By Dylan MacKinnon
A tie, the Eagles tied the Bengals. The last time the Eagles tied the Bengals it was with McNabb at QB, and the story after the game was him admitting he didn’t know you could tie in Football. Apparently neither did Doug Pederson since he punted with 19 seconds left on the clock. Eagles had the ball in OT, drove into what would be long FG range. Jake Elliot was on for a 59 yard attempt, which is by no means a lock. Then, Matt Pryor is called for a false start, and it becomes 4th and 7, and a 64 yard attempt.
My thought here was, do you let him try a 64 yarder, or do you go for it? Punting never crossed my mind, but it clearly crossed the mind of Doug Pederson. He punts it away, and concedes the tie. I don’t even know how to begin with that decision. Eagles are 0-2-1, and they have arguably the hardest part of their schedule coming up. Lets look at 5 numbers that will tell the story of how they got here.
Through 3 games, the Eagles have scored 13 points in the second half of games. 0 against Washington, 3 vs the Rams, and 10 vs the Bengals. To their credit they went down the field late in the 4th to tie the game, and forced OT. But then in 15 minutes of OT they couldn’t so much as kick a FG, despite getting within that range in both of their OT drives. They have scored 46 pts in the first half of these 3 games. Their offensive output drops about 72% in the second half of games, and their offense hasn’t even been that good in the first half.
In 13 quarters of play, including the one OT quarter, the Eagles defense has forced exactly 0 turnovers. The Eagles only takeaway has been a muffed punt by the Rams. No interceptions, no forced fumbles. Meanwhile Wentz has thrown 6 interceptions, and then he and Miles Sanders each have a fumble, giving them an ugly -7 Turnover differential. They have been at least -2 in all 3 games, and -3 vs Washington. I don’t have numbers from last year, but from 2005 to 2018 teams that are -2 in TO differential are 150- 699.
There were 19 seconds left in the game, and he punted it. Just waved that white flag and walked into the locker room. It was 4th and 7, you can’t convert 7 yard play? You have nothing in your playbook for that? Not even going to try? Doug Pederson said he didnt want to give them the ball near midfield. It was 19 seconds, they had no timeouts. Yea maybe they could get it back and get into FG range, but don’t you trust your defense? You are already 0-2 Doug, is the tie gonna save your season? You needed a win, not a tie. To just tuck your tail and give up on the game in a situation that is convertible is beyond the pale.
As of the end of the 1pm games, there are 299 players in the NFL with more catches than JJ Arcega-Whiteside. Meaning at least 299 players have one catch, because he has none. Zero catches by a 2nd round pick in his second season through 3 games. I am not gonna depress you even more by posting the stats of the WRs drafted after him in that year.
Obviously that is their record. I looked at the teams that have been 0-2-1, and since the invention of overtime in 1974, I found two other teams that were 0-2-1. The 2019 Arizona Cardinals, and the 1974 Denver Broncos. Neither of them made the playoffs. The 74 Broncos managed to pull off a winning record of 7-6-1. Are the Eagles playoff chances toast? Not yet, and technically its better than 0-3, but chances are bleak, especially with how they are playing.