The Eagles' lengthy injured list grew in Sunday’s 23-23 tie with the Cincinnati Bengals, and Doug Pederson indicated the team will travel to San Francisco at the end of the week without tight end Dallas Goedert or starting cornerback Avonte Maddox. Both are believed to have ankle injuries.
Those are serious losses. When Maddox went down, the Bengals went right at replacement Trevor Williams for a 4-yard touchdown pass. Goedert’s loss was crippling to an offense that is most comfortable in 12-personnel (one running back, two tight ends) and whose best receivers are its two tight ends. Goedert also is the best blocker among the tight ends.
There was at least slightly better injury news Monday, however. Pederson said wideout DeSean Jackson’s hamstring strain, which limited Jackson to two first-half catches for 11 yards, isn’t that serious and that Jackson will be “day-to-day,” with a chance to play against the 49ers.
Left tackle Jason Peters limped off the field with 55 seconds remaining in overtime, but Pederson said Peters, 38, is OK, “it was just some fatigue that set in late in the game.”
Pederson said wide receiver Alshon Jeffery will do more in practice this week, after returning to workouts last week from a December foot injury. He said the Eagles will assess Jeffery’s status at the end of the week, but really, the following week at Pittsburgh seems more likely for Jeffery’s 2020 debut.
Wideout Jalen Reagor still has a way to go after thumb surgery, but even with Jackson, Reagor, and sixth-round rookie Quez Watkins (hamstring) sidelined, 2019 second-round draft pick JJ Arcega-Whiteside played just 18 snaps and was not targeted. Pederson said there was an explanation for that.
“The reason we didn’t go to JJ, he actually kind of came up before the game with another lower-body injury, [suffered] in pregame. And so we had to limit his snaps during the game. He’ll be fine, though. He’s day-to-day. We should get him, hopefully, ready to go,” Pederson said.
Arcega-Whiteside has no catches this season after catching 10 passes for 169 yards as a rookie.
Mixon’s the one: The Eagles did stop the run Sunday, after their horrible, 191-yard lapse the week before against the Rams. Joe Mixon got every Cincinnati carry except for a Joe Burrow kneel-down, 17 attempts that gained 49 yards. Eleven of those yards came on his first carry and nine more came on the meaningless final play of overtime, after the Eagles punted. In between, Mixon ran 15 times for 29 yards.
The Eagles can’t seem to get the blocking straightened out on those wide-receiver screens they like to run.
That Corey Clement special-teams 15-yard penalty that set up a Bengals field goal seemed especially egregious.
On the strip-sack Carson Wentz fumble that Jason Kelce recovered, both Lane Johnson and Jason Peters were turned inside-out.
The Eagles failed to defeat a team that couldn’t convert a third down until midway through the third quarter, and went 3-for-13 overall.
The play that could have won the game for the Eagles in overtime was that 10-yard Carson Wentz scramble for a first down at the Cincinnati 32, which would have set up Jake Elliott nicely, at the very least. But Nate Herbig, making his first start at left guard, was called for holding. Herbig stayed inside the shoulders, it seemed, in a year that began with far fewer holding penalties being assessed. The flag probably came because Herbig’s opponent went to the ground, which is something the officials really watch for.
After the Herbig hold, the Eagles eventually ended up in third-and-19, and Carson Wentz tried a long throw to Miles Sanders, but Bengals linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither matched Sanders stride-for-stride. Davis-Gaither is a rookie, drafted 107th overall, four spots after the Eagles took linebacking project Davion Taylor. Taylor’s 12 snaps Sunday all came on special teams.
That you might encounter problems, relying upon a 17th-year left tackle and a 13th-year wide receiver as key cogs?
When the Eagles and Bengals played to a 10-10 tie on Nov. 16, 2008, the Cincinnati quarterback threw 44 passes and was sacked eight times, as was the case with Joe Burrow on Sunday. That quarterback was Ryan Fitzpatrick, who led the Dolphins past the Jaguars last week. Wonder if Donovan McNabb knows this?