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Philadelphia Eagles: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

A win is a win, and the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback is a proven winner. Carson Wentz finished the game on Sunday 30-43 (69.8%) for 266 yards and 3 TD. Wentz has thrown three interceptions through the last seven games and has learned to play with various personnel. 

The Good:

The Eagles found themselves in a familiar spot; they trailed late in the game against a team with less than three wins for the third consecutive week. Last week Wentz drove the offense down the field to tie the game with less than a minute to play. He eventually led the Birds to a flawless overtime drive, ultimately winning a much needed divisional matchup against NYG.

Although this week didn’t require an extra quarter, it did require some timely plays and another perfect drive by #11. Wentz capped it off by throwing a floating ball to the corner of the end zone to another new face, Greg Ward. The play design was perfect for Ward; he lined up in the right slot and finished in the back left corner of the end zone. After some crossing and rub routes caused hesitation for ‘Skins CB Josh Norman, Wentz put the biscuit right in Ward’s basket.

Eagles receiver Greg Ward pulls in the game-winning touchdown against Washington on Sunday. (AP/Alex Brandon)

Next Man Up:

Ward had been a Philadelphia practice squad player for the majority of his career, and on Sunday, he snagged his first career touchdown catch in just his fifth career game. Ward planted himself in the Philadelphia Eagles record book, becoming the sixth all-time leader in receptions through five career games with 18. He has come on as a promising project, and in my opinion, he has taken Nelson Agholor’s spot for good. 

This late-game throw was one of many tight fit throws that Carson had made; the best throw of the day came on a touchdown pass to Miles Sanders.

Sanders finished with two touchdowns on the day. He had a career day and continues to prove that he was worth a second-round pick. Sanders finished with 19 carries, 122 yards, and a TD. He also hauled in six targets for 50 yards and a score. He’s the seventh Eagles running back to accumulate 100+ rushing yards and 50+ receiving yards in a game. 

According to Reuben Frank, Sanders also broke the Eagles 45 game streak of not having a single rusher eclipse the 100+ yard mark, which is a story within itself. As far as the season goes, Sanders is now the Eagles leader in rookie rushing yards and rookie all-purpose yards passing Lesean McCoy and Desean Jackson, respectively. 

Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders (26) raises his arms after scoring a touchdown in the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The youthful core (24 years or younger) that includes: Miles Sanders, Dallas Goedert, Andrew Dillard, Derek Barnett, Boston Scott, Josh Sweat, Avonte Maddox, TJ Edwards, and Arcega-Whiteside, has contributed in some way or another this year. The future is promising, so don’t jump ship if the Eagles come out and flop against the Cowboys next week, which is likely if they come and expect to beat a good team while playing as they have been.

The Bad:

Through the same seven games with only three interceptions, Wentz has fumbled 12 times while losing five of them. Previously, this was never an issue with Wentz, being that his pocket presence is exceptional, and his athleticism allows him to escape sticky situations.

Dec 15, 2019; Landover, MD, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) fumbles the ball after being hit by Washington Redskins linebacker Ryan Anderson (52) in the fourth quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

This fumbling problem is a result of a lot of things, but the most prominent is the fact that Wentz has suffered 60 total pocket pressuring hits within this seven-game span, averaging 8.6 per game. So how does that compare to the first seven games of the Eagles’ season?

 That total was 32 hits, meaning Carson Wentz has faced nearly double the amount of pressure while not having the ability to lean on playmakers like Alshon Jeffery, Jordan Howard, Desean Jackson, and sometimes Nelson Agholor. The uptick in pressure is due to the Birds shuffling personnel in and out of the offensive line due to injuries. 

This illustrates Wentz’s ability to show up week after week and make do with the talent around him. However, the Eagles and Wentz have yet to come and play a full four quarters of solid football. The slow starts, busted coverage, and boneheaded plays have resulted in the Eagles trailing at halftime in eight of their 14 games this year. This is a testament to their ability to claw back into games. It’s not the type of play that won the Lombardi Trophy in 2017.

The Ugly:

The Eagles defense is not enjoyable to watch; they are struggling, and Schwartz has run out of options to hide the fact that they are underperforming. What happened to the underdog mentality? That attitude that motivated and willed players to make game-changing plays? It almost seems that holes have been poked in the sails of Jim Schwartz and his group of mediocre players.

The defense has also been plagued by injury, but we forget that the Super Bowl winning Eagles defense was ravaged by injury too. This is no longer an excuse, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The poor tackling ability, miscommunication, lack of a pass rush, and a bland defensive scheme have to lead to one of the worst defenses in recent Eagles history.

There’s Still A Chance?

The most laughable part about all this is the Eagles are tied atop their division. The same team who surrendered 81 points to teams the past three weeks with a combined record of 9-33. 

The Birds gave up 362 total yards of offense to an abysmal Redskins offense. Dwayne Haskins threw for 250 yards for the first time in his young career, and he was near flawless. Haskins threw two touchdowns and coupled it with an interception-less performance finishing with a career-high QBR of 57.6

Terry Mclaurin ran circles around the secondary, and it’s only getting worse when Dallas comes to town. Game planning for Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb, solid tight ends, and arguably the best RB in the NFL, Ezekiel Elliot.

The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again while expecting a different result; let’s see how Schwartz adapts. In Week Seven, the Eagles got waxed by the Cowboys 37-10 at Jerry’s World. Unfortunately, Schwartz can’t pad up and make a tackle on third and long to get the defense off of the field. He can only put players in great spots to make plays, which he has done for the most part. 

The defense has one thing going for them in the home match-up with the Cowboys. They have allowed the 3rd least amount of yards during home games this year, averaging 268 yards per game. However, the Cowboys have failed to gain more than 268 yards in only one game. This was when they lost to New Orleans 12-10 in a defensive battle.

See You in Philadelphia!

It is obvious who the favorite is at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. So, lets dust off our Underdog Masks and get ready for an old fashioned NFC East battle. Winner takes all. Prediction: PHI (17) – DAL (13)

PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 21: Beau Allen #94 and Chris Long #56 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates their teams win while wearing a dog masks over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 21, 2018, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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