Monday, November 21, 2016

A statement game for Eagles, Wentz, but not the one they wanted

I mentioned in my weekly Eagles prognostication that while the Birds made a statement last week in beating they Falcons at home, they could put an exclamation point on it with a win on the road against Seattle in what is undoubtedly one of the toughest place to play in the NFL.

Well, the Eagles made a statement all right.

They're not very good.

Don't be deceived by that final score.

Seahawks 26, Eagles 15.

It wasn't that close.

The Eagles got dominated on both sides of the ball.

Everyone knew the Birds would have their hands full against one of the best defenses in the league.

But Doug Pederson's charges once again took turns beating themselves.

At the top of the heap this morning would be Nelson Agholor.

I suggested last week that Pederson, Roseman and the Eagles brass could send a message to the team that they are serious about making an unexpected playoff run by releasing the USC product.

They obviously did not to give up on the first-round pick. Too bad. He cost them dearly yesterday, including the pivotal play that changed the entire nature of the game.

In the second quarter, Carson Wentz hooked up with tight end Zach Ertz on a perfectly designed screen pass. Ertz rumbled into the end zone for a TD that would have given the Eagles the lead. Only one problem: Agholor was not lined up correctly; he was not up on the line of scrimmage to cover the left tackle. That nullified at 57-yard TD strike.

Later he dropped a crucial third-down pass that would have given the Eagles a first down deep in Seattle territory. Instead, as has been the case all too often in his Eagles career, the perfect pass clanked off his hands.

The Eagles now stand at 5-5. No, they are not out of the playoff race, and they still get a shot at the Cowboys, Giants and Redskins on their home turf at the Linc, where they are developing a distinct home field advantage.

But this time has absolutely no weapons to speak of. Yesterday for some reason Pederson decided to come out passing, instead of sticking with the ground game and controlling the clock that proved so effective in corralling the Falcons and their high-flying offense.

It didn't help that the Eagles lost both Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles to injuries.

But Wentz literally has no one to get the ball to down the field. His main targets are usually dump-offs to a running back or short routes to Ertz.

In a laughable point in yesterday's game, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson caught a TD pass off an option play. That gives him something the Eagles wide receivers did not have in the game.

The Eagles are doing Wentz a disservice sending him out there each week with little or nothing to play with.

That might be one of the reasons Wentz has cooled considerably since that hot start. Teams know what is coming at them with the Eagles.

For the most part, it is very little.

You'd like Wentz to take over one of these games, put the team on his back and will them to victory. That hasn't happened yet.

With this offense, I wouldn't look for it to happen anytime soon.

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