Eagles

Eagles-Bears: Roob's 10 observations

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Eagles-Bears: Roob's 10 observations

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They are so methodical, so thorough, so dominating right now it's almost like we're all dreaming, isn't it?

With their latest blowout win — 31-3 over the Bears Sunday at the Linc — the Eagles became only the fourth NFL team in the last 64 years to win four straight games by 23 or more points (see breakdown).

They gave up six rushing yards to the NFL's fifth-ranked rushing offense. That's the fewest rushing yards they've allowed in the last 71 years.

Their 24-year-old quarterback now has 28 touchdowns and five interceptions (see report card). Since Week 5, that's 22 TDs and three INTs. 

They're 10-1 with a nine-game winning streak, the last five by double digits.

They're annihilating people.

So let's go to Roob's 10 Observations and take a look at yet another blowout Eagles win!

1. What we're seeing right now is just flat-out scary. Honestly, I don't know how anybody is going to beat this team. I know the Patriots, Vikings and Saints are all really good, and there are some other capable teams out there, but the Eagles are just destroying teams right now, and I just don't see a weakness when I watch them. How do you beat a team that can score at will and isn't allowing its opponents to even breathe on offense? The Eagles have taken this thing to another level, winning these last four by an average of 27 points and allowing just three offensive touchdowns along the way. It's just such a pleasure watching football played like this. Aggressive. Unselfish. Physical. Disciplined. There's something special going on here, and, man, is it fun to watch.

2. What we're seeing from Carson Wentz right now is just off the charts. With all due respect to Donovan McNabb, he's playing at an unprecedented level in Eagles history. These last seven games, Wentz has 22 touchdown passes and three interceptions. That's in less than half a season. This is a 24-year-old kid. He's playing virtually perfect football every Sunday, and the stats, records and numbers are piling up faster than we can keep track of. But all he cares about winning, and the effect he's had on this team is remarkable. To see veteran guys like LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi and Alshon Jeffery, guys who've been stars with other teams, come here and just follow Wentz's lead is eye-opening. He commands that locker room and leads so naturally and effortlessly. The Eagles are playing with a lot of passion and joy right now, and it all starts with No. 11. He's just on another level right now.

3. One significant development over the last few weeks has been a gradually improving chemistry between Wentz and Jeffery. The last few weeks, Jeffery has really started to look like a No. 1 receiver. He's not putting up huge numbers, but he's distanced himself from the other wideouts as far as targets, production and just being that guy Wentz is looking for at big moments more than any of the other wide receivers. Also great to see Zach Ertz rebound with a huge game — 10 catches for 103 yards and his seventh touchdown. He's been a beast this year.

4. I was curious to see this matchup between the Bears' fifth-ranked rushing attack — averaging 132 yards per game entering Sunday — and an Eagles run defense that went into the game No. 1 in the NFL, allowing 71 yards per game. And wow. The Bears were under zero yards until a late 11-yard scramble by Mitch Trubisky. But even with that, they finished with 14 carries for six yards. That's the fewest rushing yards the Eagles have allowed in a game since 1946. You just can't run on this team. And then you have to chuck it, and that plays right into the hands of their pass rush and secondary. Six rushing yards? It's nuts.

5. Gotta give some props to Brandon Graham, who recorded his career-high seventh sack. Graham, now in his eighth year with the Eagles, has been through so much here but injects this defense with so much energy and life and passion. He came into the league as an under-sized pass-rushing specialist, but he's now really become a two-way player, the Eagles' best pass rusher on the outside and a willing and effective run stopper, too.

6. Doug Pederson has handled everything beautifully this year, but his handling of a potentially difficult running back situation has been brilliant. He has such an innate feel for what situations and plays are best suited to the different backs, and he's managed to keep them all happy and thinking team-first. Blount led the NFL in touchdowns last year. Ajayi was a Pro Bowler. But they've suppressed their egos, and whether those guys are getting the carries or Corey Clement or even Kenjon Barner, they're all supportive of each other and they're all genuinely happy for each other. I think it all starts with Blount. There were some questions about the guy when he got here, but he's been nothing but a team player here, and the other backs, the younger guys, just follow along. And Blount is running the ball great, too. 

7. The Eagles' defense allowed one touchdown in November. 

8. We don't spend much time talking about position coaches, but the improvement we've seen in every position group since last year, and ever since, the start of this year speaks volumes about the hands-on work being done at practice and in meetings by guys like Duce Staley, Mike Groh, Cory Undlin, Chris Wilson, John DeFilippo, Ken Flajole and the others. One of the underrated keys to the Eagles' initial success under Andy Reid from 2000-2004 was Big Red's first staff — position coaches like Ron Rivera, John Harbaugh, Brad Childress, Pat Shurmur, Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier, all of whom became NFL head coaches. This is the same sort of staff. Very hands-on, extremely engaged, tremendously respected in the locker room. And in a few years, several of these guys will be NFL head coaches as well. 

9. These next two games are going to be fascinating. The Seahawks have always been unbeatable at home, but they're not quite the same team anymore. And the Rams have been one of the NFL's hottest teams all year. But I think the Eagles win both games on this West Coast trip and get back to Philly 12-1 with only the Giants, Raiders and Cowboys standing between them and a 15-1 record and the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Beat the Seahawks and Rams, and the road to the Super Bowl will go right through the Linc.

10. Finally, I have to give a shout out to Brent Celek. He didn't catch a pass Sunday, but he did something much more meaningful. By playing in his 170th career game, Celek gained the distinction of playing in more games than anybody in franchise history who's never worn another uniform. Coming into the game, Celek was tied with Chuck Bednarik at 169. Celek, the only guy on the team who's played in a postseason win in an Eagles uniform, has represented that uniform and this franchise with so much class over the past 11 years. If anybody deserves to spend his entire career in Philadelphia, it's Celek. 

Coaching, Eagles' secondary receive failing grades in embarrassing loss to Cowboys

Coaching, Eagles' secondary receive failing grades in embarrassing loss to Cowboys

After a loss like the Eagles just endured — 37-10 to the NFC East rival Cowboys, dropping the team back below .500 — we could just as easily give the whole team an F or unsatisfactory for a grade.

There will be no polishing this turd, no individual performance or moment to point to as a silver lining. It was a total catastrophe.

On to the report card. And these guys better get their parents sign these things, because it’s bad.

Quarterback

Carson Wentz: 16/26, 191 YDS, TD, INT

Typically one of two players you can point to as having a good game — the other, punter Cameron Johnston — this wasn’t Wentz’s best. Granted, he was under a ton of pressure, and the Eagles were down 20 when Doug Pederson decided to start throwing the ball. Regardless, Wentz wasn’t seeing the field well. He didn’t see open receivers and failed to diagnose blitzes, and late in the game, he got reckless with his decision making, too. He was far from the biggest issue here, but certainly not his best work either.

Grade: C-

Running backs

Jordan Howard: 11 ATT, 50 YDS, 2 REC, 6 YDS

Howard ran the ball fine, even effectively, averaging 4.5 yards per carry. Miles Sanders continues to flash the instincts of a rookie, most notably on a 3rd-and-4 carry in which he appeared to be looking straight into a crease to a first down, but instead danced his way to a three-yard gain and a punt. Six carries (for 21 yards) were arguably too many.

Grade: C

Wide receivers and tight ends

Dallas Goedert: 4 REC, 69 YDS, TD

While Goedert finally showed value as a receiver, he got the ball rolling in the wrong direction with his fumble on the Eagles’ opening possession. No one else recorded more than two receptions for 38 yards, Mack Hollins had zero catches, and while it was hard to tell, it sure looked like Nelson Agholor (two catches, 24 yards) could’ve at least extended for an overthrown pass in the fourth quarter. Doesn’t seem like these guys are getting open all that much.

Grade: D

Offensive line

So afraid of the Cowboys’ pass rush, the Eagles ran the ball 18 times to 19 dropbacks through three quarters while trailing almost the entire time and by as much as 20. Given the pressure on the quarterback — three sacks and a fumble — you can almost understand why. It was Andre Dillard’s first start, so some struggles were to be expected, but Lane Johnson was getting wrecked, too.

Grade: C-

Defensive line

Derek Barnett: 2 TKL, TFL, SK

It’s no coincidence the two drives the defensive line got the quarterback on the ground for sacks were the only drives the defense actually stopped. And in addition to a generally ineffective pass rush — three quarterback hits in 31 dropbacks — Cowboys ball carriers got to the second level much too easily, averaging 5.3 yards per carry.

Grade: D

Linebackers

Nathan Gerry: 11 TKL

Gerry made it so Zach Brown and even Nigel Bradham version 2019 weren’t really missed, which isn’t saying a lot. But of the unit’s 17 total tackles, there were few true impact plays, and nothing remotely like a tackle for loss, sack, interception or so much as a pass breakup. What there were, though, were plenty of missed tackles. Of course, that goes for all three phases.

Grade: C-

Secondary

Jalen Mills

Lack of pass rush does them no favors, but a 77.8 completion percentage and 8.9 yards per pass attempt are big numbers. Mills’ late interception is the only time an Eagles defensive back even got their hands on a pass. When Malcolm Jenkins is out there getting trucked by running backs or blowing his assignments (last week), you know all is lost.

Grade: F

Special teams

Jake Elliott: 1/1 FG, 1/1 XP

Penalties by Kamu Grugier-Hill (holding) and Rudy Ford (block in the back) caused two Eagles possessions to start inside their own 15-yard line. Miles Sanders choosing to run a kickoff out of the end zone pinned the offense deep a third time. The average starting field position for the night was the 19. You’re not going to win a lot of games like that.

Grade: D

Coaching

Eagles’ record: 3-4

When people say Pederson should run the ball more, they don’t mean while the Eagles are down 20. And it’s no wonder Jim Schwartz doesn’t like blitzing, because he sure doesn’t seem to know when to call one or how to scheme anybody free. Special teams are bad. This team constantly has the wrong number of players on the field in all three phases. They weren’t ready to play, and Pederson’s talking trash and putting a target on their backs didn’t help.

You can only hope this is like the Saints game in 2018 and becomes the low point of the season from which the Eagles bounce back.

Grade: F

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Seth Joyner and Eagles fans were livid with Nelson Agholor for his lack of effort to make deep catch

Seth Joyner and Eagles fans were livid with Nelson Agholor for his lack of effort to make deep catch

Sunday night couldn't have gone much worse for the Philadelphia Eagles down in Texas. They were handled easily by the Dallas Cowboys and it was tough for those of us sitting at home to watch.

Plenty of blame to go around in the usual directions but there was one play late in the game that had Birds fans on social media absolutely livid.

If there's one thing that doesn't fly in Philly, it's lack of effort. So when it appeared as if Nelson Agholor didn't lay out for a deep ball, fans were irate.

Former Eagle Seth Joyner was pretty harsh on Postgame Live as well.

"I've been defending [Nelson] for a long time," Joyner said. "I've been trying to be the guy that sees the positives in his skill sets. Deep down inside, there's either some pitbull, some dog in you or there ain't. There's nothing but puppy in him. When I saw him not lay out for that ball, could it have been a better ball, absolutely, but not to see the effort. One thing that doesn't cost you anything is effort. You're going to go up to the window tomorrow and pick up your paycheck and you put that effort out. You wouldn't even dive for that football in a game that mattered??"

Now, before we lay in too deep on Nelly, it's worth noting that it could be a camera angle thing as beat writer Jimmy Kempski surmises. But still, come on.

Fans were not happy one bit.

"We missed it," Agholor told reporters following the loss about the play.

Nelly wasn't the only Bird to show a lack of effort. Nate Gerry didn't appear to really want to keep Dak Prescott out of the endzone late.

Anyway, it's sure to be a happy Monday in Philly!

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