BALTIMORE – Sunday's game was another hard-fought battle for the Eagles, but for the fifth-straight contest, Philadelphia came up short. The Eagles ended their 2016 road schedule with a 1-7 record away from Lincoln Financial Field, though they had their chance to come away with a win with under five seconds to play.
Check out some of the news and notes from Sunday's 27-26 loss.
Eagles Locker Room Unanimously Loved The Decision To Go For Two
Trailing by 10 in the fourth quarter, the Eagles battled back to make it a seven-point game, and the offense got the ball with 1:39 remaining on the clock. Carson Wentz drove the Eagles from their own 41-yard line all the way to the Baltimore 4-yard line with 17 seconds to go. Then, on second-and-goal, Wentz scrambled and dove into the end zone to make it a 27-26 game with just four seconds left.
After calling a timeout to talk things over, head coach Doug Pederson decided to go for two and the win rather than play for overtime on the road. Facing an all-out blitz, Wentz threw across the middle looking for Jordan Matthews, but the ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage and the pass fell incomplete.
Despite coming up short on the two-point conversion attempt, the players inside the locker room all voiced their approval on Coach Pederson's gutsy decision.
"We kind of had them on their heels," said safety Malcolm Jenkins. "We were running the ball really well. I thought it was a good decision and an aggressive one. Obviously, we just didn't come up with the play. I think everybody was behind the call."
"We wanted to be aggressive," center Jason Kelce added. "We felt like we had the momentum right there. The play was open, but if that doesn't get tipped at the line I think Jordan has a two-point catch. I know I was excited and I think I can speak for everyone that we were all excited when we got the call to go for two."
"Loved it," echoed linebacker Jordan Hicks. "I think if you ask anybody in this locker room, they'll tell you they loved it. That's who Doug said he was going to be. He said earlier in the year that he was going to be aggressive and that he's going to battle with us."
Big Plays Continue To Plague The Defense
For most of the afternoon, the Eagles managed to keep Baltimore's offense in check. The problem, once again, was giving up a few big plays here and there, something that's been a thorn in the defense's side as of late. Joe Flacco had completions of 54 and 34 yards, while Terrance West broke off a 41-yard run and receiver Michael Campanaro also picked up 39 rushing yards on one play. Those two rushes were the longest for the Ravens all season.
"That's what we talk about," said defensive end Brandon Graham. "It's always the one or two plays that we wish we could have back and the game would be different, but obviously we just have to shake that off because we have a short week this week and we play the Giants Thursday night. I just want to get back in the win column."
"You kind of look at (the big plays) and you see where they come from, and most of them are challenge plays, but we play against NFL teams," said Jenkins. "The one Mike Wallace caught, (Leodis McKelvin) was right there but he made the catch and they get a great play. You have to try to erase that with a turnover. You have to just kind of take those plays as they come and adjust and keep battling."
"We can't let (those big plays) happen," said Hicks. "We have to minimize the X-plays. Those are huge. You want to play a solid game, so they're not able to get those big chunks. Big chunks kill you. It's huge for the momentum of the game."
Seumalo Stands Tall At Right Tackle
A bright spot for the Eagles on Sunday was the play of rookie third-round pick Isaac Seumalo, who was forced to start at right tackle once Allen Barbre was ruled inactive 90 minutes before kickoff. Seumalo has mainly taken practice reps at guard this year, but forced into playing tackle, the Oregon State product showed why the Eagles wanted him so badly in last April's draft.
"I'll watch it and really criticize myself. We don't really have a lot of time because we play Thursday," Seumalo said. "I don't really know what's going to happen with guys coming back and getting healthy, so I'm just going to try to take it a day at a time."
"Obviously he played right tackle for us today and that's not something that he's really been working on at all this season," added Kelce. "For the most part he's been playing guard, so for him to go out there and play the way he did, and for the offensive line to function the way that we did with him out there, I don't think you can ask for any more from a guy. He's very smart and very athletic."
The Eagles gained 169 yards on the ground against the league's No. 1-ranked run defense. Running back Ryan Mathews paced the attack with 128 yards and a touchdown. Wentz was under pressure often, but sacked just once Sunday.
Right tackle Lane Johnson is now eligible to return from his 10-game suspension. Pederson said this past week that Johnson will start Thursday against the Giants.
The Eagles fall on the road to the Ravens 26-27.