job in taking care of the football and not continuing to do that. And I havent lost confidence, still going to stay confident and keep playing hard.

The Eagles 29 giveaways have led directly to 76 points, or 27 percent of all the points the Eagles have given up this year.

Worse, 11 of those turnovers came inside the opposing 40-yard-line, costing the Eagles numerous scoring chances of their own.

Five of the turnovers have come in the fourth quarter of games the Eagles led in the fourth quarter and ultimately lost.

Turnovers are caused in a lot of different ways and there are a lot of variables there, OK? Mornhinweg said. So some of it has been a defensive tipped ball. Some of it has been us, you know, perfect throw and tipping it up. Some has been a choice. Some has been us not fighting for the ball. And some has been we throw it anyway as were getting hit instead of taking a sack, and so on.

So weve certainly been learning a lot. And sometimes great successes are just littered with failures, and weve failed in that part of our game and I dont like it and the players dont like it. So were doing everything we can. Hard work and preparation and a big emphasis to get this thing done.

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