Eagles vs. Seahawks Final Score: 8 Things We Learned From Philadelphia’s Loss
The Philadelphia Eagles are now 5-5 after losing to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday evening by a final score of 26 to 15. Here’s a look at eight things to be learned from this game.
1 – Nelson Agholor’s big mistake changed the game
It’s hard not to feel like Agholor’s costly illegal formation penalty that wiped out a 57-yard touchdown on a screen play to Zach Ertz changed this game. Prior to the penalty, Carson Wentz had completed eight of his 12 passing attempts for 76 yards and one score. The Eagles had gained 59 rushing yards on 14 carries. Philadelphia’s offense was putting up respectable production on the road against a tough Seahawks defense.
But then that inexcusable penalty happened. And instead of being up 14 to 13 on Seattle, the Eagles were forced to punt. The Birds then allowed a field goal to make the score 16 to 7.
It’s very possible the Eagles still would have lost this game even if Agholor didn’t make such a big mistake. But the feeling here is his penalty really ended the Eagles’ hopes of pulling off an upset. That assessment might seem harsh given that the penalty happened with just under six minutes remaining in the second quarter, but there’s no denying that penalty was a big turning point in terms of momentum.
His penalty was just so terrible, too. Both Eagles receivers coach Greg Lewis and an NFL official even gave him guidance to move up closer to the line of scrimmage but he failed to look to the sidelines.
Both a coach and the ref were telling Nelson Agholor to get on the line of scrimmage, but he never checked to see if he was: pic.twitter.com/RNBTfOpKru
— Josh Paunil (@JoshPaunil) November 21, 2016
It also didn’t help that Agholor dropped a wide open pass that would have gained at least 20 yards on the next Eagles’ offensive drive. Philadelphia would have, at worst, been at their own 45-yard line with just under four minutes remaining in the first half. Instead, the Eagles ended up having to punt from their own 33. Agholor had an opportunity to somewhat make up for his big mistake and he unsurprisingly failed to make the play.
2 – Nelson Agholor deserves to be benched
It’s time for the Eagles to hold Agholor accountable for his mistakes. The 2015 first-round pick is failing to produce on a weekly basis. It’s not like the Eagles have a bunch of viable replacement options, but playing Agholor is actively hurting the team’s chances of winning. There’s no good reason Agholor should be playing 84.3% of Philadelphia’s offensive snaps.
It remains to be seen if the Eagles will actually change anything regarding Agholor’s playing time. Doug Pederson’s post-game comments seemed to indicate they won’t be giving up on their young receiver.
In my opinion, continuing to play Agholor is a mistake. It’s hard to imagine Agholor will simply work through these struggles. At this point, it seems more likely he’s just a bad player who doesn’t deserve to play. A message needs to be sent.
Looking beyond this season, it might even be worth it for the Eagles to take a $2.3 million cap penalty to get rid of Agholor. Though it’s not necessarily likely to happen, paying money to cut Agholor is arguably worth it for the Eagles. That’s how truly bad the USC alumnus has been.
3 – The Eagles’ road struggles continue
This game was a big mismatch for the Eagles given their home vs. away disparity. Philadelphia is now 1-4 in road games this season. The Seahawks, meanwhile, are now 36-5 in their last 41 home games. Seattle is as tough of a place to play as advertised. Once Agholor made his huge mistake, things started to snowball out of control for the Eagles. The crowd noise and hostile environment did Philadelphia no favors.
4 – Philadelphia’s defense was outperformed by Seattle’s defense
This game was expected to be a defensive struggle between two top-ranked defenses. That certainly didn’t end up being the case. Philadelphia allowed 26 points and 439 yards of offense. Jim Schwartz’s unit didn’t force a single turnover and only recorded one sack for no lost yardage. The Eagles would have allowed 30 points if not for Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka missing a 44-yard field goal and having an extra point blocked by Bennie Logan.
For as much as Agholor’s dumb penalty changed the game, it’s also hard not to think back to the moment when the Eagles had Seattle at 2nd-and-20 from their own 10-yard line. The Eagles allowed a 17-yard reception at that point and the Seahawks eventually converted in order to spark a 10-play, 92-yard scoring drive. That drive came right after Philadelphia took a 7-6 lead. For as well as the Eagles’ defense has played at times this year, it’s also come up small right after the offense has scored. Talk about a momentum killer.
5 – Carson Wentz is making mistakes
The Eagles’ rookie quarterback isn’t playing as well as he did earlier this year. Look at the splits since Lane Johnson’s suspension began after Week 5.
Wentz’s first four games – seven touchdowns, one interception
Wentz’s last six games – four touchdowns, six interception
Wentz stared down his receiver on his first interception against Seattle. The second one was an inadvisable frustration deep throw.
It’s obvious to anyone watching the games that Wentz’s struggles aren’t all his fault. This game was a really tough situation for the 23-year-old. The crowd was hostile. The receivers weren’t catching anything. He was losing offensive linemen due to injuries during the game. The team’s top two running backs had to leave the game early due to injuries. Agholor made a killer mistake that wiped out a long touchdown pass. And so on.
Still, Wentz isn’t without blame. The rookie needs to play better and cut down on the mistakes. Of course, it’s entirely possible he’d be making less mistakes if he had more help to work with.
Wentz finished the Seahawks game completing 51.1% of his passes for 218 yards, two touchdowns, two picks, and a 61.2 passer rating.
6 – The Eagles suffered multiple key injuries
The following Eagles players left the Seahawks game with injuries at some point: Jason Peters, Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Fletcher Cox, Connor Barwin, and Leodis McKelvin. Peters, Cox, and Barwin all returned to the game.
Both Mathews and Sproles, the Eagles’ top two running backs, were ruled out not too longer after exiting the game. Mathews is reportedly dealing with an MCL injury. Sproles, meanwhile, suffered a rib injury. Howard Eskin reports the injuries to both running backs may be serious. If that’s the case, the Eagles are down to rookie Wendell Smallwood and career backup Kenjon Barner as the only two healthy running backs on the active roster.
Vaitai’s injury also looked pretty bad. Despite a rough debut, the Eagles’ rookie right tackle has held up relatively well in place of the suspended Johnson. Losing Vaitai would mean the Eagles are down to their fourth string tackle. That’s especially concerning given Peters’ injury situation.
Pederson is bound to give more updates on the Eagles’ injury situation on Monday. In the meantime, there’s reason to be concerned.
7 – This was a terrible weekend for the Eagles
Not only did the Eagles lose, but all other three NFC East teams won. The Cowboys defeated the Ravens to advance to 9-1. The Giants held on to beat the Bears to advance to 7-3. Washington is now 6-3-1 after beating up on the Packers. The Eagles are alone at the bottom of the division at 5-5.
It’s also bad news for the Eagles that the Vikings won. The 2017 first-round pick that Minnesota owes the Eagles just got a little worse. It has the potential to be even worse if the Vikings can overtake the Lions for the NFC North lead.
8 – The Eagles are still alive in the NFL playoff picture
You might not want to hear it after a loss like that, but it’s true … the Eagles are alive. Prior this week’s game, I wrote about how losing to Seattle wouldn’t end Philadelphia’s playoff hopes. The Eagles’ path to the playoffs won’t be easy, but it’s clear. The Birds need to take care of business in their remaining four home games. The good news is the Eagles are 4-0 at Lincoln Financial Field. Then the Eagles also need to get at least one win out of their remaining two road games. The Eagles play the struggling Bengals in Cincinnati on a short week before later playing the Ravens in Baltimore.
It’s hardly a guarantee the Eagles will make the playoffs, but they definitely have a shot. Philadelphia can continue to keep hope alive by beating the reeling Packers on Monday Night Football in Week 12.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Observations from yesterday’s 26-15 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles left yesterday’s game with injuries.
Take a look at what you may have missed from yesterday’s loss.
Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz were active for the game yesterday.
How were the picks against the odds for this week’s NFL games?
“He’s having fun and he just loves being out there.” Carson Wentz‘s leadership is beginning to show.
One MAC wide receiver was a college football player we were watching this weekend.
The Eagles signed Donnie Jones to a three-year contract extension.
Check out our predictions for yesterday’s game.
Ertz and Matthews were originally questionable to play.
The team also signed Jon Dorenbos to a three-year contract extension.
“For me to have the opportunity to be in front of these fans, to give everything that I had, that meant the world to me.” After being named a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Brian Dawkins talked about what it meant to him.
Recapping the Eagles-Seahawks game via BGN Radio.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Nelson Agholor is frustrated after his bad game yesterday, as well as his performance for most of this season, pens Paul Domowitch of the Daily News.
“I just have to get out of my own head,” the Eagles wide receiver said Sunday after yet another poor performance in the Eagles’ 26-15 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. “I’m pressing so much and worried about so many things, I have to go out and catch the ball. Because I’m thinking too much and so worried, and it’s a selfish thing that needs to stop.
“I need to give my energy to my teammates and this organization and not myself and feeling so pressured to make every single thing. (I need to) just have fun.”
Agholor, who had just two catches for 7 yards in last week’s win over Atlanta, was shut out Sunday for the first time this season. Targeted three times, he didn’t have a catch.
Dropped a big one. What should have been a 20-yard completion in the second quarter. It was his fourth drop of the season.
One possession earlier, he made an even bigger gaffe. With the Eagles trailing, 13-7, he failed to line up properly and drew an illegal formation penalty that wiped out a 57-yard touchdown catch-and-run by tight end Zach Ertz that would have given the Eagles the lead at the time.
Carson Wentz still has confidence in the second-year wide out, writes Dave Zangaro of CSNPhilly.com.
Despite the struggles of his receivers, Wentz said he “absolutely” still has confidence in them.
“I think down the stretch there, I think they all made some really big plays,” Wentz said. “And I see them in practice. I’m throwing to them every day. I know what they can do. I know they can get open. I know they can make plays. Drops happen, mistakes happen and we just have to keep working with them and keep encouraging them.”
Agholor’s second season in the NFL started off strong, when he had four catches for 57 yards and a touchdown against Cleveland’s Joe Haden in the opener. Since then, he hasn’t found the end zone and hasn’t had more than 42 yards in any game.
Sunday was the first game this season where he didn’t have a catch. In the last two weeks, he has two catches for seven yards. In the locker room after the game, Agholor talked about the pressure getting to him.
“I’m going to keep encouraging the kid,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “He works hard every single day, now. I’m going to keep talking, I’m going to keep loving on him, I’m going to keep encouraging him and by no means am I going to be down on him.”
Doug Pederson will have his day-after press conference around noon today.
Chris Jastrzembski contributed to this post.