Three of the Eagles’ turnovers Sunday were in Seattle territory and another was just inside midfield.
If those turnovers were punts? Or turned into a field goal or two?
It’s a different game.
So Malcolm Jenkins’ message to Carson Wentz and the Eagles’ offense is to stop trying so hard, be patient, stop trying to force the issue.
Sometimes a punt isn’t the worst thing in the world.
“We want those guys to stay patient,” Jenkins said. “We’re going to do what we can. We know they’re short-handed so we know defensively we’ve got to step up and be really stingy. The message for them is to stay patient. Take care of the football. Be comfortable ending it with a kick, whether it’s a PAT, field goal or a punt. Any three of those, we can play and compete after that.”
The Eagles committed five turnovers Sunday in their 17-9 loss to the Seahawks, the first time they’ve done that since 2013.
And while they directly led to only three Seattle points, they killed five drives, including three of the Eagles’ four-longest drives of the game.
Every time the Eagles got some momentum going … turnover.
“The way our defense has been playing, our offense doesn’t have to be frustrated by punting or kicking field goals,” Jenkins said. “As long we end it with a kick, I think we’re good because it’s been one-score games and tight games. We’ve got to get comfortable as a team to win those games that are 12-9 or 9-6 without getting frustrated, especially being short-handed as far as injuries on offense. We try to keep them encouraged, keep them in it. Obviously with the fans kind of being upset and all of the frustrations that mount you’ve just got to keep your cool and focus on the game.”
The Eagles lost to two of the NFL’s best teams, the 10-1 Patriots and 9-2 Seahawks, in back-to-back weeks by 17-10 and 17-9 scores.
This is the first time since 2013 and only the second time since 1999 the Eagles have lost back-to-back games despite allowing 17 or fewer points in both.
Jenkins, who had two sacks, four QB hurries and a tackle for loss Sunday, said the Eagles’ injuries on offense mean there's really only one way for this team to win.
By playing smart, conservative, field-position football and then pouncing when you do get a chance.
Basically, by trying to punt their way to a win.
“If you look at the last two games, probably two of the better opponents that we’ve played all year, they’ve been really tight games, and we’ve needed to have that patience and haven’t come out with it,” Jenkins said. “So we’ve got to figure out how to settle down in those situations, know that it’s going to be one of those chess matches where you’re just looking for field position and you’re waiting to strike. Because the last two opponents I think probably do that better than anybody else in the league, the Patriots and Seattle, where they’re fine wining the game 9-6. As many plays as we made on defense, they didn’t get frustrated and they just stick to the pace and when they get an opportunity, they strike.”
Can the Eagles really win like that?
Jenkins genuinely believes it.
“I see it happening,” he said. “I think obviously getting healthy on offense will help us. At the end of the day, I think we’ll get these things figured out. As we get healthier on offense, defense hopefully continues to get better week in and week out. When we start playing complimentary football and we get all units playing together, I think we’ll give ourselves a better chance.”
Jenkins is probably onto something.
Unless a lot of guys get healthy quickly and a lot of healthy guys start playing a lot better, the Eagles aren’t going to suddenly start scoring in the 30’s every week.
So they need to figure out how to win ugly. Because right now winning pretty doesn’t seem to be possible.
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