Eagles

That Was Ugly: Ten Takeaways from the Eagles’ Disappointing 24-10 Loss to the Seahawks

DREW HALLOWELL | PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

It wasn’t their night. The officiating was one-sided. Doug Pederson was too conservative. Carson Wentz had a pretty off night. Nothing bounced the Eagles’ way. Seattle just has our number. I saw and heard every cliché of the bunch while perusing twitter during the game.

All I know is the Philadelphia Eagles we came to know and love over the past nine weeks were not on the field on Sunday night. There was minimal swagger from the defense and the offense looked mediocre at best. Still, despite the poor all around effort the Eagles were in this game. They left a lot of points on the board and had plenty of chances to take control of this game in a hostile environment.

I’m sick about this loss, don’t get me wrong. But there are some silver linings here. They are hypothetical, but they’re there nonetheless.

Let’s get to the takeaways!

1. Missed opportunities.

You should have known that this would be the first thing on the list. The Birds had a handful of chances to take control of the game.

I was debating saving example number one for farther down the list, but I feel like it fit better here. Very early in the game Wentz missed a wide open Nelson Agholor.

The next missed opportunity came on a bad hold downfield from Alshon Jeffery. LeGarrette Blount had an awesome run down within the five yard line, but Jeffery was holding his man, a call that’s been made all season long, and brought the run back to the original spot. The Eagles surely would have gotten six or seven points on that drive had Jeffery not held his cornerback.

The last missed opportunity came after a long drive at the start of the second half, when Carson Wentz broke for the end zone, fumbled on the one-yard line, and the ball took a few Seahawk bounces out of the back of the end zone.

That score would have tied the game up. It was a freaky play all around, but if you can get at least three out of that Agholor play and  7 out of that Wentz play that’s 10 points on the board and it’s an entirely different ball game.

It’s not right to live in a hypothetical world, but the Eagles were a few plays from taking this game despite playing (probably) their worst game of the season.

2. Dougie P is mortal after all.

I say it a lot in person to anyone who is willing to hear me: my girlfriend, my dad, my dog, literally anyone; Doug Pederson is the best part of this team not named Wentz.

Even after the 24-10 loss on the road in Seattle, I maintain that statement is true. Doug just had a down game, it just stinks that it happened on national TV with everyone watching and criticizing his every move. He deserves all the criticism handed down, but he will bounce back.

Pederson had a few confusing calls in the game: for one he challenged a questionable third down conversion where Carson Wentz hit Torrey Smith on a comeback route. The referee’s spotted the ball a foot shy of the first down, Doug Pederson thought his progress was stopped after the line-to-gain. The Eagles went on to lose the challenge but convert on fourth down. It was a waste of a challenge in my opinion.

Second confusing call came with roughly 3 minutes left in the third quarter. The Eagles were faced with a 4th down and short well into field goal range down 14 points. I was all about going for it to try to get 7, but in that environment you really can’t take points off the board. I’m not saying those three points would have made or broke the game, but who knows.

Third, and arguably worst, is Doug’s no-challenge on what was clearly a forward lateral from Russell Wilson. See for yourself below:

This lateral will haunt my dreams. The Seahawks went on to score on that drive and essentially ice the game. If the ball had been brought back the Eagles would have had a sliver of momentum and could have taken the crowd out of the game with under ten minutes in regulation.

The long and short of it is that Doug Pederson did not have his best game as the coach of the Eagles. He is still the best coach in the NFC East and will have his team ready for next week. He truly buys into the “one week at a time” mentality and so does this team. I trust they will be ready to go against the Rams next Sunday.

3. Big V was is a liability.

He’s been good for the most part this season, but against Seattle, Big V was insufferable.

Saying Frank Clark made it hard on Big V all night long is an understatement. I don’t really want to beat a dead horse here, but the Eagles need more out of a starting left tackle. If he needs help give him some help: chip block, double team, do something. I trust that he can get right for next week but Sunday night is a night to forget for sure.

4. Carson Wentz wasn’t at his best, but was still pretty good.

This was a strange performance from Carson Wentz. He finished 29/45 for 348 yards with one touchdown, one interception (in garbage time), and a fumble.

His completion percentage was still at 64% which is about average for him, but something seemed different about tonight. Obviously he didn’t throw for three touchdowns and no interceptions like we’re accustomed to, but something I can’t quite put my finger on. I don’t know if it was a game plan thing, but we didn’t see Wentz push the ball down field as much as we usually do.

Even though he didn’t light up the highlight reel like he usually does, he still found a way to put a smile on Eagles fan’s faces. Check out this absolute bomb on a third down play:

This play had me speechless. When Carson heaved that ball down field and Agholor basket caught it behind Byron Maxwell I thought the comeback was on. I was almost right as the Eagles went on to score on the drive to none other than Nelson Agholor.

Ultimately the Eagles didn’t come back, but watching Carson lead that drive lightened my mood a little bit.

5. Wide Receiver controversy.

Alshon Jeffery just got signed to a four-year, $52 million extension, Torrey Smith still lines up with the ones and Nelson Agholor just gave the Eagles’ their second 100-yard receiving game of the season. Who is the alpha in this group?

Of the listed wide outs it’s obvious that Jeffery is the top dog, but I don’t know how clear-cut that is. Agholor has had a break out year thus far and is proving to be a more versatile receiver than Jeffery. I think the two compliment each other well and need each other to succeed in this offense. Jeffery can thrive on the sideline in one on one matchups while Nelson excels in space. I love this one-two punch.

The odd man out, in my opinion, is Smith. I wrote about this before, but I don’t know why he is continuing to get targets on short routes. To me he is nothing more than a home run threat. Give Agholor or Mack Hollins those short targets. They can both get separation.

6. Rookie Watch.

I feel like Pederson played the rookies less than he usually does this week but these four are usually big parts of the game plan. Let’s see how they did.

Derek Barnett: Barnett played a pretty good game all things considered. It’s not easy to play against Russell Wilson but the rookie managed to get some good pressures working against newly added left tackle Duane Brown. Barnett finished the game with half a sack. I like what I see out of Barnett, the dude can play.

Mack Hollins: On offense Hollins only had one catch for ten yards. I’m fairly confident that was his only target. He still plays a lot on special teams and can make in impact in that aspect. I really like what I see out of Hollins too; I don’t think we’ll see his role increase this season though. I can’t wait to see how they utilize him in years to come.

Jake Elliott: Elliott nailed his only two kicks: an extra point and a 26-yard field goal. There really isn’t much to report on that front.

Corey Clement: Clement didn’t get as many touches as he has in recent weeks. He finished the night with three carries for seven yards and three catches for 30 yards. It was good to see Clement active in the passing game, but it was tough sledding in the running game for the rookie back. I’d like to see how he’s used against a tough Los Angeles defense next week.

7. Sloppy secondary play.

The secondary was one of the downfalls of this team, giving Eagles fans flashbacks to Nnamdi Asomugha, Bradley Fletcher, and Cary Williams.

Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson, and even Ronald Darby at times couldn’t cover the Seahawks wide receivers. There were a lot of rub routes, causing “natural” picks, but they need to have a call to switch guys. Seth Joyner and Barrett Brooks were talking about it in the post game show: when a rub route occurs one man needs to take the inside, one man on the outside. That small change could have helped out in the long run.

The corners also took a handful of bad penalties. On the Seahawks first drive of the second half the Eagles cornerbacks took a holding or defensive pass interference penalty on back-to-back third downs to give the Seahawks first downs. Patrick Robinson and Corey Graham were the ones accountable. (For what it’s worth: I thought Corey Graham’s was clean. This thought was confirmed when the Seahawks got away with the exact same play later in the game)

8. Brandon Graham outplayed Earl Thomas.

Brandon Graham is having a career year. He finished the game with four tackles and one and a half sacks. He is the most versatile defensive lineman on the roster. He can line up and beat you from any of the four positions. Here he is beating an offensive guard and forcing a scramble.

Hot take: Graham made more of an impact in this game than Thomas. Graham is a monster in the run game and generated a lot of pressure in the passing game. The Eagles did a pretty good job at making Thomas a non-factor but the Seahawks couldn’t do the same for Graham.

Now that I’ve cooled down a bit: I’m not saying Graham is the better player at all. He just had a better game on Sunday night, something Eagles fans needed to see considering the whole 2010 draft thing. Love you, 55.

9. Mychal Kendricks came crashing down to earth.

It was bound to happen eventually. Kendricks looked lost in the pass game; he got torched on the Seattle touchdown to J.D. McKissic that iced the game. He didn’t look that great in the open field either, I recall one play where a running back took the ball around the outside and stiff arming Kendricks to the ground. I’m not putting the loss on Kendricks but he wasn’t the player we became accustomed to seeing this season. He did lead the team with nine total tackles (five solo, four assisted). I hope he can bounce back next week, he showed he can play all season long, there’s no reason he can’t perform against the Rams.

10. This is a good learning experience.

“Accept a loss as a learning experience, and never point fingers at your teammates.” – the GOAT, Michael Jordan.

I truly believe the Eagles will take this game as a learning experience and bounce back better than ever. They have one of the best coaches in the game, the best young quarterback not named Russell Wilson, and a lot of great leadership in the locker room.

Lucky for the Eagles this loss came with plenty of time left in the regular season. They will surely make the playoffs and a loss like this will only make them stronger.

The Eagles will stay on the west coast this week before taking on the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday afternoon at the Coliseum. Let’s get back in the win column and set the tone for the remainder of the season.

 


You can follow Anthony Mazziotti on Twitter (@AntMazziotti) and e-mail him at anthonymazziottiwriting@gmail.com. Follow Philly Influencer on Twitter (@PHL_Influencer), Facebook and Instagram.

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