October 15, 2023   3 MIN READ

Glum Reaper

Plagued By Drops, DeJected DeVonta Smith Takes Blame For Birds Loss


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – After mustering only one reception a week ago, when the Eagles upended the Los Angeles Rams 23-14 at SoFi Stadium, Sunday was supposed to be DeVonta Smith’s return to the spotlight.

While Smith saw a team-high 11 targets in the Eagles’ 20-14 loss to the Jets at MetLife Stadium – their first of the season – Smith corralled just five for 44 yards.

In hindsight, one of Smith’s two uncharacteristic drops proved to be game-defining.

“Put that loss on me,” he said after the game. “I had two big drops. My fault. Put it on me.”

DeVonta Smith

GETTY IMAGES: WR DeVonta Smith’s two costly drops were part of an offensive implosion for the Eagles in their loss.

Smith’s first drop occurred at the 11:55 mark in the second quarter, on a 2nd-and-5. The third-year wideout had separated cleanly from Jets cornerback Bryce Hall and was well past the sticks but failed to reel in the uncontested reception.

His second drop was far more egregious.

The Eagles received the ball coming out of the break, nursing a 14-9 lead and seamlessly moving the ball downfield.

A 15-yard pass from Hurts to wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus would have given the Eagles first down at the Jets 29-yard-line but an illegal shift nullified the gain.

Hurts responded on the ensuing snap with an on-target bullet over the deep middle to a wide-open Smith.

The pass, however, ricocheted off the hands of the third-year receiver and fell haplessly to the MetLife Stadium turf.

Hurts was sacked for an eight-yard loss the following play, and after picking up four on a short completion to running back Kenny Gainwell, the Eagles would ultimately squander field position, conceding with a punt.

While Smith’s uneven showing was unusual, what lesson was to be gained from his mishap?

“Ain’t nothing to learn,” he said. “Catch the damn ball.”

Even with the Jets fielding an undermanned secondary, the Eagles struggled to capitalize when opportunities were presented.

Sure, A.J. Brown continued his ongoing slate of dominance, snaring seven of his nine targets for 131 yards.

But the production failed to manifest itself where it counts — on the scoreboard.

Brown and Smith aside, the Eagles’ next-leading receiver was tight end Dallas Goedert, who managed only 42 yards on five catches.

But the offense runs through Hurts, the ringleader of the Eagles’ passing attack.

And at least for Sunday, the team’s franchise quarterback was far from his best, completing 28 of his 45 pass attempts for 280 yards, a touchdown, and three interceptions. He was also sacked twice.

For perspective, the Jets were missing their top four cornerbacks, so the aerial attack, in theory, should have been clicking on all cylinders.

When its quarterback is struggling, the team needs to be able to rely on its star-studded firepower to make plays.

This time, Smith didn’t.

“The standard is the standard,” Hurts said after the game. “It only rises. Today we didn’t play to our standard.

“You turn the ball over as much as we did. Very unfortunate on two of them, I feel, but you just have to control the things that you can and the objective is to play to our standard at all times and demand excellence of ourselves. And we were not today.”

— Andrew DiCecco (@AndrewDiCecco) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.

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