December 04, 2017

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Seahawks game

Eagles NFL
120417_Eagles-Seahawks_AP John Froschauer/AP

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz fumbles just short of the goal line in the third quarter of Sunday night's loss to the Seahawks. The ball went out of the back of the end zone for a touchback.

The Philadelphia Eagles came into a Seattle to face a highly accomplished Seahawks team with a chance to put away a team that has owned them in recent years. And then ... (fart noise) ... Seahawks 24, Eagles 10. 

As always, win or lose, we hand out 10 awards.

1) The Goodbye (For Now) Award: Home field advantage

For all the superlatives of the Eagles' season so far, after one slip-up, they have temporarily lost home-field advantage. Earlier this week, we explained that the Vikings would hold the tiebreaker advantage over the Eagles with a Vikings win and an Eagles loss. 

We'll re-explain. You have to go several tiebreakers deep to get there:

• The first tiebreaker would be head-to-head: The Eagles and Vikings did not, and will not, play each other during the regular season. Next.

• The second tiebreaker is conference record: The Eagles and Vikings are both 8-1. Next.

• The third tiebreaker would be best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four: The only common opponents the Eagles and Vikings have had so far are the Bears and Redskins, falling short of the minimum of four. (The Vikings do have the Panthers remaining on their on their schedule, and the Eagles have the Rams, who the Vikings beat two weeks ago. That would meet the four common opponent threshold. The Vikings and Eagles have both won all common opponent games, to date.)

• The fourth tiebreaker would be strength of victory: To date, the winning percentage of the teams the Vikings have beaten is .450. The winning percentage of the teams the Eagles have beaten is only .375. While opposing winning percentages will change as the season progresses, the difference between .450 and .375 is huge. If it comes down to this tiebreaker at the end of the season, the Vikings are very likely going to be the No. 1 seed.

2) The Bully Award: The Seahawks

The Eagles came into this matchup as 'the best team in the NFL,' ready to surpass the big bad Seahawks, who have made a habit over the last half-decade of bullying other NFC teams. Instead, the Eagles were timid, and the Seahawks remained the bully.

3) The 'Off His Game' Award: Carson Wentz

Carson Wentz made some terrific plays, as he always does, but the biggest play in this game, by far, was Wentz's fumble at the goal line, which resulted in a Seattle touchback. A score on that drive would have tied the game. Instead, the Seahawks capitalized with a touchdown on the ensuing drive and went up by 14.

Wentz also missed two major opportunities on throws to Nelson Agholor. The first was an overthrow early in the game that might have been a touchdown with an accurate pass. The other was actually a 30-plus yard completion, that also could have gone for a touchdown, but poor placement on the throw did not allow Agholor to get yards after the catch.

Wentz is an MVP candidate, and the stat sheet will show that he threw for 348 yards, but this was not his best game.

4) The Slop Award: The Eagles (team-wide)

A week ago against the Chicago Bears, the Eagles had four fumbles (they lost three), and committed 11 penalties. Because they were playing the craptastic Bears, they still won by 28. Against the Seahawks, the Eagles committed too many penalties in big moments, and lost the turnover battle 0-2. Granted, some of those penalties were of the ticky-tack variety, but there were some absolutely legitimate ones in there as well. 

If you make mistakes against teams like the Bears, you can still win. Against the Seahawks? Not so much.

5) The 'Tip Your Cap' Award: Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson is a lot like Aaron Rodgers, in that he can mask roster deficiencies and win ballgames on his own. He is one hell of a quarterback, who was at the top of his game Sunday night.

6) The 'Torches and Pitchforks' Award: Philadelphia sports radio and Doug Pederson

Brace yourselves for some awful Doug Pederson hot takes this week, because they are coming. Like Wentz, Pederson did not have his best game, but it wasn't exactly an abomination either. Pederson was presented with about a half-dozen interesting decisions, whether they be on fourth down or challenge opportunities.

Personally, I agreed with some, disagreed with others. We'll get to an analysis of all of that on Monday. But brace yourself with hot, smoldering lava commentary of Pederson's awfulness.

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7) The 'Week From Hell' Award: Unlucky Week 13

On unlucky Week 13, nothing went the Eagles' way around the rest of the league. Like, nothing. 

And the Eagles played their worst game of the season. The Eagles had their worst game of the season in Week 13 last year as well when they got trounced by the garbage Cincinnati Bengals.

8) The 'Pressure' Award: The Eagles' Week 14 matchup

As we noted above, with the Eagles' loss and the Vikings' win, Minnesota currently has home-field advantage bragging rights on a tiebreaker with the Eagles.

If the Eagles lose to the Los Angeles Rams next week, they will also no longer control their destiny for a first-round bye.

9) The 'Bounce Back' Award: Nelson Agholor

Last season in Seattle, Agholor had his worst game as a pro, when he was called for an illegal formation penalty that negated a long TD pass to Zach Ertz, and then had a horrific dropped pass that should have been a big play immediately thereafter.

One season later, Agholor had 7 catches for 141 yards and a TD. His turnaround in one season has been remarkable.

10) The Silver Lining Award: Your Dallas Fan Friend

When your Cowboys fan friend texts you that Wentz sucks or that the Eagles are frauds, gently remind him or her that the Cowboys needed the Eagles to win this game, as the Cowboys are now chasing the Seahawks for the wild-card, not the Eagles for the division.

Does that ease your pain at all? No? OK, well I tried.


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