THIS was yet another weird one. We did most of the Four Things, and still lost badly. Make no mistake, this was a bad loss. The score was close, but the game never felt like it was.
There are going to be people who want to blame our QB. If you want to do that, stop reading NOW. This article will discuss what actually happened in this game. There will be no knee-jerk over-emotionalizing,or revisionist history here. I want to see my team improve. I never look to shit on them, just because a loss was frustrating.
This wasn’t a good game by QB Carson Wentz (33/45 – 73.3% – 256 – 1 – 2). That said, his two most reliable WR’s today, were WR Greg Ward (6 – 40 – 6.6 – 0) and WR Jordan Matthews (3 – 27 – 9.0 – 0). So let’s not pretend Wentz is somehow an awful QB all of a sudden.
Last week Ward was on the Practice Squad, and three weeks ago Matthews was home on his couch, watching the Eagles. Well Matthews started today. Yeah, you heard me. Started. Only the world’s most ignorant fan looks at that sentence and says “So?” Everyone else gets that timing has to be ironed out, and the playbook still needs to be digested.
While Wentz was off target a few times today, so was QB Russell Wilson (13/25 – 52.0% – 200 – 1 – 1), as the gusting wind affected both passers, costing each team a possible TD. The biggest difference between the two, was that Wentz lost two fumbles to Wilson’s one. Wentz was also credited with a fumble that hit RB Miles Sanders (12 – 63 – 5.2 – 0 – 0) directly in the bread basket.
The Defense was stellar yet again. We collected 6 sacks on Wilson
and for most of the game, it took a trick play to yield the game’s only TD. SS Malcolm Jenkins (2 – 2.0 – 0 – 0) and FS Rod McLeod (3 – 1.0 – 1 – 1) , both nabbed sacks. McLeod also added a forced fumble and a pick.
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) Hit QB Russell Wilson: We got 6 sacks of this guy. WOW. Didn’t see that coming. However, since we got back CB Jalen Mills (5 – 0 – 0 – 0) DC Jim Schwartz has been letting our CB’s play a lot more physically. (Makes you almost wonder what could have been if that were the case back before the Offense was injured.) In any case we hit Wilson and combined with the wind, forced him into a pretty pedestrian day. (DONE)
2) Stay in-line: Rookie LEFT TACKLE Andre Dillard was pressed into starting at RT and naturally struggled. Even with TE help. Eventually he was benched in favor of OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who should have gotten this weeks reps and started, in the first place.
In any case, we gave a lot of TE help to the RT position. Even played some Jumbo package. The notion that Vaitai couldn’t block long enough to sell Screens passes, tells you how badly we missed RT Lane Johnson (concussion). Still, we did consistently provide the help (DONE)
3) Use play-action to create space: We did plenty of this in the first half. We did almost none once the score was 17 – 3 , but who would we have been fooling? When the game was in contention, we stuck with play-action pretty well.
I wasn’t a fan of the routes selected in the play-calling. TE Zach Ertz (12 – 91 – 7.5 – 1) was often double and even triple covered. It seemed to me that there should have been a few Slant and Sluggo routes dialed up in the second half. If only to take advantage of the spacing, or shake them out of those doubles. (DONE)
4) Don’t clutch Agholor: We didn’t lean on WR Nelson Agholor on third and fourth down this week. Which is good since he wasn’t in uniform this week. This game allowed him to either sit back and beat himself up over his drops, or gives him a bird’s-eye view that the problems in this Offense, and at his position, are not just him.
We have to get him out of his head a little bit. He almost certainly won’t be back in 2020, but for the remainder of 2019, he IS here. He IS an Eagle. So we need him up and functional, if we’re serious about a playoff push. (NOT APPLICABLE)
This week’s Four Things score is 3 for 4, bringing our season total to 22 of 44. The good news is, fundamentally we were pointed in the right direction. The bad news is, we simply haven’t had the weapons. Tough break, but it is what it is. With a little luck we’ll better armed, and will keep our vision next week against the Dolphins.
On The Whole:
There were a few things that irritated me about this game. One of which was the previously mentioned lack of adjustments off of Ertz being covered by sometimes three Seahawks players. Why was no one else open? And why did it take so long or Wentz to throw a ball down the sideline to a WR (Arcega-Whiteside)?
There were also instances of guys just standing around. On one play, both of our TE’s lined up on the right, ran short routes right near each other (ugh), and then they just sort of…stopped. No scramble drill, no extending the route. They just mostly stood there. Like they were waiting for a bus! Another was a run by Miles Sanders that saw Arcega-Whiteside standing and watching him be tackled by three Seahawks. No block. No pushing the pile. Just spectating.
This isn’t just one guy. A pervasive lack of effort speaks to a coaching issue. It speaks to why C Jason Kelce has become so inconsistent. It speaks to why it took back-up G Matt Tobin to finally get a block that put a man on his ass. (It speaks to why Agholor didn’t lay out for a pass a few weeks ago.) It speaks to why Wentz feels like he has to do it all on his own.
This game had a lot to do with not having weapons, but there are also a few things that need to be tidied up, if we’re going to make any noise in the playoffs.
WHHHHHA??? Did I just predict this loss, and still say playoffs?
Yes. I did. Stay tuned. Stay dialed in. See you back here, soon.