The Eagles’ offensive line had some new faces, but the same results.
During the Eagles’ 30-16 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the 11th combination of starters this season didn’t fare any better at keeping quarterbacks clean than the previous 10 iterations did.
The Eagles offensive line surrendered seven sacks, marking the third straight week in which the group allowed five sacks or more. Carson Wentz has been sacked a league-leading 48 times after Sunday’s loss and has a nine-sack lead over Russell Wilson, who is second on the list.
The Eagles offensive front has been devastated by season-ending injuries to Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks, and Andre Dillard. Jason Kelce, Jason Peters, and Isaac Seumalo have each missed time this season, with Kelce still dealing with the aftereffects of an elbow injury suffered against the Browns two weeks ago.
The team started Jack Driscoll at right tackle and Peters at right guard, although Peters was replaced by Nate Herbig in the third quarter after the veteran offensive lineman aggravated a toe injury that has lingered most of the season. Herbig struggled at times in relief of Peters, giving up pressure in the fourth quarter that led to Jalen Hurts being sacked for the second of three times.
According to the CBS broadcast, Eagles coach Doug Pederson absolved the offensive line of some blame for the team’s protection woes at halftime, saying Wentz had to get the ball out faster during an interview held off camera. After the game, Pederson said he’d have to watch the film to determine Wentz’s culpability in the four times he was sacked.
“On the sacks, I’ve got to go back and look at the tape,” Pederson said. “ [I’ll] see if there were any breakdowns or if we could have gotten the ball out, something of that nature, so I have to take a look at that.”
As has been the case most of the season, Wentz had his share of the blame for his sacks. The Eagles’ quarterback has held the ball longer than most quarterbacks this season, and that continued at Lambeau Field. Three of Wentz’s four sacks came on third down, and the Eagles’ quarterback held onto the ball for more than three seconds on each of them.
One can be placed squarely on Peters, who missed a blitzing Packers linebacker who reached Wentz in almost two seconds flat.
Hurts was much quicker to escape the pocket than Wentz typically was, but the sacks kept coming. In his second series, Hurts ran for two first downs, often taking off if there was no clear target downfield. By the rookie quarterback’s third series, the Packers caught on and started employing a linebacker spy to contain him in the pocket.
The adjustment resulted in Hurts being sacked three times, although one was him being forced out of bounds on a rollout for a short loss.