Philly fans, I wish I could tell you that the Philadelphia Eagles put up a good fight against the New Orleans Saints in Week 17, but I would be telling you a lie. All Eagles' fans new the implication of this matchup and how much a Iggles win would've benefited this team. If you happen too not know I will fill you in.
If the Birds won today they would've locked up the number one seed, crush the Saints playoff hopes, helped the draft pick that the Eagles currently own from New Orleans, and would've been able to get the much needed time off for this team that suffered more injuries in this game.
We are going to get into the meat and potatoes of this game, but overall it was an absolute embarrassing performance, particularly on offense. Philly, who was favored in this game, just looked like a shell of themselves. Bad play calls, even worse execution, and costly penalties handed this team their second straight loss of the season, losing to New Orleans 20-10.
Let's get into it.
1. This defensive front is elite.
We will start these observations off on a positive note and we are going to start with this Philadelphia defensive front. Another week, another multiple sack game. In this game that saw Josh Sweat leave earlier on, this defensive unit had the Saints' offensive line number. Haason Reddick (2), Brandon Graham (2), Fletcher Cox (1), Milton Williams (1), and Javon Hargrave (1) totaled for 7 sacks in this Week 17 matchup.
They now hold the franchise record for most sacks and are the first team in the NFL to have not one, not two, not three, but four plays with double digit sacks. This front gave the offense multiple tries to put some points on the board and were the major reason for a second-half shut out.
2. "Put any quarterback in that system and they will succeed."
So hey, remember when the all knowing Chris Simms took a massive dump on Jalen Hurts and said that any quarterback in that offense would be successful, welp guess who was wrong. Minshew was not just bad, he was awful. Gardner, who even myself had some faith in to put away the Saints, had possibly his worst game of his career.
Minshew was 18 of 32, completing just about 50% of his passes, 274 passing yards, one touchdown, and one interception that was a pick six. Gardner's pocket awareness and vision of the field was just absolutely mind blowing on how awful it was.
This cannot be a maybe, Philadelphia needs Jalen Hurts to come back as soon as possible.
3. Thank the football gods for AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith.
Once again, the Eagles' receivers had another big day and bailed their quarterback out multiple times. Smith, who had another 100 yard game, and AJ Brown who had 97 yards, are making a statement for defensive coordinators to pick their poison on who to cover.
These two receivers are just stacking up on yards and Brown is now just a few yards away from the franchise lead for most receiving yards.
4. Sirianni, Steichen, and Gannon owe this city an apology.
We have seen this coaching staff have bad days, but in Week 17, trying to clinched the number one seed, against an extremely beatable opponent, is not the time to chose to have one. This team, particularly on offense , looked completely out of sorts. You went up against one of the worst rushing defenses in the NFL, with your star running back averaging 5.1 yards per carry, and you decide to only have him run the ball 11 times?
Once again, Gannon called an awful coverage scheme against a not high-powered offense and allowed Andy Dalton to be 81% on completions. To some credit, they held them to 13 points and Gannon did adjust, but this adjustment does not have to happen after half time. Also, I think it is time to start having your best cornerbacks travel with the opposing teams best wide receiver.
5. Injuries are now becoming a trend, not a concern.
As every other team in the NFL is starting to get healthier, the Eagles are trending in the opposite direction. Not only are they are having injuries, the injuries are occurring to key players on this team. In 14 days this team has lost Jalen Hurts, Avonte Maddox, Lane Johnson, and now Josh Sweat all to injuries. The word on Sweat's injury is still out, but as stated earlier, this team needed this time to get back to as full strength as possible.
6. Even with this loss, the Eagles have another shot.
Okay, take a breath, I agree that this loss was tough. However, the one thing this team has going for them is that they have another shot at securing the number one seed in Week 18. Philadelphia will be hosting the New York Giants who just clinched a playoff spot, so there is a good chance that New York will be sitting most of their starters against the Eagles. I would also say, if I was a betting man, it would take an act of God to keep Jalen Hurts off of the field.
Not the way we wanted this week to end (obviously), but as just stated, this team has another shot to wrap it all up as we inch closer to the end of the season.
Let us know, is time to panic?