The Eagles’ season came to an end Sunday, which is never a good feeling. Yet, it’s difficult to be too hard on the team after a 17-9 loss to the Seahawks considering franchise quarterback Carson Wentz was knocked out of the game in the first quarter.
There will be more to say on the injury and hit that caused it as well as what the Eagles need to do to get back on top in the offseason ahead. For now, we simply hand out one last report card — and the grades aren’t too bad despite a crushing defeat.
Josh McCown: 18/24, 174 YDS
Wentz completed 1 of 4 passes for three yards with a sack before exiting the game with a concussion, which obviously changed the complexion of the game. Once he found a rhythm, McCown was able to move the offense quite capably between the 20s. The operation bogged down however on all three trips inside the red zone. Plus, the veteran backup took far too many sacks — six — largely a product of holding the ball too long. Tough spot to come off the bench cold like that. Regardless, it wasn’t good enough.
Miles Sanders: 14 CAR, 69 YDS, 3 REC, 8 YDS
You can’t say enough about Sanders’ development as this season progressed, and he had another nice game on the ground here, with a bum ankle no less. But a fourth-down drop in the fourth quarter simply can’t happen. The throw wasn’t perfect, still he needs to slow down and secure the football in such a pivotal moment in the game. Boston Scott was a vision once again, pitching in six carries for 25 yards and three catches for 23 yards.
Wide receivers and tight ends
Dallas Goedert: 7 REC, 73 YDS
Another big day for the tight ends, but the sheer inability of any of the wide receivers to reliably get open was a serious issue. Behind Goedert and Zach Ertz with two catches for 44 yards, the Eagles’ leader was Greg Ward with three for 24. Ward and Shelton Gibson also drew pass interference penalties of 20 and 39 yards, respectively — unfortunately, those plays went for twice as many yards as the entire receiving corps combined.
Considering it was without Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson, the play up front actually wasn’t bad. Eagles backs ran the ball effectively, carrying 20 times for 94 yards — a 4.7 average. And while the Seahawks racked up seven sacks, much of that was the direct result of tight coverage in the secondary.
Fletcher Cox: 6 TKL, 2 TFL, FF
With the exception of Cox, the performance up front was largely disappointing considering all the injuries to Seattle’s O-line. The front four did stifle Seahawks running backs (17 carries for 19 yards) and account for five quarterback hits. Yet, too often, Russell Wilson had ample time to sit in the pocket and either throw the ball down field or take off (nine rushes, 45 yards). It didn’t play poorly, but it didn’t exactly dominate against a patchwork front, either.
Nathan Gerry: 6 TKL, 3 TFL
This unit doesn’t make enough impact plays for mistakes to go unnoticed — like Nigel Bradham’s missed tackle resulting in Wilson scrambling for a first down on 3rd-and-15. Putting that aside, the trio of Bradham, Gerry and T.J. Edwards combined to account for 12 tackles and two quarterback hits. Not inconsequential, but certainly not difference-makers.
Malcolm Jenkins: 9 TKL, TFL, SK
Surprise, surprise, big plays through the air were backbreakers. Cre’Von LeBlanc broke up a couple passes, but a missed tackle on third down resulted in a 38-yard gain to set up Seattle’s first touchdown. Then D.K. Metcalf got so wide open in the Eagles’ secondary, he had time to fall down, get back to his feet and cross the goal line to complete a 53-yard score.
Jake Elliott: 3/3 FG
Vinny Curry’s blocked field goal in the first quarter turned out to be a significant play, as it kept the Eagles within striking distance later in the game, as did Elliott’s field goals from 46, 26 and 38 yards. Cameron Johnston dropped one of three punts inside Seattle’s 20-yard line.
Eagles’ record: 9-8
We’ll never know how this game would’ve turned out were it not for Wentz’s injury, and really, so many injuries over the course of the season. The defense and special teams did all it could here, and the offense was down to just four starters from Week 1, so it’s difficult to say how much more coaching could’ve squeezed out of that group. Maybe a few more shots downfield would’ve been in order, but the bottom line is the Eagles ran out of talent.
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