Eagles, Bengals up-down drill: Doug Pederson, Carson Wentz have lost their way
The Eagles experienced a fair share of highs and (many) lows in an ugly 23-23 tie against the Bengals on Sunday.
DOWN -- If this were soccer, there would have at least been a point at stake. Yeah, a tie is better than a loss in the standings, but the 0-2 Eagles couldn’t afford anything worse than a win Sunday. A tie will just extend the torture of what is looking like a lost season.
DOWN -- It’s probably unlikely, but can the publisher of Pederson’s book, Fearless, change the title to Cowardly? The Eagles coach faced two times when he could have aggressively gone for the win: try for two in regulation and attempt a 64-yard field or go for it on fourth-and-12 in overtime. He settled for meh.
DOWN -- As a passer, Sunday was Wentz’s worst game this season, which is saying something. He tossed two more interceptions, missed wide-open receivers both with eyes and his arm, and just lacked any feel for the game. But he showed some gumption with his legs and guided the Eagles into overtime. But he was just as bad through the air in the extra frame.
DOWN -- You. Have. One. Job. Don’t false-start. Pryor did and a 59-yard Hail Mary field-goal try by Jake Elliott became a 64-yarder that Pederson elected not to take. Pryor wasn’t the only offensive lineman to take a costly penalty in OT. Lane Johnson took a false start and Nate Herbig was flagged for holding on the previous drive that took the Eagles out of field-goal range.
DeSean Jackson and Jason Peters
DOWN -- To no surprise, the aging Eagles veterans are injured. Jackson left with a hamstring injury and Peters late in the game with a leg injury. Pay close attention to how long it takes each to return. It could say something about their willingness to put it on the line for a team in trouble.
UP -- The new Eagles cornerback kept Bengals receiver A.J. Green in check all game. Green isn’t what he used to be, but when Joe Burrow went at him in overtime, Slay didn’t back down.
DOWN -- Jim Schwartz’s picket fence defense on third-and-longs had been a winner in his four seasons as Eagles defensive coordinator. But the Bengals devised and executed the perfect play to take advantage of the soft coverage and Giovani Bernard picked up a soul-crushing 42 yards.
UP -- The All-Pro defensive tackle led an Eagles pass rush that sacked Burrow eight times. Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett each collected two, and Cox had a big one in overtime to go along with his two other quarterback hits.
SIDEWAYS -- The Eagles safety was up and down. He had five tackles, 1½ sacks, another tackle for loss, and two quarterback hits, but he had a brutal series before the half when he missed a tackle and committed a pass-interference penalty in the end zone.
UP -- He averaged 5.3 yards a carry and got five yards behind a linebacker on a downfield pass that Wentz overshot. Too bad Pederson seemed to forget about Sanders, who finished with 18 carries. Maybe the running back had conditioning issues, but Corey Clement and Boston Scott shouldn’t be taking touches away from him.
DOWN -- Even with Jalen Reagor out, Arcega-Whiteside hardly played and was never targeted. The Eagles' actions speak louder than any words could about their opinion of the former second-round draft pick.
DOWN -- The architect of the Eagles has a no-interview policy during the season. That’s fine and all, but someone will need to answer for all the personnel mistakes at some point.