The Philadelphia Eagles are truly feeling the void of Jalen Hurts as they were forced to start Gardner Minshew once again. The Saints knew just how to attack the Eagles’ offense without their star QB on the field. By keeping their offense off of the field. Gardner Minshew didn’t see the field until about the 6-minute mark in the first quarter as the Eagles’ defense struggled to stop the Saints’ offense.
The Saints converted about three third downs and one-fourth down on their first drive to take the lead over the NFC East-leading Eagles. Once Minshew came onto the field, it seemed as if he was seeing ghosts out there. He was dancing a bit extra in the pocket and looked extremely indecisive.
Philadelphia failed to convert a first down until they received the ball back with 34 seconds left in the first half. Kenny Gainwell led the team in receiving yards with 18 yards on two receptions.
The first half wasn’t completely full of gloom as the Eagles became the first team in NFL history with four players above the 10+ sack mark after Brandon Graham’s 10th sack of the season (and then later his 11th), which is also a career-high.
Unfortunately, this came once Brandon Graham received more snaps due to the injury scare of Josh Sweat. Sweat laid on the ground motionless as he had to be carted off of the field and then eventually transported to a local hospital for precautionary reasons.
Philadelphia started the second half with the intention of getting themselves back into this game. Unfortunately, a holding penalty called on Landon Dickerson led to a Kenny Gainwell touchdown being rescinded. Philadelphia continues to struggle with penalties after that.
The Eagles had about three false start penalties called on them in the next drive, which led to a three-and-out once Minshew sailed a pass toward DeVonta Smith. The offense struggled to find their rhythm after starting the second half hot, and the wild amount of penalties didn’t help.
The tides quickly changed as Gardner Minshew threw a 78-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Brown to help bring the Eagles within three. Brown was able to leave his defense again, just like he did against the Diggs and Cowboys. The pass left A.J. Brown at just 13 yards shy of breaking the franchise record for most receiving yards in a season which is set by Eagles legend Mike Quick in the 1983 season.
It seemed as if the Eagles’ offense just continued to beat themselves up as they couldn’t find a way to get into a rhythm. On 4th and 1, Minshew failed to get the first down but shortly before that, the running lanes disappeared for Miles Sanders and Minshew threw the ball behind DeVonta Smith on a completion.
When the offense came back on the field, Minshew, unfortunately, threw a pick six which pretty much sealed the game against the Eagles. Philly’s hopes of clinching the division fell short in another game where the starting QB was once again not available to play. The Eagles have backed themselves into a tight corner for a big showdown in week 18.