Make no mistake. The Philadelphia Eagles are a banged-up team right now. Especially at the position of wide receiver. They are without starters DeSean Jackson and Ashlon Jeffrey. The injury to Jackson is an especially crippling one. Jackson is the Eagles loan deep threat. He is the guy that stretches the field and opens things up for everybody else. Tight End Dallas
Goedart was able to play on Sunday against the Lions but, he saw limited action with a calf injury.
The Eagles situation is made even worse by the fact that they have a short turnaround this week. They travel to Green Bay to play the Packers on Thursday night. That probably will not be enough time for some of their walking wounded to return to the lineup.
You could see some of the effects of the Eagles being depleted at the wide receiver position on Sunday. Carson Wentz had to take a sack in the fourth quarter on a play where he had all day to throw but had to pull the ball down because he couldn’t find anybody open. The Eagles also took three offensive pass interference penalties because they were having problems creating separation.
But, with all of that being said, injuries should not be used as an excuse for the Eagles loss to the Detroit Lions. Yes, these players are backups. Yes, in many cases you’re talking about young players like Mack Hollins and JJ Arcega-Whiteside who are young players without a lot of NFL experience.
But they are still NFL players who are being paid to catch the ball. Even though there were some instances where they struggled to get open, there were many cases where they were able to get open and they were thrown very catchable balls but they failed to come through. Here is a list of some of the culprits that contributed to the Eagles loss today.
With the rash of injuries at wide receiver, Hollins has actually stepped up and played fairly well. Against the Atlanta Falcons he had five catches for 50 yards. Against the Lions he had 4 for 62. Pretty decent numbers for a guy who looked like he might not make the team out of training camp.
But he also had his fair share of miscues against the Lions. He was called twice for offensive pass interference. The first of which I thought was a questionable call. But the second one was clearly a penalty. He also dropped a pass that although it may have been thrown slightly behind him, it hit him in the hands and should have been caught. The play would have resulted in an Eagles first down but instead the Eagles were forced to punt.
Aghelor has been the model of inconsistency this year. He dropped a sure-fire touchdown pass against the Falcons last week that might have won the game for the Eagles but then he made a big catch on a huge fourth-down play.
Against the Lions he made two huge mistakes. He dropped one pass that would have been a first down. But he tried to make a move before securing the catch resulting in a drop and an Eagles punt.
On another catch by the sidelines, he made the catch and then made an inside move to try and gain more yardage. But he fumbled the ball without even being touched which resulted in a turnover. He redeemed himself later in the game though. He made another sideline catch, turned to the inside, broke a few tackles and scored a touchdown. The Eagles desperately need Agholor to be more consistent. For every good play that he makes, he makes two bad ones.
Goedart saw limited playing time because of the calf injury. But he also made a huge mistake in this game even with the limited playing time. On a ball thrown to the corner of the end zone,Goedart dropped a ball that hit him right in the hands. It seemed as though he might have jumped a little bit early which might have thrown off his timing. It is still a catch that has to be made. Luckily the Eagles were able to score on that drive and the drop didn’t hurt them.
After the Eagles blocked a Lions field goal attempt that would have put them up by 6 with two minutes left to play, the Eagles were in a position to pull out a huge win in this game. On a do or die 4th and 6 play with 50 seconds left in the game, Carsen Wentz heaved the ball down field to Arcega-Whiteside. He was well covered but the ball hit him right in the chest and he dropped it. A catch would have given the Eagles a first down on the Lions 4 yard line.
At the very least, the Eagles would have had a chip-shot field goal attempt to tie the game and send it to overtime. Instead, the Eagles turned the ball over on downs and the game was over.
Going into this season one of the things we all heard about was the Eagles depth. And some of their young players did step up and make some plays. But too many times they came up small in big situations. One might think it’s asking a lot for backups to make plays. But it’s not a matter of asking them to make spectacular, game-breaking type plays. If they had simply made plays that any NFL player should make, the Eagles would have prevailed against the Lions.