More Sports:

December 18, 2023

First half observations: Eagles 10, Seahawks 3

Early observations from the Eagles-Seahawks Monday Night Football matchup.

Eagles NFL
Jalen-Hurts-Eagles-Seahawks-Monday-Night-Football Joe Nicholson/USA Today Sports

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts on Monday Night Football.

Looking to rebound from back-to-back crushing losses, the Eagles hold a 10-3 halftime lead over the Seahawks on Monday Night Football. Here are my early observations. Be sure to stay tuned for my final observations after the game's end as well.

Let's get after it...

The Highs

• On the Eagles' opening drive, fans received what they wanted. To kick things off, Jalen Hurts had a 13-yard keeper on the first play from scrimmage. He looked strong even with the illness he's clearly dealing with and some early season injury woes. They actually ran on their first three plays of the game, making the "Run the ball!" folks across the Delaware Valley overjoyed. 

It resulted in a third and nine though, bringing up another wrinkle the Eagles are bemoaned for not utilizing enough: motion. The Birds are dead last in the league in the percentage of plays where skill position players are in motion before the snap. As Olamide Zaccheaus motioned right, Dallas Goedert was wide open over the middle of the field for a first down with Seattle's Bobby Wagner caught napping.

Kenny Gainwell later broke off an eight-yard run and a pair of first downs pickups, too.

On a third and goal, Hurts dropped back to pass, didn't see what he liked, tucked it and scampered for a touchdown. 

Eagles run-passes ratio on that scoring drive: 10 runs, five passes.

• Bradley Roby on DK Metcalf in the slot is the type of mismatch that Seattle offensive coordinator Shane Waldron was dreaming about heading into Week 15. With Seattle facing a third and nine on their first drive of the evening, Drew Lock connected with Metcalf in stride, but Roby held on for dear life with a strong tackle that kept the All-Pro wideout short of the sticks. 

The first drive of the Matt Patricia era: 👍. 

• A Julio Jones sighting! On a fourth and three with Seahawks fans desperately trying to hold onto their "12th Man" persona, Hurts hit Jones with a quick throw for a a six-yard gain. That's exactly how he should be utilized: the fourth pass-catching target on short distances and in the red zone.

• This was the first time since the second half of the Kansas City game back on Nov. 20 that the Eagles have held an opponent to three or fewer points in a single half. 

The Lows

• A little more than midway through the second quarter, the Eagles faced a third on the Seahawks' three-yard line. A "Tush Push" or two later and the Birds could've been in the end zone with an early two-touchdown lead. A false start was called on Jason Kelce, however, backing the team up five yards. It was a weak call from the referee crew, no doubt about it, and appears to be yet another attempt to police the "Tush Push" out of existence. 

A third down run was of no success and the Eagles settled for a Jake Elliott field goal to make things 10-0. 

I'm a tad surprised they didn't go for it on fourth and six from the eight-yard line...

• An early attempt from Josh Jobe to fill in for the injured Darius Slay didn't go so well. Jobe was called for defensive pass interference on Metcalf toward the end of the second half, a penalty that resulted in a 20-yard gain for Seattle. 

The wheels came off a bit from there, with Seattle methodically moving the ball, including a 13-yard burst from Kenneth Walker and a 13-yard pitch-and-catch from Lock to Jaxon Smith-Njigba to put them in the red zone. Patricia's defense, nevertheless, was able to hold the Seahawks to just a field goal. 

The Whoas

• Josh Sweat completely blew by the Seahawks' offensive line and crushed Kenneth Walker late in the first quarter:

Getting Sweat going again, as he hasn't had a sack in four games after recording 6.5 over the first nine weeks of the season, is huge. The run game is a nice start. This pass rush, given the pure talent, contracts and draft picks poured into the unit, is not remotely close to where it needs to be. Perhaps the move to Patricia as the defensive play-caller fixes some issues on that end, but the players need to step up regardless. 

Follow Shamus & PhillyVoice on Twitter: @shamus_clancy | @thePhillyVoice

Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports

Add Shamus' RSS feed to your feed reader