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Eagles vs. Seahawks: 5 Good Things and 5 Bad

Seattle's defense was everything advertised and more, but the Eagles played a pretty solid game -- if you completely forget about the offense.

Jeffrey G. Pittenger-USA TODAY Sports

The Good

1) Stuffing the run.

Seattle has a superb run attack led by Marshawn Lynch, and Philadelphia did a good job of neutralizing it with Fletcher Cox leading a swarming front line.  Marshawn Lynch got 86 yards on 23 carries, and Russell Wilson added 48, but those two can hurt you a lot worse than that.

As the game went on, the Birds seemed to figure out very well how to contain and sack Russell Wilson.  It was too late for this game, but if they meet again in the playoffs that could prove very useful.  Seattle is nothing if not steady in their attack, and I expect Chip Kelly's game plan in a rematch to be much better while Carroll's stays the same.

2) Special teams.

The Eagles are so confident on punt returns that they put in the "hands" team, with Zach Ertz as one of the rushers, to better grab any balls on the ground.  Seattle fumbled the first snapped and Ertz scooped it up, setting up one of the Bird's only two scores.  Later, Josh Huff had a big kick return nearly to midfield (though he almost fumbled it away as he was tackled.)  And reecently signed free agent Chris Prosinski was outstanding, with three big tackles on kick returns. He had three against the Titans too, and three against Philadelphia -- in game one, when he was still on the Jaguars.


I complain about Philadelphia's red zone failures almost every week,  so it's only fair to note that they converted 100% of red zone visits.  Unfortunately, the sample size was very small -- one.

But against Seattle's brutally efficient defense, even that was great to see. Putting Maclin in motion exposed the Hawk's zone defense, Riley Cooper's block on the sideline was perfect, and Mac outran Earl Thomas for an easy score.


The Eagles didn't actually do it, but Malcolm Jenkins had a pick six in his arms before dropping it.  And at the end of the third quarter, Bradley Fletcher had a long bomb in his hands. WR Paul Richardson played some good defense to break up the interception, but the point was made -- despite his efficiency, the Eagles can pick off WIlson.


The Eagles aimed to stuff the run, contain Russell Wilson's scrambles by spying him with Connor Barwin and Mychal Kendricks, pick up some points or at least great field position with special points, and win a close, low-scoring game. For the most part, that all worked, which is reflected in the fact that the score was much closer than you would have guessed, given the horrible statistics and near-complete collapse of the offense.

The Bad


I guess Zach Ertz' touchdown was nice, thought the ball was way underthrown, but he also had that bad drop right through his hands.  Was anything else good? Um, Sanchez wasn't sacked that much I guess (3 times).  Riley Cooper caught 3 of 5 passes but they only totaled 13 yards.  Sproles had ZERO yards on 4 carries and a punt return.  Zizzeroni.  How is that even possible?  Look, the offense SUCKED, OK? They know.  Stop yelling at them. Chip Kelly already told them they played sh*tty in the locker room, and they knew before then too.


Shady put another ball on the ground, leading to a key Seattle touchdown.  He has made a career of carrying the ball recklessly while not actually fumbling much -- but this year it's catching up with him. Sproles muffed a punt but recovered it. Huff was stripped at the end of a nice kick return, but was ruled down.  And Sanchez had Riley Cooper wide open when he threw an interception 8 yards behind him.  (He explained that he "missed a landmark.") Despite some critical tweets, Coop did fight to get back towards the ball but it was a long way off.

3) sanchez won't run.

The read option doesn't work if the quarterback never keeps it.  It just turns into a predictable handoff. After working wonders against the Cowboys with just a couple handoffs pulled back to keep them honest, Sanchez tightened up against Seattle's admittedly fierce defense.  He can't do that against this team.  Just a couple of early pulls would have given him a ton of room to run and kept this defense honest for the rest of the game. You can't be faster than Foles if you don't run.

4) third and long.

I find myself getting disappointed when the Eagles get a second down sack, because it's harder for them to stop 3rd and 15 than it is a 3rd and 4.  Admittedly, the need to spy Russell Wilson hamstrung the pass rush, but Barwin and Kendricks could have at least advanced on him cautiously.  And it's not like the Birds have been great on third and long against immobile QBs either.

5) lack of adjustments.

OK, the refs allowed a lot of grievous bodily harm against Philly's wide receivers without throwing any flags Sunday. The Eagles have big and physical cornerbacks, too. They should have adapted and taken full advantage of those old-fashioned defensive tactics that were mostly banned this year. "Take what they give you" should apply to the referees as well as the opposing defense.

The good news is, the rest of the Eagles' regular season is against one of the crappiest divisions in football: the NFC East.  Hopefully, the coaches can use today's tape to figure out how to beat Seattle in the NFC Championship game, if they can get that far.  Right now though, the only thing that matters is beating Dallas next week.

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