September 13, 2020
With a 17-0 lead in the first half, it looked a lot like the Philadelphia Eagles were going to roll to an easy win over the hapless Washington Football Team. And then, yada yada yada, it's going to be a loooooong week in Philly. As always, we hand out 10 awards.
At some point this week we'll take a look at exactly what went wrong along the offensive line, but the short answer is probably just that they were over-matched and overwhelmed by an excellent Football Team defensive line. The Eagles' offensive line far too often looked like when the defense picks the right play in Tecmo Bowl, and the quarterback faces immediate pressure from like three or four guys.
Of course, it wasn't supposed to be this way. For years and years, Philly fans have mostly been treated to stellar offensive line play. Well, this is what it can look like when your O-Line isn't so great. Back in May, the Eagles thought their offensive line would look like this:
|Andre Dillard||Isaac Seumalo||Jason Kelce||Brandon Brooks||Lane Johnson|
On Sunday, with Dillard, Brooks, and Johnson out, it looked like this:
|Jason Peters||Isaac Seumalo||Jason Kelce||Nate Herbig||Jack Driscoll|
Carson Wentz was battered for four quarters, and he was sacked, wait, how many times?
It was only nine?
Prepare yourselves, because the offensive line is likely to be a major issue all season long. What pass rushers do the Eagles face next week? (Checks notes)... Oh, only Aaron Donald.
Wentz's day started out well enough, as he threw a couple a gorgeous passes, connecting on a deep ball to Jalen Reagor for 55 yards, and on a 34-yard TD pass to Dallas Goedert. And then it got ugly.
Wentz was picked twice on a couple of sideline throws to Reagor and John Hightower, which led to a pair of Football Team scores. Wentz has only been intercepted seven times in each of the last three seasons, but they looked like careless throws on the initial viewing.
In addition to the two picks, he tacked on two more fumbles to his league leading 50(!) since 2016, and he took a bad sack that led to a more difficult 53-yard field goal attempt, that Jake Elliott missed.
Wentz was getting some hype as an MVP candidate prior to the start of the season. We obviously did not see that today, or anything close. MVP quarterbacks don't lose their team 17 points against league doormats. Hell, above average quarterbacks don't do that. This was an alarming performance, and Wentz needs to rebound in a big way next week.
The Football Team didn't just pressure Wentz into oblivion today. They were also a brick wall against the Eagles' rushing attack. With Miles Sanders out, the trio of Boston Scott, Corey Clement, and Jason Huntley combined for 16 rushes for 55 yards, with 13 of those coming on a "give up" draw on 3rd and 15.
Down 7 with 4:35 to go, Doug Pederson opted to go for it on 4th and 3. The throw was there, but...
Zach Ertz drops it— Slightly Biased (@BiasedSlightly) September 13, 2020
Oof. That was pretty much game. Earlier this week, Ertz wondered if his desire to play his entire career in Philly was shared by the Eagles, as he lamented the lack of a lucrative new deal with the team.
Prior to kickoff, Ian Rapoport reported that Ertz and Howie Roseman had a heated confrontation in front of other teammates.
You have to wonder if the usually sure-handed Ertz was affected on the field by his distractions off of it.
After an excellent training camp, Arcega-Whiteside seemed primed to make more of an impact than he did after a rookie year to forget. On Sunday, Eagles receivers had the following number of targets:
At least there were no drops.
The Eagles' defensive line seemed poised to take advantage of a bad Football Team offensive line that was playing a pair of suspect starters on the left side in LT Geron Christian and LG Wes Martin. They didn't. Josh Sweat had a sack-fumble, but they didn't get much production otherwise.
The Eagles have invested hefty financial/draft resources into players like Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, Javon Hargrave, Derek Barnett, and Brandon Graham. Hargrave and Barnett didn't play, while those other three guys combined for six tackles and no sacks.
The Eagles are returning their head coach, quarterback, and defensive coordinator for their fifth consecutive seasons together. As such, surely they would have an advantage, from a continuity standpoint, over a team like the Football Team, which has a completely new coaching staff.
While there is some logic in the Eagles not being sure how a new staff would attack them, the Eagles successfully weathered the early storm, even going up 17-0. Whatever adjustments the Football Team made, worked. Pederson's adjustments, you know, didn't.
Desperate for a way to buy Wentz extra time to throw, or slow up the Football Team's pass rush, Pederson didn't have any answers.
The sheer number of injuries this team suffers is truly amazing. We've mentioned some of them already, but the following guys were unavailable:
If you consider Parks a starter (I sorta do), the Eagles were without eight starters, BEFORE THE SEASON EVEN STARTED!
On Sunday, they probably lost Vinny Curry for an extended period of time, DeSean Jackson was in and out of the game, and Jack Driscoll left early. It never ends.
He had eight catches for 101 yards and a TD. There.
The Eagles first three opponents this season are as follows:
And then their next three games get a lot harder:
The consensus over/under for win totals at TheLines.com prior to the start of the season was 10. The Eagles better win their next two games at home against the Rams and Bengals, or they could be drafting in the top 10.