Eagles-Packers Final Score: Seven Things We Learned From Philadelphia’s Loss

Here’s what we learned about the Eagles in Week 12.

Carson Wentz and Aaron Rodgers. (USA Today Sports)

Carson Wentz and Aaron Rodgers. (USA Today Sports)

The Philadelphia Eagles are now 5-6 after losing to the Green Bay Packers on Monday evening by a final score of 27 to 13. Here’s a look at seven things to be learned from this game 

1 – The Eagles can be beaten at home

So much for the Eagles being a “home team.”

Philadelphia’s 4-0 streak at Lincoln Financial Field ended on Monday night, and it’s sort of hard to believe.

The Birds had played so well at home this season. They were allowing an average of 9.5 points per game. The Packers scored 27.

Green Bay’s defense had allowed an average of 38.25 points in their last four games. The Eagles only managed to muster 13.

The Eagles went from outscoring opponents 108 to 38 at home to losing by two touchdowns, their biggest margin of defeat so far during the 2016 season.

To say this was a disappointing loss for the Birds is an understatement. The Eagles appeared to be the better team on paper but they obviously didn’t play like the better team on Monday night.

Not even a pre-game reminder of 4th-and-26 could shake the Packers.

2 – Aaron Rodgers is still really good

Allow me to re-visit what I wrote in our game predictions post.

“The Packers still have Rodgers, so there’s always a chance he puts the team on his back and carries his team to a win. Green Bay will be desperate to avoid their fifth straight loss and drop to 4-7 […] The Eagles’ defense should be able to get enough pressure on Rodgers to prevent him from totally dominating Jim Schwartz’s defense. If the Eagles can merely keep Rodgers in check, this should be a game they should win.”

So … did the Eagles get enough pressure on Rodgers?

Spoiler alert: Nope. The Birds only sacked him once and hit him twice. As a result, Rodgers finished with the following stat-line: 30/39, 313 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 116.7 passer rating. The Eagles failed to keep Rodgers in check.

In fairness to the Eagles’ defense, there were some moments where Rodgers made some incredible throws that defenders couldn’t do much about. At his best, Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in the game, and sometimes you have to tip your hat to No. 12. With that said …

3 – Jim Schwartz’s unit didn’t come up big

Yes, Rodgers made some incredible throws. But he was aided by an Eagles defense that failed to record a single sack or create a turnover. Rodgers did a good job of thwarting pressure from Schwartz by often getting the ball out fast. But there were times when Rodgers held on to the ball and the Eagles gave him too much time to make a play. The Eagles’ defense did not come up big after being the strength of the team for most of the year.

What’s especially concerning is that the Eagles’ defensive line had a quiet night. They’re supposed to be the strength of the defense. Starting defensive end Connor Barwin had one tackle. Bennie Logan had zero. Brandon Graham had a costly drive-extending offsides penalty for the second week in a row.

Fletcher Cox, the team’s $100 million man, was called for roughing the passer on a play where the Eagles had recorded a rare defensive stop against Green Bay. The Packers eventually went on to score a touchdown following Cox’s penalty. That makes it three times now in 11 games this season where a Cox penalty has negated a third down stop and allowed a team to score a touchdown instead. That’s simply unacceptable. Cox needs to be one of the Eagles’ best players. He can’t be making those kind of mistakes. Note that Cox only recorded one tackle against Green Bay. He hasn’t notched a sack since Week 5.

4 – Once again, Carson Wentz needs help

This is the situation Wentz dealt with on Monday evening:

  1. He was missing three out of his five starting offensive linemen
  2. His best receiver left the game early due to injury, leaving him with Dorial Green-Beckham and two rookie undrafted free agents as the only other active receivers
  3. The Eagles’ leading rusher was inactive and his running backs combined for 45 yards on 13 carries (3.5 average)
  4. His defense couldn’t buy a stop, allowing the Packers to go 10-14 on third down

There was a lot of pressure on Wentz to be perfect and that he was not. The rookie finished 24/36 for 254 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, and a 75.5 passer rating.

Wentz’s interception was just a poor throw. The ball simply sailed on him, which has been a reoccurring issue for the rookie passer. It’s worth noting the pick came right after a play where Zach Ertz failed to earn a pass interference call and Wentz took a shot to the ribs from a Packers defender.

There was reason to believe Wentz was going to have a bounce back game against a Green Bay defense that was allowing the most passing yards per attempt in the NFL. It just didn’t happen. Wentz can’t carry the team by himself.

It wasn’t all bad with Wentz, which is typically the case. He still flashed some moments of brilliance, especially with his legs. Wentz juked Damarious Randall for a first down at one point.

He also managed to avoid a sack on this play, which is crazy.

Wentz finished the game with four rushes for 33 yards, which was the second most rushing yards of any player in the entire game. The North Dakota State alumnus also scored the first rushing touchdown of his NFL career.

5 – Doug Pederson wasn’t great

It didn’t really impact the outcome of the game, but Pederson went 1-for-2 on challenges against the Packers. His second challenge was especially bad. Pederson challenged a play by a Packers receiver that resulted in a two-yard gain. Pederson got the call right, so he didn’t end up burning the timeout, but he left himself with no challenges to work with all so he could move Green Bay back just two yards. That risk just isn’t worth the challenge in that situation.

Pederson appeared to do a nice job with play-calls early in the game but then the Eagles got away from running the ball. Wendell Smallwood looked effective when given opportunities and he only ended the night with nine carries for 37 yards.

6 – Benching Nelson Agholor didn’t make a difference

With Agholor out, the Eagles relied more heavily upon rookie undrafted free agents Bryce Treggs and Paul Turner. Treggs was targeted three times and had a catch for 11 yards. Turner wasn’t targeted once.

After the game, Pederson explained why he benched Agholor.

“Well, it came down to basically just letting him see the game with a little bit calmer eyes, you know, just a different perspective on the game,” said Pederson. “Obviously he handled it extremely well. It was obviously a 90-minute decision. Even during the week I was still going back and forth with it. Just to let him take a step back, breathe a little bit, and see exactly how he can help this football team going forward.”

So will Agholor be next week?

“We got to see and check on Jordan [Matthews], make sure that Jordan is okay, evaluate the film, see how the other guys did,” said Pederson. “I’m not going to rule it out at this time.”

With Treggs and Turner failing to stand out, the feeling here is Agholor could get a shot to be active against the Bengals in Week 13.

One of the silver-linings from this game for the Eagles could be the improved play of Green-Beckham. DGB had six receptions for 82 yards on 10 targets. He looked better than he has all season, especially early in the game. The Eagles would love for DGB to be able to build on his good performance.

7 – The Eagles’ playoff hopes are on life support

The Eagles are not dead yet. As noted by Joe Giglio, the Eagles have a 97% chance of making the playoff if they win out. But it’s not looking great for the Birds right now. They’re currently 11th in the NFC playof picture. Here’s a look at the updated standings.

1 – Dallas Cowboys (10-1)
2 – Seattle Seahawks (7-3-1)
3 – Detroit Lions (7-4)
4 – Atlanta Falcons (7-4)
5 – New York Giants (8-3)
6 – Washington Redskins (6-4-1)

7 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5)
8 – Minnesota Vikings (6-5)
9 – New Orleans Saints (5-6)
10 – Green Bay Packers (5-6)
11 – Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)

The bad news for the Eagles is that they’re on the wrong side of a number of head-to-head tie-breakers and their conference record is 3-6. The Eagles will have to win out and hope they get some help from other teams ahead of them losing.

Here’s a reminder of the Eagles’ remaining five games.

Week 13 – @ Cincinnati Bengals
Week 14 – vs. Washington Redskins
Week 15 – @ Baltimore Ravens
Week 16 – vs. New York Giants
Week 17 – vs. Dallas Cowboys

Going undefeated during this stretch won’t be easy, but it’s what the Eagles have to do in order to have a shot at the 2017 NFL playoffs.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Instant Observations from last night’s 27-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Here’s what you may have missed from the game last night.

Brandon Brooks was a last minute addition to the inactive list after suffering an illness.

Nelson Agholor was inactive for the game last night, giving way for Paul Turner to make his debut.

How did our predictions fair for the Monday Night Football loss?

“It’s gut-check time to look ourselves in the mirror, don’t look at our record, just look at our performance and how we’ve been playing.” NFC East Roundup.

Former Eagle Jeremiah Trotter joined Merrill Reese as the two inductees into the Eagles Hall of Fame last night. The former linebacker talked about his time in PhiladelphiaJim Johnson, and the origins of the Axe Man nickname.

PODCAST

Reaction to the Eagles-Packers game via BGN Radio.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

The lack of depth at wide receiver showed Monday night, pens Paul Domowitch of the Daily News.

Even before [Jordan] Matthews got hurt, [Doug] Pederson and offensive coordinator Frank Reich decided the Eagles were going to use a lot of two- and three-tight-end sets against the Packers.

Their first play of the game was a 9-yard pass from Carson Wentz to tight end Trey Burton with “13” personnel – one running back, three tight ends and one wide receiver. Their only touchdown of the game, a 1-yard run by Wentz on what started out as a pass play, also came out of a three-tight-end formation.

The Eagles ended up using two- and three-tight-end sets on nearly half of their offensive plays in the first half of a game they would lose, 27-13.

The Packers came into the game with one of the worst pass defenses in the league. They were 31st in opponent passer rating (105.5), 32nd in yards allowed per attempt (8.6) and tied for 27th in touchdown passes given up (22).

The defense didn’t have a great game either, as Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com notes.

3. Aaron Rodgers had been sacked 24 times in 10 games, but you wouldn’t have guessed watching Monday night. The Packers’ beleaguered offensive line did a nice job protecting Rodgers, and the Eagles’ pass rushers were once again effectively neutralized. The Eagles had 20 sacks the first six games of the season (3.3 per game) but have just six in the last five games (1.2 per game).

5. I don’t think Fletcher Cox is playing terrible football, and I don’t think a guy like Cox should be measured solely by sacks, because that’s only a small part of what he’s asked to do. Still, Cox has not played like an elite player the last month and a half. On a roster with few true impact players, Cox is one of the only guys that has the ability to change the course of a football game. But he just hasn’t done that. Then there’s the fact that over the past six games, he has three personal fouls and no sacks. Cox hasn’t been bad, but he hasn’t been the player I expected and the player the Eagles need. Hasn’t been close.

7. Not much to say about the defense. They just didn’t show up. No sacks. No takeaways. Terrible on third down (10-for-14, 71 percent, highest vs. the Eagles since the Raiders converted 82 percent in Oakland in 1995 in Randall Cunningham’s final start as an Eagle). Allowed nearly 400 yards. Gave up a 50-yard play. Just a meek effort by a group that was allowing less than 10 points per game at the Linc before tonight. First time since the Steelers in 2012 and second time since 2008 the Eagles have failed to record a sack or takeaway in a game. First time since the Bills in 2007 it’s happened at the Linc.

COMING UP

Doug Pederson will address the media around noon.

Chris Jastrzembski contributed to this post.


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