Expect The Expected
Wow. That’s really all anyone can say at this point. With the highest of expectations heading into the season, we can all collectively say that this is the most underwhelming team the Philadelphia Eagles have produced since the beginning of the 21st century. What is the true problem that lies with this team? Is it Jeffery Lurie’s inability to hold his employees accountable? Howie is not your friend, Mr. Lurie, he’s your employee. Is it Howie Roseman’s inability to produce a roster of depth, or his ridiculous tendency to stay loyal to former franchise cornerstones that are now shadows of their former selves? Jason Peters, Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson won’t be on this team next year, Howard. Why are you taking valuable development snaps away from your coveted rookies and bright spots? You’re signing your own pink slip. Is it Doug Pederson’s inability to scheme an offense together that will show any signs of life? Even watching a play develop on this team is slow and uncharacteristic to any form of an NFL offense. There are zero check-downs for Carson to take the easy way out, not that he would anyways. Is it Carson Wentz’s obvious regression? So much of a regression that he is leading the league in turnovers and has a quarterback rating that mirrors the likes of Jake Lutton, Nick Foles and Drew Lock. Either way, this is one of the worst Eagles teams ever assembled. Today, I want to take a drive by drive look at just how bad this game against the Browns really was, so let’s get into it.
DRIVE ONE: 10 PLAYS, 71 YARDS, 5:54 T.O.P, MILES SANDERS FUMBLE
What started as a promising drive was ripped away from the Eagles in the red zone by a Miles Sanders fumble. If you saw my tweet on the timeline, I was actually impressed by all of the pre-snap motion and Doug’s commitment to the run on this drive. Miles ripped off runs of 9, 11, 5 and 11 once more on this drive. Miles looked like his old self after a slip on the first Eagles offensive play that led to no gain and I was actually hopeful that Doug had worked out the kinks leading up to this game. Wentz looked precise on the 22 yard throw to Dallas Goedert, his lone pass of the drive, and I was feeling good. The Miles Sanders fumble occurred on a helmet-to-ball tackle that would’ve been hard to hold onto in a good weather game so I wasn’t all that concerned. Cleveland recovers on the 4 yard line, ultimately leading a 13 play, 95 yard drive that resulted in a turnover on downs after the Eagles defense comes up with a big stop at the goal line on a Kareem Hunt rushing attempt.
DRIVE TWO: 5 PLAYS, 53 YARDS, 2:34 T.O.P, CARSON WENTZ PICK 6
And here is where the offense started to unravel as a whole. After hitting Jalen Reagor for a gain of 16 and Dallas Goedert for 32 yards, Carson flopped a pass short right to Miles Sanders for 3 yards in what was possibly the best play the rest of the game. The immediate play following, the Eagles offensive line allowed a ton of pressure that limited Carson’s ability to roll left and resulted in Denzel Ward getting a free hit (thanks Dick Rod) on Carson Wentz which altered throw, causing a floater that landed into the arms of linebacker Sione Takitaki, which he took 50 yards to the end zone. On this play specifically, we saw how little Carson trusts his targets on the field, and how awful he’s seeing the field as a whole. In a slow developing fake bubble scream, we saw Jalen Reagor flash open about three seconds into the play which we showed to you on the Eagles postgame show. Yes, the safety was driving down on the ball after he realized what was going on but if the ball is already in the air, that’s a 20+ yard gain for Reagor and potentially more with his ability after the catch. At the very worst, it’s an incompletion. Instead, we see Carson’s lack of trust in the young playmaker, watched him pump fake to Reagor and ultimately throw the altered floater to the linebacker. 7-0 Browns and it doesn’t get better from here.
DRIVE THREE: 5 PLAYS, 31 YARDS, 3:48 T.O.P., PUNT
A reoccurring theme of the day was the offensive lines (Jason Peters, I’m looking at you) inability to keep Carson upright. A penalty negated sack (thanks Andrew Sendejo) allowed the Eagles offense to stay on the field after Karl Joseph sacked Carson Wentz which would’ve put them in an insurmountable 2nd & 17. Three plays later, on 3rd and 3, Carson is sacked again which forced a Cameron Johnston punt. Luckily, the defense forced a punt on the other side of the ball after two sloppy penalties by Brandon Graham and Javon Hargrave and the Eagles were in business.
DRIVE FOUR: 7 PLAYS, 33 YARDS, 4:21 T.O.P., PUNT
Again, the Eagles offense comes out stale and is forced to punt. Another reoccurring theme that happened throughout the day, Doug Pederson failed to show any variety in his play calling. Throughout the day, it was either all run or all pass on a drive that proved to show unsuccessful against a mediocre Browns defense. After runs of 6, 11 and 9 for Miles Sanders, he was replaced in the backfield by Boston Scott (?) who went for runs of 9 and 3 and then the drive stalled. Carson completed a short pass to Greg Ward for 4 yards (great, lol) and Miles Sanders immediately loses a yard on the following play where Jason Kelce injured his elbow and was replaced by Luke Juriga. On the following play, Doug elects to run a zone read option on a safety blitz that was blown up and Carson Wentz managed to scrape a yard by falling forward and the Eagles were forced to punt. Luckily again, the defense came to play and forced a quick three-and-out for the Browns offense and the Eagles took over on their own 38 yard line.
DRIVE FIVE: 3 PLAYS, 2 YARDS, 0:28 T.O.P., PUNT
At the drop of a hat, the Eagles offensive line became a set of turnstiles and Carson Wentz was running for his life. After an incompletion to Dallas Goedert on first down, the Browns’ defense forced a loss of ten yards on a combined sack by Adrian Clayborn and Larry Ogunjobi on a play where Jason Peters allowed backside pressure to Olivier Vernon, forcing Carson forward in the pocket, allowing Clayborn to get the initial hit on Carson and forcing a 3rd down and 20 yards to go. Insurmountable for the Eagles’ offense at this point, which proved true. A completion to Dallas Goedert for 12 yards and Cameron Johnston came out to punt again just before the half. The Browns elected to take the turnover-on-dons to end the half and the Eagles would receive the second half kickoff.
DRIVE SIX: 3 PLAYS, 5 YARDS, 2:16 T.O.P., PUNT
A stale offense that is forced to punt coming out of half time? Who would’ve expected that? Probably every Eagles fan on the planet but that’s beside the point. A Miles Sanders run that went for a loss of one, a broken play that Carson scrambled for 7 yards and then another Olivier Vernon sack forced an Eagles punt again. The defense bailed the offense out again as Fletcher Cox forced pressure up the middle on the second play of the drive and forced a sack-fumble which was recovered by Alex Singleton and the Eagles were in business again.
DRIVE SEVEN: 1 PLAY, 19 YARDS, 0:06 T.O.P., CARSON WENTZ TOUCHDOWN PASS TO RICHARD ROGERS
A touchdown? What on earth is this? It even felt like this was difficult for the Eagles though, even though it was a one play touchdown. Carson again stared down the left side of the field and hesitated to make a throw. After pump faking left, he finally looked off his receiver, made his way through his progression as the line finally held up for him and found a wide open Richard Rogers on the right side of their end zone and converted. 7-7 ball game. However, the drive immediately following, Avonte Maddox was burnt twice on the field by play action misdirection plays, once by KhaDarel Hodge and once by Austin Hooper, which led to a Browns field goal. 10-7 Browns.
DRIVE EIGHT: 3 PLAYS, 1 YARD, 1:04 T.O.P., PUNT
A Carson Wentz pass to Travis Fulgham (his FIRST target in the game in the THIRD QUARTER) that was defended beautifully by Denzel Ward forced a 2nd & 10. Miles Sanders goes for a menial 1 yard gain and another incompletion to Alshon Jeffery forced a Cameron Johnston punt and I’m staring daggers at Doug Pederson through my TV. After a couple of good plays by the Browns’ offense, the Eagles defense stood up and forced a nine yard loss on a Kareem Hunt outside zone run and forced the Browns to punt, which was downed at the 2 yard line.
DRIVE NINE: 3 PLAYS, -2 YARDS, 1:26 T.O.P., SAFETY
A safety, Carson? Really? We understand that you have a nature to try to create plays out of nothing and I appreciate that in a lot of circumstances. 2020 is not your year to hold onto the ball and you stand there with cinder blocks tied to your feet and take a safety when you know Cleveland is going to send the house at you. Jason Peters, please get your ass off this team. You are embarrassing your resume. WERE you an all-pro, first ballot hall of fame player? Absolutely, but you’re not the person anymore. You have been robbing Jeffery Lurie of valuable salary and it’s time for you to retire. Please, pull a Vontae Davis and retire before this next game and get out of Jordan Mailata’s way. Olivier Vernon turned you into a human blocking dummy on Sunday and it’s embarrassing to your legacy and this fan base how bad you’ve been. Either way, the Eagles defense kept this game close and forced a blocked field goal attempt and the Eagles take over with decent field position. 12-7 Browns.
DRIVE TEN: 7 PLAYS, 38 YARDS, 2:30 T.O.P., FIELD GOAL
Doug proved again why he should be on the hot seat after this season. In a game with terrible whether, gusting winds and wind chills of 35 degrees, Doug elected to have his quarterback throw on 5 of 6 plays and utilized his running back on ONE PLAY which resulted in ONE YARD, in a game where your offensive line couldn’t block my toddler. Luckily, a Mack Wilson interception was dropped and the review was overturned after being ruled an interception, and the Eagles were able to let Jake Elliott kick a 43 yard field goal. 12-10 Browns. Here’s where it got ugly because the defense could only hold up for so long. KhaDarel Hodges opens the drive with an 18 yard catch, Nick Chubb buried Joe Ostman with a MEAN stiff arm and ran for 54 yards, Baker Mayfield went right guard for 2 yards on a read option and Kareem Hunt hurdled his way to a 5 yard touchdown run. 19-10 Browns.
DRIVE ELEVEN: 3 PLAYS, -5 YARDS, 0:52 T.O.P., PUNT
First play, Carson hits Richard Rogers for a catch of 14 yards that was immediately wiped away by an illegal formation penalty. Again, I’m staring daggers at Doug Pederson because we’re under utilizing our all world running back. Carson throws three straight incompletions again and Cameron Johnston is forced to punt. The Browns grind out a 10 play, 43 yard drive that results in a Cody Parkey field goal. 22-10 Browns.
DRIVE TWELVE: 8 PLAYS, 65 YARDS, 1:48 T.O.P., INTERCEPTION
In what would do you throw a jump ball to your #4 wide receiver who is being guarded by the best defensive player on the field? Denzel Ward is an all-pro cornerback. He can play man, he can play zone, he will come up and tackle and is willing to travel with the best receiver on the opposing team. Carson, he has consistently shut down his side of the field all day and Alshon has been a shell of his former self since 2018. WHY!? You are making every wrong decision in the absolute WORST moments of the game. If there was any chance of making a comeback during this game, with the season on the line, you just pissed it away by throwing a floater to our second worst receiver. You caught a break getting the DPI call on Goedert and you shot yourself in the foot AGAIN! I can’t defend you anymore, man. You’ve consistently showed that your regression is real and we have no reason to trust, or defend, you. The defense forces a punt and the Eagles take over with 1:39 left in the game.
DRIVE THIRTEEN: 8 PLAYS, 47 YARDS, 1:09 T.O.P., CARSON WENTZ TOUCHDOWN PASS TO DALLAS GOEDERT
Carson leads a meaningless drive against soft zone defense which resulted in a touchdown to Dallas Goedert. Even at that, a touchdown drive was made difficult by an Adrian Clayborn sack-fumble that was recovered by Isaac Seumalo. Carson goes for 18 on 4th down & 13 to Jalen Reagor and Dallas Goedert gets the touchdown. Browns take a knee to end the game. 22-17 Browns win.
Now what have we gathered by this game?
The Eagles are a bad football team. From top to bottom, this organization has failed Carson Wentz. A few good practice squad players does not alleviate the burden that Howie Roseman has placed on this team by consistently signing players to bad contracts that allow underachieving players to be rewarded for their negligence. Jason Peters has been handled wrong at every turn, the inability to draft impact players has been apparent for years now, and his luck of signing veterans to cheap, one-year contracts in 2017 seems more like an anomaly than the “New Norm” as Doug coined it. The stubbornness of Howie Roseman has showed in even letting Alshon Jeffery see the field at this point. He’s a fifteen million dollar wide receiver that looks worse than JNAW at this point. In a league with a hard cap line, you can’t waste valuable cap space. At this point in the season, how are you letting a guy that won’t be in midnight green next season see the field over your rookies?
Doug Pederson has consistently shown his inability to scheme together a SERVICEABLE offense at every point this season. Week 1 before halftime was the last time we saw the ghost of Super Bowl’s past offense come together and actually click and it’s been bad ever since. Bad play calling, poor decision making, vanilla schemes, a lack of accountability and an overall mediocre coach has been gassed up and green lighted by an organization that seems content to allow these things to happen. This is not what Philadelphia is about and the Eagles have been so beloved by the community for so long because the organization has always shared the heartbeat of the community. 2020 may be the year that the Sixers takeover and are now that heartbeat. If heads don’t roll at any point this offseason, you can expect a mutiny towards the Eagles.
Carson Wentz has shown that he needs more. He has taken a beating for this city for 6 years now. He’s consistently been the scapegoat in losses that were not on him and he looks mentally and physically tired. He’s not the same quarterback that he was in 2017 when he was leading the Eagles to a number 1 seed and first round bye in the playoffs, in route to a championship/MVP caliber season. No one expected him to come back and be the same player after that disastrous of a knee injury but we have to come to terms with the regression that is happening. He is no longer the MVP caliber quarterback that we’ve grown to love. He is no longer the playmaker that made defenders look silly in route to a massive gain or big touchdown or energizing play and we have no one to blame except the organization. He’s been destroyed by this organization by their inability to protect him up front and draft/sign/trade for playmakers that alleviate the pressure that he’s feeling. He’s the most sacked, most hit and most inaccurate quarterback in the league in 2020 and we need to temper our expectations for his future.
Overall, the Eagles are a complete failure. As fans, we look to them to aid our mentality in a year that has destroyed us at every turn and they’re just another example of what 2020 has been for us. We can no longer expect this organization to make the proper decisions and we can no longer expect them to be our safe haven. This is the 2020 Philadelphia Eagles and we’re still going to be here to suffer through the lows.