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  • Writer's pictureAl Thompson


Updated: Sep 29, 2020

One of eight sacks against Bengals rookie QB Joe Burrow. Photo by Andy Lewis

To be honest, it looked like a certain loss late in the fourth quarter. The Eagles trailed the upstart Cincinnati Bengals 23-16 with just 3:05 left in regulation. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz had played poorly all afternoon.

The fifth-year signal caller had thrown two interceptions and overthrew Miles Sanders on what looked like a sure touchdown earlier in the quarter.

But Wentz led the Birds (0-2-1) on an eleven-play 75-yard drive that resulted in a seven-yard touchdown run that tied the game 23-23 and with 21 seconds left in the quarter, sending it to overtime.

The Eagles defense dominated Joe Burrow and the Bengals in overtime, stopping the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft on all three Bengals drives, sacking him twice and limiting him to one first down in those three drives. Burrows was asked if he was ever involved in a ties during his career.

“No. I don’t know,” said Burrow, who finished 31 of 44 for 312 yards, two TD passes and no interceptions. “This is a loss to me. I don’t really know. We didn’t win.”

Nate Herbig's holding call on the second drive of overtime was considered a petty call by some observers, but it was a holding call that effectively ended the drive. Phot by Andy Lewis.

The Eagles had multiple opportunities to win the game in overtime. The Birds second drive reached the Bengals 43- and 42-yard line respectively but were pushed back each time by penalties to right Lane Johnson (false start) and Nate Herbig (holding), who was making his third NFL start.

Wentz started the Eagles last drive with great field position at their own 45-yard line and 1:41 left in overtime.

The Eagles moved the ball to the Cincinnati 41-yard line with 23 seconds left, fourth down and no time outs. Pederson was going to have Jake Elliott try to win the game in a 59-yard field goal.

Elliott had hit a 54-yard shot in the third quarter. But a false start by guard Matt Pryor moved the ball back five yards, then a delay of game called on the Eagles move it back five more yards. It was fourth and 17 from the Philadelphia 49-yard line with 19 seconds left.

Pederson, instead of going for it, decided to punt, knowing he was settling for a tie. After the game he said it was the right decision, but on Monday, Pederson said, in hindsight, he should have gone for it.

“My decision. Looking back, I probably would have elected to maybe go for it in that situation and try to get the ball down the field." Pederson said.

There wasn't much joy coming from either locker room.

“I told them in the locker room after the game that we weren't a very smart football team today,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said during his post game video conference. “I think 11 penalties. Some came at crucial times. We couldn't get off the field on defense. Offensively, we didn't execute well enough. We had some injuries, but that's going to be part of the game. Just not a smart football team right now. That's on me. We'll get that fixed as we get ready for this next week.”

Pederson did end his answer on a positive note, sort of.

“I like how our team battled, hung in there, came back to tie the game at the end,” said Pederson, whose team is now 19-18-1 since the Super Bowl win. “But just overall not very smart today, not very disciplined when those are some of the things we talk about quite a bit.”

Against Cincinnati, Carson Wentz was sacked three times. He was hit five times. Photo by Andy Lewis

Wentz was 29 of 47 for 225 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He was sacked three times and ran nine times for 65 yards and a touchdown. He QB rating was 62.8.

Miles Sanders led the Eagles in the ground with 95 yards on 18 carries.

Wentz was asked about his two interceptions Sunday.

“The first one, I felt good about it,” said Wentz meaning he thought the ball was on target when it left his hand. “The ball gets tipped at the line. That’s a bad feeling when you’re back there and you’re seeing the ball flutter through the air. It gets tipped at the line of scrimmage and [Bengals LB Logan Wilson] made a good play. The other one, I got aggressive there trying to get one in there to Ertz and (LeShaun Sims) made a good play. That’s something that I have to be better with.”

On the impact of the injuries to the Eagles’ offensive unit which lost tight end Dallas Goedert and wide receiver DeSean Jackson during the course of the game.

“It’s definitely always difficult,” Wentz said. “It’s always a challenge. In a week, it’s one thing. In a game, it’s even tougher. But none of those things are excuses. Guys prepare and guys are ready to go. That’s why we’re all here – ready to go when our number is called. I thought guys did a good job. Like I said earlier, I think, guys stepped up where they needed to. The offensive line, I thought they played well. I’ll obviously have to watch the tape, but I’m proud of the way guys are next man up. There’s no big eyes like, ‘What’s going on?’ Guys are ready to go, they know their stuff, and we have to just be better and play smart.”

Clearly his best play of the game, Carson Wentz scores on a seven-yard run to tie the game with 21 seconds left in the fourth quarter against the Bengals. Photo by Andy Lewis

Wentz was asked about the ups and downs the Eagles offense is experiencing this year. Sunday's 23 point total was the high mark of the season.

“Really, that’s every game,” he said. “You’re going to miss a couple [throws] and you’re going to make some plays. Things happen. Obviously, I just have to be better, handle some of these. Some of them are communication, just making sure we’re on the same page with everybody, and some are just poor throws. I have to be better, and I will. We’re still meshing and gelling as a team and building the chemistry. There were a lot of moving pieces today, not as an excuse, but guys will continue to get this experience and learn from it. We’ll all be better, including myself.”

The Eagles defense pounded the Bengals offensive line for eight sacks. But for the third consecutive week came up with no turnovers.

Veteran linebacker Brandon Graham addressed the problem.

“We have to do better with that,” said Graham, who recorded four solo tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss and four quarterback hurries. “We were talking about it out there on trying to make turnover plays. They did a good job on protecting the ball. Opportunities came for us to get the ball and we just didn’t get it. I will say we stayed together through all the adversity we went through in this game. We are going to come in Wednesday ready to work.”

Graham said the Birds are sticking together and will turn things around.

“Everybody is still together – most of the game was on us,” he said. “Pre-snap penalties killed us in the end getting us out of field goal range. That is something that Doug preaches all the time. Don’t beat ourselves. I know that he hasn’t lost the team; nobody is worried. We know we just have to get a W and things will definitely take care of themselves. Us giving up on each other, nah, we work too hard for that.”

BIRD NOTES: Eagles will have to play without Dallas Goedert and Avonte Maddox for a while, Doug Pederson said at his video conference.

Pederson did say DeSean Jackson’s hamstring strain may not keep him off the field against San Francisco. Jackson had just two first-half catches for 11 yards.

Left tackle Jason Peters limped off the field with 55 seconds left in overtime but the 38-year-old should be good to go for Sunday.

Pederson said Peters, 38, is OK, “it was just some fatigue that set in late in the game.”

The coach also said there is an outside chance that Alshon Jeffery could see some time.

The With rookies Jalen Reagor out with thumb surgery and sixth-round rookie Quez Watkins (hamstring) sidelined, The Eagles offense could use some help, especially a big target like Jeffery.

2019 second-round draft pick JJ Arcega-Whiteside played a dozen and a half snaps Sunday and was not targeted. *

Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii

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