Eagles Stood Tall in Defeat

Eagles Stood Tall in Defeat
Normally the Philadelphia fans can be tough on a team that is eliminated in the playoffs, but this year’s Eagles team has been admired more than anything.
 
The reason is that the Eagles overcame so many injuries just to make the playoffs. And then they lost franchise quarterback Carson Wentz, who lasted just eight plays in Sunday’s 17-9 wild-card loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC wild-card round.
 
Wentz left the game with a concussion after being hit by Seahawks defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney on what many are describing as a cheap shot.
 
Clowney wasn’t penalized on the play, although that doesn’t mean much since the state of officiating in the NFL has never been under more scrutiny and for good reason.
 
After the game, Clowney said it wasn’t a cheap shot, but the Philadelphia fans will remain skeptical.
 
Either way, Wentz was replaced by 40-year-old Josh McCown, who performed admirably. McCown had good statistics (18 for 24, 174 yards, no TDs, no interceptions).
 
For somebody who had seen so little action at his age, it wasn’t bad. Yet he wasn’t able to convert three key red zone chances into TDs.
 
It may sound like sour grapes, but there is a true feeling that had Wentz played, the Eagles could have won the game.
 
That’s because Seattle was underwhelming on both sides of the ball but did enough to earn a second win in Philadelphia this year, no small feat.
 
Russell Wilson completed 18 of 30 for 325 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Yet the Eagles defense often stalled drives, which accounts for Seattle’s modest point total.
 
No team in the NFL suffered the extent of key injuries as the Eagles, yet they were able to win their final four games, capture (an admittedly very weak) NFC East Division and reach the playoffs for the third straight year.
 
There will be a lot of focus in the offseason on GM Howie Roseman, who will look to build more depth. The Eagles and Roseman were criticized when Houston traded Clowney to Seattle before the season. The Seahawks only had give up a third rounder, and linebackers Barkevious Mingo and former Temple product Jacob Martin. In addition, ESPN reported that Houston paid almost half of Clowney’s salary.
 
When the trade was made on August 31, there was a question as to why the Eagles didn’t make a pitch. Sure, Clowney can be a free agent and it could have been a one-year rental, but for a team going for the Super Bowl, and the Eagles were back then, the addition of Clowney would have been huge.
 
He might be the most despised athlete today in Philadelphia for what he did to Wentz, but his football talent is undeniable, and he has game-changing ability. Even playing with a core injury, he had five tackles and one sack.
 
There isn’t a knowledgeable fan base that wouldn’t want him on their team.

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As for the Eagles, they are still built to contend next year, although several key players are likely moving past their prime. Wentz isn’t one of them. He should be entering it and with him at controls, the Eagles should feel good about the future.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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