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Eagles-Seahawks Postgame: Losing a Game That Never Should Have Been Played
The schedule will show that the Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Seattle Seahawks 26-15 in Week 11 of the 2016 NFL season, but they really lost the game in Week 17 of the 2015 season. That was when the Eagles beat the New York Giants in a seemingly meaningless game to end the 2015 season with a 7-9 record.
The reason that 2015 game cost the Eagles this game is that they never should have had to play the Seahawks in Seattle. But by winning that game, their 2016 schedule included a trip to Seattle instead of playing the lowly Los Angeles Rams in London. Even worse, that meant that the Giants got to play the Rams instead of the Seahawks.
Those of you who told me I wasn't a "real fan" for saying the Eagles should have been better off losing that game, should really learn to take a long-term outlook when it comes to these things. The lower spot in the draft that win cost the Eagles was just part one. This major difference in this season's schedule, that was directly affected by the outcome of that meaningless game, means that the Eagles got a loss instead of an easy win and the Giants got an easy win instead of a loss at Seattle.
As for the particulars of the loss to the Seahawks, it was far worse than the final score would indicate.
The Eagles were absolutely dominated from start to finish. Sure, the Eagles actually could have made a game of it if they didn't have a 57-yard TD catch by TE Zach Ertz called back for an illegal formation penalty on WR Nelson Agholor, but that would have entailed head coach Doug Pederson being a better coach and QB Carson Wentz not having the worst game of his short NFL career.
The Eagles got down early when they allowed rookie RB C.J. Prosise to run 72-yards, untouched, for a TD. Rookie CB Jalen Mills was completely faked out on the run, so he couldn't jump up and wag his finger like he does every single time a receiver doesn't burn him like toast. I can't possibly be the only one who finds that irritating.
Anyway, the Eagles actually showed some early heart by going on a 13-play, 68-yard scoring drive that took 7:35 off the clock and ended with a 4-yard Etrz TD. It actually gave the Eagles the lead, 7-6, because they blocked the extra point after the Prosise TD. This was the last time the Eagles did anything positive, until garbage time in the 4th quarter, when the Seahawks allowed the Eagles to complete a few passes and score a meaningless TD.
Seattle TE Jimmy Graham scored a 35-yard TD on a broken play where QB Russell Wilson scrambled away from pressure and safety Jaylen Watkins lost track of Graham. Watkins did manage to recover enough to completely blow a tackle attempt on Graham though. It was embarrassing.
The Seahawks held a 16-7 lead at halftime after the Eagles had a horrible drive at the end of the first half ended with a bad throw by Wentz that was intercepted by Cam Chancellor.
Do you still think it was a good thing that the Eagles beat the Giants in Week 17 last season?
But that wasn't even the bad news that came out of this game. The bad news for the Eagles was that RBs Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles were injured early and did not return for the second half. As a matter of fact, both are now questionable for the next game. Sproles suffered a rib injury, so he might be OK in a week or two. Mathews left the locker room limping badly with a knee brace on and is scheduled for an MRI on Monday. His season may be over.
With only rookie Wendell Smallwood (13 carries for 48 yards) and Kenjon Barner (3 carries for 17 yards) left at RB, the Eagles were in deep trouble against the Seahawks defense. Without any semblance of a rushing attack in the second half, Wentz was doomed.
Wentz had the worst game of his short NFL Career. He completed 23-of-45 passes for 218 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTS for a 52.8 passer rating. And it would have been much worse without all the garbage-time yardage he accumulated late in the 4th quarter.
Speaking of garbage-time stats, that's all the Eagles WRs had in this game. Going into the 4th quarter, the Eagles WRs had 2 catches for 14 yards. Meanwhile, Seattle QB Russell Wilson had 1 catch for a 15-yard TD. So, a guy who is paid to throw the football was having a better game as a pass catcher than the entire receiving corps of the Philadelphia Eagles. Yes, it really was that pathetic.
Wilson scored that TD on a pass from WR Doug Baldwin, who took an end-around and threw back across the field to a wide-open Wilson for the TD and a 23-7 Seattle lead. Baldwin also caught 4 passes for 104 yards.
Wilson finished the game 18-for-31 for 272 yards, 1 TD and 0 INTs. It wasn't great, but he was in control of the game from start to finish thanks to a complete lack of pressure from the Eagles front four.
Any chance the Eagles had of stealing a win in Seattle relied heavily on their ability to dominate a bad Seahawks offensive line. It never happened. On the rare occasions that they flushed Wilson out of the pocket, he had enough time to find open receivers downfield. The Eagles had one sack all game for zero yards.
Jordan Matthews only caught 5 of the 10 passes thrown his way for 59 yards. Some of those were terrible passes by Wentz, but he has to be better than that. Dorial Green-Backham ended up with 5 catches for 54 yards and a TD, but all of it was in garbage time, with the Seahawks playing a prevent defense. Ertz scored that TD and had 6 catches, but he only gained 35 yards. The next time he breaks a tackle might just be the first time in his NFL Career.
NFC East Standgins
New York Giants
There really is nothing positive to take from this game.
The Eagles lost to drop to 5-5 and remain in last place in the NFC East. Wentz looked terrible. Pederson continued to make mistakes. The defensive line couldn't beat a bad offensive line. There were far too many missed tackles. The receiving corps continues to be the worst in the NFL. The defense allowed Seattle to convert far too many 3rd downs. And the Eagles top two RBs got injured and may miss extended time.
Yo Adrian......You were wrong
The worst part is that none of this was even necessary.
If the Eagles had just been smart and lost that meaningless game in Week 17 last season, they would have gotten an easy win over the Rams, instead of a pitiful loss to one of the best teams in the NFL in Seattle. I now see that firing Chip Kelly before the Giants game last year was a mistake. He surely would have lost that game with his stupid college offense.
Let's all just keep that lesson in mind the next time the Eagles are in such an obvious situation.
Sometimes, a win isn't necessarily a good thing.