Do you remember a less enjoyable Eagles performance? I thought about that midway through the fourth quarter yesterday and nothing notable came to mind.
Sure, we watched a lot of stinkers last year, when the Birds couldn’t close and the defense was regularly being cooked on 3rd and long. You might recall Chip Kelly’s final season and the end of the Andy Reid era, when the team quit on him in New York. Maybe you’re old enough to remember the 1998 spectacular with Ray Rhodes.
This was worse than any of that, because we watched the game knowing that the Eagles did not have a comeback in them. A seven-point lead again felt insurmountable, even though Seattle politely tried to hand it over on a silver platter. For the second-straight week the Eagles dropped a winnable home game because they couldn’t do “diddly poo offensively,” as the great Jim Mora once said.
What I’ve realized is that the 2019 Birds are:
- not enjoyable when they win
- not enjoyable when they lose
- not enjoyable during the week
- not enjoyable to read about
- not enjoyable to write about
- not enjoyable to talk about
That said, let’s dive right in!
1. Carson Wentz
Worst game of his career.
He’s trying way too hard, trying to overcompensate for stinky receiver play and now he’s inside his own head. He can’t make simple passes and his mechanics are all over the place.
Doug Pederson said last week, on two separate occasions, that he felt like Wentz was “pressing,” and he alluded to that again post game:
We ask a lot of our quarterback and a lot of Carson, and the one thing you can’t do in that position is just put pressure on yourself to perform. You’ve just got to let things unfold, and sometimes you can do that. I think sometimes you feel like the offense is struggling, you feel like you have to make a play, and you’ve just got to let kind of the game unfold, let the offense unfold, just let everybody work for you and don’t feel like you’ve got to make every play.
In weeks prior, you saw Carson Wentz put together “game manager” type of stat lines, where he wasn’t lighting the world on fire but instead protecting the ball and playing in a relatively mistake-free fashion. That was good enough for wins against the Bills, Bears, and Jets, but when Carson has had to step up and do more, he’s really disappointed instead.
Here’s what I liked from Sunday:
- a couple of decent plays with his feet
Here’s what I didn’t like:
- threw the ball behind Zach Ertz on third down of the first drive
- missed Miles Sanders wide open on third down of second drive (wouldn’t have scored on that play, but still)
- lost the fumble
- missed Sanders again on the screen pass at the end of the 1st quarter
- the first interception
- taking a sack on third down in the second quarter
- missed Greg Ward on a third down pass which was probably also a lack of chemistry and reps issue
- ugly attempted arm angle/correction on the missed 2nd down screen pass to Dallas Goedert
- threw second interception to a guy who wasn’t even open
It was truly bad. He played without his top three receivers in Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and Nelson Agholor. He played without Lane Johnson and Jordan Howard, and yet even with the biggest asterisk on the planet ready to be slapped on his performance, he still went out and found a way to do himself no favors anyway.
No excuses for Wentz, however. The Seahawks were playing without George Clooney:
2. The blame game
If we’re doing an Eagles blame hierarchy, my list goes something like this
- 1. Howie Roseman
- 2. injuries all over the place (again)
- 3. receiver play
- 4a. coaching on the offensive side of the ball (Pederson, Mike Groh)
- 4b. quarterback play
- 5. offensive line play
- 6. early season defensive issues (Vikings, etc)
Still feels like this campaign falls on Howie’s shoulders for a variety of reasons, most notably sticking with aging players like Jason Peters and Darren Sproles. The free agent signings were busts (Zach Brown, Andrew Sendejo, etc). He failed to improve the squad at the trade deadline and recent drafts are looking pretty rough at this point. This a slow team with a lack of dynamic play-making ability, and it falls on him for building it.
The coaching and play calling has also been uninspiring this year. Remember when the staff game-planned heavily for 12 personnel in Atlanta, but only dressed two tight ends, then Goedert got hurt? That was a good one.
Furthermore, there’s been a regression from Agholor, Jeffery, and even Ertz in the early part of the season. That’s all part of bulletpoint three.
And then the quarterback has failed to elevate his level of play while dealing with some issues on the line in front of him. It’s been pretty shitty across the board, which is why I have so much trouble with people who only want to rip the quarterback. The entire offense has been bad. The coaching has been bad. The player-personnel decisions have been bad.
More than one thing can be true.
3. Ridiculous celebrations
Down 17-3 at home, the Eagles ran to the end zone to pose after a turnover that they didn’t even force:
The defense played really well, and of course they’re frustrated, so I get it.
But dude… you gotta read the room. Seattle fumbled a handoff exchange and you fell on the ball. Just get off the field.
4. Andre Dillard
He struggled big time at right tackle and was pulled at halftime.
I first noticed him when he got absolutely steam rolled on the play where Wentz fumbled the ball, then I went back and watched it in slow motion and noticed that he and JJ Arcega-Whiteside ran into each other:
Not sure whose fault that is. The Eagles’ timing looked off on a number of plays yesterday, and on this one Dillard ended up on his back while Wentz completely failed to see what was happening next to him.
Funny enough, Dillard pointed out on Friday that he’d never played right tackle before, ever. In hindsight, I guess playing him there was the wrong decision, though it’s not like Big V did much of anything when he entered the game. Looks like they’ve got three guys who are serviceable at left tackle but only one who plays well on the right.
Matt Pryor also came in for Brandon Brooks, and while I didn’t spend a lot of time paying attention to him, I definitely noticed this massive block:
Brooks left the game with anxiety issues, the same problems that hindered him a few years ago.
5. Greg Ward
Six grabs for 40 yards on seven total targets.
And yeah, he was snagging two and three yard bullshit, but at least he was catching the ball and then running forward, which was more than Mack Hollins or JJAW have done all year. The bar is very low.
They even ran the ‘ole jet sweep underhand toss to him, which shows that they actually trust the guy to do something with his feet in space:
That counts as a pass. Dana Holgorsen ran it to Tavon Austin about 700 times back in 2012.
Ward was good, a breath of fresh air I’d say, and he returned punts as well. Might as well keep the guy around and see what he can do. He can’t be any worse than Hollins at this point, and I don’t give a shit about what Mack Hollins can do on special teams. Just plug somebody else in there.
6. Mistakes and breaks
Seattle tried their hardest to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory:
- Pryor hold on a really nice Jay Ajayi run (was actually their first penalty of the day)
- Carson Wentz fumble
- Dallas Goedert fumble
- ridiculous fumble on the delayed draw play
- somebody else probably fumbled, but I can’t remember… oh wait it was Sanders/Wentz on the 2 point conversion
- Russell Wilson totally missing a dude wide open in the end zone
- DK Metcalf dropping a touchdown pass
- Metcalf not being able to haul in that deep look down the right sideline
- Seattle fumbling in the 4th quarter
So bad. Just horrible offensive football from both teams, outside of that beautiful trick play touchdown pass from Russell Wilson.
7. Ancillary wins and losses
Feast or famine here:
- won time of possession, 31:53 minutes to 28:07 minutes
- -3 turnover margin
- 4-12 on third down (33%)
- 0-1 on fourth down
- allowed Seahawks to go 5-14 on third down (35.7%)
- lost 18 yards on 3 sacks
- 1-2 success rate in the red zone
- 2 penalties for 15 yards
This was the second-straight week that the Eagles finished with a -3 turnover margin and a third down rate below 35%. They were very disciplined in the penalty department, they just couldn’t do anything on offense in general.
8. Doug’s best call?
None that I recall.
9. Doug’s worst call?
Just take a knee before halftime. Everybody on the planet knows that the offense isn’t gonna do anything at that point in the game. I also didn’t know what was up with the timeout that was called on 4th and 10 prior to that change of possession, when Seattle was punting. The clock was stopped anyway.
Now let’s talk about the borked draw with the fumble, which Wentz described as “kind of a new play” after the game. I’ll give it to you again in slow motion (that’s what she said) –
Here’s what Sanders said about the play:
“I think we ran the play into a bad look. Nothing really went wrong, it’s just that the [Seahawks] defense executed.”
Yeah, okay. It was a simple four-man rush and Big V didn’t get a hand on his guy until he was five yards into the backfield. I know you have to sell it a bit to create the counter angle, but why run that behind your backup right tackle and backup right guard? I could understand running that play with Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks on the field, but trying to execute something like that behind Pryor and Big V is just asking for a trouble.
Later, they did something similar, trying to run a Goedert screen play behind the pair of backups on the right side. Big V whiffed and the play was blown up.
And of course I’d like to mention the 3rd and 1 inside trap play, which was a total pooper. It’s a lot to ask 57 year old Jason Peters to pull inside and make this block:
Sometimes less is more.
10. The segment about the broadcast
We were treated to Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis with Pam Oliver.
One thing I appreciated about Davis was that he tried to add some context to Wentz’s struggles, talking about line play and Doug’s calls and the various defensive coverages he was seeing. It was little more flavorful than Twitter, where the extend of the Wentz reaction was “he fucking blows” or “this guy sucks.”
My issue with Davis has always been this over-exuberance he shows, which doesn’t seem bad on the surface. Of course you want a guy to be energetic and engaged, but it typically manifests itself in him doing all of the talking. It feels like a 70/30 split in terms of his speaking time vs. Burkhardt’s speaking time.
If Davis was a presidential candidate, it would look like this:
Hope you got a laugh out of that. Were trying to have some fun after a horrendous loss.
Speaking of laughs, when’s the last time you enjoyed a Rob Riggle pregame skit? They always toss it back to the set after those clips and the entire crew seems rather embarrassed to have witnessed it. Like the 2019 Eagles, it might be time to pull the plug on the Rob Riggle skit and move on to whatever comes next.