By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor
Maybe it was the lack of expectation or maybe it was the improved energy on the field or maybe it was a bit of both, but the Eagles lost a game convincingly and yet it felt like a better game to watch than so many before it.
The Eagles not only had some young players out there showing what they can contribute moving forward, but the team, particularly the defense, played with an energy and almost some swagger that fans have not seen since week one.
It took a Hail Mary to make this game look close thanks to a putrid offensive gameplan and nearly half a game before the team garnered a first down, but the game still did not have a heartbreaking feel to it.
The defense played hard with two fourth-down stops, including one on the Seahawks opening drive where the team beat up on Metcalf a bot and got penalized for it, and ultimately put up a performance that was worth the 17 points they surrendered without fault to the offense.
From a long-term perspective, they temporarily secured their drop from pick 19 to pick 6 in the draft and likely inched closer to whatever change Jeffery Lurie is going to make as he is fed up with this team. Whoever is in the front office next year should have an easy time getting a major impact player with a pick like that.
- With Lane Johnson out, Matt Pryor took over at right tackle. As was reported early in the week, Jason Peters did move to right guard with Jordan Mailata again starting at left tackle.
- Alshon Jeffery was out on the field quite a bit and it seemed that most of his snaps were coming at the expense of Travis Fulgham this week, though the team did rotate in John Hightower this week as well.
- Caleb Wilson saw some snaps as the third tight end on a few snaps.
Buy: Dallas Goedert
It’s hard to see the Eagles hanging on to both Ertz and Goedert with their upcoming cap issues, but Goedert has been making the case to be the player who stays in Ertz’s absence as he is often the only threat (aside from Richard Rodgers) that the Eagles seem to have for large chunks of time. Seven catches for 75 yards and a touchdown was better than any player in the game other than DK Metcalf.
Sell: Alshon Jeffery
Jeffery was taking snaps all day and for who knows what reason. Even worse, there were multiple plays designed to go to him. The man cannot jump, cannot catch, cannot run and made just two catches for 15 yards, falling down to make sure he didn’t miss them. He also dropped two passes. His contract remains a disaster and his help to the team the past two years has been to waste a roster spot and start controversy.
Buy: Jalen Mills
Mills has struggled at times this year, particularly as the team has moved him between safety and corner mid-game, but in his role as safety in this game, Mills looked the part of Malcolm Jenkins. Seven tackles, fove of them solo and two for loss, was the end result for the corner who terrorized the screen and run games in this one.
Sell: Darius Slay
While Slay is a premier corner in the league even he would be (and, in fact, was) the first to tell you that he had an awful game. The Eagles did not get what they bargained for when they traded for and signed him on Monday night. Slay allowed 170 yards to DK Metcalf in a game where Metcalf's big plays really won it for the Seahawks. He was unable to break up any passes outside of balls DK himself dropped and came away with no interceptions or plays on the ball. Unlike many of the other players on this team, however, Slay is a player who the Eagles can count on to bounce back after such a performance.
Buy: Fletcher Cox
Fletcher Cox is always getting double or triple-teamed and that is often why Eagles fans see the success of other defensive linemen on the stat sheet but not for Cox. Against the Seahawks, however, that didn’t matter as Cox recorded five tackles (four solo), a sack and a tackle for loss as he pressured Russell Wilson all day and the veteran QB rarely had a chance to use his own legs to make plays.
Sell: Miles Sanders
Sanders managed just 15 yards on six carries and added just seven more on two catches. He also had another pair of drops. If you want the coach to stick to the run game, your top back can’t average just over two yards a play when the ball goes his way. Should there be more of an opportunity to show effectiveness on the ground? That’s an entirely different question. The simple fact is that Sanders did not contribute enough on the opportunities he got.
- If I told you Russell Wilson, Chris Carson, Carlos Hyde, Miles Sander, Boston Scott and Corey Clement all took carries in this game, it might surprise you to learn that Carson Wentz was the top runner among that group – in both terms of average yards and total yards. His 42 yards on eight carries was paced the game. While Wentz still had some accuracy issues, his mobility and rushing continues to show great promise should an offense playing to his strengths find it’s way to Philadelphia.
- Week after week it seems to be a thought in this article, but Richard Rodgers again made a strong case for the Eagles to bring him back in 2021. He shouldn’t cost much and was the third most effective receiving target (outside Metcalf and Goedert) after his grab of the Hail Marry that Travis Fulgham whiffed on.
- Speaking of Travis Fulgham, why his snaps are being leached by an old, unreliable receiver who drops passes is beyond me. Even if he does now have two Hail Marry plays he should have caught and botched, the receiver’s development is what matters most going forward rather than Jeffery potentially turning a corner to help the Eagles to a six-win season. The only plausible excuse is they think Alshon will gain value with his play and be tradeable, but his play would seem to show the opposite.
- Alex Singleton did not record 10 tackles again this week, but remained a solid linebacker throught the game as he handled the majority of the snaps once again. He, along with players like Fulgham, Mailata and, to some extent, Jacquet, Driscoll and Herbig, represent a step in the right direction for a franchise that desperately needs young talent to start to shine through.
- I’ve said a few times that I would love to insert Jacquet into the starting lineup as the outside corner opposite Slay to see what he can do. Then you can move Maddox back to safety to see if he can recapture some of the magic he had there his rookie season. With the way Mills played in this one, maybe try Mills out at linebacker. He seemed so comfortable in that area of the field and his coverage duties would not require blazing speed. It could give a chance for the team to unlock three cheap options that improve the defense on nearly every level.
The Eagles head to Green Bay Sunday to face a far more complete team than the Seahawks, The Packers defense is absolutely better than that of the Seahawks while Aaron Rodgers is just as big, if not a bigger threat than Russell Wilson on offense.