The 2016 Eagles season ended on Sunday, and with nothing to play for against a team that rested some key players, there wasn’t much to learn about the Eagles in this game that we didn’t already know, but we did notice a few things.
Zach Ertz saves the best for last
Once again the improved late season play of Zach Ertz is a talking point for the Eagles, as his December performances outshadow the rest of his season. But how about his January games: last season the final game of the year was also in January, and he put up 152 yards on 9 catches, and he had a touchdown in the 2013 playoff game that was played in January of 2014. That gives him 313 yards and 3 touchdowns on 25 catches in January games. Prorated to 16 games, that’s 133 catches for 1,669 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Jordan Hicks owns the Cowboys
Speaking of prorating, if Jordan Hicks played a 16 game season exclusively against the Cowboys, he would have 16 interceptions, 4 touchdowns and 4 sacks. He’s the league MVP when he plays Dallas.
Carson Wentz keeps getting blood from a stone
27 of 43 for 245 yards and 2 touchdowns is a solid but unspectacular stat line, but in the context of spending most of the game with only Dorial Green-Beckham, Paul Turner and Bryce Treggs at WR, it’s a pretty good performance. Yes, the Cowboys were resting starters. But not all of them, while the Eagles, already with the worst group of WRs in the league with Jordan Matthews, were missing both Matthews and then for most of the game Nelson Agholor (which is no big loss), and adding to the degree of difficulty, the Eagles had three backup running backs, including a practice squad player making his debut. There wasn’t any run game to lean on and the WRs were of no help. As if we needed another reminder that Carson Wentz is the Eagles offense, Sunday was another example of the potential that can be realized with even a competent supporting cast.
Even in a win the Eagles offseason needs are apparent
We’re going to have months to talk about it, but even as the Eagles beat the Cowboys it was clear that the Eagles need to add a couple of wide receivers and corner backs, an every down running back, and additions to the offensive and defensive lines would help as well. In the glass half full department, to win 7 games in need of all of that is pretty good.
Mike Trout loves the Eagles
We all knew that two-time American League MVP Mike Trout, a south Jersey native, is a huge Eagles fan. When Carson Wentz gave him a touchdown ball he reacted not like a grown man who makes $145 million but like a kid with a $1.45 allowance. Which is funny in a good way, Mike Trout is on his way to a Hall of Fame career and getting a game ball was a huge deal to him. Maybe it’s just me but it’s entertaining when super stars act like regular people when outside of their superstar environment.
The roller coaster has finished
2016 was a weird season. We started off with unsure expectations in the offseason, then when Carson Wentz was made the starter we unified behind a rebuilding season. But then the Eagles got hot, changing expectations, then they didn’t, changing them again. There were highs, the dismantling of the Steelers and shutting down the Falcons’ absurd offense were great games and ending the Vikings unbeaten run was fun too, and there were the lows of a five game losing streak with questionable effort and late game losses to all three division rivals. Ending on a two game winning streak against the Giants and Cowboys was a fitting end to a season that couldn’t seem to make up it’s mind as to what it wanted to be.
There are happy endings
Terrell Watson, who as a baby was left on his grandparents’ doorsteps by his mother and grew up with a learning disability so severe that he struggled with learning how to read for most of his life. But Watson overcame it and learned to read, and he turned out to be a pretty good football player, breaking Christian Okoye’s records at Azusa Pacific and in 2014 lead all of the NCAA with 2,212 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns. And on Sunday, he scored a touchdown. The NFL has more than it’s fair share of despicable players, it was nice to see a heartwarming story get rewarded.