The Eagles' stinker in Cleveland is getting all the attention in the city currently, but there was plenty to watch around the NFL yesterday. In viewing those games, I couldn't help but come up with some takeaways about the Eagles themselves:
1. As the Eagles move further and further from their 2017 offensive success, Frank Reich's departure is seen as a top reason among Philly fans as to why the Birds have crumbled since. I've wondered how true that is. Reich's Colts had just the 18th-best offense in the NFL according to Football Outsider's DVOA metric entering this week while their defense ranked fourth.
Well, yesterday's 34-31 win over the the Packers and their elite offense illustrated that Reich's offense can keep up with the best units around the league. Philip Rivers is 11 years Carson Wentz's senior and has a higher QBR (64.6) than Wentz (48.1) in 2020 while working with Reich for the first time in his career.
2. The best-case scenario for Wentz's career trajectory right now? Derek Carr. The Raiders quarterback had an MVP-caliber season in 2016 before suffering a season-ending leg injury. For several seasons following that, Carr was never quite the same. That sound familiar?
In his second year in Jon Gruden's system, old Chucky's creative play-calling has Carr reaching, if not eclipsing, his previous peak. Carr has 19 touchdowns tosses against just three interceptions and is fourth in the league in QBR behind a few Hall of Famers named Pat, Aaron and Drew.
The Raiders are in the AFC playoff hunt and nearly delivered the Chiefs their second loss of the season last night behind a three-touchdown performance.
While Wentz's problems mainly rest on his own shoulders, the second act of Carr's career showcases what can happen when a once-prominent young quarterback gets an overhaul with a new offensive mind in charge.
3. It takes a lot to be the only NFC East to not win a game in a given week. With the Cowboys' victory over Minnesota and Washington's win against the Bengals, in addition to the Giants having a bye, the Birds' NFC East lead has shrunk.
For those fans sick of hearing about how a floundering Eagles squad is still leading the division, fear not: the winner of Thanksgiving's Washington-Cowboys game will momentarily be atop the NFC East standings. Maybe indulge with second slice of pumpkin cheesecake during that contest to cope with the stress of watching this team weekly.
4. The Colts and Packers combined for 65 points yesterday. The Raiders and Chiefs combined for 66 last night. These prolific offensive attacks are essentially playing a different sport than the Eagles. When's the last time you truly felt the Eagles played a sound offense game from the first whistle to the last? Maybe that December 2018 game against the Texans where they scored 32 points and Nick Foles threw for 471 yards and four tuddies? That feels about four lifetimes ago.
5. Chargers rookie Justin Herbert is looking more and more like the game's next great quarterback. Look at these numbers:
Chargers fans, all 17 of them, must be ecstatic about the future of that franchise. Hope is free and the greatest treasure any fan base can have. The Eagles are devoid of that, as the promise Wentz once illustrated, the same prolific streak Herbert is on now, has evaporated before our eyes.
I miss that feeling. I miss watching fun football.