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Eagles’ shorthanded wide receiver group struggles to produce again

The Eagles’ wideouts weren’t able to pick up the slack with Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor both sidelined with injuries.

Eagles wide receiver Greg Ward picks up a first down with Seahawks linebacker Mychal Kendricks pulling him down during the first quarter.
Eagles wide receiver Greg Ward picks up a first down with Seahawks linebacker Mychal Kendricks pulling him down during the first quarter.Read moreDAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer

It’s been more than a month since an Eagles wide receiver scored a touchdown.

A shorthanded receiving corps kept the streak going in the Eagles’ 17-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

The last Eagles wideout to catch a touchdown pass was Alshon Jeffery, on Oct. 13 against the Minnesota Vikings. That 3-yard grab is the only touchdown from the group since Week 4.

With Jeffery and Nelson Agholor both sidelined with injuries on Sunday, the Eagles’ active receivers weren’t able to pick up the slack. Going into the game, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Jordan Matthews, Mack Hollins, and recent practice squad call-up Greg Ward had combined for only 14 catches, 174 yards, and no touchdowns this season.

» READ MORE: Grading the Eagles after their loss to Seattle

Ward was the team’s most productive receiver despite being the shortest-tenured of the bunch. He had six catches for 40 yards and three first downs. Arcega-Whiteside gained more yards, mostly thanks to a 30-yard catch in garbage time. The rookie out of Stanford finished with two catches for 43 yards.

“We have that next-man-up mentality,” Arcega-Whiteside said. “At the end of the day, whoever takes that field we know [are] the best guys for the job. It’s just a matter of those guys doing the job. … It just has to be better, collectively and individually.”

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz had one of the worst games of his career, throwing two interceptions and fumbling three times, two of which were recovered by the Seahawks.

At times, it seemed like Wentz and his new cast of receivers weren’t on the same page, but Eagles coach Doug Pederson said a lack of practice reps isn’t an excuse.

“I know it can be a little bit different when you’re working with different guys, but this is the National Football League, and we spend a lot of time working with all our players,” Pederson said. “These guys spend a lot of time even off to the side in practice to get some of these throws.”

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The Eagles went into the weekend with Agholor and Jeffery both questionable. Agholor missed practice this week with a knee injury suffered against the New England Patriots. Jeffery, who hurt his ankle on Nov. 3 against the Chicago Bears, sat out of team drills all week.

“They just weren’t there yet,” Pederson said. “We’re not going to risk anything further with either one of those guys. We still have — after this game, obviously — five left. We can still make a push and didn’t want to set them back any further.”

Pederson said going without the two receivers as well as missing running back Jordan Howard and starting tackle Lane Johnson complicates what he’s able to do as a play-caller.

“I think I’m more aware of certain things that we can or can’t do,” Pederson said. “But, for the most part, as we game-plan, when we put things together, we’re still thinking of the same guys. … Once you get into the game, too, you gotta make your own adjustments as you see fit.”