Eagles’ A.J. Brown Throws Gardner Minshew Under the Bus

A.J. Brown

Getty Eagles star A.J. Brown is on the verge of setting a new franchise record for receiving yards in a single season.

Gardner Minshew took the snap from his own 11-yard line and fired a short pass out to his right. He was trying to hit A.J. Brown in space, but New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore had jumped the route and took an interception back 12 yards for the touchdown.

It was far from the only reason the Philadelphia Eagles lost a winnable game on Sunday. Still, it was the one that extinguished any hope of a comeback as the Saints jumped out to a 20-10 lead with 5:27 left in the fourth quarter. Minshew’s errant throw, a pass intended for Brown who was locked up in press coverage, was a total miscommunication. In fact, Brown seemed to point the finger at Minshew for not reading his cues.

“It was initially a press [coverage],” Brown said. “I was trying to get Gardner’s attention to look up, but he never looked back at me. [Lattimore] actually caught it right out [of the air], and he basically doubled me on the play.”

Minshew agreed with Brown to an extent, adding that the Eagles actually had success running the same play earlier in the game. On this particular dropback, Lattimore made an adjustment. And it could be argued that Brown ran a lazy route on the play.

“I should have seen that leverage when we made the motion,” Minshew said. “I assumed since it was the same coverage, [Lattimore] was going to play it the same, but he made a great adjustment and made the play to beat us.”

Lattimore Had Been Questionable on Injury Report

Lattimore had been missing in action for almost two months with a lacerated kidney — ironically, the same injury that Eagles safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson picked up. The four-time Pro Bowler had been listed questionable on the final injury report of the week, yet fought his tail off to suit up and play on Sunday. Then, Lattimore chose a convenient time to grab his first interception on a play he committed to memory earlier in the game.

“They’ve been doing it all game,” Lattimore said. “I just picked up on it and when it came to me I had to get it. I told my team that I owed them for the first half, I owed them that and so I got it done.”

Not sure exactly what Lattimore was referring to in the first half. The Saints’ defense held the Eagles to 61 total yards — 52 through the air, and 9 yards on the ground. It was a master class in how to muddy up a game.

“We just couldn’t get rolling,” Minshew said. “It was one of those things where you try and get that first first-down and we kept shooting ourselves in the foot and getting in our own way.”

Jalen Hurts Supporting from the Eagles Sideline

Jalen Hurts was stationed on the sideline wearing a coach’s headset for the second straight week. He kept a stoic face for much of the game, yet it appeared that some frustration was starting to set in. He was helpless to watch as the Eagles’ offense slogged through four quarters.

After the game, no one in the locker room was blaming Hurts’ absence for the loss. Minshew didn’t play at an MVP level, but the backup quarterback kept Philly in it. He finished 18-of-32 for 274 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception.

“Jalen’s not on the field. We’re not thinking about what he would do or none of that,” Brown said. “We’ve got to focus on who’s playing and try to win a game with the people playing.”

Editor’s note: Brown recorded four receptions for 97 yards against New Orleans, leaving him just 9 yards shy of besting Mike Quick for the single-season franchise record. Quick had 1,409 receiving yards on 69 catches in 1983. Brown is at 1,401.

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