I usually don’t respond to the minority of hysteria that goes on after losses. But I had to get out of the echo chamber that was twitter after the Eagles’ Sunday night loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
I saw tweets about how the Eagles had been exposed. How the left side of the offensive line can’t keep up. How they’re not Super Bowl worthy. The biggest kicker: talk of not making the playoffs at all.
Now I get it, losing sucks. But that is plain hysterical.
The Eagles were not outplayed by a decent Seattle team. They averaged over five-yards-per-carry in the first half. But due to some missed big-plays had to abandon the run, the foundation of their gameplan, to play catch up.
I’m not suggesting they deserved to win. Just that they didn’t do a lot systematically wrong, or anything significantly different then what has taken them to a 10-2 record.
It was the big play conversion, on the whole team. Three specific events stand out to me.
Carson Wentz fumbling on the goal-line on second down, causing a touchback. Self-explanatory. The best red-zone team in the league fumbles an almost certain seven points. Everything was good up until the big play. Out of character and not systematic.
Doug Pederson failing to challenge, or the officials getting the call wrong (pick your poison) on the forward lateral pass from Russell Wilson on 3rd down. This one stings because the Seahawks then continued down the field putting the final nail in the coffin to make it 24-10. Can Pederson do better? Sure, but also this play is rare, and it’s also on the officials to get calls right. Still definitely not systematic.
Eagles blowing a zero blitz for Doug Baldwin’s 48-yard reception. Maybe the most systematic play but the one people are complaining about the least. Wilson beats the blitz with a quick over the top and Rodney McLeod gets beat by Baldwin’s double move. McLeod recovers to put him out the one-yard line but Seahawks still score. It must also be noted that Russell Wilson has often destroyed Cover 0 throughout his career, so the usage of it from Schwartz was strange.
This was a third and ten on Philly’s 48, not exactly a need for a zero blitz. But again, who are we to question the play-calling which has been to this point terrific? It’s football it’s not perfect every time.
One much smaller play, but interesting play, was Philly being caught with only two timeouts at the end of the first half going down the field. Eagles lost a timeout when they challenged forward progress on a third down play earlier.
The review, to me, was a clear first down and Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth both thought so too. But the officials made, in my opinion, the wrong call.
Eagles lost a timeout. Another day, maybe the Eagles have a timeout, they kick a field goal and go into half-time only down by four. They don’t have to abandon the excellent run game, and it’s potentially a different ball-game.
Did the loss of that challenge affect Pederson’s decision making when it came to the lateral in the second half? Maybe. Big plays, small margins.
Nothing that made the Eagles the 10-2 team they are today has changed or been exposed by losing to the Seahawks. They didn’t take their chances. Made some uncharacteristic mistakes. And lost to a very good team in a very, very tough building.
They were not bullied or outplayed. This was not a demoralizing- crashing down to earth- loss.
When asked about power rankings towards the end of the game Cris Collinsworth rightly mentioned the New England Patriots first, no argument here. Then mentioned the two Pennsylvania teams; Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles.
I wonder if the Steelers dealt with this much hysteria after loses to the Colts and Bears?
I think not.
It also seems those losses haven’t deterred anyone from picking them as Super Bowl “favourites” and I’d be plainly shocked to hear anyone suggest they won’t make the playoffs.
Alas, such is the knee-jerk hot-take reactions in sports today.
So, take a nap, wake up, and enjoy the fact that the Eagles are still 10-2, with their destiny in their own hands for home-field and a bye in the playoffs.
Relax, Philly will be fine.