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November 15, 2020

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Giants game

Eagles NFL
111520CarsonWentz Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports

Yep.

On Sunday against the New York Giants, the Philadelphia Eagles' offense stunk, their defense stunk, their special teams stunk, and their coaching staff stunk. Given these four truths, it can be concluded that the Eagles stink. #Analysis.

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

1) The 'Not So Hero Ball' Award: Carson Wentz

The biggest criticism of Carson Wentz so far this season has been that Wentz has tried to play "hero ball," as in, trying to play hero by attempting to make impossible plays that just aren't there, and committing crippling turnovers as a result.

Well, he certainly didn't play hero ball on Sunday! He threw the ball away when necessary, and the Eagles punted a lot instead of fumbling or throwing interceptions. 

Wentz is unquestionably part of the problem, as he has very clearly been a bottom 10 (if we're being kind) quarterback this season. But the issues with this Eagles offense go beyond just Wentz, who isn't being put in a position to succeed.

That's ☝️ right! The offense rarely has rhythm, flow, or creativity. That falls on Doug Pederson. But they also don't have adequate talent, which falls on Howie Roseman. 

And it's been that way for a few years now.

2) The 'They Didn't Help' Award: The defense and special teams

This was one of those games that the Eagles needed the defense and/or special teams to make a play. They not only didn't make any plays, but they were also just... bad.

In past Eagles-Giants games, the Eagles' defense has reliably been more physical. That was certainly not the case on Sunday, as the D-line and linebackers got pushed around at times by the Giants' offensive line. It starts there. But then also, the Giants' receivers won too many battles against the Eagles' defensive backs. Daniel Jones gave his receivers opportunities to make plays on the football, and they did. Hell, the Eagles had one pass breakup on the day.

This offseason, the Eagles will have needs at CB, LB, S, DT, and DE, so, uh, basically the entire defense.

Meanwhile, the special teams play was bad, just from a basic fundamentals standpoint. Both Jalen Reagor and Greg Ward opted not to field punts they should have fielded, and as we'll get to momentarily, they committed two penalties on kickoff returns.

In chart form:

Eagles' offense Eagles' defense Eagles' special teams 
 BadBad Bad 

They finally put together a complete game.

3) The 'Unclutch' Award: The Eagles' third down offense

The Eagles were 0-9 on third down, and 1-3 on fourth down. Again, can somebody make a play?

4) The 'Undisciplined' Award: Eagles' penalties

The Eagles got flagged 11 times for 74 yards, which is bad, obviously, but four of them were pre-snap!

  1. Malik Jackson, encroachment (helped lead to the Giants' opening drive TD)
  2. Jalen Reagor, false start
  3. T.Y. McGill, neutral zone infraction
  4. Travis Fulgham, false start

Add in two penalties on kick returns (it's unacceptable to get flagged on a friggin kick return) and a late-game frustration personal foul on Jackson, and what you have is a team that lacks discipline, which feels especially inexcusable coming off a bye week.

5) The 'Play-calling Badness' Award: Doug Pederson

Eagles running backs ran 19 times for 153 yards and two TDs. Wide holes were there, and Eagles RBs hit them. And yet, they only ran it with their backs 19 times vs. 39 dropbacks.

I hate to be the "RUN THE BALL!" guy, but, I mean, when the run game is working, and the quarterback is struggling, RUN THE BALL!

6) The 'Please Don't Run the Plays We Can't Stop' Award: The Eagles' run defense vs. non-RBs

Earlier in the week, LB coach Ken Flajole got asked about misdirections and reverses and QB runs and such that have plagued the Eagles all year, and his answer was essentially that getting beaten on a few of those is simply the cost of doing business the way they want to run their scheme.

“I’m going to put the majority of that on me as a coach. I’m such a hard press guy to say that we got to play downhill in the run game, that a lot of times when we get the misdirection runs, does that put us behind the eight ball? Probably. We could back them off a little bit, but in my opinion all you’re doing is swapping problems. To us, we’re a gap-controlled defense and we play a lot of eight-man fronts. So we’re very heavy, very urgent about playing downhill and securing our gaps. 

"Does that come with a cost with the reverses and the misdirection runs? Maybe to some extent. We continue to try and work on those things. But, again, job No. 1 for us is to be able to stop the running backs. And, again, if a lot of the yardage is coming off of wide receiver reverses, jet sweeps, those kinds of things, again, it’s kind of the price of doing things with how we operate as a defense.”

So what's the plan to stop runs that don't go to the running backs? Hope the other team just doesn't run them?

Cost of doing business!

7) The 'Invisible' Award: The Eagles' receivers

• Travis Fulgham, 5 targets, 1 catch, 8 yards.

• Alshon Jeffery, 1 target, 0 catches.

• Dallas Goedert, 6 targets, 4 catches, 33 yards.

• Jalen Reagor, 7 targets, 4 targets, 47 yards.

And this was against a team missing three cornerbacks and a safety. I mean, the Eagles leading receiver was friggin Richard Rodgers. Yes, Carson Wentz didn't play well, but there were some plays to be made that just, weren't. 

8) The 'Can't Blame That Anymore' Award: Eagles injuries

Heading into this game, the Eagles were welcoming the returns of Lane Johnson, Miles Sanders, and Alshon Jeffery, while a slew of other players previously not at 100 percent had a chance to rest their bodies. 

Did it make a difference? 

(Fart noise)

9) The 'It's About To Get Way Harder Now' Award: The Eagles' schedule

This was a game the Eagles had to win, because they are going to be heavy underdogs for at least the next five games. Their upcoming schedule (with the opposing teams' records at of the conclusion of the early Sunday games): 

  1. At Browns (6-3)
  2. Seahawks (6-2)
  3. At Packers (7-2)
  4. Saints (6-2)
  5. At Cardinals (5-3)

That would be a combined record of 30-12 (.714). The Eagles could be 3-10-1 five weeks from now.

Break out the dog masks!*

10) The 'Mirage' Award: The Eagles' pathetic lead in the NFC East (and not just this year)

NFC East teams still only have two wins outside of the division. The Eagles beat the 49ers, and the Cowboys beat the Falcons. Their combined record in non-divisional games is 2-18-1 (.119). 

As we all know by now, that is why the Eagles still lead the division (and, according to DraftKings, still have the best odds to finish the season as division winners at -333, via TheLines.com):

NFC East Record Division GB 
 Eagles3-5-1 2-2 
 Giants3-7 3-2 
 Football Team2-7 2-2 1.5 
 Cowboys2-7 1-2 1.5 


The reality is that the Eagles were bad in 2019, and they're even worse in 2020. If you look at the teams the Eagles have beaten the last two seasons, seven of their 12 wins have come against quarterbacks who aren't NFL starters.

  1. Case Keenum
  2. Luke Falk
  3. Mitchell Trubisky
  4. Eli Manning
  5. Dwayne Haskins
  6. Nick Mullens
  7. Ben DiNucci

Take away those easy wins, and the Eagles are 5-12-1 the last two years. Changes needed.

This content and the links provided are sponsored by thelines.com and playpennsylvania.com, PhillyVoice.com’s Official 2020/2021 Betting Odds Partner, independently created by PhillyVoice.


*To be clear, don't actually break out the dog masks. That was sarcasm.

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