Bob Grotz on who to blame for Birds’ loss

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - Bob Grotz

Sunday’s loss to the Sea­hawks was big­ger than one man, and Bob Grotz says there are plenty of fin­gers to point as the Ea­gles digest the de­feat.

There are too many mov­ing parts to blame a loss on one in­di­vid­ual.

That cer­tainly was the case for the Ea­gles in their 26-15 de­feat Sunday at the hands of the Seat­tle Sea­hawks at Cen­tu­ryLink Field.

There were more than enough mis­takes to go around.

It’s ob­vi­ous the Ea­gles just aren’t there. They have the quar­ter­back. De­fen­sive line: check. Spe­cial teams? Off the charts.

To get there, to reach the next level the Ea­gles have to move on from the guys who don’t em­brace Doug Ped­er­son’s phi­los­o­phy of play­ing smart.

Josh Huff was the first one to go, al­beit for the off-the-field mess he made of him­self and the Ea­gles’ brand. Nel­son Agholor should join him for what he can­not do on the field.

Agholor bat­tles, no doubt about it. The first-round pick out of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia is a loyal team player who gives it his all. There’s just not enough there to off­set the crit­i­cal un­forced er­rors he shouldn’t be mak­ing in this, his third NFL sea­son.

Agholor was one of two Ea­gles who lined up wrong Sunday re­sult­ing in an il­le­gal for­ma­tion penalty that wiped out what would have been a 57-yard catc­hand-run touch­down for tight end Zach Ertz in the sec­ond quar­ter. It hap­pens. But it shouldn’t hap­pen. And cer­tainly not for a mar­ginal player.

The TD would have given the Birds a 14-13 lead. In­stead they wound up punt­ing and the Sea­hawks quickly added a field goal to take a 16-7 lead into the in­ter­mis­sion.

Ear­lier in the game Agholor got away with a mo­tion penalty.

There was another drop by Agholor on the next se­ries, which would have re­sulted in a chunk gain. The ball squirted through his hands and armpit be­fore fall­ing in­com­plete.

With 3:42 left in the game, Agholor caught his first pass of the day from Car­son Wentz, a two-point con­ver­sion pulling the Ea­gles within 26-15. Too lit­tle, too late.

Nel­son Agholor isn’t the only rea­son the Ea­gles are 5-5. The of­fen­sive line is av­er­age, the skills play­ers still don’t scare any­one and the se­condary is a work in progress.

But Agholor is a glar­ing ex­am­ple of what hap­pens to a team with al­most no mar­gin for er­ror, a team that ab­so­lutely, pos­i­tively can­not af­ford to make men­tal mis­takes and drop passes to pre­vail.

It’s time for the Ea­gles to make that clear by go­ing in another di­rec­tion. Five ob­ser­va­tions from NFL Week 11: 1. The Ea­gles are alive for a wild card berth: Ob­vi­ously there’s al­most no chance the Ea­gles can catch the NFC East-lead­ing Cow­boys (9-1), who have won nine straight games.

If the Ea­gles want to reach the post­sea­son they’re go­ing to have to se­cure a wild card berth, which will be dif­fi­cult, but any­thing but im­pos­si­ble.

The Giants (7-3), Red­skins (5-3-1 en­ter­ing the night), Lions (6-4) and Vik­ings (6-4) are the chief threats. The Ea­gles play the Giants and Skins and two other games at home, where they’re 4-0. The Ea­gles have the tiebreaker on the Vik­ings but not the Lions.

The other home game is against the Pack­ers (4-5 en­ter­ing the night). The road games are at Cincin­nati (3-6-1) and Bal­ti­more (5-5).

It’s doable. Even with the in­juries dot­ting the ros­ter, the ex­pe­ri­ence would be in­valu­able for Wentz go­ing for­ward.

2. Black Sunday: Sure, the cold and the wind were whip­ping up Sunday.

But it’s not like this was the first time kick­ers had to deal with it.

There were so many missed PATs, teams would have been bet­ter off go­ing for two points.

Thir­teen con­ver­sion at­tempts went awry be­fore the night­cap. Three PATS were blown in the Giants’ 22-16 win over the Bears. The Ea­gles’ Ben­nie Lo­gan snuffed a PAT against the Sea­hawks.

There also were five missed field goals go­ing into the night­cap. Adam Vi­natieri, of all peo­ple, missed a 42-yarder end­ing his streak of con­sec­u­tive makes at 44.

All in all a dread­ful day for kick­ers. And it’s not get­ting any warmer.

3. Jerry is mov­ing on from Tony Romo: That awk­ward, emo­tional, elon­gated con­ces­sion speech by Romo was the re­sult of be­ing snubbed while ask­ing Jones for a chance to com­pete for the start­ing job.

So says NFL Net­work’s Ian Rapoport, who, cit­ing sources said Romo was told a com­pe­ti­tion isn’t in the best in­ter­est of his team.

Why would an ag­ing, brit­tle Cow­puncher with more money than we would know what to do with have the nerve to ask for another shot? Af­ter all, the Cow­boys are 9-1 with Dak Prescott.

Right, Jerry Jones said the Cow­boys were, quote-un­quote, “Tony’s team.”

Look for Romo to get traded to a team of his choos­ing, as he es­sen­tially must redo his con­tract to give all par­ties salary cap re­lief.

4. Steve Smith’s 1,000 catch: Smith grabbed a Joe Flacco throw over the mid­dle, where the tough guys play, and didn’t go qui­etly to the ground. It took two Cow­boys to wrap him up.

Smith hus­tled off the field to safe­guard the ball, han­dling it to a Ravens equip­ment guy. Sur­pris­ingly he got back in the game for the next play of the third quar­ter and played tough the rest of the way.

Smith, 37, fin­ished with a game-high eight catches for 99 yards and a TD.

Hard to be­lieve the 14th NFL player to hit the 1,000-catch mark was a team­mate of Chad John­son’s at Santa Mon­ica Com­mu­nity Col­lege.

5. MVP alert: Tom Brady is en­tirely de­serv­ing of Most Valu­able Player hon­ors, as he’s bounced back from a sus­pen­sion to make the Pa­tri­ots (7-2) Su­per Bowl favorites.

Matt Ryan, not so much, although he’s putting up killer of­fen­sive num­bers with the Fal­cons (6-4).

Rus­sell Wil­son has the Sea­hawks sit­ting pretty with a 7-2-1 mark. Prescott de­serves votes, too. The real MVP, like it or not, is Ezekiel El­liott. The Cow­boys wouldn’t be where they are with­out him, which is top of the heap.

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