The Eagles got smacked 38-20 on Sunday by the Minnesota Vikings as their record dropped to 3-3. The game was truly as ugly as the score indicates. Thanks to a Cowboys loss to the lowly Jets the Eagles still find themselves tied for first place in the NFC East. But lets break down what happened. What went right, and what went so so wrong in the same location that saw the franchise win its first Lombardi Trophy.
- Carson Wentz: It’s a BADDD day to be a Carson Wentz hater. The franchise quarterback came to play on Sunday and seemed to be willing the team into a game they seemed had no interest in actually winning. The stats are OK; 306 passing yards, two touchdowns, and one late pick. If you didn’t watch the game then putting Wentz first, in an 18 point loss might seem surprising but the quarterback was superb. Evading tacklers and biding time to find open receivers. Once again dealing with drops from the receiving core as he put the ball in their hands. The team put themselves in a 24-3 hole early on and it was number 11 that got them within 4. Ultimately the defense, among other things, folded late and led to the lopsided score.
- The Defensive Line: When you get pressure against Luke Falk and a bad Jets offensive line you tend to be cautiously optimistic. But the Vikings are an actual NFL team with an actual offensive line. They kept Dalvin Cook in check (16 carries for 41 yards) and had Kirk Cousins moving his feet for a good portion of the day. If only the secondary could’ve held up their end of the bargain….
- The fans. If you stuck it out and watched their entire game, kudo’s to ya. Because that was depressing. And clearly im reaching for something.
- Anyone who is paid to stop a wide receiver from catching a ball: It wasn’t as if Kirk Cousins was making other wordly throws into the tightest windows. The Eagles secondary was allowing Vikings wide receivers, primarily Stefon Diggs, to run roughshot all over them on Sunday. Diggs third touchdown as a good example of this. Cousins rolled to his right and hit Diggs for a 51 yard score with Eagles cornerback Rasul Douglas trailing behind him by a good 10 yards. Safety help? Well that was on the other side of the field. Because if you watch the replay amazingly Adam Thielen was more open than Diggs. If Diggs was open by 10 yards than Thielen was open by 15. And one of the worst parts of the secondary was….
- Sidney Jones: Do yourself a favor. Grab a piece of bread….put it in your toaster to its highest setting…..press down. That was Sidney Jones Sunday. That’s been Sidney Jones career. Its not working. I like the idea. I like taking a high reward player like Jones, thought of as a top 5 talent and letting him red shirt. But hes an extreme liability and this team needs help.
- The Jake Elliot Fiasco: It’s a bad call. There will be people out there that say “but if it worked its genius right?” wrong. It’s a dumb play if it worked, and it was a dumb play when it didn’t. To those people I will say if you rob a store and get away with it it doesn’t make it a good idea. I think the most mind boggling thing about all this was there was 20 seconds on the clock and the Eagles had no time outs. Even if, by some miracle, Jake Elliot had completed the pass the odds of Dallas Goedert (the primary target) getting out of bounds was slim to none. Which means youre going to run out of time because you then need to get your offense on the field which is going to take longer than 16 seconds. It was by far the dumbest play in the Eagles tenure of Doug Pederson
- The offensive Line: The offensive line is usually one of the teams strong points. It’s a talented group led by Jason Peters, “quarterbacked” by Jason Kelce, and Lane Johnson on the right side is usually a brick wall. That was not the case on Sunday. The glaring issue was left guard Issac Seumalo who looked like a rookie and was constantly looking back to see the guy he was supposed to block barreling down on Wentz. Kelce had a few bad snaps and then a costly delay of game when he failed to get the snap off. That backed them up to 3rd and 9. Wentz got sacked because Jordan Howard failed to pick up the blitz on the very next play and that was pretty much the game. Wentz is really REALLY good on the move, but he wasn’t on the move by choice. The offensive Line was pretty brutal
- Receivers: It became apparent early that Carson Wentz had the upmost confidence, and rightfully so, in receiver Alshon Jeffery. 10 catches for 76 yards on 12 targets. The problem is one of those non catches was a pass on 4th down that was in his hands and he needs to come down with. BUT Jeffery is hardly the issue. Mack Hollins is just getting a workout. He never seems open, and even when Carson gives him a chance he doesn’t come up with a catch. Nelson Agholor EVENTUALLY woke up but hes getting paid $9 million dollars and it seems like his idea of a “catch” is trying to draw pass interference. If a defender sneezes on him he acts like hes been mugged. Zack Ertz, if he doesn’t come down with a catch, immediately looks for a flag. I suppose he learned that from Brent Celek, but he looked completely checked out on Sunday. You have to wonder, with a high cap hit coming next season, if number 86’s days are numbered in Philly because he could bring a nice return in a trade. AND THEN FINALLY….JJ Arecega-Whiteside. You have to ask yourself how good do you honestly have to be to get on the field with this receiving core being what it is. Yet the second round pick from Stanford has been parked on the bench and hasn’t left. He came into the league with size, being labled a red zone target who could create his own space. That sure sounds like something the Eagles could really use right now yet he isn’t seeing the field. Just let this sink in; JJ Arcega-Whiteside cant beat out Nelson Agholor or Mack Hollins for playing time.
- Doug Pederson: Doug doesn’t get put in the bad column JUST for the bone headed fake field goal that took points off the board. Dougs play calling was terrible. Right out of the Andy Reid playbook, the fourth year head coach abandoned the run way too early. Then on a 3rd and 2 and then a 4TH and 2 he elected to calling passing plays. Then trailing 24-20 there was a great “catch” to keep a drive alive for the Vikings, only thanks to replay it was obvious that the ball touched the ground. For the life of me I can not understand how we, at home, can clearly see that is a play you should challenge yet Doug turtled up and didn’t throw the red flag. He coached like he was a first timer.