The Eagles looked down and out in the 3rd quarter when Lamar Jackson rushed for a 37 yard score and Justin Tucker tacked on two field goals to push the Raven lead to 30-14 with just over 7 minutes left in the game. But then something changed. The Eagles offense began moving the ball and executing with fluidity and purpose. They fought back but came up short after a botched 2-PT conversion, losing 30-28. Let’s get into the good, the bad and the ugly:
- By far the most positive takeaway from this game was the performance of Carson Wentz in the second half of the game. When he had time, most of his throws were on time and on target. Specifically, on the Eagles second to last scoring drive. On first play of the 11 play-75 yard drive Wentz was sacked for a 7 yard loss. Wentz then completed his next 5 passes on the drive. The drive also included a 40 yard rush from Wentz. Once the Eagles got into Baltimore territory, Wentz fired a pass that was thought to be intercepted but was reversed and ruled incomplete. The next play was a 1 yard throw to Boston Scott, which was followed by a 4th and 9 touchdown pass to Travis Fulgham, which brings me to my next point. Wentz concluded this game oozing confidence and consistency. Wentz appears to have shaken off the slow start and has now strung together 3 consistent performances. Hopefully he can keep putting these performances together.
- Travis Fulgham is a legit NFL player. He started the day quiet but in the 4th quarter made several meaningful plays. Fulgham finished the day with 6 catches for 75 yards including a 4th quarter in which he caught 4 passes for 48 yards and a touchdown. Fulgham also forced a 49 yard defensive pass interference penalty which would lead to an Eagles score. After putting this performance on display while being guarded by former All-Pro, Marcus Peters, it’s safe to say Fulgham is a legitimate player and his past performances were no fluke.
- Miles Sanders continued to show he is the Eagles best playmaker. Sanders rushed for a 74 yard gain, which he fumbled at the end of and that fumble was scooped up in the endzone by J.J. Arcega-Whiteside for a touchdown. Sanders finished the day with 9 carries for 118 yards.
- The Eagles defensive line was very productive this afternoon, tipping several passes and pressuring Lamar Jackson all afternoon. Josh Sweat in particular made himself at home in the Ravens backfield throughout the first half of the matchup. Sweat also tipped a couple passes. As did, Fletcher Cox.
- The main takeaway on the good side of the spectrum is the fact that this team has now battled back in consecutive games after being down big. The resiliency that this team has displayed cannot go understated.
- Other Reasons for Optimism include
- Jalen Hurts = Offensive Production. Hurts ran for a 20 yard gain in the 2nd quarter and displayed some his open field ability, making a defender miss on a 3 yard gain later in the same drive. The Hurts packages should continue to increase with more time.
- Greg Ward hauled in an impressive 13 yard catch near the sideline in which he tapped one foot in and snuck the other in while his other knee was on top of the defender’s leg.
- John Hightower hauled in a 50 yard pass in the 4th quarter which was a huge positive considering his abysmal drop early on.
- John Hightower dropped a beautiful deep ball from Carson Wentz on the Eagles first drive. Hightower would’ve likely scored, considering he only had one man to beat and Hightower’s 4.43 speed.
- The Eagles 3rd down efficiency was downright atrocious. They only converted on 3-12 third downs in the entire game. They didn’t convert on a third down until the 3rd quarter with 3:15 remaining in the quarter.
- Nate Gerry was once again abysmal in this game. He missed several tackles and completely blew assignments on more than one occasion. This week’s recipient of “the Eagles Linebackers Can’t Cover Me” award is Nick Boyle who scored the Ravens first touchdown as Gerry and Alex Singleton both had no idea what was going on in the redzone.
- The Eagles secondary allowed 2 3rd and long conversions on the Ravens first drive. 3rd and 10 and 3rd and 11 respectively. It would be nice if the corners could press at the line sometimes.
- The Eagles offense in the first half was flat out disgraceful. They finished the half with just 94 yards. They could get virtually, nothing going due to the amount of pressure generated by the Baltimore front. They were in the face of Carson Wentz almost every snap. Wentz had at most, 2 seconds to decide what to do with the ball. There is no quarterback who can succeed playing behind an offensive line as bad as the Eagles’ was in the first half.
- One member of that offensive line in particular has earned his own spot on the Ugly spectrum of things: Jamon Brown was completely atrocious in pass protection in this game. He repeatedly let defenders get into his chest and either drive him back or get inside leverage on him and push him aside to get to the quarterback. Brown was absolutely horrible in this game
- Doug Pederson blew this game. On the Eagles first touchdown, for reasons unknown, Pederson went for 2 which resulted in the Eagles being down 6-17, instead of 7-17 which in turn forced the Eagles to have to go for 2 in the 4th quarter for a chance to win the game. On that game determining 2 PT conversion drive, Wentz was dealing. He was moving out of the pocket and making tough throws. He marched the Eagles down the field on a 4 play-71 yard drive and got them into the endzone. This would prove to all be for naught as the Eagles head coach called a read option for the 2 PT. conversion resulting in a failed attempt and in essence, a failed comeback. Pederson has been lauded for his ability as a playcaller and I agree that he is one of the league’s best playcallers, however, I feel that at times he attempts to outsmart opposing defenses. If your quarterback is confident and making elite level throws, it would make sense to let him lineup and throw a pass for the two point conversion. This is especially apparent considering the Eagles converted a 2 point try earlier in the game from a bunch formation that was similar to their game winning touchdown against the Bears in the 2018 wild card. Ultimately, even if Pederson wanted to run a read option play, it would’ve made more sense to run the play with the QB who excels at those concepts, Jalen Hurts.
From a grand scheme perspective this game will mean little considering how mediocre the NFC East is. The Eagles can still realistically make the playoffs by winning their division and they get the first opportunity to rewrite the script this Thursday when they take on the New York Giants.