Pederson, Wentz Didnt Lose The Game…Just The Fan Base
By: Joe Staszak
Well they may have blown game one in Washington, gotten outsmarted in week two by the
Rams but at least these 2020 Eagles didn’t lose to the lowly Cincinnati Bengals, complete with
the first overall pick in last April’s Draft, rookie quarterback Joe Burrow. Nope. They made sure
of it by pinning the Bengals down deep in their own territory with a 40 yard punt by Cameron
Johnston with :13 seconds left. The punt call left the Eagles with an 0-2-1 record in the NFC
Least and an emptiness not felt since the last time the Eagles tied a game, ironically with these
same Cincinnati Bengals, back in 2008. Birds’ head coach Doug Pederson has gotten killed for
his decision to play for a tie by the media, the fan base, and on social media.
Ok, let’s be fair for a moment, Technically a tie is better than a loss even if it does feel like
kissing your sister. Unless of course your sister is hot, then all bets are off. Back in November
of 2008, that 13-13 tie with the Bengals actually helped the Eagles get into the playoffs on the
last day of the season and subsequently they ended up about four minutes away from a Super
Bowl appearance a few weeks later when they lost to the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Title
game. The tie gave them a half a game advantage over the Cowboys as the Birds beat the
Boys 44-6 in the season finale while getting help from losses by Chicago and Tampa Bay that
final Sunday, thus earning themselves a wild card berth and a six seed that year.
That game was a mess too. Donovan McNabb went 28/58 for 339 yards but he threw just one
touchdown pass versus three interceptions and lost a fumble for a QB rating of a whopping
50.9. He also infamously admitted afterwards that he didn’t realize that there were ties in the
NFL despite playing in his 12th professional overtime game that day back in 2008.
No one will ever know what Andy Reid would have done if the same situation presented itself.
Reid’s team only got as close as their own 42 in overtime on that day. But Pederson’s team
was facing a 4th and 12 at the Bengals 46, after Eagles guard Matt Pryor inexplicably jumped
early, costing his team five extra yards, and probably pushing them out of kicker Jake Elliott’s
range. That is when Pederson faced a decision with a couple of options at his disposal.
1) He could let Elliott try a 63-64 yard field goal attempt.
2) He could go for it on 4th and 12
Those two options were the only ones that Pederson should have been contemplating if he was
trying to win the game. That’s it. Just two options. But the “Fearless” head coach, as was the
title of the book that he wrote following that Super Bowl winning season of 2017, called it a day.
If I were a fortune teller or a master at telekinesis I would tell you that Pederson was concerned
about his quarterback taking a bad sack and giving the Bengals a chance to kick a game
winning field goal. After all, we’ve seen Wentz do that often so far this season. Or he was
probably concerned that his $128 million quarterback might not be able to move the ball 12
yards. After all, Carson Wentz is, no kidding, the worst starting quarterback in the league right
now and he was horrible once again on Sunday. He threw two more horrific interceptions tying
him for the most in the league with the Vikings Kirk Cousins with six. He also has the worst QB
rating in the league at 63.9 and he over-threw a wide open Miles Sanders for a would-be
touchdown in the 4th quarter.
But even with all of the issues this team has, and we’ve only scratched the surface, settling for
a tie against the worst football team in the league, (well maybe the co-worst), was a complete
act of cowardness. When your football team is 0-2 and playing its worst football since your
tenure began here back in 2016, and you’re a Super Bowl winning coach, winning is the only
Now I’m not one to worry about the message, not playing to win, sends to his team. Um, I’m
pretty sure the team doesn’t need their head coach to tell them how bad they are. They are last
in the league in turnovers with a minus seven and it took them until :21 seconds left into game
three of the season to score their first 2nd half touchdown.
Pederson also showed zero moxy and no confidence when his team scored that late touchdown
and had a chance to go for two to win it. At least you can make an argument for playing for
overtime. The Eagles defense was playing well and the Bengals were trotting out a rookie
quarterback playing in just his 3rd NFL game. It looked like it turned out to be a sound decision
as well as the Birds defense held the Bengals’ offense to just 5 net yards on three overtime
possessions. But conversely the Eagles offense gained just 26 net yards on their three
possessions in overtime. The Birds did get to Cincy.s 42 yard line on their 2nd possession of
OT but a Nate Herbig holding penalty landed them back in Bengals territory where they
ultimately had to punt,
In hindsight it made much more sense to go for the win against a team that hasn’t won a road
game since early in 2018. What happened to this self-proclaimed aggressive, risk taking coach
we used to see on Sundays? We saw him go for two at a seemingly unusual time in the 2nd
quarter of last week’s game with the Rams. L.A.’s Leonard Floyd blew up Jason Peters and
ended up tackling Miles Sanders short of the goal line on that play but at least the head coach
showed that aggressive play calling that he has become known for.
Or how about having a trick play in your back pocket for just such a situation? Ever think about
that coach? That two point conversion situation at the end of the 4th should have been
play-acted well before Sunday’s game. Is this coach not prepared? Pederson, on a local radio
show on Monday, said in hindsight, he would have probably kept his offense on the field and
would have gone for it on 4th and 12. Hindsight? What? Excuse me? NFL head coaches get
paid the big bucks for having foresight not hindsight. Strapper heads like me are the ones that
get paid for hindsight. Would it have killed them to have a play like the Philly Philly or a.k.a. The
Philly Special in the cue for just such a critical moment?
Don’t get me wrong, a loss to the Bengals would have been bad but a tie, the way it played out,
in many ways is worse. If Pederson was worried about losing the fan base with a loss then he
grossly miscalculated this fan base. Did he think Eagle Nation was going to look at the result of
this game as the glass half full? If he did then he’s been drinking too many of those glasses.
Wentz has lost the fan base with his horrific play, his regression, and his lack of confidence.
Pederson has lost the fan base with his lack of courage, poor decision making, and lack of
preparation and creativity.
Speaking of the Philly Philly, Wentz’ approval rating didn’t get a lot of help from his former
understudy either because Nick Foles, who now plays for the Chicago Bears, entered his game
against the the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, in place of starter Mitch Trubisky in the 3rd quarter
down 26-10. All Foles did was throw five touchdown passes in 13:18. That’s two more than
Wentz has thrown all year. Now, his first two scores were reversed but that’s ok because he
just threw three more in 6:45, including the game winner on a 3rd and eight from the Falcons
28, to Anthony Miller with 1:53 remaining to lead the Bears to a 30-26 victory. Foles has since
been named the starting quarterback by Bears head coach Matt Nagy.
So as the legacy of Carson Wentz continues to take a beating, the verisimilitude legend of Nick
Foles just continues to expand to even loftier proportions of epic heroism. That’s right, the same
guy who engineered the game winning drive two years ago that ended up in the now famous
Double-Doink playoff victory for the Eagles is going to be taking over a 3-0 Bears team that is,
at least at this point, heading towards that time of year where legends aren’t born they are
memorialized in bronze and decorated with the spoils of parades and shiny new rings.