SEATTLE — I thought about making all 10 points about Nelson Agholor, but then nobody would read this.
So I stuck him in the middle.
Not a whole lot of positives Sunday out here at CenturyLink Field, which is the loudest place I’ve been to since I was in the fifth row for Black Sabbath at the Spectrum on the Sabotage tour.
It was 26-7 late in the fourth quarter and the Eagles did pile up a bunch of garbage yards and a late touchdown, but all in all, the Seahawks manhandled the Eagles in every phase Sunday, winning 26-15 and improving to 32-5 since opening day 2012 at home (see Instant Replay).
The Eagles are now 2-5 in their last seven games and have lost five straight road games for the first time since 2012 and the second time since 1999.
They’re 4-0 at home and 1-5 on the road, and the best part of that is it means four of their last six games are at the Linc.
Ten Observations? We cover Agholor, the other wideouts, Carson Wentz, the defensive line, Jaylen Watkins’ attempt to tackle Jimmy Graham, Kenjon Barner and injuries.
Better dive in now. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll finish.
1. Just not at their level. No other way to put it, except it’s clear that the Eagles just aren’t on the same level as the Seahawks. After the other losses — Redskins, Cowboys, Giants, Lions — you felt that one play here, one play there, different outcome. This was different. This was the first time under Doug Pederson the Eagles have been manhandled, the first time they’ve been embarrassed. And, hey, this is what the Seahawks do to almost everybody. There’s a reason they’re 32-5 in this building since opening day of 2012. Yeah, you would have liked to have seen the Eagles acquit themselves better. But you’re talking about a team playing its 10th game under a new head coach and 10th game with a rookie quarterback playing in the most insanely loud and challenging environment in the NFL. It was ugly, and it was tough to watch, but this is what the Seahawks do to people. The Eagles are good enough to compete with most teams in the NFL, but the Seahawks in this building? They’re in a different league.
2. You kind of knew the offense would have a very rough time moving the ball against this Seattle defense. But I expected more from the defense. Right from the start and C.J. Prosise’s 72-yard touchdown run, the defense just seemed slow and out of position. Too many weak attempts at tackles, too many blown coverages, too many guys out of position. This is not an elite offense. The Seahawks are 19th in the NFL offensively, and several of the Eagles' defensive players spoke during the week about how they believed their play so far proved they were Seattle’s equal defensively. Instead, they weren’t able to keep the Eagles in the game. They did some good things defensively. Got decent pressure. Shut down the run after Prosise’s big run and injury. But they also gave up 418 yards, didn’t force any turnovers, let Russell Wilson catch a touchdown pass from Doug Baldwin, had just one sack (for no yards) and never made a big play when they needed to. After punting on their first drive, the Seahawks scored on five of their next 10 possessions. Let’s face it, you give up 26 points to the Seahawks, you’re not winning the game. I didn’t think the Eagles would win, but I did think the defense would play better than this.
3. Carson Wentz’s numbers weren’t very good — 23 for 45 for 218 yards with TD passes to Zach Ertz and Dorial Green-Beckham and two interceptions. But I don’t even care what the numbers are. The kid was out there getting absolutely zero help. His wide receivers had as many receiving yards as Russell Wilson until EARLY IN THE FOURTH QUARTER (15). More drops. Penalties. Inconsistent protection. He got belted way too many times. And the injuries to Darren Sproles and Ryan Mathews certainly didn’t help. Wentz is the least of my worries. I feel like he did all he could. The kid’s effort never wanes, and it seems like he always stays positive in the face of extreme adversity. He had a long TD pass to Ertz called back because of a penalty on Agholor. He had a pass play that would have gone for 30 to 40 yards that Agholor dropped. Wentz will be fine. But my goodness, somebody get him some help.
4. OK, gotta do it. This Agholor thing just gets worse and worse. It’s hard to imagine two more damaging consecutive screw-ups by a wide receiver, but the Eagles’ non-performing former first-round pick lined up off the line of scrimmage to wipe out a 57-yard Ertz touchdown catch and then had an atrocious drop on a perfect Wentz spiral after getting wide open 20 yards down the field. If he catches the ball, he goes at least another 20 yards inside the Seattle 35. Oh, and he finished with no catches. That gives him seven yards in his last two games. I’ve run out of ways to describe how awful Agholor has been. He’s an embarrassment right now. On a team that has drafted its share of first-round disasters — Michael Haddix, Jon Harris, Jerome McDougle, Danny Watkins and so on — what the Eagles are getting from Agholor puts him in that conversation. He’s 23 games into his career now. When do the Eagles pull the plug and get somebody in there who can catch a football? Not to mention line up in the right place. Now would be a good time. Right now.
5. The Eagles have been very healthy this year, but they got pretty banged up Sunday, losing Mathews (knee), Sproles (ribs), Leodis McKelvin (evaluated for concussion) and Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee) and Jason Peters for a couple drives. No sense yet how serious the injuries are but a few of them didn’t look good. The Eagles have tremendous depth at running back, and Wendell Smallwood (11-for-46) and Kenjon Barner (3-for-17) are capable backups, but losing Sproles for any amount of time would be devastating. He does so much for this team on offense and as a punt returner. Mathews has had an up-and-down season, but he’s still the most accomplished runner on the team. And we know how banged up the Eagles have been at cornerback, so as uneven as McKelvin’s play has been this year, they certainly can’t afford to lose him. Bad enough to lose the way the Eagles did. The injuries certainly make it worse.
6. Jaylen Watkins’ attempt to tackle Jimmy Graham on his 35-yard TD may have been the worst tackle attempt I’ve ever seen. I know it’s a tough matchup for Watkins, but that was just a lack of effort. That will be a rough piece of film for Watkins to watch. And Jalen Mills’ whiff on Prosise’s long run was almost as bad. Inexcusable.
7. We talked about Agholor, but I have to talk about the wide receivers as a group. Green-Beckham did catch a TD and a few passes in the final garbage minutes Sunday, but still has just four catches in the last three games. Agholor didn’t catch a pass Sunday and has seven receiving yards in his last two games (and 264 in 10 games this year). Bryce Treggs hasn’t done anything since his long catch against the Giants and appeared to stop running when targeted deep down the middle Sunday, a play that turned into a Richard Sherman interception. Jordan Matthews put up OK numbers Sunday — 5 for 59 — but he had only four yards going into the fourth quarter, and by then the game was over. Just think how much this horribly disappointing group is affecting Wentz. This is the worst group of wide receivers I’ve ever seen. Howie Roseman has some serious work to do to get them up to NFL caliber.
8. The Eagles need a lot more from their pass rushers. They managed just one sack Sunday — for zero yards — and they’ve recorded just five sacks in the last four games after picking up 20 in the first six. On paper, this is an elite group that should make life difficult for any NFL quarterback, but the last few weeks, they just haven’t gotten the production you want. This is the first time since 2013 the Eagles have gone four straight weeks without recording more than two sacks in a game. They have the players. They have the players with very expensive contracts. They need to make life tougher for opposing QBs.
9. I’ll say this again, and I’ve said it before. I feel like Barner should be on the field more. In limited time, he sure seems to make a lot of plays. I would think if he played more he’d make more? Make sense?
10. With the Giants, Cowboys and Redskins all winning, this was a pretty costly day for the Eagles. But the schedule does get easier. The Packers at home. At Cincinnati. Then the Redskins, at Baltimore, and Giants and Cowboys home. The wild-card race is still muddled. There are worse places to be with a rookie coach and quarterback than 5-5. Don’t count this team out quite yet.