The Eagles built a 19-0 lead and nearly saw it slip away.
Five quick postgame thoughts on their 22-14 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field:
The Eagles settled for a pair of 28-yard Jake Elliott field goals on their first two drives, and with better decision-making and play-calling on a couple of third-and-goal situations, they might have taken a bigger lead early on. On the first, Carson Wentz had a lane to scramble and could have reached the end zone, but he planted himself in the pocket and was sacked by Bears tackle Eddie Goldman. On the second, Wentz threw a quick screen pass to Miles Sanders, who was lined up wide to the left. The Bears swarmed him for a three-yard loss. Against a better team with a better quarterback – that is to say, against just about any NFL quarterback other than Mitchell Trubisky – the Eagles can’t afford to squander such opportunities.
As the first half neared its end, Trubisky scrambled for a first down and slid to the ground to give himself up, and Eagles safety Andrew Sendejo committed a galactically dumb penalty by spearing him. Sendejo isn’t fast or heady, and his reckless style of play led him to collide with Avonte Maddox last month in Green Bay – a hit that sidelined Maddox until Sunday. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz likes edgy, tough players, but Sendejo too often crosses the line separating “edgy” from “careless.”
The wide-receiver position is an utter mess for the Eagles at the moment. Alshon Jeffery has contracted the same case of Dropfluenza that has afflicted Nelson Agholor; Jeffery dropped three passes Sunday, each of which would have likely given the Eagles a first down. DeSean Jackson made a brief appearance in the first quarter, his first action since Week 2 in Atlanta, but soon left with an abdomen injury. Mack Hollins had his fifth straight game without a catch; Wentz didn’t target him even once Sunday. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, a second-round draft pick earlier this year, rarely gets on the field. Sanders might be the team’s best wide receiver, and he’s not a wide receiver.
Wentz was excellent on the Eagles’ final possession, completing four third-down passes for first downs to extend the drive and melt the clock. He still holds the ball too long on a few too many plays, but he completed 67 percent of his passes and threw for 239 yards and a touchdown Sunday, generally taking what an excellent Bears defense gave him.
The Eagles are 5-4 entering the bye, ahead of two of the most challenging games left on their schedule: home games against the Patriots and Seahawks. Their schedule lightens up considerably after that. Split those two games, and they can still get themselves into the playoffs.