Bob Grotz on who to blame for Birds’ loss
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.