Injuries aren't an excuse, but the loss of Pro Bowl guard Brandon Brooks to an illness in the first quarter of Sunday's game against Seattle at Lincoln Financial Field was just another obstacle to overcome for a unit that was already without All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson, running back Jordan Howard, and wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffery.
The Eagles managed to gain 344 yards of offense, but turned the ball over five times in a 17-9 loss to the Seahawks. Philadelphia dropped to 5-6 on the year following consecutive losses at home. Seattle is 9-2 overall and 6-0 on the road this season, remaining just a half game back of San Francisco for first place in the NFC West. The Seahawks' 17 points were their second fewest all season.
Quarterback Carson Wentz was 33-of-45 for 256 yards with a touchdown, two interceptions, and three fumbles (two recovered by Seattle) for a QB rating of 75.8. Wentz's lone touchdown pass, a 2-yard dart to tight end Zach Ertz, came with 20 seconds left in the game.
The Eagles scored the opening points of the game on a 28-yard Jake Elliott field goal before Seattle put up 17 in a row. After the Eagles' touchdown, which extended Wentz's streak to 14 straight games with at least one scoring throw, rookie running back Miles Sanders fumbled the ball on the two-point conversion and it was recovered by Seattle. It doesn't go in the gamebook as an official turnover, but it was just another example of the Eagles' offensive struggles on Sunday.
Ertz led all players with a game-high 12 catches for 91 yards and the score. It was his 11th career game with at least 10 receptions. He became just the second player with 500 career receptions (504) in Eagles history, joining Harold Carmichael (589). Ertz is the second-fastest tight end in NFL history to reach the 500-catch plateau, doing it in 102 games, just one behind Kellen Winslow Sr.
The problem is outside of Ertz, there just wasn't much production on offense. Wentz was sacked three times, but under duress on a frequent basis. Sanders gained 63 yards on 12 carries, but there just wasn't much room to run. Tight end Dallas Goedert and wide receiver Greg Ward combined for 13 catches, but just 72 yards.
The Eagles started rookie Andre Dillard at right tackle in place of Johnson, who suffered a concussion last week against New England. Dillard never played on the right side in a game at any level before Sunday. After Brooks exited the game, Halapoulivaati Vaitai entered the game at right guard. The leakage in pressure and inability to establish the ground game forced the coaches to put Vaitai at right tackle and Matt Pryor at right guard in the second half.
The Eagles were able to move the ball, but were felled by untimely miscues. Wentz and Sanders missed an exchange on a unique run design where the quarterback took the ball out of the shotgun and ran to the right to give the ball to the running back. Pressure from Seahawks disrupted the timing of the play and defensive end Quinton Jefferson came up with the fumble. That was the first of three second-half turnovers.
Once again, the defense kept the Eagles in the ballgame. MVP candidate Russell Wilson was a touch off in the contest, completing 13 of 25 pass attempts for 200 yards with a touchdown and an interception, just his third of the season, for a 75.4 QB rating. The Eagles were able to sack Wilson six times, led by safety Malcolm Jenkins who brought him down twice. However, Wilson is now 4-0 against the Eagles in his career.
Last week, the Patriots' only touchdown came on a trick play, and Seattle's first score came in similar fashion. Wilson pitched the ball to running back Chris Carson, who tossed the ball back to Wilson. The quarterback hit Malik Turner with a perfect throw over the wide receiver's shoulders for a 33-yard touchdown to make it 7-3 with 5:54 left in the first quarter. The Seahawks never trailed again.
Seattle should have had two other touchdowns. In the red zone, Wilson sailed a pass over the head of tight end Jacob Hollister on a third down that led to a field goal. Wilson could have also run the ball in for six on the play. Wilson threw a beautiful deep ball to rookie wide receiver DK Metcalf, who got behind the Eagles' secondary, but dropped the pass in the end zone. Metcalf led the Seahawks in receiving yards with just 35.
Finally, the Seahawks broke the game open with a Rashaad Penny 58-yard touchdown run up the middle to make it 17-3 with 11:56 left. The former first-round pick had a breakout performance with 129 yards on 14 carries, averaging 9.2 yards per gain.
Field position hurt the Eagles as Seahawks punter Michael Dickson landed five inside the 20-yard line, including one at the 1-yard line and another at the 2. Of the Eagles' 13 drives, six started at their own 20-yard line or worse.
The Eagles hit the road for the first time in over a month next Sunday when they travel to Miami to take on the 2-9 Dolphins.
Check out the best photos from the Eagles' clash with the Seattle Seahawks.