Yes, it’s really over. I won’t hit you with a “happy Monday,” as I know many Eagles fans are still wallowing in last night’s season-ending 17-9 loss to the Seahawks. Quarterback Carson Wentz left the game with a concussion in the first quarter, cutting short his playoff debut after only two offensive drives. He suffered the injury after a helmet-to-helmet hit from Seattle defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, a hit that didn’t draw a flag. I’m sure the controversial collision will be talked about at your office, local Wawa, or dinner table today. For a 40-year-old backup who’s been in the league since 2002, Josh McCown played well, but it wasn’t enough to carry the injury-ravaged, practice-squad-player-filled team to next week.
As the Seahawks start preparing for a divisional-round matchup against the Green Bay Packers, Eagles players will clean out their lockers in the NovaCare Complex today. We’ll have updates on inquirer.com/eagles, so be sure to check back.
If you like what you’re reading, tell your friends it’s free to sign up here. I want to know what you think, what we should add, and what you want to read, so send me feedback by email or on Twitter @erinK_mccarthy.
— Erin McCarthy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Players reflect on bumpy, resilient season
When Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins remembers this season, he’ll remember the Giants game last week, when this group proved doubters wrong and clinched the NFC East despite having lost many of its starters to injury.
No, the 2019 Eagles didn’t make it far into the playoffs, but that’s a high bar, he said. He isn’t concerned about this team being forgotten or defined by a final loss.
“This team will be remembered, because they’re going to hang a banner for us,” Jenkins said, referencing the championship banners that hang from the top of Lincoln Financial Field. “We did everything we could. Just didn’t come up with it.”
A few stalls down in a subdued postgame locker room, Jalen Mills said he badly wanted this team to be remembered for a Super Bowl run. But the cornerback agreed the group still left a mark. That NFC East banner will mean something.
“Regardless of injuries, regardless of us barely getting into the playoffs, at the end of the day this is a great team, and it shows," Mills said. “We had practice squad guys who stepped up and made plays. Guys were banged up …”
“This was a team everybody doubted because of injuries,” Mills added. “We lost all of our star players on offense, a couple guys on defense, and we still stepped up and made it to the postseason.”
One of those “next-man-up” guys was running back Boston Scott, who started the regular season on the practice squad and ended it logging 138 yards from scrimmage and three rushing touchdowns last week against the Giants. His favorite memory of the season?
“Just seeing my teammates succeed,” Scott said. “Seeing these guys step up and get their opportunities.” He mentioned watching fellow practice squad players Rob Davis, Greg Ward, and Deontay Burnett make catches in important games.
Left tackle Jason Peters said he’d remember the camaraderie the team created despite new players often being added to the roster.
“It was an uphill battle,” he said, “and we fought to the end.”
Added tight end Zach Ertz: “We never pointed fingers.”
“Everyone wants to say, ‘What nickname should we have for the practice squad guys?’ ” Ertz said with a shrug. “They’re just good football players.”
Defensive end Brandon Graham tried to embrace all the emotions he was feeling after the loss, he said.
“Winning the NFC East … we got that,” he said. “We fought through so much.”
What you need to know about the Eagles
Let Les Bowen take you back through all four quarters with his game story.
Jeff McLane gives his up-down drill, and Doug Pederson and Fletcher Cox are among the positives.
Meanwhile, Paul Domowicth grades the Eagles performance, giving it a C overall.
When Clowney was approached by reporters in the Seattle locker room, he said: “I already know what you want to ask me about. Knockin’ Carson Wentz out.” Columnist David Murphy has the whole story.
Miles Sanders finished his season leading all rookies in yards from scrimmage. EJ Smith writes about the running back’s imperfect yet impressive finale.
Eagles players and fans shouldn’t hang their heads. Instead, they should be proud of the team’s resiliency, columnist Marcus Hayes says.
Wentz’s concussion was a “fitting coda to the team’s injury-wracked 2019 season,” writes columnist Bob Ford.
Russell Wilson’s magic showed Eagles fans just how much they missed Wentz. Columnist Mike Sielski has more.
Ed Barkowitz breaks down how the elusive Wilson made just enough plays to beat the Eagles.
Domowitch writes the Eagles’ defense was good, but not good enough to overcome the loss of Wentz.
Running back Jordan Howard would like to return to the Eagles when his rookie contract expires in the offseason. That and more in our notebook.
McLane writes about Carson Wentz’s season ending in tragedy once again.
He also has the details on Zach Ertz’s kidney injury, which the tight end talked about in the locker room postgame.
Bowen writes: Jason Peters’ contract is up but he said he wants to play next season. He’ll be 38.
Fans were vocal on social media during the game, and were particularly angry about the hit on Wentz. Jonathan Tannenwald compiled some of the best posts.
From the mailbag
Eagles top need in draft? — HedgeFundHarry (@HedgeFundLarry) via Twitter
Hey, Harry/Larry. (By the way: Which one is it?) Thanks for your question. I don’t want to take the easy, obvious way out, but I’d say wide receiver, given the sheer amount of practice squad players (see: Greg Ward, Rob Davis, Deontay Burnett) they’ve had to call up as of late. While Alshon Jeffery has more time on his contract, Nelson Agholor becomes a free agent in the offseason, and DeSean Jackson is 33. Wide receiver would be a wise investment, in my opinion.