DEPLETED OFFENSE, POOR QUARTERBACK PLAY LEAD TO LOSS TO SEAHAWKS
Despite loss, the Eagles are just one game out first place in the NFC East
Watching Carson Wentz throw passes high, wide and into the dirt for most of the second half of the Eagles frustrating 17-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at the Linc, it became more and more obvious that something was wrong.
There was. Wentz apparently injured his throwing hand while making a tackle after a fumble in the third quarter.
The Eagles quarterback had the hand x-rayed right after the turnover. The results were negative and Wentz did not miss a play. Wentz completed 73.3 percent of his passes on the day going 33 for 45 for 256 yards and one touchdown pass with 20 seconds left in a game the Eagles were never really in after the first quarter. A number of short passes surly conflated his completion percentage.
Wentz was somehow worse than he was last week in the Birds 17-10 loss to the Patriots. The four-year starter fumbled three times, lost two of them, and threw three interceptions.
As a team, the Eagles fumbled four times, losing three of them. Head coach hinted Wentz's hand may have been bothering him earlier in the game.
The original question to the coach at his post game press conference was about Wentz obviously favoring his hand when he came back from the locker room. The coach was asked if his quarterback talked to him about how bad it was hurting.
“No, he tried a glove early in the game,” Pedersdon said. [He] pulled it off in the rain, the rain stopped, and everything was okay with his hand.”
But the eye test showed Wentz was struggling with his accuracy with some relatively easy throws.
Wentz offered no excuses.
“I have to be better,” Wentz said at his post game press conference. “I have to lead this team better. I have to protect the football better. We can’t put it on the ground the way we did. It starts with me. It starts with me and I’m frustrated. I know everyone is frustrated with this loss offensively. Like I said, turning the ball over. It starts with me. I have to be better and we will be.”
While Wentz played one his worst games ever, it should be noted he was missing or has lost a long list of teammates on offense from various injuries including tackle Lane Johnson, wide receivers Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and DeSean Jackson, running backs Jordan Howard, Darren Sproles and Cory Clement.
Wentz also lost his All Pro right guard Brandon Brooks, who left the game at the end of the first half with an undisclosed illness. Pederson said after the game he did not know if Brooks was suffering anxiety issues, a problem he has struggled with in the past.
The offensive line had its worst game of the season, allowing three sacks and having no impact in the running game. The Eagles did not have to deal with Pro Powl defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who was inactive from a hip injury. But rookie Andre Dillard still struggled and was pulled at halftime for Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Matt Pryor filled in at right guard for Brooks. Neither substitute distinguished himself.
Left tackle Jason Peters was asked about the offense’s poor play and if he is frustrated.
“It is very frustrating,” Peters said. “The last two weeks the defense has stepped up and we have done nothing to help them. We have to dig down and finish strong. We didn’t do anything today and we didn’t do anything last week. We have to be tough on ourselves and get ready for next week.”
There were a few positives on offense. Running back Jay Ajayi made his first appearance of the season and it was a positive. The five-year veteran rushed six times for 16 yards. Two of his runs produced first downs.
Wide receiver Greg Ward made his first appearance of the year and it was also a positive. Ward caught six passes for 40 yards..
Zach Ertz led the Eagles with 12 catches for 91 yards and the long touchdown pass.
Former Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks was in a much livelier locker room after the game. A starter in the Eagles Super Bowl team in 2017 is now the starting linebacker for the Seahawks (9-2). He was asked if it was fun coming back to the Linc and coming away with a win.
“Hell Yes!,” Kendricks yelled at his locker after the game. “It's a win. Team win, great win too. I'm excited” Kendricks was asked if playing against Wentz in practice while he was in Philadelphia helped with how well the Seahawks played against him.
“I know Carson well, the team well”:he said. “We did a good job collectively of executing and playing a great game of football.” Four the fourth consecutive week the Eagles defense has played well. The Birds harassed Seattle quarterback into one of his worst games ever. The league MVP contender was 13 of 25 for 200 yards passing, one touchdown, an interception and a quarterback rating of 75.4. He was sacked a whopping six times. The Seahawks dis run the ball well. Seattle rushed 26 times for 174 yards.
Rashaad Penny scored on a 58-yard run in the beginning of the fourth quarter, a touchdown that ended up being the game-winner.
Despite his bad numbers, Wilson thought the offense did very well.
“I thought we played a great game in the sense that we were able to move the ball extremely well against a really tough defense, one of the top defenses we’ve played this year,” Wilson said. “All the players, all their schemes and all the different things they do. The reality is that we really should have had 21 points in the first half. We felt like we missed a couple layups that we normally hit, but we aren’t stressed about that. We know that we can do those things. I think across the board, just to be able to stay within the game and stay focused in a tough environment, really tough environment. It was cold, it was windy, all those things, and to stay composed and to hit a big one in a clutch game, we don’t fear anything, don‘t fear any situations. That’s really where we are and who we are.”
Safety Malcolm Jenkins, who had productive game registering two sacks, six total tackles and four quarterback hurries, was asked if this team can turn it around with five winnable game left on the schedule and the tight standing in the NFC East. The Birds (5-6) are just one game behind the Dallas Cowboys, who lost to New England later in the day.
“I think obviously getting healthy on offense will help us,” Jenkins said. “At the end of the day, I think we’ll get these things figured out. As we get healthier on offense, defense hopefully continues to get better week in and week out. When we start playing complimentary football and get all units playing together, I think we’ll give ourselves a better chance.” *
Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii