It may be time for Eagles fans to face the music. The 2019 version of the Birds is just not good enough.
This group can’t shake the injury bug and offensively, these Eagles can’t maintain any kind of offensive threat consistently against good teams.
Franchise quarterback Carson Wentz has not come through to win big games, at least not right now.
On Sunday evening, New England Patriots 42-year old quarterback Tom Brady looked awful, but found a way to win. Wentz was just as bad, but didn’t get it done.
“The guys are disappointed,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said after the game. “They are frustrated. They understand we are a better football team then what we played tonight. As coaches, we have to coach better. We understand that. We have to play better. We didn’t make enough plays. I thought the defense really kept us in this football game for the most part. Then, offensively, we failed to execute. That’s something that the guys really pride themselves on, we all do. Just not enough plays there.”
Pederson was asked to talk about Wentz’s performance. The fourth-year signal caller was 20-of-40 for 214 yards, one touchdown pass and no interceptions. He was sacked five times, hit 12 times.
Wentz turned the ball over on a fumble late in the second quarter, giving New England the ball at the Eagles’ 26-yard line.
The Birds defense stopped the Pats cold, giving up only a 39-yard Nick Folk field goal.
The coach had his quarterback’s back, despite the poor numbers.
“I thought overall, he really was into the game plan, into the game,” Pederson said. “He made some really good decisions. I think where it kind of was hard for the offense was really on first and second down. The success we’ve had leading up to this game was we were positive on first and second down. We were in too many second and long and third and longs today, and that’s hard. It’s hard for your quarterback, and to put your quarterback in that position, because you know you’re going to have to throw the ball and routes are a little bit deeper and things like that. I thought, overall, for the most part he played pretty well.”
Wentz was asked about the offense missing so many opportunities. Did he feel his unit left a lot of plays out there.
“For sure. We definitely did,” Wentz said. “The turnover I had, we can’t be doing that. I have to be better than that. We left some plays out there, missed some throws, a couple penalties. That’s football sometimes, but against a good team like that, we have to clean that up.”
Late in the fourth quarter, Wentz led the Eagles on a 12-play drive that started on their own 6-yard line and ended on the Patriots’ 26-yard line with a dropped pass by Nelson Agholor in the back of the end zone with 1:05 left. A score would have tied the game.
Replays showed Agholor got both hands on the ball. After saying he was frustrated because of “the way we were able to move the ball to get down there and we kind of were just stagnant there at the end.”
Wentz then claimed he didn’t see the ball go through Agholor’s hands.
“To Agholor? I didn’t get to really see it. They brought cover-zero. I tried to give him a chance, and we just missed it.”
That is not the answer fans want to see from an elite quarterback.
Holding New England to just 17 points over three quarters is all anyone can ask of a defense. But the Eagles offense had little spark after jumping out to a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Tom Brady was 26-of-47 for 216 yards, no touchdown passes, no interceptions, he was sacked once, hit six times. The six-time Super Bowl champion finished with a quarterback rating of 67.3.
As a team, the Birds rushed 21 times for 81 yards. The Patriots rushed 22 times for 74 yards.
“Jim (Schwartz), he called a good game tonight,” Eagles safety Rodney McLeod said at his locker, referring to the Eagles’ defensive coordinator. “I think we had a good game plan. We executed to the best of our abilities and gave ourselves a chance to win.”
The Eagles defense did give Wentz and the offense a chance to win.
Yes, the Eagles’ best receiver, Alshon Jeffery, was out with an injury. As was the Birds’ best running back, Jordan Howard. And, yes, the Eagles’ best offensive lineman, Lane Johnson, was knocked out of the game in the second quarter with a head injury, leading 10-0 at the time.
The Eagles offense fell apart right after Johnson went into concussion protocol.
Franchise quarterbacks find a way to overcome those kinds of obstacles and win. Wentz was given that chance by an outstanding performance by the Eagles defense.
He simply came up short. ••
Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii