CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- **Continuity along the offensive line, so important for success, has been hard to come by for the Eagles in 2015. And as the team heads into the bye week after a 27-16 loss to Carolina, there is concern again up front.
All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters went down late in the first quarter on Sunday night against Carolina with a lower back injury and was taken into the locker room for X-rays. He did not return to the game as Matt Tobin moved from right guard to left tackle and Dennis Kelly came off the sidelines to play right guard. It was announced during the game that Peters suffered back spasms, so the bye week comes at a great time for him and the offensive line.
Still, it was a blow to the Eagles on Sunday night against an aggressive Carolina defense.
Already this season the Eagles have lost starting right guard Andrew Gardner with a foot injury suffered in the loss at Washington. The offense had some tough times in that game adjusting to the new-look line, but came back with strong performances in wins over New Orleans (519 total net yards) and New York (425 total net yards).
The Eagles traveled to North Carolina in Week 7 to face the undefeated Panthers. View the full gallery here...
The Eagles did some good things on offense on Sunday night, namely running for 177 yards on 30 carries, 63 of those yards coming on a Ryan Mathews touchdown run. But the offense stalled at key times, settled for a pair of field goals on two trips inside the red zone and gave up pressure in the passing game. Quarterback Sam Bradford was sacked five times, pressured at least another half dozen times and was harrassed late in the game with the Eagles in must-score mode.
"I thought we did as well as you can expect with Jason out of there," center Jason Kelce said. "Obviously Jason is a tremendous player. It hurts when he goes down. I thought Matt Tobin went in there and did a really good job for us. Dennis Kelly did a pretty good job at right guard. Obviously, I wish we would have played better up front, especially on those last couple of drives."
The Eagles failed to score in the fourth quarter and Bradford was sacked three times in those 15 minutes. The offense generated four first downs as Carolina stretched a 21-16 lead into a 27-16 advantage.
Tobin gave up a pair of sacks to veteran Jared Allen, and while Tobin acclimated himself to playing left tackle when needed -- he stepped in there at Washington -- he hadn't studied all all week, instead focusing his study on his expected responsibilities at right guard.
"He's a good player. He's slick. I felt like I was doing good until he got me a couple of times there at the end," Tobin said of Allen. "It was just him being more experienced than me. Looking back, if I would have kicked (blocked) then it wouldn't have happened."
But it did, as the offensive line tried to compensate for the loss of a Pro Bowl left tackle. Eventually, the pressure package from Carolina was simply too much to handle for the remainder of the game.