Philadelphia Eagles News

Morning Roundup: Defense can lead the way in December

The Eagles lost to the Seattle Seahawks 17-9 on Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field. This loss drops the team to 5-6 overall as they prep for the 2-9 Miami Dolphins to kick off the month of December. It will be the Eagles' first road game in over a month. In this edition of Morning Roundup presented by Microsoft, we will cover the top stories from the defeat along with reaction from the players. Let's get right into it.

1. Brandon Brooks addresses early-game exit

Pro Bowl guard Brandon Brooks started and played the first two series before leaving Sunday's game with what the team disclosed as an illness. Brooks posted on social media Monday morning that the illness was related to his ongoing battle with anxiety.

We've got your back, Brooks.

2. A frustrated Carson Wentz: 'It starts with me. I have to be better'

Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro's postgame column was more about the big-picture outlook for the Eagles in the final five games of the season related to the offense. The most important thing is getting quarterback Carson Wentz back on track.

What can the offense do to turn it around? Particularly, No. 11. He's never been in this situation before. Oh, he had some struggles in his rookie season, but those were chalked up to inexperience and the transition to a team still learning Doug Pederson's offensive system and building for a Super Bowl run. The 2017 campaign was magical for Wentz with his 33 touchdown passes and complete command of the scheme. The Eagles' offense dominated defenses that season with a complete array of weapons and derring-do that added to a superior level of confidence.

"We ask a lot of our quarterback and a lot of Carson, and the one thing you can't do in that position is just put pressure on yourself to perform," head coach Doug Pederson said. "You've just got to let things unfold and sometimes you can do that. I think sometimes you feel like the offense is struggling, you feel like you have to make a play and you've just got to (let) the game unfold, let the offense unfold, just let everybody work for you and you don't feel like you've got to make every play."

"I have to be better. I have to lead this team better. I have to protect the football better. We can't put it on the ground the way we did," Wentz said. "It starts with me. It starts with me and I'm frustrated. I know everybody is frustrated with this loss offensively. Like I said, turning the ball over. It starts with me. I have to be better and we will be."

3. Game Recap: Seahawks 17, Eagles 9

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. Chris McPherson provides the full recap of the game here.

"The Eagles were able to move the ball, but were felled by untimely miscues. Wentz and (Miles) 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." – Chris McPherson

4. Brandon Graham wants more out of the defense

This is the fourth game in a row that the Eagles' defense has kept the opponent to 17 points or fewer. In Sunday's matchup against the Seahawks, the defense sacked quarterback Russell Wilson six times and forced two takeaways with an interception and a fumble. It is no secret that the defense kept this team in the game, but defense end Brandon Graham wants his unit to take it a step further.

"We have given our offense the opportunities and we understand that sometimes the offense carries us and sometimes the defense carries us," Graham said. "Now, we have to turn those turnovers into touchdowns and keep helping the offense."

Graham had 1.5 sacks along with two quarterback hits. As a leader on the defensive side of the ball, Graham praised the defense for what it can do and expects the offense to step up and play to its potential.

"As a defense, I'm happy for those guys in the back end, but we still have some stuff to clean up," Graham said. "I'm happy that we all stuck together. All we have to do is keep staying strong as a defense and the offense will get it together. We have these next five games and they are winnable games. All we have to do is take care of our job and do what we do."

5. The whole offense is to blame, not just one person

With the offensive struggles continuing, the source of these problems still remains uncertain. The team was only able to score three points in the first 59 minutes of Sunday's game before adding on a touchdown in the final minute, when it was too late to complete the comeback. Tight end Zach Ertz spoke about the offense as a whole, stressing the fact that everyone could have contributed more in this game.

"The whole offense is not playing well enough right now," Ertz said. "Obviously, Carson puts a lot of pressure on himself, probably disappointed in this game. We all are. We just have to make plays around him, that's the bottom line. Every person on offense can play better right now. I can play better. Everyone feels like they can play better. It's not on the coaches. It's not on the scheme. Our job is to execute the plays at a high level, and no one is doing that right now."

Ertz became the second player in team history with 500 career receptions, joining Eagles Hall of Famer Harold Carmichael (589). He is the second-fastest tight end in NFL history to reach this milestone in 102 games, trailing only Kellen Winslow Sr. who accomplished this feat in 101 games. On Sunday, Ertz recorded a season-high 12 receptions for 91 yards and one touchdown.

6. Jenkins wants the Eagles to get comfortable with being uncomfortable

The Eagles have scored just 19 points in the past two games, although there were six starters missing from Sunday's loss to Seattle (all three wide receivers: Nelson Agholor, DeSean Jackson, and Alshon Jeffery; the right side of the offensive line: Brooks and tackle Lane Johnson; and running back Jordan Howard). A healthier offense should help Wentz down the stretch. But safety Malcolm Jenkins said the Eagles need to be ready to win one-possession games down the stretch.

Just look at the previous two opponents. The Patriots are 3-0 in such contests, while the Seahawks are now 8-1 (yes, 8-1) when the game is decided by eight points or fewer.

"We've got to get comfortable as a team to win those games that are 12-9 or 9-6 without getting frustrated, obviously being short-handed as far as injuries on offense," Jenkins said. "We try to keep them encouraged and keep them in it. Obviously with the fans kind of being upset and all of the frustrations mount. We've got to keep them focused on the game. At every point in this game we were in it, so regardless of what's happening, you just have to slow it down and take care of the football and play that slow game."

Check out the best photos from the Eagles' clash with the Seattle Seahawks.

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