By Kevin McGuire
The Philadelphia Eagles were eliminated from the NFC Playoff picture on Sunday with a road loss to the Baltimore Ravens, 27-26. A sloppy performance in adverse weather conditions made nothing easy for either team. However, it was a touchdown in the final seconds by Carson Wentz, followed by a failed two-point conversion that officially ended the Eagles’ postseason aspirations.
Carson Wentz had a rough road game. He was picked off on the game’s opening possession, which gave the Ravens a short field to score an early touchdown. At the end of the day, Wentz had just 170 passing yards, an interception, eight rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. Regardless of the late drive that he orchestrated, Wentz will need to improve significantly in 2017 if the Eagles wish to become contenders.
Additionally, the Eagles did not have dangerous receivers on the field, aside from Zach Ertz and Jordan Matthews, The Eagles rarely, if ever, tried throwing a deep ball down the field. While it is possible that weather was a factor, it is just as possible that those plays simply were not in the playbook. On a positive note, Ryan Mathews had a productive day on the ground with a game-high 128 yards and a touchdown.
The Eagles’ defense forced two turnovers, which led to 10 points for the offense. However, the defense was unable to come up with a defensive stand the next time on the field after seeing their offensive teammates put points on the board (other than one time in the fourth quarter.) An inability to seize the momentum was critical in this one, and the defense came up too small despite allowing just four third-down conversions out of 11. The Eagles gave up six yards per play. Fletcher Cox had just two tackles in the game, and one sack that helped take away potential points for the Ravens.
Special Teams: C
In far from ideal weather conditions, credit kicker Caleb Sturgis for managing to kick all four of his field goal attempts without issue. Due to a questionable coaching call, he was not called on for one extra point attempt, even though it could have tied the game. The Eagles return game offered no real game-changing opportunities with Nelson Agholor and Kenjon Barner each having kick returns of 27 and 26 yards, respectively. Barner added a 22-yard punt return as well.
The decision by Doug Pederson to go for two points at the end of the football game is sure to be debated by many, but that was not the call that cost the Eagles the game. Poor clock management was a concern, as were the plays being called at times. On defense, Jim Schwartz saw his unit give up opportunities to make big plays happen. They also failed to feed off the momentum when the offense put points on the scoreboard. The defense was a letdown.
Up Next: New York Giants, Dec. 22 (Thursday) 8:25 P.M.
Up next, the Eagles will face the New York Giants in a Thursday night match-up on the Eagles’ home turf. The Giants handed the Eagles a loss in the Meadowlands in their first meeting of the season. We will see if the Eagles can return the favor in week 16.