Wolves 2, Matt Barkley 0.
For the second week in a row, Matt Barkley was thrown to the wolves following an injury to the Eagles’ starting quarterback. For the second week in a row, he had to enter the game facing a double-digit deficit, and he had to play despite taking no – or very few – practice reps with the starters.
And for the second week in a row, he did some good things but was ultimately unable to put any points on the scoreboard.
“I thought I played all right,” Barkley said after the Eagles lost, 15-7, to the Giants at the Linc for their 10th straight home loss (see Instant Replay). “I thought I made some good throws, I made some poor decisions. I think it’s the little things that you just have to hunker down on now.
“I’m learning, this is game experience, it’s under my belt, it’s just something to learn from. I’ll probably be thinking about a couple of those plays running through my head all night long.”
Barkley was better than last week, when he played the fourth quarter against the Cowboys and threw three interceptions on three drives after Nick Foles suffered a concussion.
On Sunday, he completed 17 of 26 passes for 158 yards in three quarters with two more turnovers – a fumble on a bizarre pass play call just before halftime on a 1st-and-goal from the 2-yard line and a desperation interception with 22 seconds left.
“Matt’s been thrown in twice into some tough situations,” head coach Chip Kelly said. “There are probably a couple throws he wants back, but there are a couple times he gave us a little spark, a little energy. He sets his feet and gets the ball out quick.
“He made some good decisions. A couple sailed on him a little bit, but I think the biggest thing for us is not capitalizing at the end of the first half. We’ve got to do a better job. Then all of a sudden, you end up losing the game by eight. Those points we left out on the field are the things that killed us.”
The good: Barkley seems to be accurate on his mid-range balls. He gets the ball out quickly. He has great poise and confidence.
The bad: He has five turnovers in the equivalent of one full game, has yet to generate a point and hasn’t shown the deep ball yet.
“I think Barkley’s been doing a good job of coming in,” Todd Herremans said. “He’s been put in some really tough situations, especially for his NFL debuts.
“It’s tough to come in there and come from behind as a backup quarterback, but I think the did a good job moving the ball.”
But the bottom line is points, and the Eagles’ only points Sunday came on a fumble return on a botched Giants punt by linebacker Najee Goode with 4:11 left in the game.
The Eagles have gone back-to-back games without an offensive touchdown for the first time in 14 years.
Barkley, sixth in the 2011 Heisman Trophy balloting, has completed 28 of 46 passes in two games for 287 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions.
"He looks good,” LeSean McCoy said. “He's tough. He's very strong, very intelligent, makes the right calls, makes the right reads, so he'll be fine. We've just got to help him out a little bit. The defense is playing their part, and the offense has to do the same."
“I think he's a young, good quarterback. In the future, he'll be one of the best.”
With Vick scheduled to undergo an MRI on his damaged hamstring and Nick Foles still in the NFL’s concussion recovery protocol, it appears the former USC star has a good chance to make his first NFL start on Sunday in Oakland.
“It could look that way,” Kelly said.
Maybe this week he’ll actually be able to practice with the guys he’s going to play with.
“I’m just going to compete my butt off and see what happens with this week,” he said. “My confidence is not down after this game. It’s a tough loss and you hate to see that happen, but I’m not beating myself up.
“You look at those plays and you replay some of them and think about what you could have done better, but you move on.”
Naturally, it’s an impossible situation entering a game after a quarter or two when you haven’t gotten any reps with the first offense.
But Barkley refused to use that as an excuse.
“It’s different definitely than starting from scratch, being 0-0 opening kickoff,” Barkley said.
“But I don’t want to make that excuse for how we performed as an offense,. We have a lot of things to correct across the board, and it always starts with the quarterback.”
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Wolves 2, Matt Barkley 0.