It appeared Dorial Green-Beckham might have turned a corner for the Eagles during their opening possession on Monday. The second-year wideout hauled in four passes for 53 yards on the scoring drive, including catches on three straight plays to set up a touchdown run.
Yet that increased involvement in the offense proved to be short lived. While he managed to finish with a season-high 82 yards through the air to lead all Eagles players in the loss to the Packers, Green-Beckham came up with only two more receptions the rest of the night, one in garbage time.
"Our offense didn't have a lot of opportunities," Green-Beckham said postgame. "Green Bay was holding the ball all through the quarter. They eliminated chances for us.
"We've got to be better ourselves and overall we just have to play together as a team. When situations don't go the way as planned, we've got to figure out a way to win."
Following their 11-play opening drive, the Eagles wound up with only six more possessions the rest of the game. Still, Carson Wentz targeted Green-Beckham six more times in the contest, to minimal success.
Afterward, the rookie quarterback felt the Packers changed their approach on the defense.
"It’s hard to say that we went away from it," Wentz said. "It’s just the way that they started playing some different coverages, I think more importantly."
The Eagles were shorthanded at wide receiver, something the Packers clearly seized upon and were able to take advantage of. Nelson Agholor was inactive after admitting he's battling confidence issues. Then in the second quarter, Jordan Matthews went down with an ankle injury, returned for one series in the second half, then never returned.
Matthews' injury may have been a game-changer. With their leading receiver out of the lineup, the Eagles never got past Green Bay's 30-yard line the rest of the way.
"It's big," Green-Beckham said of the injury to Matthews. "It's tough to have a receiver go down, but it's all up to us. We have to go out there and know every position and go out there and play."
"Obviously, it’s tough with a guy like Jordan, to lose him, but we felt confident with the next guy up," Wentz said. "We just struggled to get in a rhythm."
Green-Beckham thought the offense missed Agholor's presence as well, noting the Eagles "don't have too many receivers." In his absence, Bryce Treggs finished with one reception for 11 yards, while Paul Turner — active for the first time in his NFL career — was not targeted.
While the aerial attack was clearly hindered once Matthews went down, if there was any silver lining at all, it was seeing Green-Beckham produce at new levels for the Eagles.
Green-Beckham's production has been inconsistent, but better of late. Monday marked the third time in five games the 23-year-old had at least five catches and 50 yards receiving, and six catches for 82 yards against the Packers were his highest totals since Week 15 of last season with the Titans.
Seeing as he came over to the Eagles in a trade in August, it makes some sense Green-Beckham is only now beginning to build a rapport with Wentz.
"I thought DGB played a great game," Wentz said. "I think we’re getting a really good connection. He's competing his tail off and he's doing a good job, so I think that’s a good sign for us."
"I feel like it's building," Green-Beckham said of the chemistry with Wentz. "Each and every week we communicate, and that's one thing you have to do as a receiver, always communicate with your quarterbacks and be on the same page."
Green-Beckham is still learning the finer nuances of playing wide receiver. That was on full display in perhaps his most memorable play from Monday, an offensive pass interference penalty that erased a 41-yard catch-and-run by Darren Sproles in the fourth quarter.
While it seemed like it might've been a ticky-tack call by the officials, Green-Beckham didn't argue the point later.
"I agree," Green-Beckham said of the call. "That's my fault. I knew what I was supposed to do, but I was just trying to protect our running back. I felt like (the defender) was going to drive down on us, so I just went to block him."
Green-Beckham knows it wasn't a perfect outing, and he's still very much a work in progress. Yet overall, while not pleased with the outcome of the game, he seemed satisfied with the effort he gave.
"One thing that I came out here and did — I played hard," he said. "Came out here and fought and made the catches that were thrown my way."