Instant analysis: Mistake-prone Eagles sent crashing back to earth in loss to Seattle

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It was never going to be easy. The Eagles fell and they fell hard. Seattle prolonged the crowning of the NFC East champions by one more week with a huge 24-10 victory. This was not how many expected the game to pan out, but that should never have been the case. The Eagles have to pick themselves up and fast. Away from home, they now stay on the West Coast to face the L.A Rams. Before that however, here are some quick hitters from the loss.

 

Intimidation:
The Eagles offense looked like it took one giant step back in the first half. Checkdown central, Carson Wentz rarely completed a pass that went for more than 10-yards until the team were forced to play from behind. The offense opened up later in the game, but there was a lack of physicality. Prior to his second-half injury, Zach Ertz was targeted just twice against a secondary missing its heart and soul. The Eagles just didn’t seem willing to take those same risks as they did in weeks past. For better or worse, it eventually stung them. Aggressive at the wrong times and conservative for the rest of the game, the Birds were hampered by shoddy play-calls and a lack of execution.

 

So many factors:
It wasn’t just one factor. It would be easy to pin this on Doug Pederson, but the truth is that despite his magician like tendencies flashing on several occasions, Carson Wentz played one of his worst games of the year. Some late deep passes and works of art will save the stat sheet, but Wentz wasn’t at his best. That then leads to the offensive line and yet another tough day at the office for Halapoulivaati Vaitai, his first of note since replacing Jason Peters.

On the defensive side of things, the Eagles simply couldn’t afford to blitz due to the incredible rushing ability of Russell Wilson. This left a lot of zonal looks and space for the Seattle offense to work with.

Then there were penalties. Some dreadful missed calls and other calls made that were just as ridiculous, the officiating was inconsistent throughout.

Wrap all of this up and add in some strange play-calls that saw the Eagles play laterally instead of trying too stretch the field vertically for the most part and that’s why the Eagles are 10-2. Errors and mistakes that their previous opponents weren’t able to capitalize on, Seattle punished.

 

Vaitai has a long way to go:
There were some shining moments, but Halapoulivaati Vaitai has a long way to go in his development at right tackle. The sophomore offensive lineman struggled at the best of times to contain the Seahawks ever-changing pass rush and it didn’t take long for them to begin focussing their efforts on exposing his weakness.

 

Next stop?
Every other team of note won this weekend. Doug Pederson looked emotional after the loss and it’s easy to expect that players and coaches alike will enter a somber locker room in need of inspiration. This is where the Philadelphia Eagles are either made or broken. Can Doug Pederson keep spirits high and ensure that confidence does not falter, or will they instead take this personally, like a rain cloud looming over their head as they prepare for the Rams? The Eagles have to respond to adversity if they wish to be considered one of the great’s…and that all starts now.

 

Every cloud:
Nelson Agholor had his first ever 100-yard game. The Eagles now have receivers in back-to-back games with 100+ yards. Agholor caught his seventh touchdown pass of the season and further went on to cement his authority as one of the team’s brightest talents. Agholor looks like a completely different wideout to the one he did one year ago and that at least deserves mentioning.

 

Too little, too late:
Of his 349 passing yards, 303 came in the second half for Carson Wentz. Too little, too late. An earlier challenged call on 4th and short that was eventually converted anyway burned the Eagles of a timeout. Pederson then decided to go for it on a couple of different occasions, each hammering a nail a little further into the coffin. Too little, too late. The Eagles secondary struggled throughout today. Even Malcolm Jenkins gave up a touchdown and Ronald Darby had a target on his back. They were able to string together some solid drives but again, too little, too late. The Eagles have to leave this game with confidence in themselves and a “one game at a time” mentality, but more importantly, they need to iron out the errors which are the difference between a first round exit and a Super Bowl Beth.

 

Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

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