The hemorrhaging continues. The vacant looks said it. The Eagles did not know how to react after Drew Lock’s last kneel down secured the Seattle Seahawks’ 20-17 comeback victory over the Eagles Monday night at Lumen Field.
Seahawks’ coach Pete Carroll remains a perfect 8-0 in his career against the Eagles, who lost for the third-straight time and may have seen their season lost in the flotsam of costly fourth-quarter turnovers by the ailing Jalen Hurts, continuous problems getting off the field on third down, and a team seemingly in disarray at the most important time of the season.
Hurts, who had been battling an illness entering the game, finished 17 of 31 for 143 yards, with two interceptions and two rushing touchdowns, while Seattle back-up Lock completed 22 of 33 for 208 and a game-winning touchdown pass to Jaxon Smith-Njigba with 28 seconds to play.
On Seattle’s game-winning touchdown drive, the two daggers came on third-and-10 at the Seahawks’ 37 when Lock hit D.K. Metcalf between James Bradberry and Sydney Brown for 34 yards. On third-and-10 again at the Eagles’ 29, Lock tossed the game-winning pass to Smith-Njigba. They were the only two third-down conversions the Seahawks converted in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles had a chance to tie the score with two timeouts left. With the ball sitting at the Eagles’ 45 with 13 seconds remaining, Hurts opted to look for A.J. Brown down the sideline instead of looking for something short in the middle of the field to set up Jake Elliott, and was intercepted a second time in the fourth quarter by Julian Love.
It was Seattle’s first win this season after trailing by double digits (10-0, Seattle was 0-5).
The Eagles are now 10-4 with far more questions ahead than answers. They have already secured a playoff berth and will still most likely win the NFC East again.
But this team was built to get back and win the Super Bowl.
Is this a Super Bowl team?
The way the Eagles are listing heavily now, is that a realistic possibility (sans the midnight green shades)?
It is a team that continuously talks about “cleaning things up” 14 games into the season.
“I’ve been talking about execution all year, everyone being on the same page, we didn’t execute and I don’t think we were committed enough,” said Hurts about the two-minute offense. It’s a challenge we have to embrace. We just have to see it through.”
There was some good, some bad and an ugly ending in the Eagles’ 20-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Running back D’Andre Swift’s 11-yard fourth-quarter run, completed by sliding at the Eagles’ 47 in bounds with 3:45 left, realizing Seattle had only one timeout left keeping the clock running.
Defensive tackle Jalen Carter’s seven-yard sack with 10:05 left to play on a third-and-two at the Eagles’ 25. The initial ruling was an incomplete pass, but Nick Sirianni wisely challenged the play and it was determined Carter had Seattle quarterback Drew Lock down before he released the ball. The Seahawks had to settle for a 43-yard field goal with 10:00 left.
Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox combining for a four-yard sack—the first of the game—at the Seattle 22 on a third-and-nine with 3:56 left in the third quarter.
The Eagles’ first drive of the second half. It came in response to Seattle tying the score at 10-10, putting the Eagles back up, 17-10. Like the first drive of the game, the Eagles used a nice mix of running and passing. The 12-play drive went 75 yards over 5:22, with seven of the 12 plays passes, and five runs. The Eagles converted three third downs.
The Eagles first half. They outgained Seattle, 169-90, ran off 40 plays to Seattle’s 23 and held the ball 18:56 to Seattle’s 11:04. Of the Eagles’ 12 first downs in the first half, seven came on the ground. Of the Eagles’ 40 plays, 23 were running plays for a total of 90 yards. The Eagles held D.K Metcalf and Tyler Lockett for a combined three catches for 25 yards on four targets.
Going into halftime ahead, 10-3, breaking a streak of six-straight games in which the Eagles had trailed at halftime: Washington (down 17-10 at halftime), Dallas (17-14), Kansas City (17-7), Buffalo (17-7), San Francisco (14-6 halftime in a 42-19 loss) and Dallas (24-6 in a 33-13 loss).
Safety Reed Blankenship’s stop on Jaxon Smith-Njigba at the Eagles’ seven on Seattle’s last first half possession. It finally marked a stop in the red zone—and on third down, a very dubious situation for the Eagles’ defense all season. Blankenship’s tackle forced a Jason Myers’ 26-yard field goal with 1:42 left in the half.
Cornerback Kelee Ringo has had his problems so far his rookie season, but coming up to nail Seattle running back Kenneth Walker for no gain on the Seahawks’ 27 on Seattle’s third drive was a quality stop.
The Eagles offense on their first and third drives. With 6:20 left in the half, holding a 10-0 lead, the Eagles had run off 33 plays, for 148 yards in 17-minutes, 55-seconds time of possession, and had picked up 11 first downs to Seattle’s nine plays, for 35 yards, 5:45 time of possession and one first down.
Converting on fourth-and-three at the 19 on the Eagles’ third drive at the 19. Hurts found Julio Jones for six and a first down.
Defensive end Josh Sweat making great penetration and blowing up Seattle running back Kenneth Walker for a six-yard loss on the Seahawks’ first play of their second drive at the Seattle 21.
The Eagles’ opening drive. It was brilliant. It’s the template that made the Eagles Super Bowl contenders in the beginning of the season. Hurts had already targeted more receivers—four—than he did the entire game against Dallas. The Eagles reeled off 15 plays, rolling 75 yards and chewed up 8 minutes, 29 seconds. The Eagles converted four third downs, including Hurts’ three-yard touchdown with 6:31 left in the opening quarter. The Eagles showed great balance, rushing the ball 10 times and throwing it fives times. Hurts completed third-down passes to Dallas Goedert and A.J. Brown, and the Eagles plowed through the Seattle porous run defense for 36 yards—including Hurts rolling right for 13 on the first play of the game. Something also has to be mentioned about the rhythmic way the Eagles moved on the drive, using tempo and constantly putting Seattle’s defense on its heels.
Eagles’ defense on Seattle’s first series. Maybe it was the Matt Patricia effect. The Eagles held the Seahawks to a three-and-out on the their drive, thanks to a nickel corner Bradley Roby’s tackle on D.K. Metcalf for eight yards at the Seattle 34.
Left guard Landon Dickerson’s false start on a second-and-eight at the Eagles’ 23 with 2:44 left in the third quarter. Second-and-eight became second-and-13 and one player later, the Eagles were forced to punt.
Invaluable right tackle Lane Johnson going down clutching his left ankle after Seattle linebacker Darrell Taylor rolled back up on him on a first-and-10 at the Eagles’ 21 with 3:09 left in the third quarter. Fortunately, Johnson (88-50-1 with him; 14-22 without him) was able to get back on the field one play later.
Bad play call or bad execution on a second-and-four on the Eagles’ first drive of the second half at the Seattle 44 for a five-yard loss, when Hurts tossed a screen to D’Andre Swift that was snuffed out by the Seahawks’ Leonard Williams.
Hurts’ false start penalty on the Eagles second drive. The Eagles went from third-and-five at the Eagles’ 17 to a third-and-10 at the 12. The Eagles went three-and-out there.
Hurts’ two fourth-quarter interceptions to Julian Love and 17th overall turnovers this season (as opposed to eight all the last year; 12 interceptions/5 lost fumbles). Love was there in the end zone with 8:08 left to play. Hurts was looking for Quez Watkins (why?), though replays showed Love had his right hand on Watkins’ jersey. Love made a great reaction sliding over left to help Tre Brown covering A.J. Brown down the sideline with :06 left. It was a great play by Love, who came over and got his feet down. The ball was underthrown by Hurts, who had two timeouts left and about 15 yards to go to put the game-tying field goal on Jake Elliott’s foot. Why go there when they could have opted to go to the middle of the field with timeouts left to position Elliott? Another huge key was Hurts holding the ball and looking at A.J. Brown all the way gave Love time to get over.
Seattle’s game-winning drive, going a season-best 92 yards. Under new defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, the Eagles yielded a 29-yard touchdown to Jaxon Smith-Njigba over Bradberry with :28 left and the Seahawks did it 1:24. Lock completed five of 10 for all 92 yards. Metcalf, who had been held in check most of the game, came alive, catching three of Lock’s five completions for 58 yards.
Metcalf’s 34-yard reception between cornerback James Bradberry and safety Sydney Brown, who had a tough game, at the Eagles’ 29 on a third-and-10 from the Seattle 37 with 56 seconds left. It was the backbreaker that led to Seattle’s go-ahead touchdown.
Bradberry’s interference call on Metcalf on Seattle’s fourth-and-two at the Eagles’ 30 with 11:21 left in the fourth quarter. Bradberry clearly had his right hand around Metcalf’s waist.
Brown’s inability to down Walker for a loss on Seattle’s fourth play of the second half. Brown had Walker wrapped on a second-and-three at the Seattle 42, and Walker broke free, gaining 15 yards to the Eagles’ 43. Seattle’s first drive of the second half was not a particularly good for Brown, who went groping for air after taking a very bad angle on Walker’s 23-yard touchdown—tied for the longest TD run against the Eagles in three years. Brown appeared to have Walker lined up as he cut back at the 20, but the Eagles’ rookie safety committed inside and Walker ran around him. The rest of the play was blocked very well by the Seahawks. Brown was the only Eagle defender that had a clear, clean shot at him—and missed. Later in the third quarter, Walker shrugged off Brown again for a seven-yard gain after it looked like Brown had him for a loss in the last minute of the third quarter.
Bradberry and Blankenship getting burned down the middle on Smith-Njigba’s 13-yard reception just before the two-minute warning of the second half at the Eagles’ 14. It was a third-and-10 and the Eagles’ woeful third-down defense surfaced there.
Cornerback Josh Jobe’s 20-yard pass interference penalty on Metcalf, moving the ball from the Seattle 25 to the 45 on the Seahawks’ third drive. It was only Seattle’s second first down of the game. The flag jumpstarted a dormant Seattle offense.
The false start on center Jason Kelce on the Eagles’ third drive at the Seattle three on third-and-one. It was ticky-tack and cost the Eagles five yards, forcing a Jake Elliott 27-yard field goal with 6:20 left in the half.
Joseph Santoliquito is a hall of fame, award-winning sportswriter based in the Philadelphia area who has written feature stories for SI.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com, MLB.com, Deadspin and The Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News. In 2006, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for a special project piece for ESPN.com called “Love at First Beep.” He is most noted for his award-winning ESPN.com feature on high school wrestler A.J. Detwiler in February 2006, which appeared on SportsCenter. In 2015, he was elected president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.