Speechless In Seattle
Eagles Stunned By Seahawks Last-Gasp TD, Lose 3rd Straight
Amid weeklong turmoil, the Eagles made the west coast trip to Seattle in hopes of avoiding an unfathomable three-game skid.
The Seahawks, however, foiled those plans, rallying in the final minute to best the Eagles, 20-17, at Lumen Field on Monday night.
Trailing 17-13 with 1:52 remaining, Seahawks quarterback Drew Lock led a 10-play, 92-yard scoring drive, culminating in a 29-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who beat cornerback James Bradberry down the right sideline on 3rd-and-10 to reel in the money throw.
The scoring play was made possible by Lock’s pinpoint toss to wide receiver D.K. Metcalf down the right sideline for 34 yards – also on 3rd-and-10 – between Bradberry and safety Sydney Brown, a tremendous throw and catch that put the Eagles on their heels.
As for the Eagles (10-4), the offense – which totaled 9-of-13 on third-down conversions – sputtered in the second half, mustering only a touchdown, while defensive shortcomings resurfaced in the form of shoddy tackling and a modest pass rush in critical moments.
Jalen Hurts, battling flu-like symptoms, completed 17-of-31 pass attempts for 143 yards and two interceptions. He also rushed for 62 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.
Lock completed 22-of-33 passes for 208 yards and a touchdown. Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker, a catalyst in the win, recorded 86 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.
The Eagles have now lost seven straight games to the Seahawks, eight counting the postseason, and their winless drought in Seattle still goes back to 2008.
They also missed an opportunity to take a one-game lead over the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East race, as both teams stand at 10-4 with three regular-season games remaining.
Let’s go ahead with the observations.
* Some housekeeping: Despite a flurry of speculation within the 36 hours prior to kickoff, it was revealed early Monday evening that QB Jalen Hurts would get the start. Eagles inactives included CB Darius Slay, QB Tanner McKee (3rd QB), RB Rashaad Penny, C/G Cam Jurgens, LB Zach Cunningham, and TE Albert Okwuegbunam.
* Rookie fourth-rounder Kelee Ringo got the first nod in place of Slay, while veteran RG Sua Opeta and LB Shaq Leonard also started. No homecoming, feel-good story for Rashaad Penny, the former Seahawks running back. He remains a weekly healthy scratch.
* Seattle was down two starters in its secondary – exceptional rookie first-rounder Devon Witherspoon and veteran Jamal Adams – leaving the Seahawks with 2021 fourth-round pick Tre Brown and fifth-year pro Michael Jackson Sr. QB Geno Smith (groin) was active, but couldn’t go.
* The Eagles mixed things up on their opening possession, showcasing three different personnel groupings on the first three plays and pre-snap motion on the 18-yard completion to TE Dallas Goedert on 3rd-and-9. Hurts capped the 15-play, 75-yard drive that covered more than eight minutes with a 3-yard touchdown run. Hurts completed all five pass attempts for 39 yards while adding 16 more on the ground. Additionally, at first glance, RG Sua Opeta generated movement in the trenches.
* Much was made last week – rightfully so – about Hurts targeting just three players (Brown, Smith, Goedert) in the passing game. On the first drive, four different receivers caught passes.
* Seattle looked to big-bodied WR DK Metcalf on third down, but a strong tackle from cornerback Bradley Roby stopped Metcalf one yard shy of the sticks. Tackling had been shoddy during the Eagles’ two-game skid.
*Lumen Field is a daunting environment for visitors, but a Hurts false start on 3rd-and-5 ultimately stalled what appeared to be a promising second drive.
* Seemingly a weekly observation, but CB Josh Jobe is exceptional as a gunner. The second-year pro was once again the first player down the field on a first-quarter punt despite being double teamed. Jobe rotated in at cornerback on the third defensive series but committed a pass interference penalty.
* Ringo notched the start, but the Eagles – and newly appointed defensive play caller Matt Patricia – opted to insert rookie CB Eli Ricks to play opposite James Bradberry on the second defensive series.
* Aggressive call from HC Nick Sirianni to to go for it on a 4th-and-4 at the Seattle 18-yard-line given the elements. Hurts rifled a pass to seldom-used WR Julio Jones for a 6-yard pickup. Coming in, Jones – a future Hall of Famer – had garnered just eight targets in seven games.
*C Jason Kelce’s false start on 3rd-and-1 extinguishes what surely would’ve resulted in a successful “tush push” conversion. Instead, the ensuing 3rd-and-6 resulted in no gain, as RB D’Andre Swift was quickly corralled.
* Impressed by what I saw from rookies Ringo and Sydney Brown. Both first-year DBs play with confidence and swarm to the ball. While Ringo recorded his first career pass breakup on a red-zone pass to Metcalf, Brown – as I’ve noted – plays with his hair on fire. Fun player to watch, and one who opposing teams will grow to loathe.
* The new-look Eagles defense rotated in then back seven, as Ringo, Ricks, and Jobe all logged snaps. So did edge rusher Patrick Johnson, who hadn’t registered a defensive snap this season.
* Prior to Seattle’s late second-quarter field goal, the Eagles’ defense had allowed touchdowns on 10 straight red zone drives.
* The Eagles bumbled their way through a two-minute offense shortly before intermission. The drive, which culminated in a pass-heavy three-and-out, covered just 23 seconds and returned possession to Seattle with over a minute remaining. The ensuing drive stalled, but it could have been costly.
* Running the football again proved problematic for the Eagles, as Swift and Kenny Gainwell combined for just 54 yards on 15 carries.
* Improvement was shown in situational football, as the Eagles converted 5-of-10 third downs and their lone fourth down at the break. Defensively, the unit allowed 3-of-7 attempts.
*The Seahawks found the end zone on its opening possession coming out of the break. The nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive featured a heavy dose of RBs Kenneth Walker and Zach Charbonnet. Tough series for Brown, who missed a tackle on a short toss to Walker and took a poor angle on Walker’s 23-yard TD rumble. The drive set a tone and reinvigorated the crowd, as the Eagles’ defense resembled the faulty unit from the past two weeks.
* DL vets Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham combined on the third-down sack of Lock, marking just the 10th third-down sack this season. For perspective, the Eagles totaled over 30 in that category last season.
* Hurts missed a wide-open DeVonta Smith on a crosser on a 3rd-and-8, instead opting for an underthrown deep shot to Brown that fell incomplete, forcing a punt. Seattle blitzed up the middle, perhaps obstructing Hurts’ view of the middle of the field.
* Curious decision for Hurts to launch a deep shot to WR Quez Watkins on a 1st-and-10 from the Seattle 45. S Julian Love got a piece of Watkins’ jersey, aiding his ability to reel the ball in for an interception – Hurts’ 16th turnover of the season – but situationally, the decision itself was questionable. Watkins also has to do much better of becoming a defensive back in those situations to negate the interception.
* Big-time pass breakup on a 3rd-and-5 by Ricks, who got a hand in to negate a pass intended for Tyler Lockett. Ricks looked much more comfortable playing his natural position at outside corner.
* Tip your cap to Lock, who defied the odds, created a spark, and delivered on a 10-play, 92-yard game-winning drive. His precision passes to Metcalf and Smith-Njigba on the drive are worthy for plays of the week. As for the Eagles, they’ll have a week to evaluate and pick up the pieces before hosting the Giants on Christmas. While their next three games are favorable on paper, the Eagles are trending in the wrong direction.
– Andrew DiCecco (@AndrewDiCecco) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.