This is called The Art of Shrugging It Off. Or, as players in the NFL say, "flushing it." What happened in New Orleans on Sunday, the Eagles hope, stays in New Orleans. A 48-7 loss was disappointing, to say the least. For an offense that returned so many pieces from last year's Super Bowl-winning team, it's ultimately extremely frustrating to have a game like the Eagles had against the Saints.
But the bigger, more puzzling, concern has been an offense that has lacked 60-minute effectiveness this year. Tight end Zach Ertz, having another Pro Bowl season, thinks the offense can get out of its funk by coming out early on Sunday against the Giants and putting points on the board.
"I'm not going to let that one game define us," said Ertz, held to just two receptions on Sunday after compiling 75 in his first nine games. "We've just got to catch a rhythm early in the game from an offensive perspective. I think if we're able to do that we'll be able to execute the rest of the game at a high level. We have to catch a spark early on offense. We have to score points in the first quarter. That is the bottom line. That is the big thing from this entire season that I take so far, that we need to score points in the first quarter.
"I've been saying it for 10 weeks now and hopefully it comes true this week."
The Eagles have scored only 21 points in the first quarter of games this season and have been shut out in eight of their 10 opening 15 minutes. They've talked about it for most of the season. They've worked with the X's and O's. They've made scoring early a priority.
And yet, the only time they really got off early was in the October meeting at New York, when 14 first-quarter points propelled the team to a big victory over the Giants at MetLife Stadium.
What's the answer? The Eagles are working on it. In the meantime, Ertz says, the effort and intensity level on the team for every player has to be at the maximum.
"We're working hard and we're playing hard and we need to play even harder. Every player. Every one of us," Ertz said. "We have no choice. We're in a situation now where we have no margin for error. We need to win this game. Even though we're 4-6 and we're not where we want to be, we're still alive. We can win our way out of this starting Sunday."