Seahawks Stifle Limited Eagles
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - It probably shouldn't be a surprise than an offense devoid of playmakers was devoid of playmakers on Sunday as the Eagles lost their second consecutive game, an ugly 17-9 decision to the Seattle Seahawks.
With receivers Alshon Jeffery (ankle) and Nelson Agholor (knee) ruled out before the game and leading rusher Jordan Howard (shoulder) joining them, Philadelphia (5-6) was down to a Miles Sanders-led running game and a receiving group by a veteran who recently returned in Jordan Matthews.
The Eagles were also missing All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson (concussion) and star right guard Brandon Brooks exited early with an illness. Johnson's replacement, first-round pick Andre Dillard, was also benched at halftime for ineffectiveness during his first attempt at playing the position.
With all the moving parts Carson Wentz was unsure and ineffective, finishing 33 of 45 for just 256 yards with one touchdown, two interceptions and three fumbles, two of which were lost.
"We had a lot of turnovers. We had a lot of quarterback pressures," Seahawks linebacker and former Eagle Mychal Kendricks said.
Sanders, who ran it 12 times for 63 yards, and Greg Ward, elevated from the practice squad on Saturday with six catches on seven targets for 40 yards, were some of the bright spots.
The Philadelphia defense, which got Mike linebacker Nigel Bradham back after a four-game absence from an ankle injury, played well, sacking MVP candidate Russell Wilson six times and allowing 348 total yards.
The lone hiccups were big plays by the Seahawks (9-2) -- the first a bit of trickery in which Wilson handed off to Chris Carson, who lateraled the ball back to the QB before Wilson found a streaking Malik Turner for a 33-yard TD pass in the first quarter. The other was a gash up the middle by Rashad Penny that went for 58 yards and a TD in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles only TD, however, came in garbage time with 20 seconds remaining when Wentz hit Zach Ertz for a two-yard score which was set up by a 30-yard strike to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.
"It was self-inflicted wounds," Sanders said of the offensive struggles. We went out there and shot ourselves in the foot and it's hard to win against a team like that."
Philadelphia went for two to increase the probability but an inside handoff was fumbled by Sanders, something made moot when the Seahawks' Jacob Hollister recovered the onside kick.
"At the end of the day, we've got to stick together," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "We have five more opportunities together. We still have a chance."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen