By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor
The Eagles, coming off a terrible loss to the division-rival Giants, headed to Cleveland in a game that could turn their season around.
The 6-win Browns were a beatable team, much like the Ravens were earlier in the year.
But beatable was does not mean that the Eagles would win.
Instead, Travis Fulgham dropped five passes, including a touchdown (even though he was interferred with). Alshon Jeffery jumped two minutes too early on a jump ball and allowed a game-sealing interception at the Browns 10-yard line. The referees deemed a clear Eagles fumble recovery a stoppage of forward progress. Joe Ostman and Avonte Maddox were brushed off to allow a 50-yard run to allow the Browns into the lead. The offensive line struggled mightily despite a massive improvement from Seumalo’s return.
The Eagles are just a bad football team and the best they can hope is the develop some players for the future and that someone else in the NFC East wins enough games that the Eagles don’t get smacked in the playoffs and instead wind up with a top-10 pick in each round of the draft.
- Matt Pryor drew the start at right guard with Nate Herbig inactive. He was replaced by Sua Opeta in the second half.
- Jason Peters started at left tackle and was a weak link all day. He was replaced by Mailata after an injury.
- Joe Ostman, unfortunately, drew some time at DE with Vinny Curry out. It did not go well.
- Lane Johnson was replaced by Jack Driscoll at some point in the second half.
- Luke Juriga got some playing time while Jason Kelce was sideline, but the veteran returned after the halftime break.
- Davion Taylor played quite a bit in this game and actually started the game in a four linebacker set. He was only badly beaten in coverage twice this game.
- Standout rookie Michael Jacquet was promoted to the 53-man roster, but did not play a single defensive snap. Instead, the Eagles moved Jalen Mills from safety to corner in the wake of LeBlanc’s injury. The team could probably do a three-way swap there and put Mills in as the slot corner, make Maddox the safety and Jacquet the outside corner.
Buy: Jalen Reagor
Reagor wasn’t a game changer, but he showed good abilities in this one, catching four of his five targets for 52 yards. Particularly impressive was the grab he made in the tightest window possible with a defender already tackling him and a second defender hitting him to move the chains on fourth down. That is a special player. The Eagles coaches need to allow him to use his speed to get downfield or make plays in the run/screen game to really showcase his talent, however.
Sell: Jason Peters
Jason Peters is bad. He was beat all day long and routinely got Carson Wentz hit and left the Eagles in poor position to try and move the chains. The team is lucky that he got hurt because their head coach is too blind to realize that Peters in not only wasting cap space, but is worse on the field than the rookie Jack Driscoll and he may not even be an improvement over the recently claimed Brett Toth.
Buy: Boston Scott
If Sanders didn’t screw the team by losing the game with his fumble on the teams opening drive, he would have his stock up, but his mate Boston Scott made no such egregious error and averaged more yards per carry than Sanders, putting up 24 yards on five carries. Additionally, Scott caught more of his targets (four of the five) and took them for 52 yards, making him the second most effective rusher (behind Hurts’ one carry) and the top receiving target that does not play tight end.
Sell: Joe Ostman
Ostman played limited snaps, but any defensive lineman who allows themselves to get stiff armed by a 5-foot 11 running back should be embarrassed to show their face. His claim to fame is now that he is the “hapless defender” referenced in articles. The Eagles should be focusing on developing Shareef Miller after allowing a 50-yard rush was his only impact.
Buy: Isaac Seumalo
Despite the struggles of the line again, the weak links in this one were limited to everywhere else on the line other than left guard thanks to the return of Seumalo. The veteran was about the best in protection Eagles fans haveseen all year. If the Eagles can get Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce back into shape and they finally decide to start Mailata, the line should only have one obvious weak link.
Sell: Avonte Maddox
Maddox was beat every time that the ball was thrown his way. He also whiffed on multiple tackles. He has been a liability all season and he wasn’t good last season. At this point, the Eagles should move him back to safety, where he excelled his rookie year, to see if there is any reason they should keep him around.
Buy: Alex Singleton
Leading the team again with 12 tackles (eight solo) and adding a QB hit, a sack and a fumble recovery, Singleton again had a solid game. He may not be a game-changer, but the Eagles appear to have found themselves a linebacker who is starting caliber and can play every down of the game without giving up huge plays.
- Miles Sanders fumbling the ball away in the red zone on the Eagles first offensive drive doomed this team. From that point on, Pederson did not have the faith to keep the run game going at that pace and the Eagles lost all of the momentum that they had clearly built. If Sanders doesn’t do that, the Eagles walk away with the initial lead and not only would a field goal have put the team an extra point away from a tie, but there would be some sort of confidence to go around for the awful offensive line that the Eagles keep trotting out week after week.
- At this point, there should be no doubt that the Eagles have no chance in the playoffs. This team should be looking at developing young talent and should be making moves to put players in the position to succeed.
- It also would not be a surprise to see Doug Pederson out as head coach by the end of the year and to see Duce Staley get a shot at the head coaching job to end the season.
- Jason Kelce playing half a game with someone needing to strap his helmet for him because he couldn’t bend his arm to do so is amazing. He has noticeably taken a step back this year, but that is pure toughness and the Eagles should be hopefully he sticks around for 2021 when he’s, hopefully, got Brandon Brooks by his side again.
- Richard Rodgers, though he was responsible for a missed block Sunday, has played himself into a role for the Eagles in 2021. The team really should be looking to trade Ertz for some premium picks and allow Rodgers and Goedert to run the show and potentially target someone like Pat Friermuth, who will be coming off injury and potentially falling in the draft, as another replacement at the position.
The Eagles will play the Seahawks on Monday Night Football, but based on the play we’ve seen, the coaching staff is unlikely to have the team focused on anything.