Instant analysis: Eagles struggle to tank in season finale but it worked!

NFL: JAN 03 Washington Football Team at Eagles
PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 03: Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) celebrates a touchdown in the first half during the game between the Washington Football Team and Philadelphia Eagles on January 03, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

Somehow, I don’t even think that was the most confusing Eagles game I’ve watched this season. The Eagles ended up losing 20-14 to the Washington Football team, securing the sixth overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft in the process…but they didn’t make it easy.

A war of worlds

The entire game felt like a battle between Jim Schwartz and Doug Pederson. The Eagles Head Coach, who appears to have guaranteed his job, was visibly doing anything he could to hamper his team and reduce their chances of a win. From punting inside enemy territory…

…to conservative play-calls, and the insertion of Nate Sudfeld into the game, this was a clear attempt from Pederson to cut his nose in order to spite his face and gain a higher draft pick. The problem was that not everyone got the memo.

Unlike Doug Pederson, Jim Schwartz won’t be back next season, much like a large chunk of the defensive pieces who played tonight. Many of them were underdogs forced into the spotlight due to another injury bug. Schwartz lit a fire under his group for one last rodeo and the result was stunning.

Marcus Epps transformed into a ball-hawking terror, ripping away a pass into his own chest while making a tackle in what was a truly ridiculous play…

Alex Singleton proceeded to play out of his mind as if this were a job audition in the fourth week of preseason, and T.J Edwards wanted in on the action too by picking off a pass of his own.

Eventually, the offense got their way and the Eagles crumbled in the fourth quarter, but from Raequan Williams all the way to Rashad Smith, the defense refused to roll over…unlike the offense.

Hurts looked…meh

This game was kind of a big deal for Jalen Hurts. It’s the last time the Eagles will have to evaluate him until next Summer, which given the landscape of the offseason, is huge. Hurts went 7/20 for 72 yards, throwing an interception in the process. On the ground, he razzled and dazzled his way to a pair of touchdowns and 34 yards.

It wasn’t exactly a ‘this is my moment’ kind of game. His placement was still way-off and despite not being helped by a total lack of help (sound familiar?), this game did anything but cement the decision of moving on from Carson Wentz as a good one.

Will Zach Ertz say goodbye to the Eagles?

Prior to the week 17 matchup with Washington, Nic Ertz, brother of Eagles TE Zach Ertz, posted a note on social media citing just how proud his family is of the record-setting Stanford product and that if it was to be his last game, he can hold his head high.

With so much going on with this team, it was almost easy to forget that Ertz had released a cry for help at the beginning of the year after the Eagles neglected to give him a new deal like his brother Travis, or Niners TE George Kittle received.

Ertz caught 3 passes for 16 yards and looked rustier than a sunken ship. Whether or not this was his last game in an Eagles jersey is unknown, but this offseason could be filled with emotional goodbyes and arguably the best TE in franchise history could well be one of them.

A turbulent offseason ahead for the Eagles

The futures of Carson Went and Zach Ertz are only the tip of a very deep iceberg for the team now owning the sixth overall pick. With a huge cap deficit to overcome, a lot of players set to enter free agency, and a potential coaching staff overhaul, this could get messy. The fun is only just beginning, folks!

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire