The Eagles continue to be a baffling team. The conventional wisdom was that after a bye week, they would be refreshed and ready to make a second-half run. So much for that. They allowed the New York Giants back in the NFC East race by losing, 27-17, Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J.
Now 3-5-1, the Eagles will play five straight teams with winning records beginning with Sunday’s game at Cleveland. The Eagles have to hope to see Carson Wentz win some QB matchups, something that has been scarce this season.
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Wentz not good in head-to-head QB matchups
Maybe the bar has been lowered to the point that it was seen as progress that Wentz had a turnover-free game against the Giants.
That said, he missed several receivers and had just a 72.8 passer rating. While some might feel passer rating is an archaic statistic, one can see most of the top quarterbacks by where they are in passer rating.
For instance, through the games of Sunday afternoon, the three leading starting quarterbacks in passer rating were Aaron Rodgers (116.4), Patrick Mahomes (115.9), and Russell Wilson (110.5). While one might debate the order of these three, the passer rating is indicative of the best quarterbacks.
Here is how Wentz has compared to opposing quarterbacks this season.
27-17 loss at Washington
Wentz: 24-42, 270 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INT; 1 carry, 2 yards; 72.5 passer rating.
Dwayne Haskins: 17-31, 178 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT; 7 carries, 17 yards; 82.5 passer rating.
37-19 loss vs. L.A. Rams
Jared Goff: 20-27, 267 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT, 7 carries, 13 yards; 142.1 passer rating.
Wentz: 26-43, 242 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs, 2 carries, 7 yards, 1 TD; 56.5 passer rating.
23-23 tie vs. Cincinnati
Joe Burrow: 31-44, 312 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT, 1 carry, minus-1 yard; 105.5 passer rating.
Wentz: 29-47, 225 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT; 9 carries, 65 yards, 1 TD; 62.8 passer rating.
25-20 win at San Francisco
Wentz: 18-28, 193 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 7 carries, 37 yards, 1 TD; 81.4 passer rating.
Nick Mullens 18-26, 200, 1 TD, 2 INT, 0 rushes; 72.6 passer rating.
C.J. Beathard 14-19, 138 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 0 rushes; 93.8 passer rating.
38-29 loss at Pittsburgh
Wentz: 20-35, 258 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INT, 4 carries, 11 yards; 75.7 passer rating.
Ben Roethlisberger: 27-34, 239 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT, 2 carries, minus-2 yards; 125.4 passer rating.
30-28 loss vs. Baltimore
Lamar Jackson: 16-27, 186 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT; 9 carries, 108 yards, 1 TD; 92.5 passer rating.
Wentz: 21-40, 213 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT, 5 carries, 49 yards, 1 TD; 84.7 passer rating.
22-21 win vs. NY Giants
Daniel Jones: 20-32, 187 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 4 carries, 92 yards; 91.9 passer rating.
Wentz: 25-43, 359 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 7 carries, 14 yards, 1 TD; 91.1 passer rating.
23-9 win vs. Dallas
Ben DiNucci 21-40, 180 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 5 carries, 22 yards, 64.6 passer rating.
Wentz: 15-27, 123 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INT, 4 carries, 17 yards, 61.2 passer rating.
27-17 loss at NY Giants
Wentz: 21-37, 208 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INT, 2 carries, 4 yards; 72.8 passer rating.
Daniel Jones: 21-28, 244 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INT, 9 carries, 64 yards, 1 TD; 100.8 passer rating.
The biggest takeaway is that in the nine games, Wentz has had a passer rating higher than only one quarterback, San Francisco’s Mullens, and in that game, backup Beathard, who attempted 19 passes, had a higher passer rating than Wentz after replacing Mullens.
That’s right, even Ben DiNucci had a higher passer rating in his game against Wentz.
This isn’t all on Wentz, but if the Eagles are going to be a winning team, or even if they have a losing record but still contend in the watered-down NFC East, Wentz has to have some games when he decisively outplays the opposing quarterbacks.
Here are the next five quarterbacks Wentz will be facing: Baker Mayfield, Wilson, Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Kyler Murray.
Good luck outplaying any of those quarterbacks. The best chance for Wentz to have an advantage is Sunday at Cleveland against Mayfield. That said, Mayfield has a 90 passer rating, compared to 73.1 for Wentz.
What you need to know about the Eagles
Only Mike Sielski can compare the Eagles to Seinfeld’s George Costanza. Sielski maintains that the Eagles loss to the Giants shows, again, that their season is amounting to nothing.
Marcus Hayes writes that it is impossible to blame Sunday’s loss on anybody besides coach Doug Pederson.
Paul Domowitch gave out his grades for the game, and for the Eagles, only the running game made the grade, so to speak.
EJ Smith writes about the Eagles' unforced errors that were a major contributor to Sunday’s loss.
Jeff McLane’s Up-Down Drill awards a big thumbs down to Pederson.
Hayes has his quick takes on the game, and his biggest one suggests that the Giants are the best team in the NFC East.
McLane writes that there still exists a chemistry problem between Wentz and his receivers.
Domowitch writes that the Eagles' early struggles against the run spotted the Giants a 14-3 lead and cost them a victory. As expected, social media reaction to the Eagles after their loss to the Giants was not very kind.
Pederson put the loss on himself, saying, “That’s on me the way we played today."
In their Eagles notes, Les Bowen and Smith begin with the fact that Alshon Jeffery made his first appearance of the season and fellow receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was inactive.
Smith reported on the Eagles game as it happened.
Yong Kim and David Maialetti provide a photo gallery of the Eagles game.
From the mailbag
Question: Why is Doug Pederson so reluctant to run the ball when we have success in the short term? — Alex Yones via email
Answer: That is a good question, Alex, and thanks for asking it. The question is especially pertinent after Sunday’s loss, when the Eagles attempted 37 passes and ran 23 times for 156 yards (6.8 avg.) and two touchdowns.
The Eagles are often playing from behind and sometimes abandon the run too early. For the season, they have averaged a healthy 5.1 yards on 216 runs, and have attempted 344 passes. Using the run more is even more important with Wentz struggling. It would take some pressure off him.
Miles Sanders, having returned from injury against the Giants, gave the running game a major boost. Sanders did have 15 carries. Getting him to the 20-carry level should be a goal.