Eagles Wake-Up Call: Tempo No Help Against Seahawks
A few sharp-tongued members of the Seattle defense let it fly in the locker room following a dominant performance against the Eagles’ highly touted offensive attack.
Linebacker K.J. Wright called the Eagles “a pretty simple team.” Defensive end Michael Bennett said the Philadelphia police should be notified because Mark Sanchez is “trying to impersonate a good quarterback.” And Richard Sherman took a shot at the Eagles’ receiving corps while throwing some love in the direction of his childhood friend, DeSean Jackson.
“I think they miss him tremendously. He was an incredible threat — still a threat in this league,” said Sherman of Jackson. “A player like that a defense has to account for. You have to be worried about where he is at all times. Right now we can stand up across the board and play.”
The defending champs had room to criticize after holding the Eagles to just 139 yards of total offense en route to a 24-14 win Sunday. That’s the lowest offensive output in Chip Kelly‘s six years as a head coach.
“They took this challenge very, very much to heart,” said Seattle head coach Pete Carroll, “because they respect them – what they did, their tempo, their background, the terrific players that they have and all of that.”
Carroll and Sherman both sounded very confident heading in that they would be able to handle the Eagles’ tempo, and that confidence proved to be well-founded. Confusion and fatigue are two of the biggest hazards when facing Kelly’s fast-pace offense. The Seahawks were sound in their assignments and understanding of what the Eagles were trying to do schematically, resulting in minimal breakdowns. Unlike some weeks, Sanchez had very few wide open targets when he dropped back. He finished 10-of-20 for 96 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception. Fatigue never was a factor because the Seattle defense wasn’t on the field much. Ten of the Eagles’ 13 drives took up less than two minutes of game clock. The Eagles averaged 3.5 plays per drive, were 2-of-11 on third down and managed 45 plays on the day (compared to 85 for Seattle). Time of possession was 41:56-18:04 in favor of the Seahawks.
“Like I said earlier in the week when everybody brushed me off, they have to deal with us just like we have to deal with them,” said Sherman. “You can hurry up all you want but if you cannot get yards, cannot complete passes, then it’s just quick three-and-outs.”
Added Carroll: “Yeah, it’s got to be frustrating [for them]. They didn’t get many plays today and that’s not the way they’re used to playing , so we were able to handle that – the tempo and all the stuff that’s part of the make-up of their offense – and play our football, which is really good.”
The Seahawks’ top-ranked defense has been playing its best ball of late. It had not allowed a passing touchdown since Week 10 against the Giants — a span of 15 quarters — before Sanchez found Jeremy Maclin on a swing pass from a yard out. That was also the first touchdown the defense has allowed in three games. The Eagles’ offense, meanwhile, was averaging 35 points per game over its last two outings and entered this matchup as the fourth-ranked offense in the league (416 yards/game). It’s pretty clear who won that showdown.
“You go into the game with a game plan thinking you can execute, but I’ll give them credit,” said Kelly. “They did a hell of a job on defense and played better than us today.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
In-game observations from the Birds 24-14 loss to the Seahawks.
LeSean McCoy played Sunday’s game with a heavy heart.
Widener University football head coach Mike Kelly is not pleased with Chip Kelly.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com draws some conclusions from the Birds first loss at home this season:
3. Really tremendous stuff out of Fletcher Cox and Mychal Kendricks Sunday. You can’t ask anything more from those two guys. Cox in particular is playing absolutely monstrous football right now. And to think people wondered if he could play in a 3-4. Yeah. He can play in a 3-4.
6. What about Mark Sanchez? Was a really low-octane performance. Threw a couple TDs, but was only 10 for 20 for 96 yards overall and never got into any sort of rhythm. Yeah, the Seahawks have a terrific secondary, but this was bad. The Seahawks are allowing 209 passing yards per game, and opposing QBs have completed 64 percent of their passes against them. So this was just a totally drab passing performance. Sanchez’s inability to do much of anything is cause for concern. That concern, of course, will evaporate with a bounce-back performance Sunday night against the Cowboys. If not? Time to start examining Nick Foles’ X-rays a little closer.
8. Looks like the Eagles found another exceptional special teamer in mid-season pickup Chris Prosinski. The veteran safety, released earlier this year by the Jaguars, is really making an impact on what’s been the Eagles’ most consistent unit this year.
Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz talks about the officiating and sizes up the losses to Seattle and Green Bay:
This game has me ticked off because I hate Seattle and desperately wanted to beat them. At the same time, this wasn’t like Green Bay. The Eagles weren’t run off the field. The defense did everything they could to keep the game close despite being on the field all game long. STs made some plays that helped both TD drives. This loss was on the offense.
The officiating didn’t help matters. I generally believe those things even out over the course of a season, but you hate when one team clearly benefits in a big game. Seattle definitely got the better of the officiating today. That isn’t to say those calls decided the game. They were the better team and deserved to win.
This is a good Eagles team, but they are clearly a step behind teams like Green Bay and Seattle. That doesn’t mean the Eagles couldn’t beat them in the playoffs, but a lot would have to go right for that to happen.
Next Sunday’s game vs Dallas now sets up as the key to the season.
We’ll talk with Kelly at the day-after press conference at 1 p.m.