You woke up Tuesday and the aftertaste was just as sour. Why the hell didn’t Doug challenge that forward lateral? How could Wentz be so sloppy to fumble going into the end zone? And what do those NFL refs have against our team anyway?
Certainly, the Eagles Sunday Night loss in Seattle didn’t digest any better after too few hours of restless sleep. Perhaps you sat at the kitchen table, foggily fretting over playoff permutations now that the Vikings have passed the Birds as the No. 1 NFC seed.
And maybe, by the third cup of coffee, perspective set in.
Hey, I’m not going to tell you the nationally televised 24-10 defeat to a desperate Seahawks team was anything other than what your eyes saw: A hesitant coaching calamity by Doug Pederson and Jim Schwartz. A mistake-filled regression by Carson Wentz and the offensive line. A flag-filled night of ticky-tack fouls – some earned by the Eagles, some bonused by the refs.
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It was the game we all feared was lurking. The recent rap was that the Eagles only crushed powder-puffs. So this debacle cued the chorus of: “See! They can’t keep up with a real contender!” All those weeks of good will Pederson earned eroded in a Super Moon night where he evoked the ghost of Andy Reid Past.
But my advice, which will contradict the bubbling magma of hot takes this week, is to take a deep breath and put this all in perspective.
You didn’t expect the Eagles to go 15-1, did you? You didn’t anticipate the winning streak going straight through the Super Bowl, right?
Good teams have bad games. Last year, the Patriots lost to these same Seahawks on the way to another NFL title. The previous season’s champs, the 2015 Broncos, didn’t score a TD in a loss to the 7-9 Raiders. Clunkers happen.
The Seahawks, despite defensive injuries, remain a pedigreed team. Pete Carroll ranks among the NFL’s top coaches. Russell Wilson’s magician turn Sunday night was in character for him. It’s no fluke this franchise is now 43-8 at home since 2008.
That’s no consolation today as your mind reels with Alshon Jeffrey’s dumb holding penalty or Pederson’s lack of onions at the end of the 2nd quarter. Or, perhaps worst, the stomach-turning reality that it was Byron Maxwell, of all people, who punctuated the night with a game-clinching interception.
But, while the Eagles didn’t get to doff their “NFC East Champion” caps in Seattle, they’re still 10-2. Wentz didn’t morph into Kevin Kolb. Pederson, despite your worst fears, won’t prove critic Mike Lombardi correct in the end.
They have an easier remaining schedule than the Vikings, who travel to Carolina and Green Bay. The Eagles have one tough game left – next Sunday, at the 9-3 Los Angeles Rams.
The young Rams have a wunderkind 31-year-old coach in Sean McVay and a star-on-the-rise second-year QB in Jared Goff. Todd Gurley leads the NFC in rushing. Their defense leads the conference in sacks.
The game figures to be a great test of how the Eagles rebound from adversity.
And if they don’t . . . well, in that case, I’ll meet you on the Ben Franklin Bridge.