The offense may have hit rock bottom.
If it hasn’t, well, it is frightening to think what the bottom would look like for the Eagles, who turned the ball over five times and couldn’t find the end zone until 20 seconds were left in a 17-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.
It was the second straight home loss for the Eagles and second straight coming out of their bye week. Now 5-6, the Eagles are in dire straits, and it wouldn’t be far-fetched to think, at this point, the Dolphins may even be able to beat them next Sunday in Miami.
Quarterback Carson Wentz had four of the Eagles’ turnovers, two via fumble and two interceptions. He nearly had a third lost fumble, after being stripped of the ball, but he recovered that one.
The Eagles’ defense once again played well. They have held opponents to less than 17 points in four straight games, and may have delivered a blow to the MVP candidacy of Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, who was just 13-for-25 for 200 yards.
The defense sacked Wilson six times, with Brandon Graham getting 1.5 to give him a team-high 7.5 this season. Safety Malcom Jenkins had two sacks and Rodney McLeod had an interception. It was just Wilson’s third interception of the season.
As well as the Eagles defense played, and has played, the Eagles’ offense has been dreadful.
Wentz’s numbers will be misleading. He was 33-for-45 for 256 yards, but most of that was compiled late in the game. It was his second straight ineffective game in a row, and is a cause for concern.
It wasn’t until 20 seconds remained that Wentz was able to extend his consecutive games streak with a touchdown pass to 14, with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Zach Ertz.
It is the longest active streak in the NFL and one he shares at the moment with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who made it 14 games in a row with a TD pass on a 33-yard strike to Malik Turner off a trick play that saw Chris Carson take handoff then throw the ball back to Wilson. The score gave the Seahawks all the points they would need, taking a 7-3 with 5:54 to play in the first quarter.
Granted, the Eagles’ offense was short-handed, but there were still plays to be made. Wentz simply failed to make them.
On their second offensive possession, the Eagles drove to the Seattle 10-yard line but on third down from there, he threw the ball way over Miles Sanders’ head in the flat. Sanders had room to run and may have scored on the play or picked up a first down at the 1.
Instead, the Eagles settled for a 28-yard field goal by Jake Elliott to take a 3-0 lead.
Just like last week, in a 17-10 loss to the New England Patriots, the Eagles’ offense vanished after that.
One thing the Eagles need to do is get healthy on offense. They entered the game without two starting receivers in Alshon Jeffery (ankle) and Nelson Agholor (knee), running back Jordan Howard (shoulder), and right tackle Lane Johnson (concussion).
Then, sometime during the first quarter, right guard Brandon Brooks left due to an illness. Into his spot stepped Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who lined up next to rookie Andre Dillard, who was playing right tackle for the first time in his life because Johnson was unavailable. It didn’t go well for Dillard and he was replaced, with Vaitai moving to right tackle and seldom-used Matt Pryor sliding in at right guard.
Frankly, it didn’t go well for anybody on offense with the exception of receiver Greg Ward, who had six catches for 40 yards, and Ertz, who had 12 receptions for 91 yards.
Ertz is really the only offensive weapon Wentz has left at this point.
Ward’s success was a bit of a surprise since he was just elevated from the practice squad on Saturday. He was more productive than receivers J.J. Arega-Whiteside and Mack Hollins have been all season with far larger roles on offense throughout the first 11 games.
Arcega-Whiteside had two catches for 43 yards, including a tough one down the sideline to set up the Eagles’ only TD, but Hollins went untargeted.
It’s really inexplicable that a practice squad can be added to the roster and 24 hours later do what he did. Heck his six catches are more than Arcega-Whiteside has on the season (five) and more than half of what Hollins has contributed (10).