An emotional rollercoaster doesn’t even come close to describing the Eagles’ loss to the Vikings. The tension in Lincoln Financial Field could’ve been cut with a knife as fans went from jubilation to heartbreak over and over again. Carson Wentz rallied his offense two a second half comeback that nearly ended in a victory. It was too little too late on a day where the Eagles biggest enemy were themselves.
It wasn’t the coaching staff. It wasn’t the play calling and to a point, it wasn’t even the referees. The reason why Philly were so deep in a bucket of self pity was because of a sheer lack of execution all around.
It became clear very early on that Isaac Seumalo experiment failed, just as the experiment benching Nigel Bradham back in 2016 failed. It also became clear that the Eagles offensive line have some severe problems that aren’t ironing out as fans hoped. Carson Wentz was sacked 3 times and hit another 8 as he was forced to dance around the pocket and turn dead plays into lifelines for his offense. From Lane Johnson to Jason Peters, there were very few moments of promise, if any. This of course meant that the offense would stagnate. The run game was non existent in the first half and with drops occasionally rearing their ugly head, the offense struggled to do anything right, amassing -4 yards in the first quarter.
Defensively, it was the same old headline: Accurate quarterback (insert name) shreds defense by plucking corners apart due to 10-yard cushion. The pass-rush did everything right, the linebackers were sound for the most part but once again, the secondary was crumbling. Double-moves and soft coverage just gave the Vikings too much to work with early on and it could’ve been so much worse. Missed field goals should’ve cemented the game…but they didn’t.
By the time the Eagles found life, what should be minor discrepancies became major talking points. The Michael Bennett call was simply atrocious, but if the offense could sustain a drive for more than 45 seconds, nobody would’ve cared that much outside of a few memes and grievances on twitter. The Doug Pederson ‘puntarama’ situation was also ripped apart by fans everywhere, without any good reason.
Pederson first forced Minnesota to waste a timeout after losing one of his own on a badly processed decision to challenge a reception and on 4th and long with 54 yards between the uprights, Pederson sent his offense out again. Wentz did his best to draw offsides and push Elliott closer to the mark, but no avail. The offense walked off the field and Johnston flipped the field, forcing the Vikings to march all the way down if they were to score.
Unfortunately for Jim Schwartz, they did. A field goal put the dagger in the heart of the Eagles, who still refused to go down without a fight.
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In the second half, Wendell Smallwood came alive, receiving for a touchdown and scoring a 2-pt conversion just moments later, before Zach Ertz would twirl in the air with just over a minute remaining in the game to at least force a chance at an onside kick recovery, which was breathtakingly ripped from their clutches by Adam Thielen.
The cracks are beginning to show each and every week. Forget the yards, the stats, the numbers. We can talk about Kirk Cousins throwing for 301 yards and completing 30/37 passes all day long, but the question we should be asking is why? The Eagles coaching staff are making all the right calls to put their team in a position to win, like being down by 14, scoring a touchdown and then going for 2 to increase the chances of a win.
The players on the field just aren’t executing. Drops, holds, penalties, missed tackles, missed assignments, miscommunication and now even bickering on the sideline as one cornerback gets too big for his boots. By the time adrenaline kicked in and the Eagles began patching the walls, the foundations were already crumbling.
There are so many players and coaches who were on last year’s team. There are so many of the same concepts and philosophies. But something isn’t clicking until absolute desperation sets in. EVERY Eagles game this year has been a one possession game and one they should’ve won. But they sit at 2-3 with a wealth of questions. The only answers we will ever find are when the players respond after looking themselves in the mirror and asking what they could’ve done differently.
Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports