Eagles vs. Ravens Final Score: 10 Things We Learned From Philadelphia’s Loss
The Philadelphia Eagles are now 5-9 after losing to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday by a final score of 27 to 26. Here’s a look at the things to be learned from this game.
1 – Eagles have been officially eliminated from the playoffs
The Eagles’ playoff odds were literally 5-million-to-1 heading into Sunday’s game. By losing to Baltimore, the Eagles have now been officially eliminated. Even if the Birds did beat the Ravens, they still would have been knocked out due to the Packers’ win over the Bears.
Before the season started, no one really expected the Eagles to be a playoff team this year. Expectations changed when the Eagles got off to a 3-0 start and blew out the Steelers. Since then, however, Philadelphia has gone 2-9.
As a reminder, the Eagles haven’t made the playoffs since they won the NFC East in Chip Kelly’s first season as head coach back in 2013. The Eagles haven’t won a playoff game since the 2008 playoffs. Philadelphia hasn’t won a post-season game at home since the 2006 playoffs.
There’s always next year.
2 – The call to go for two at the end of the game was absolutely correct
Did Doug Pederson make the right call to go for a two-point conversion at the end of the game? The feeling here is: yes, Pederson did the right thing.
First of all, it’s not like wins or losses really mean anything for the Eagles at this point in the season. So why not?
But even if the game did matter, there are plenty of reasons why going for two makes sense. A quick list:
- There was a ton of wind in the stadium and the PAT kick wasn’t a lock.
- The Eagles were using a backup long snapper.
- The Eagles play a game on Thursday night which makes going into overtime less desirable.
- The Eagles could risk further injury to players in a meaningless game by going into overtime.
- The Eagles could kick the PAT and potentially not get a chance to possess the ball for the rest of the game. This happened when the Eagles went to overtime against the Cowboys earlier this season.
- The Ravens were the better team for most of the day. The two-point conversion was an opportunity to steal a win Philly didn’t necessarily deserve.
It’s also worth noting the Eagles would have HAD to go for the conversion had Pederson not called a successful two-point try earlier in the game. So it’s hard to rip him for being too aggressive when it was his aggression that put the Eagles in a reasonable spot to win the game.
We’ll have even more reaction from players and Pederson himself regarding this decision in tomorrow morning’s Wake-Up Call.
3 – Carson Wentz looked bad until the end
After playing his “best game of the year,” Wentz did not look great against Baltimore. The numbers don’t lie: 22/42, 170 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 52.7 passer rating.
The rookie quarterback threw a very bad interception early on. He forced a pass right into coverage while throwing off his back foot. Just not a recipe for success. With that interception, Wentz has now thrown 10 picks in his #LastSevenGames. He’s thrown for only four touchdowns during that span.
Wentz was lucky to not have thrown more than one pick against the Ravens. His deep attempt for Jordan Matthews was under-thrown and caught by Eric Weddle. Philadelphia got bailed out by a defensive holding penalty away from the play.
The interception throws weren’t the only bad plays for Wentz. He was very fortunate to not have lost a fumble on a play where he took a bad sack behind the line of scrimmage on third down. Wentz has too often shown a bad habit of taking unnecessary negative plays like this. He needs to throw the ball away more often.
Wentz did have a few nice moments. He also stepped up big at the end of the game by leading the Eagles to the end-zone on their final drive. His touchdown run was an example of how his mobility makes him a threat to score in the red zone. The series also discredited the theory that Wentz isn’t clutch. The drive was an overall encouraging sign from Philadelphia’s young franchise quarterback.
4 – Doug Pederson’s game plan wasn’t awful
The Eagles’ offense played better than expected. Give Pederson for trying to keep things balanced after failing to do so in recent weeks. The Eagles ran the ball 38 times and gained 169 rushing yards (4.4) average on Baltimore’s top-ranked run defense. The Ravens had only been allowing 75.5 yards per game and 54.6 at home. 169 rushing yards is the most allowed by Baltimore this season.
What makes the Eagles’ rushing performance even more impressive is that they did it with a banged up running back corps. Darren Sproles was out and Kenjon Barner’s day ended early after getting hurt. Ryan Mathews did the heavy lifting while Byron Marshall pitched in with a few nice runs after struggling on his first few career NFL touches.
The Eagles’ offensive line situation was obviously less than ideal as well. Speaking of which …
5 – The Eagles’ offensive line played better than expected
Here’s what the Eagles were working with up front against the Ravens:
Eagles starting OL vs. Ravens
LT – Turns 35 in a month
LG – Backup
C – Inconsistent
RG – Good starter
RT – Fifth string rookie
— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) December 18, 2016
Despite this, the Eagles had a very strong rushing performance. In addition, Wentz was only sacked once.
Isaac Seumalo got nicked up early in the game, too, but still seemed to hold up OK despite not having a ton of experience at tackle.
To no surprise, Jason Peters was the top performer. The veteran tackle had some really good blocks on Sunday. He’s still capable of playing at a high level.
Not that it matters in terms of the playoffs, but the Eagles will get some offensive line reinforcements this week as Lane Johnson returns from his 10-game suspension. Primary backup tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai is also expected to return to practice before the season is over.
6 – Jim Schwartz’s unit hasn’t played well as a whole
After the Eagles’ 3-0 start, there was talk that Schwartz might get a head coaching job. Now there might be talk about Schwartz not being back in Philadelphia for reasons other than him getting a new job. The feeling here is that the Eagles won’t fire Schwartz, but it’s hard to be satisfied with the way his unit has performed as a whole. The Eagles gave up 27 points to a lackluster Baltimore offense.
In Schwartz’s defense, the Eagles did come up with some big plays. They recorded two takeaways, three sacks, and four quarterback hits on Joe Flacco.
Still, there’s room for improvement with Schwartz’s side of the ball.
7 – The Eagles wide receivers are still really bad
Yes, it was windy at the game, so it’s not like the conditions were prime for passing. Still, the Eagles’ receivers were very bad yet again. And even despite the fact the Ravens were playing without their top cornerback: Jimmy Smith. Here’s a quick look at how Philadelphia’s pass catchers performed on Sunday.
Jordan Matthews – 11 targets, 6 receptions, 27 yards
Nelson Agholor – 4 targets, 1 reception, 9 yards
Dorial Green-Beckham – 3 targets, 1 reception, 11 yards
Bryce Treggs – 0 targets, 1 rush attempt for 4 yards
Agholor had two bad drops. The 6’5″ DGB failed to win a jump ball while being matched up against a 5’9″ cornerback in the end zone.
As if it wasn’t apparent by now, the Eagles desperately need more talent at the receiver position.
Zach Ertz was the team’s most reliable target on Sunday. The 26-year-old has seemingly stepped up ever since his effort was drawn into question following the Bengals game. Ertz had 80 yards on six receptions against the Ravens. He made a spectacular effort to tap his toes in-bounds on a pass from Wentz to set up the Eagles in the red zone on their final score.
The Eagles would be set if Ertz played like he does in December for the entire season.
Zach Ertz’s career numbers in December games:
92 receptions for 1,015 yards and 7 TDs #Eagles
— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) December 19, 2016
8 – Jordan Hicks is a stud linebacker
Hicks got a lot more hype last year as a rookie who came out of nowhere to be in impact player. The feeling here is Hicks’ greatness this season has almost been overlooked because of that. Hicks shouldn’t be taken for granted. He’s really good. Just when it looked like the Ravens were going to put the nail in the coffin on the Eagles, he came up with a big interception that gave his team life.
Hicks now has nine takeaways in 19 career games. He’s a beast.
9 – The Vikings probably aren’t making the playoffs
The good news for Eagles fans is that the Vikings lost on Sunday. Minnesota’s 2017 first-round pick, which the Eagles own due to the Sam Bradford trade, is currently projected to be 15th overall. That pick probably won’t get a lot less favorable for the Eagles because Minnesota’s playoff odds aren’t looking great. The Vikings rank ninth in the NFC playoff picture. Their final two games include an away tilt at the streaking Packers and a season finale against the Bears, who have played teams tough recently. It’s entirely possible Minnesota could lose out and finish 7-9. 8-8 is likely the best case scenario for Sammy Sleeves’ team.
10 – A former Eagles head coach was fired
OK, so Gus Bradley wasn’t actually head coach of the Eagles, but it was only a few years ago when it looked like that was going to happen. Philadelphia really dodged a bullet there. It’s not like Chip Kelly ended up being the answer for the Eagles, but Bradley was much worse than Kelly. Bradley finished 14-48 as the Jags’ head coach before being fired after Jacksonville’s loss to the Texans.