Eagles-Packers Postgame: Packing it in on This Season
One team used dominating performance on Monday night to announce that they might just be serious playoff contenders after all. Unfortunately for the hometown Philly fans, the Eagles were not that team.
The Green Bay Packers' 27-13 drubbing of the Philadelphia Eagles was a wake-up call for anyone who was foolish enough to think that Eagles were a playoff team. They are currently the 11th seed in a 15 team NFC. Even if they could somehow run the table and finish 10-6, that still might not get them into the playoffs.
But the Eagles are most certainly not winning their remaining five games. They can no longer count on their home-field advantage that served them so well during the first half of the season. The Packers shattered that illusion for good. Plus, the only game where the Eagles will be favored is next week against an injury-ravaged Cincinnati Bengals team.
No, the Eagles would be much better served by losing all or at least most of their remaining games. Sure, they don't have their own first round draft pick, but having a higher pick in the other six rounds would be better than winning meaningless games at the end of this season. Please tell me everyone has finally figured that out after the last two seasons, where winning meaningless games did nothing but cost the team a few valuable spots in the draft.
As for the game, I guess we all should have known that the Packers were a more dangerous team than their 4-6 record suggested. After all, they have a first-ballot Hall of Famer at QB in Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers let it be known that he is still among the best QBs in the NFL, when he led the Packers straight down the field on the opening possession of the game. As a matter of fact, Rodgers was so good against the Eagles that the Packers only punted once all game. If you don't count the one kneel-down at the end of the first half and the two kneel-downs at the end of the game, the Packers scored on 5 of their 6 possessions.
That's not to say that the Eagles defense was solely responsible for the loss though. They were horrible, but the Eagles offense only managed 13 points against one of the worst defenses in the entire NFL. Green Bay had given up an astounding 153 points in the previous four games. For the Eagles to only score 13 points is inexcusable.
Sure, the Eagles offense only had a season-low seven possessions all game, but to only score 1 TD and 2 FGs against a terrible Packers defense is not a good sign for the future.
Carson Wentz played decent. He completed 24 of 36 passes for 254 yards, with no TDs and 1 INT. He ran for the Eagles only TD. The interception was another ball he overthrew, which is becoming a recurring problem for the rookie QB. Wentz did lead the Eagles on an 11-play, 81-yard TD drive on their first possession to tie the score, but when the Eagles defense let the Packers drive right down the field again on the ensuing possession, the game was all but over.
WR Nelson Agholor was not active after basically admitting that his confidence was shot after last week's game. So when Jordan Matthews left the game in the first half with an ankle injury, Wentz was left without a reliable target. Darren Sproles managed 5 receptions for 48 yards in spite of a broken rib, but TE Zach Ertz only had 3 catches for 36 yards. The Eagles leading receiver was Dorial Green-Beckham, who had 6 receptions for 82 yards. The problem was that he had 4 of those receptions for 53 yards on the opening drive, when the Packers were more worried about Matthews. Once Matthews went out, DGB was nearly invisible as usual. Undrafted rookie receivers Paul Turner and Bryce Treggs combined for 1 catch for 11 yards (Treggs).
We also can't overlook yet another bone-headed penalty by an Eagles WR that negated a great play. This time is was Green-Beckham getting flagged for a pass-interference penalty that wiped out a 41-yard gain on a screen pass to Sproles. The Eagles receivers don't seem to know the rules of the game, which reflects poorly on the coaches. More on the coaching later.
On defense, the Eagles problems were many. They didn't sack Rodgers once, which is amazing considering the state of the injury-plagued Green Bay offensive line. As a matter of fact, the only time they hit Rodgers at all was when DT Fletcher Cox was flagged for unnecessary roughness for a late hit. The penalty was even more egregious when you consider that Rodgers' 3rd down pass was incomplete. The penalty gave the Packers a first down, on what turned out to be a touchdown drive to put Green Bay up by 11 points early in the 4th quarter.
Most of this season, the Eagles defense has been good on third down. Not on Monday night. Green Bay converted 10 of 14 third down opportunities and Rodgers was 9 for 10 on third down. That explains why the Packers only had eight possessions and the Eagles only had seven all game. The Eagles defense simply couldn't get off the field. Sure, Rodgers is great and completed 30 of 39 passes for 313 yards and 2 TDs without an INT, but the defense still played poorly.
The Eagles players aren't very good; especially the CBs, but I place most of the blame for their performance at the feet of defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. I know it's sacrilege to criticize the Schwartz, but he didn't make the necessary adjustments during this game. On the first drive, it was obvious that Rodgers was going to counteract the Eagles aggressive pass rush with quick-hit passes. The logical thing for Schwartz to have done was to have his CBs play press coverage, so that Rodgers would have to hold the ball a bit longer. For some reason, that never happened. Blitzes never got to Rodgers because the CBs continued to play off the WRs, so Rodgers could easily get the ball out to an open receiver. The only way you can excuse Schwartz for this gaff is if you acknowledge that the Eagles CBs are not very good. Either way, it was infuriating to watch this all game.
The Packers receivers torched the Eagles secondary. Jordy Nelson had 8 receptions for 91 yards. Randall Cobb had 6 receptions for 41 yards and Devante Adams had 5 receptions for 113 yards and 2 TDs.
Why did the Philadelphia Eagles lose to the Green Bay Packers?
And Schwartz wasn't the only coach to have a bad game. Doug Pederson is providing evidence each and every week that he is probably the worst head coach in the entire NFL. His decision to kick the ball to the Packers to start the game, after winning the coin toss, was the first of many mistakes he would make in the game. You don't give a QB like Rodgers the ball to start a game. He's just too damn good.
Pederson's decision to only call 15 running plays isn't normally a recipe for success with a rookie QB, but the Packers are good against the run and terrible defending the pass, so it did make some sense. But considering the Eagles ran the ball five times on their only TD drive of the game, that should have been a strong clue to Pederson that he should have been more committed to the run.
But the worst thing Pederson did on Monday night is something that should send shivers down the spine of every Eagles fan. Dougie did one of the dumbest things I have ever seen an NFL coach do and that's saying something after I watched Andy Reid for 14 years. Pederson challenged a play in the third quarter where Green Bay gained 2 yards. The fact that the Eagles won the challenge is irrelevant. First of all, it was a 1st down play and it was only a 2-yard completion. Second of all, the Packers went on to score a TD on the drive anyway. But the worst part of all is that Pederson didn't seem to understand that he was wasting his final challenge of the game in the 3rd quarter for the difference of 2 damn yards. It was so stupid I can't believe he actually did it. And of course, he defended the move in his postgame press conference, which only goes to prove that he is completely in over his head as an NFL coach. Be afraid Eagles fans. Be very afraid.
The positives from this game are that Wentz looked OK, except for that interception. And Caleb Sturgis booted two more field goals, from 48 and 52 yards out. That's it.
The Eagles receivers aren't good and that affects Wentz's ability to produce. Now Jordan Matthews is hobbling with an ankle injury. The offensive line allowed four sacks. The defensive line was supposed to be the strength of this team, but the Eagles only have six sacks in their last five games and got none against Green Bay. When the team's best CB is 7th rounder Jalen Mills, whose best move is wagging his finger whenever a receiver drops a ball in his area, you know things are bad. The team also plays undisciplined, with far too many costly penalties week-after-week. And now the coaches are making fundamental errors in judgement.
Add all that up and the Eagles look like the rebuilding team we thought they were when the season started. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the fact needs to be acknowledged.
New York Giants
This loss to Green Bay effectively ended the Eagles season. They aren't going to win their five remaining games to finish 10-6 and that's what it would take to make the playoffs as a Wild Card. All that's left now is to see what players on the roster might be useful in future seasons and playing (and losing) for a better draft position.
That's not a pretty picture, but that's the reality of the 2016 Philadelphia Eagles season.