The Philadelphia Eagles (10-2) were defeated on Sunday Night Football by the Seattle Seahawks (8-4) by the final score of 24-10 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. The Eagles made some mistakes in this game and, going up against a good team like the Seattle Seahawks, lost the game. Russell Wilson outplayed Carson Wentz in the battle for MVP, and Doug Pederson lost the coaching battle to Pete Carroll.
1. Eagles self-inflicted errors proved costly in the loss to Seattle
Let’s begin with the penalties. The Eagles once again struggled to play controlled football, this time getting penalized seven times for 64 yards. Four of those penalties extended Seattle drives by giving them a first down.
Now let’s hit the turnovers. Carson Wentz, who has been brilliant this season when it comes to controlling the football, turned the ball over twice on Sunday night. One of those turnovers occurred at the goal line, where the ball proceeded to go out the back of the end zone and resulted in a change of possession. His next turnover came late in the game, when Philadelphia was down 14 in the final minutes of the game. Wentz clearly forced the ball deep in an attempt to get a quick score, but the play resulted in a Byron Maxwell interception that sealed the game for Seattle.
It’s simple. Going against a good team like the Seahawks, you can’t make costly turnovers and self-inflicted errors or the game will be lost. The Eagles did both of those on Sunday night and that is one of the main reasons why they are finding themselves to be 10-2 on Monday morning.
2. Russell Wilson put together a perfect game, solidifies his name in the MVP race
Russell Wilson was having a good season going into Sunday night’s matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles. After his performance in Seattle’s win, he is having a great season. Wilson completed 20 of 31 passes for 227 yards and three TDs to go with 31 yards on the ground. His passer rating was 118.6, Wilson rose up to a new level right when his team needed him the most, and he did it against one of the NFL’s top defenses. Most importantly, Wilson did something that Wentz wasn’t able to do, and that was play mistake-free football. Wilson, who has totaled 3,256 yards, 26 TDs, and eight interceptions through the air and 432 yards and three TDs on the ground this season, definitely solidified his spot in the MVP conversation.
3. Carson Wentz still showed that he is a special quarterback
Amongst all the talk about the performance of Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz still had himself a good game. Sure he turned the ball over twice (one of those times was just a great play by Seattle defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson to strip the ball out), but Wentz also made some fantastic plays to keep Philadelphia within striking distance throughout most of the fourth quarter.
Down 17-3 early in the fourth quarter, the Eagles offense needed to get something going. After getting sacked on second down, Wentz and the Eagles were forced into a third and long deep in their side of the field. That’s where the magic happened, as Wentz was somehow able to get a throw off, as he was stumbling and getting hit, 40-plus yards to Nelson Agholor for a crucial first down. Later in the drive, Wentz once again escaped pressure from Seattle and threw a beautiful pass to Nelson Agholor for a touchdown. These two plays that occurred late in the game show and exemplify why Wentz is such a special quarterback. He might have been outplayed by his counterpart Russell Wilson, but Wentz still put on a good show, totaling 348 yards to go with a touchdown and a late interception.
4. Vaunted Eagles pass rush was neutralized by Wilson’s escapability
The Eagles defense came into Sunday night near the top of the league with 31 sacks. Philadelphia has a very talented defensive line that loves to get after the quarterback. Brandon Graham led the team with seven sacks, Fletcher Cox had 5.5 sacks and rookie Derek Barnett had 4.5 sacks. However, the Eagles only totaled two sacks against Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks.
Wilson, known for being able to use his mobility to escape pressure in the pocket, was able to escape from the grasp of a Philadelphia defender a countless number of times last night. Over and over again Wilson was able to extend a play and pick up yards on a play where most other quarterbacks would have been sacked. The Eagles defense was stymied last night by a quarterback who showed that he can escape pressure almost at will.
5. Doug Pederson not challenging a crucial play in the game
Third down and 8, 10:06 remaining in the game. Wilson evades pressure and scrambles ahead but will be brought down short of the first down, but he tosses the ball over to running back Mike Davis who runs ahead for a 17-yard gain. The pass was an illegal forward pass, as Wilson had already crossed the line of scrimmage. Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson didn’t throw down the challenge flag, and Seattle later went on to score a touchdown to widen their lead to 24-10.
At a crucial point in the game, why did Pederson not challenge that play? If he did, the call on the field would surely have been overturned and Seattle would have had to punt the football away. Even if Pederson didn’t challenge, a penalty flag should have flown for an illegal forward pass. However, that didn’t happen either and Seattle took advantage. Down by 14 with seven minutes remaining, the Eagles were never able to recover as they lost the game by that score of 24-10.
6. A usually aggressive Doug Pederson called an unaggressive game
Doug Pederson, in his short time as an NFL head coach, has been known to make risky decisions during games. He almost always goes for it on fourth down and short if the ball is at or past midfield, and he tends to call a lot of passing plays downfield. Well, on Sunday night in a playoff atmosphere at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, a usually aggressive Pederson decided to change it up.
It began on the Eagles’ first drive of the game when on 4th and short from their 47-yard line, Pederson decided to punt the ball to Seattle instead of going for it. Pederson then changed the game plan to make it more run heavy after Wentz got hit a few times during the team’s first few drives. The Eagles ran the ball 19 times and passed it 13 times in the first half to the tune of only three points on the scoreboard.
The play calling changed in the second half, as Philadelphia got down by more points and Wentz eventually began to start airing the ball downfield. However, the lack of aggressiveness still was showing itself. Pederson, as mentioned above, decided to not throw down the challenge flag on a crucial play at a critical point in the game. Pederson, for whatever reason, seemed to get flustered by the playoff atmosphere in Seattle, which is something that he can’t afford to do come playoff time.
7. Nelson Agholor had perhaps the best game of his career
Nelson Agholor, who many thought was a bust going into this season, continues to amaze Eagles fans with his newfound confidence and good play. Agholor totaled 141 yards and a touchdown on seven catches in the loss. Agholor showed that he can be a clutch receiver on Sunday night when he hauled in two catches on the Eagles touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. On the season, Agholor has totaled 40 catches for 599 yards and seven TDs.
8. Injuries, injuries, injuries
The Eagles were hit with the injury bug in Seattle in one big way. Star tight end Zach Ertz left the game in the fourth quarter with a head injury. Ertz, who has seven TDs this season, has proven to be one of the best tight ends in the league, and even more importantly, a favorite target of young quarterback Carson Wentz. More information will be coming out later in the week about the injury as well as Ertz’s status for next Sunday’s game in Los Angeles.
9. Relax Eagles fans, the Eagles are still a top team in the NFL this season
The Philadelphia Eagles were on a nine game winning streak heading into their matchup with the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks beat the Eagles by the final score of 24-10 to end that winning streak. As a result, many fans and analysts alike are jumping off of the Eagles bandwagon. In the words of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, relax.
The Eagles still sit at 10-2 and tied with the Minnesota Vikings for the first seed in the NFC. Philadelphia had a tough loss in a playoff atmosphere against a team that was fighting virtually for their spot in the playoffs. Not many teams are able to go into Seattle and win, especially in the month of December. The Eagles had came into that game with a bit of swagger and it is quite possible that they were overconfident. However, after losing to the Seahawks, the Eagles should be an angry team as they head into a big matchup with the 9-3 Los Angeles Rams.
The Philadelphia Eagles (10-2) are staying on the West Coast this week as they prepare to face the Los Angeles Rams (9-3). The game will take place at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 4:25 p.m. on FOX.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Kiel Leggere/www.philadelphiaeagles.com