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Brookover: Birds' receivers down in the dirt

The suspense was excruciating. Would Nelson Agholor sit out Monday night's game against the Green Bay Packers with a deeply bruised psyche or would he play through the brain cramps that he publicly admitted were haunting him after the Eagles' loss in Seattle?

The suspense was excruciating.

Would Nelson Agholor sit out Monday night's game against the Green Bay Packers with a deeply bruised psyche or would he play through the brain cramps that he publicly admitted were haunting him after the Eagles' loss in Seattle?

It was all up to coach Doug Pederson and the speculation lingered through a longer than usual week. It was like waiting to find out what Geraldo Rivera was going to unearth inside Al Capone's vault 30 years ago.

Rivera uncovered nothing but dirt and had to apologize to a national television audience. The Eagles probably should have done the same following a listless 27-13 loss to the Packers that pushed them under .500 for the first time this season.

It could be argued that you couldn't get a pile of dirt for the entire Eagles receiving corps, but Wentz and Pederson are trying to do the best they can with the little they've got.

Pederson will have to await the long-term results of his decision to let Agholor sit this one out. The hope, of course, is that the second-year receiver can rebound from his mental meltdown and become the kind of wide receiver worthy of the 20th overall pick in the draft.

"It came down basically to letting him see the game with a little bit calmer eyes, just a different perspective," Pederson said of his decision to sit Agholor. "Obviously he handled it extremely well."

Agholor was not in the locker room after the game.

By the end of the evening, the Eagles had far bigger problems than Agholor. Of far greater concern was the health of Jordan Matthews, the most reliable of Wentz's suspect cast of wide receivers.

Late in the first half, Matthews made a terrific catch for a 20-yard gain on a second-and-9 play, but he immediately limped off the field, leaving Wentz without his No. 1 wide receiver. The rookie quarterback still managed to orchestrate an impressive drive that started at the Eagles' 1-yard line and ended with a 48-yard field goal from Caleb Sturgis that closed the Packers' lead to 14-10 just before halftime.

The drive included a couple of key plays to wide receivers. Wentz connected with Bryce Treggs for an 11-yard completion on a first-down play and found Dorial Green-Beckham for five yards on a third-and-3 play.

While it was all going on, however, Matthews was headed to the locker room to have his right ankle examined.

His return was listed as questionable, but he was back on the field for the start of the second half and he even caught a second-down pass for a short gain on a drive that went into Green Bay territory before stalling when an errant Wentz pass was intercepted by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to a field goal following that turnover and when the Eagles came out for their next series, Matthews was nowhere to be found. He never returned. Pederson said he did not know the extent of Matthews' injury, but he did know the extent of damage the injury did to the offense Monday night.

Suddenly the Eagles' receiving corps consisted of Green-Beckham, Treggs, and Paul Turner, the rookie signed off the practice squad following Agholor's mental meltdown in Seattle.

Remember, this was already a receiving corps that ranked among the worst in the NFL.

At least one individual receiver has had more yards than the Eagles' entire receiving corps in nine of the 11 weeks the team has played this season. In three of those weeks, a double-digit total of receivers had more yards than the Eagles' entire corps.

And now they have to worry about the health of Matthews, too. That's no way to help a rookie quarterback develop.

Once Matthews was gone Monday night, the Eagles' receivers and their chances of winning a game they desperately needed disappeared, too.

Green-Beckham did have his number called once when the outcome was still in question, but it was only after his pass interference penalty negated a long completion to Darren Sproles.

"It's my fault," Green-Beckham said. "I take the blame for it, but I was just playing football, just being physical. When the ball is thrown I believe you can block, but you never know. The rules change every day."

Green-Beckham actually had a quick start, catching four passes for 53 yards on the Eagles' opening drive for a touchdown, but he only had one catch for 5 yards the remainder of the first half and one meaningless catch late in the fourth quarter after that. His late fourth-quarter catch was the only one by an Eagles wide receiver after Matthews left the game.

Turner did not get into the game until late in the first half after Matthews suffered his ankle injury. If you were hoping he was the answer for all that ailed this receiving corps, we have some more bad news. Turner finished the game without a catch, which left him tied with Agholor in that department.

If the Eagles want Agholor to learn something from his benching, they should replay the footage of Monday night's game and suggest he watch No. 17 on the Packers. Davante Adams, a second-round pick in the 2014 draft, torched the Eagles for five catches, 113 yards and two touchdowns. He has had a breakout year in his third season.

The Eagles, meanwhile, continue to come up with the equivalent of dirt in their search for competent receivers.