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.