If this game was named after a football player, it would be the Nate Gerry bowl. The Philadelphia Eagles tied with the Cincinnati Bengals 23-23 in what can only be described as the most horrifying game in recent memory. Here’s everything you need to know.
An Eagles hero and an Eagles villain
Carson Wentz was poor in both of his opening performances and for the most part, that remained a constant in game 3. Sporadic with his accuracy once more, Wentz was lucky not to turn the ball over more than the two occasions he did. It took him 11 games to through 6 interceptions in 2019 – a feat he has already reached in 2020.
On the flip side, when the team needed him most, Wentz put the offense on his back and did it all himself as he did in 2019, driving into the endzone for a rushing touchdown and bringing his team back from the brink and into overtime.
As impressive as the gutsy dive across the plane was, Wentz ultimately fell short of the mark. This performance was not good enough. Costly mistakes and terrible placement have chained this Eagles offense down and will continue to do so until such a time as they’re coached out of him. That might not happen for a while though…
I don’t know who this Head Coach is or what he’s done with ‘Mr analytically aggressive’ Doug Pederson, but he is a shadow of the man fans have come to love. Pederson called a terrible game on Sunday. The offense lacked any creative flair, the screens were useless, and despite opening up on a ridiculously dominant footing by running the ball with Miles Sanders against a putrid run defense, he veered away from it and instead split carries with Boston Scott and focused on passing the ball. Why?
His lack of fire was crystal clear on the overtime 4th and 12 from the 64-yard line in the dying moments. Game on the line. The Eagles didn’t even bother to try to go for a field goal, despite knowing Jake Elliott had previously kicked a 61-yard winner against the Giants. They didn’t go for the conversion attempt, despite there being no time left at all. Pederson simply opted to punt it away and leave with his tail between his legs. Awful.
On the plus side…
Eight. Sacks. The defensive line made life hellish for rookie QB Joe Burrow, hitting him 18 times and bringing him down 8. Brandon Graham took over the game in the fourth quarter, rallying to huge play after huge play. The veteran ended his day with 4 QB hits, 3 TFL, 2 sacks, and a partridge in a pear tree.
It was arguably the best game we’ve seen from Graham in a long time and he wasn’t alone. Derek Barnett took a while to get going but made a huge impact late in the proceedings, as did Josh Sweat. If there’s one positive to take, it’s just how dominant this front four can be now that the interior depth is as powerful as it is plentiful.
Aaaaand back to reality for the Eagles
Nate Gerry is the human embodiment of a beyblade. Seriously. He spends the whole game just aimlessly spinning hoping that he lucks into a tackle. How he remains a starter on this defense, I will never know.
Nickell Robey-Coleman is as useful as a sponge in a flash flood.
Marcus Epps redeemed himself but only a bit.
It was also really nice of Jason Peters to demand money from the team in order for him to fill his new role of human turnstile. Penalties, an injury, and contract talks? I’ve got a line on JP bingo!
Oh, and I forgot to mention that the injury bug has bitten again. DeSean Jackson and Avonte Maddox both left the game early and Darius Slay looked like he would join them for a short period before returning after taking a nasty blow to his arm. Slay was another of the team’s few bright spots today and that kind of heart will be pivotal in galvanizing this locker room. But even so, the team just can’t catch a break.
The worst part is we’re not even really scratching the surface here. The Eagles looked so devoid of desire throughout that it was utterly gut-wrenching. The energy from Pederson was non-existent and it arguably trickled down onto his players. Where they go from here, I don’t know…but the Niners just slapped the Jets back down to size despite having an injury crisis. This will be fun.
Hey, at least we can take solace in the fact it can’t get much worse.
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire
Liam is a 24-year old sports journalist from the UK and founder of the Philly Sports Network. In just five years he turned a hobby into one of the fastest-growing Philadelphia sports sites in the world, amassing 7,000,000 views and writing over 3,000 articles. Drawing attention from the likes of CSN, NJ.Com and Bleacher Report in the process, Liam is set on changing the way Philadelphia sports teams are reported on forever.
You can contact him here: Phillysportsnetwork@gmail.com