The Eagles lost to the Seahawks 26-15, and it was more of the same we’ve seen all season. With 10 games down and the same problems every week, we’re now past the point of learning much about the team. Might as well embrace it.
1 It’s the same thing every week, and that’s not so bad
Every week the Eagles have encountered the same struggle: pass catchers playing terribly. With Carson Wentz limited by the worst group of wide receivers in the league, he’s only going to be able to do so much. Jordan Matthews makes awful drops, and he’s by far the best WR on the team. Nelson Agholor is terrible. Dorial Green-Beckham is invisible for long stretches. We’ve known this for weeks. Carson Wentz is doing everything he can, at times he’s doing too much, but overall he’s having a fine rookie season. He’s made his fair share of rookie mistakes, which are only magnified by his receivers giving him nothing to work with. He needs help, and it’s something we’ve known all year.
Now compare that to next week’s opponent, the 4-6 Packers. Early in the season the Packers defense was dominant, in their first four games they gave up a total of 171 rushing yards. But in their last two they have given up 305. Aaron Rodgers is usually excellent at not turning the ball over, he’s already had 5 games with an interception. Two years ago he had five total interceptions. He’s played some the most and least efficient games of his career this year. Devante Adams leads the Packers in receiving yards, he has 6 games with 50 or fewer yards. The Packers are bad this year, and they’re bad for different reasons pretty much every week. Their issues run deep, from head coach on down.
The Eagles consistent struggles are by comparison a much better place to be in. If the offense had a couple of competent wide receivers they would be able to move the ball, which we’ve been saying all year. They need an every down running back, which we’ve been saying all year. The defense needs depth, which we’ve been saying all year.
When it’s a different problem every week, then the issues on a team run deep. When it’s the same thing week in and week out, that is a lot easier to correct. The Eagles will have to wait until the offseason to do so, but at least the plan is clear. There’s a lot of teams in the league who can’t say that.
2 The defense can’t carry the team every game
The defense came up huge in upsets against the Falcons, Vikings and Steelers, and played pretty well in the loss to Dallas. The hope was that they would do so again against Russell Wilson and give the offense a chance. They had a bad game at every level, but we’ve seen this before: they put the team in a big hole early against the Lions and were run all over by the Redskins. It’s still a good defense, a very good one at that. The Seahawks on the road were a bridge too far, which isn’t at all surprising. They’re 32-5 at home with Russell Wilson. That’s a better winning percentage than the Patriots with Tom Brady.
3 Still playing dumb football
Chip Kelly said he valued a high “football IQ” and then went out and brought in a slew of dumb players. They’re still feeling the effects of that with Nelson Agholor’s inexcusable illegal formation penalty. WRs routinely line up and look to the official to check if they are on the line of scrimmage. It should be ingrained into their minds, like how QBs are the last to enter a huddle so that they can count how many are in it and avoid a too many men in the huddle penalty. If Agholor had looked, he would have not only seen WR coach Greg Lewis motioning him, but also the official telling him to move up. And the Eagles kept playing him after that and his brutal drop.
It’s not just the low IQ though. The Eagles are one of the most penalized teams in the league, averaging over 8 per game, and they had 8 against Seattle. They lead the league in pre-snap penalties. That’s on the coaching staff. The Eagles have the 4th most false start penalties, the 2nd unnecessary roughness calls and the most offensive pass interference penalties. Careless mistakes that the team is making week after week.
4 Allen Barbre is pretty good
When Jason Peters left the game with a forearm injury, it felt like the beginning of the end of the game. But Allen Barbre played well at left tackle, then moved over to right tackle in place of Halapoulivaati Vaitai when he got injured and did well there too. It’s a lot to ask of a player to play three positions in one game, and do it against one of the best teams in the league. Nice job.
5 It could be worse
This time last year the Eagles were 4-6, coming of a brutal loss to the Buccaneers with Mark Sanchez at QB.
I’ll take 5-5 with Carson Wentz. Happy holidays.