We watched the Eagles lose in a big way to the Seahawks on Sunday. Here’s what we saw:
Pass offense: D
Carson Wentz had a mediocre game. He made mistakes, including failing to notice Kam Chancellor on his first interception of the afternoon, and taking an ill-advised shot likely borne of frustration on his second. But, as has been the case so often this season, he was far from the problem in the passing game.
Nelson Agholor dropped a sure-fire 30-yard gain with no defense around him. Agholor also brought back a 57-yard touchdown pass to Zach Ertz with an illegal formation penalty. And even guys like Jordan Matthews and Kenjon Barner dropped easy passes with little to no defense around.
This has been the tale of the entire season, but never was it more evident than in Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks. Wentz needs people to help him score points. He can’t throw it to himself. And when your wide receivers are unable to get open, or catch passes on the rare occasion they end up in space, you’re going to struggle in a big way.
No points awarded for a garbage time drive.
Run offense: B
The Eagles ran 26 times for 113 yards on Sunday, despite the fact that they were missing their two best running backs for essentially an entire half. Wendell Smallwood looked fairly solid in relief, running 13 times for 48 yards.
That any Eagles running back was able to pick up yards and make things happen on the ground when Seattle knew how absolutely futile the Eagles’ passing game was on Sunday is astounding. There was very little fear of Wentz being able to throw to players like Nelson Agholor or Dorial Green-Beckham, and yet the ground game still turned out triple figures.
A mildly bright spot on an otherwise dark, dark day in the Northwest. Unfortunately, it wasn't nearly enough.
Pass defense: D
Jalen Mills looked very bad all afternoon long. Russell Wilson effectively had what he desired all day long, including back-to-back long passes last in the second quarter. Even Doug Baldwin threw a touchdown pass.
It’s time to acknowledge that while this secondary might theoretically be an upgrade from what Billy Davis was operating two years ago, with Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams at opposite ends of the field, it’s not substantially so. Leodis McKelvin is an average-at-best cornerback. Losing Ron Brooks for the year didn’t help the unit, but he is a marginal corner at best as well.
Mills, for his part, is not good enough to stay with good wide receivers on the outside. He might have a future as a slot corner, but the play on which Baldwin torched him in the first half showed everything wrong with Mills’ game. His positioning was very bad, his hip movement was poor, and he wasn’t nearly fast enough to recover in any way.
Generally speaking, they need better players in the secondary if they want to stick with a team like Seattle going forward. The safeties are good. Everyone else is not.
Run defense: D
The Eagles entered Sunday’s game believing full well that their run defense was the the part of Jim Schwartz’s unit they could hang their hat on. After completely shutting down the Giants and Falcons in back-to-back games, it seemed the Seahawks’ woeful run game — 30th in the league in rush yards, and they cut their leading rusher in the week leading up to the game! — were primed for stuffing.
Instead, Seattle piled up 152 yards on the ground. C.J. Prosise broke a 72-yard touchdown on the Seahawks’ second drive of the game, busting through a momentarily apathetic defensive line and torching Jalen Mills in the open field.
It’s easy to criticize a group of porous players, like the Eagles’ cornerbacks, and yell about how they need to be better. They are bad. That much is known. But when a group of theoretically very talented players, like the Eagles’ defensive line, plays terribly despite having a seemingly favorable matchup, you have a much bigger problem.