By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor
Like many games before this one, the Eagles started off this matchup strong, jumping out to a quick 14 points on their first two drives.
Then the gameplan fell apart and the previously successful aspects were never to be revisited as another coaching nightmare ensued.
Unlike in his previous two starts, however, Hurts could not overcome those challenges, particularly as the offensive line started to falter.
The team managed just three more points on their final 11 offensive drives.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Eagles were faced with an early departure of their best player and a struggling starting corner on a team that has no depth with recent injuries essentially wiping the entire depth chart away.
After an explosive one play from DeSean Jackson to extend the lead, the veteran did as he has the previous two seasons and suddenly disappeared to never be heard from again. His departure, along with the injury to Cox, seemed to spell an end to the team’s chances as the head coach had no idea what to do except apparently call plays like a two-yard pass to the speedster Zach Ertz on 4th and 15.
- Fletcher Cox left the game early and was replaced in the rotation by UDFA Raequan Williams and the promoted TY McGill. Williams was not necessarily bad, but was unsurprisingly not as disruptive as Cox by any stretch of the imagination.
- With Sweat and Barnett out, Genard Avery served as the additional defensive end for the team.
- Joe Bachie Jr. got some defensive snaps in toward the end of the game.
- Michael Jacquet struggled mightily and was benched. With no other corners available, Jalen Mills moved down to safety and Grayland Arnold became the third safety for the team once more.
- With Jordan Howard active, he seemed to operate as the number two back early on and then the number 1b back once Doug Pederson decided it was time to stop running again.
Buy: Quez Watkins
Fans should really like what they are seeing from Watkins here. Though his tally is just 57 yards on two catches, Watkins was the victim of missed opportunities and poor passes at several other points in the game. Of course, Watkins also lacks a coach who can scheme plays for him to be as effective as he can be. He has shown something of value moving forward.
Sell: Michael Jacquet
Not too much to say here other than he had a terrible game. He allowed seven catches on nine targets for nearly 200 yards. What makes it so hard to believe is that he made plays against these same receivers just a few weeks ago in his first game. Not to mention he made plays on DeAndre Hopkins just last week. The Eagles shouldn’t give up on a guy who has shown promise at a position they appear to have just one real option (and perhaps a slot option in LeBlanc) moving forward, but they will need the undrafted rookie to rebound quick, something that not many can do. He is a player to watch next week.
Buy: Travis Fulgham
Fulgham looked like he might be more involved in this game with some early targets, but put up just two targets for 27 yards. His reps were worth it, however as he seemed to get open frequently. On Hurts’ interception in the end zone, Fulgham was open the entire play until Hurts underthrew him by 5-10 yards.
Sell: Boston Scott
Scott seemed to become the third running back up in the rotation and tallied just two carries for 17 yards. Really, he lost every fan on kick returns however, where he took 3 returns and averaged less than 20 yards with a long of 24, handing the Eagles a short filed all three times. Add in that he fumbled the ball and nearly handed the Cowboys the ball in the red zone and it was perhaps his worst game as an Eagle.
Sell: Matt Pryor
Nor only were there four penalties called on Pryor in this game, but he remained a liability and someone not up to snuff to play in the NFL.. The Eagles need to give Brett Toth or Prince Tega Wanogho the reps in week 17 to see if they think either could be valuable depth to keep around next year.
Sell: Jalen Hurts
Hurts started strong, but as his line began to fail him and he started taking a beating, he began to look exactly as Carson Wentz had earlier this season. He began missing easy throws and even started with the turnovers, attempting to force plays and throwing two interceptions and fumbling for the eighth and ninth time this season. In the second half, he completed just 12 of his 24 attempts for 164 yards and three turnovers. I was looking for him to turn it around, even without a win, but he was unable to pull that off once most of the challenges Wentz has been constantly faced with this season began to pile up on the rookie for the first time.
Hurts still has talent and Wentz won’t gain anything from a meaningless week 17 game, so the Eagles should certainly plan to play Jalen against Washington next week to see how he responds to his brutal performance.
- The Eagles are currently pick six in the 2021 draft by virtue of their loss and the Panthers win over the Washington Team. They can finish the season anywhere between pick three and pick nine, depending on what unfolds next week.
- If you’re rooting for the highest pick, these three teams can improve Eagles’ draft pick if the Eagles lose to WAS:
- Falcons over Buccaneers
- Texans over Titans
- Bengals over Ravens
- If you’re still rooting for the Eagles to win, these three teams can maintain the Eagles’ current pick should the Birds win over WAS::
- Giants over Cowboys
- Panthers over Saints
- Lions over Vikings
The Eagles take on the Washington Football Team next week. If they get back Terry McLaurin and Alex Smith, WFT is clearly the favorite on paper. The Eagles have a chance to knock them out of playoff position, but is that what fans would want them to do knowing it could hand the ticket to the playoffs directly to Dallas?