By Dylan MacKinnon
3-8-1. The Eagles fall 30-16 vs the Packers, and they have now lost 4 in a row. The last time the Eagles had only 3 wins through Week 12 was 2012, notable for being Andy Reid’s last year in Philly. But the final score isn’t what people will be talking about, as most people foresaw a Packers victory. The story was rookie QB Jalen Hurts replacing Carson Wentz in the game. Then on his 2nd drive Hurts led the Eagles down for a TD. His presence wasn’t enough to win the game, but it certainly changed the game. The offense ran smoother with him at QB. But they still lost.
How did this all go so wrong? Let’s look at 5 numbers that tell the story of the game.
Hurts had 30 more yards through the air than Wentz, with 4 less passing attempts. Wentz across five drives and 15 throws had 79 passing yards on 6 completions. Hurts was 5 for 10 and had 109 yards, with a TD and a Interception. Hurts provided a spark. Was he perfect? No, but it’s impossible to say the offense didn’t run better with Hurts in than it has with Wentz. Does it mean he is better than Carson? No. But it does mean he should get another chance to play. What do the Eagles have to lose?
Ten straight games where Wentz was sacked at least 3 times. They passed that mark before half in this game. Wentz has been sacked at least 3 times in 11 of the 12 games. Much of the focus on what the problems are has been on Wentz, Doug Pederson, and Howie Roseman, and that is fair. But when Wentz is being hit 2.2 seconds into a snap like he was on the play that knocked them out of FG range, the problems are a bit deeper than just him. He ended up being sacked 5 times before being pulled. Wentz deserves a lions share of the blame, but it hasn’t all been his fault on offense this year.
Miles Sanders got 5 carries on the first drive. A promising sign we all thought. Well then 25 minutes went off the game clock until he got his next carry on the Eagles first drive of the 3rd quarter. Mile Sanders averages about 5.6 yards a carry, which is top 5 in the NFL. Yet they seem to go out of the way to not give him the ball. Instead over that time Jordan Howard got 4 carries. Howard had 33 yards on 28 carries on the season before coming into this game. They did actually end up with a fair run to pass ratio, but 10 carries for Mile Sanders is not enough. He is your best player, give him the ball.
Over the last 5 games, the Eagles offense averaged 15.6 pts per game. 17 against the Cowboys (Team scored 23 but one of the TDs was by the defense). 17 against the Giants, Seahawks, and Browns. Then 10 today vs the Packers (And a Punt return for a TD as well). For reference, the Jets average 13.8 pts a game, and that is last place in the league. The next worse is the Broncos at 19 pts per game. So over this time period, Eagles are Jets levels of bad on offense, and no other team is near as bad as they are. However, as pointed out earlier, with Jalen Hurts in things did go a bit better on offense. Perhaps if he remains the starter the offense can be respectable again.
Another game with near no use of Travis Fulgham. Two targets was all he got. There was a four game stretch this season where Fulgham led the league in yards, now he barely gets to touch a Football. Meanwhile Alshon Jeffrey saw a ton of the field, but he still couldn’t make any impact. He got one target with Hurts on the field, oh but it didn’t count because Jeffrey committed pass interference. Jeffrey had 14 snaps in the first quarter, while Fulgham had only 6. Why is an aging WR with near no production getting more play than a promising young WR? Maybe Fulgham was just a flash, but you can’t know unless you play him. They gain nothing from running Alshon out there.