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November 03, 2019

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Bears game

Eagles
4_11032019_EaglesvsBears_Brandon_Graham_KateFrese.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Brandon Graham celebrates a win after the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Chicago Bears, 22-14, at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Philadelphia Eagles improved to 5-4 on Sunday after an aesthetically unpleasing 22-14 win over the Chicago Bears. As always, win or lose, we hand out 10 awards.

1) The 'Thank You' Award: Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears' offense

The Bears may as well have just knelt on the football three times and punted on each of their six first half possession, and I'm not sure you'd be able to tell much of a difference. Their first half stats:

• Points: 0

• Plays run: 20

• Time of Possession: 9:15

• First downs: 2

• Third downs: 0/6

• Total net yards: 9

They couldn't throw, catch, or block. The Eagles' defense deserves some credit for that, of course, but it felt a lot more like the Bears' offense was just awful. They basically wasted an entire half of football. Thanks, Bears!

2) The 'Thank You, Part II' Award: The Bears' defense

The Bears' defense wasn't exactly awesome either today, as they committed a slew of unforced errors, like the roughing the passer call on 4th down that turned a turnover on downs into a touchdown. They also repeatedly jumped offsides like it was the first day of training camp. This is a very, very good defense, but the Eagles didn't see a great version of it.

3) The 'Keepaway' Award: The Eagles' fourth quarter offense

The Eagles possessed the ball for over 40 minutes in this game, as they had three different field goal drives that lasted 12, 12, and 16 plays. Those three drives ate up 22 minutes and 3 seconds of game clock, or more time than the Bears had the ball the entire game. 

The Eagles' final 16-play drive that sealed the game lasted 8 minutes and 14 seconds. They had a similar game-sealing drive in Buffalo a week ago that lasted 8 minutes and 17 seconds.

After the Bills game, the Eagles referred to their newfound ball control offense as the "recipe" for their success, a term that Carson Wentz used once again on Sunday.

Those drives are great, and kudos to the Eagles for sealing games in each of the last two weeks, but that's a bad "recipe" for success in today's NFL. Sure, that approach will work against bad offenses like the Jets, Bills, and Bears, but it's going to be difficult winning games against teams that can actually score.

4) The 'Mmmmmm drrrrrrrrrrop' Award: Alshon Jeffery

Is Alshon Jeffery good anymore? That's a fair question, right? Through the Eagles' first nine games, Jeffery has 30 catches for 317 yards, and 3 TDs. He is averaging 10.6 yards per catch and 6.7 yards per target. The Eagles have needed him to step up with DeSean Jackson out, and put simply, he hasn't. On Sunday, Jeffery had three drops, one of which was brutally bad on a third down that the Eagles really could have used.

Jeffery was an instrumental figure in the Eagles' playoff run the year they won the Super Bowl, and as such, has gotten a pass at times from the fan base for some pretty bad moments, including a season-ending drop in the playoff against the Saints. That's fair, but at what point does that nostalgia wear off?

5) The 'Useless' Award: Mack Hollins and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside

Mack Hollins was 0 for October: 4 games, 2 starts, 4 targets, 0 catches. Against the Bears, he had no official targets in the stat sheet (though one pass was kinda-sorta thrown in his direction), and once again, not a single catch. 

Back in the day, Chip Kelly used to excuse Riley Cooper's existence on this planet by claiming that he was a good blocker. 

With Hollins, nobody is even bothering making the "good blocker" case for him, nor should they, especially after today, when he wiped out a long run because he tackled a guy.

Arcega-Whiteside got some snaps in Hollins' place at times, but he couldn't get a target to come his way either. Somebody has to cover Hollins or Arcega-Whiteside, I guess, but it's almost as if the Eagles are turning whoever that player is on a weekly basis into Deion Sanders.

6) The 'Hey There He Is' Award: Zach Ertz

Ertz has not had a stellar follow-up to his record-breaking year in 2018, and a lot of that is because he is the obvious player for opposing defenses to try to take out of the game. Against Chicago, Ertz finally had some breathing room (perhaps because the Bears had to game plan for DeSean Jackson?), and he cashed in with nine catches for 103 yards and a TD.

7) The 'Welp, That Was Quick' Award: DeSean Jackson

Speaking of Jackson, his long awaited return from an abdominal injury lasted, what, like a half dozen plays before he was done for the day? There's little question that Jackson affects games when he's on the field, but raise your hand if you're confident that at any point during the rest of this season he is going to look anything like he did Week 1 when he was healthy.

8) The 'Bust' Award: Sidney Jones

The Eagles drafted Jones knowing that he was going to be a long-term prospect, and were patient in allowing him to heal from a torn Achilles suffered during his Pro Day prior to the 2017 NFL Draft. The draft pick capital and the time they have put into developing him have not yielded the results the Eagles were hoping for, or anything close for that matter. 

In 2018, in his first real season in the pros, Jones was disappointing, as he struggled while playing through injuries. In 2019, he has been healthy, and simply bad. On Sunday, he was a healthy scratch, while a street free agent in Craig James was active. Is this the tipping point in labeling him a bust? In my opinion, yes.

9) The 'A Win Is a Win, I Guess(?)' Award: The Eagles' playoff hopes

On the field, it wasn't pretty. In the standings, a W looks nice and sparkly, and it puts the Birds in a pretty nice position to win 10 games, and possibly the division. The Eagles will head into their bye this week, and when they return, they'll have a pair of tough home games against the Patri*ts and Seahawks.

After that, one game aside, it's a buffet of badness: 

  1. Week 13: At Dolphins
  2. Week 14: Giants
  3. Week 15: At the Washington team
  4. Week 16: Cowboys
  5. Week 17: At Giants

If the Eagles can take care of business against their four scrub opponents -- the Dolphins, Giants (x2), and the Washington team -- and win one of three against the Patri*ts, Seahawks, or Cowboys, that's 10 wins, which should be enough to get them into the playoffs. And they probably don't even have to be very good to get there!

10) The 'Playing With House Money' Award: Eagles fans, watching the Cowboys on Monday Night Football

The NFC East standings now look like this:

 NFC EastRecord Division record GB 
 Cowboys4-3 3-0 
 Eagles5-4 1-1 0 (percentage points / head-to-head) 
 Giants2-6 1-1 2.5 
 Washington1-8 0-3 


The Cowboys play on Monday Night Football against the Giants in New Jersey, where they already lost once to a terrible team this season. Why not again? 

Ugly win or not, Eagles fans can now sit back and see if the Cowboys can hold serve.


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