ONE win and we’re in. Despite this loss, that is still our situation. One win clinches the division and gets us a seat at the playoff table. Then we’ll be among teams who are REALLY playing for something in 2017. We have 5 remaining games to get that one win. That is Step One. Step One has been and is still the focus since OTA’s. Eyes on the prize.
Eagles 10 – Seahawks 24
For anyone trying to find a silver lining in this game, you could point to the continued resurgence of WR Nelson Agholor (7 – 141 – 20.1 – 1). The 2017 season indicates that he may be the Eagles best wide receiver. (At least if you go by what happens on the field, not off of it.) QB Carson Wentz (29/45 – 64.4% – 348 – 1 – 1) felt he could rely on Agholor, so he looked his way early and often.
I hear you asking, “What about all the stuff that stats don’t reveal?” Well, that’s the reason for these “Four Things” articles. We introduce an idea of what needs addressing BEFORE the game, so that fans have to honestly answer questions about those things, AFTER the game. This helps to get us, and keep us, all on the same page.
So, of the Four Things we were looking for in this last game, what exactly did we see?
1) Intimidate: The idea was to nail Seattle’s QB when he scrambled/ran, so that we could… encourage him to stay in the pocket. Instead, our defenders did a poor job of lane restricting, which allowed him to run around like that chicken Rocky was chasing. Worse yet, when we did hit him, it was rarely delivered with any nastiness. (NOT DONE)
2) Snag the line: The idea was to alternate between confusing and overloading their offensive line. Neither happened. We frequently gave the Seahawks both coverage and blitz looks that even Dak Prescott could read. (NOT DONE)
3) Light ‘em up: With the vaunted Legion of Boom down to ¼ of it’s members, going after Seattle’s secondary should have been job one. Instead, our QB spent the night throwing to his #3 WR instead of his #1 and #2 starters. It was a night were even before his concussion, TE Zach Ertz (2 – 24 -12.0 – 0) saw fewer targets than back-up TE Trey Burton (4 – 42 – 10.5 – 0). The play-calling almost looked like Head Coach Doug Pederson was afraid of Seattle. (NOT DONE)
4) Run ‘em down: The idea was that we needed to run the ball against Seattle’s undersized defensive line. In general when we ran against them, we moved the ball. Then for some reason we just stopped doing it. The first half had us run it 14 times (with players not named Wentz), and the score was 3 – 10. The second half saw 5 (non-Wentz) runs in the 3rd quarter. The score moved to 3 – 17. Still not “out of hand”. On FOUR 4th quarter possessions, we would run the ball only once. (NOT DONE)
This week we went 0 for 4 on Four Things, which got us this nice shiny “L”. We got handled out there. Not quite manhandled, but handled nonetheless. We got away from being who we are, and that NEVER makes a problem better. The Rams present an opportunity for us to be the team we know that we are. Let the damage go and stay in the hunt for our dreams. “Push out the jive. Bring in the love.”
On The Whole:
The knee-jerk reaction to a loss is for fans to blame the players. However, I’m thinking this loss goes to the coaching staff. No not because of the forward lateral that we didn’t challenge, but because of the entire approach to this game, from the get-go.
Passes down the field early in the game, were absent this week. There was also no attempt to get TE Zach Ertz going early. For some reason were suddenly obsessed with throwing passes to RB Jay Ajayi (9 – 35 – 3.9 – 0 – 0 /3 – 11 – 3.7 – 0). We also seemed timid about going for it on 4th down, until later in the game. Not to mention the aforementioned discontinuation of the run game, even when the score was still manageable. So much of this game felt alien.
I won’t give Doug Pederson crap for not challenging the forward lateral. However, given that we did lose the one challenge on the first down catch by WR Torrey Smith (5 – 29 – 5.8 (seriously?!) – 0), it does bring into question how reliable the Eagles booth crew is at determining when Doug should and shouldn’t toss that red flag. This is something that needs addressing before the playoffs. Maybe some refresher exercises for those guys need to take place over the next couple weeks? Couldn’t hurt, right.
I don’t see that there was much for players to take away from this loss, but for the coaching staff, a couple lessons were crystal clear:
A) Be ourselves. There are things we do that are who we are. Getting away from those things undercuts the support of other aspects of who and what we are. Just be who we are.
B) Don’t allow an opponents reputation to dictate our gameplan. We looked like we were trying to play around the Seattle defense. That never works. Gotta go straight through an obstacle in football.
I think it was a very vanilla game plan with the for sight to meeting this team in the playoffs. I thought the game was played at a very high level and Wentz did a fine job for a second year QB. We let them have this one and I think the Eagles return the favor when it counts. We moved the ball fairly well but didnt finish the job . I thought our offensive play calling was very ordinary. save the best for the playoffs. Russell will be corralled in the next encounter . I think it will be done with a CB or safety shawdowing him and mixture of more complicated blitz schemes. All in all I think the Eagles showed they belong in this company. I would call it a cautious success.
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Exactly. The play-calling on both sides of the ball was completely uncharacteristic of this team. We threw them no complicated looks on defense, and made no real attempts at freeing up receivers down-field for any deep passing. We had Torrey Smith catching 6 yard routes for god’s sake! I’m hoping that you’re right about possibly holding out for the playoffs.
Beast I would like your opinion on whether more was gained or lost in game vs Seattle. My opinion is overall gain.
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It depends. If Dougie was truly scouting the Seahawks for a postseason match-up, we’ll likely see an other vanilla game called this week against the Rams. If the idea is to arm ourselves with information to use against playoff rivals, we’ll likely make a deep run this year. If our coach is thinking that many moves ahead, we could have the makings of a dynasty.
I think a vanilla game plan with a few wrinkles should be enough to beat the Rams. But what Im impressed with is how Wentz is really out front in this organization. McNabb always took a backseat to Reid and I dont think he was ever able to establish himself as the most important factor in winning a Superbowl. Even though in my mind he had the tools to great one. Wentz on the other hand is clearly the most important factor even more so than Pederson in establishing this run. I think Wentz isnt a better QB than McNabb was but his leadership skills and dedication appear to be more focused. He is skilled but it will be interesting to see him deal with adversity. So far he has not been dealt a really difficult situation. Mcnabb was able to put the team on his back. The organization appears willing to dedicate more resources to winning. Timing is everything. Maybe its not about the money anymore but actually the goal has changed.
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I think the most important difference is that unlike Andy Reid, Doug Pederson doesn’t always think he’s the smartest guy in the room. Pederson is willing to admit that he needs other eyes and other perspectives. I said as much when Pederson was first hired. https://eaglemaniacal.com/2016/01/14/eagles-doug-pederson-coach/ .
Having both played QB, Pederson and Offensive Coordinator Frank Reich, know that sometimes they could see things on the field, that didn’t immediately translate into words they could communicate with a coach. They know what it means to trust a QB. (Reid played college Offensive Tackle.) While Reid didn’t even give McNabb much freedom to audible, Pederson/Reich have allowed Wentz to insert some of his college plays into the offense. The result is that the Offense in part TRULY belongs to Wentz, unlike McNabb who only played in Reid’s system.
That’s a really good analysis. Let’s hope wentz continues to improve his game because at some point he will not have the luxury of a full supporting cast . And he will have to elevate his game to another level .
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I think Eagles need to get pass game going initially then start pounding the ball. They need a balanced attack especially without Ertz. Start with lount and end with Ajai. let defense do the rest.