Our Eagles Needed Punched in the Mouth
By: Mike Chisdock
Well, for the first time in literally months, the taste of bitter defeat has returned in a gut wrenching way. If I could use a movie scene to describe the Eagles’ lackluster defeat in Seattle, it would be the one in 8 Mile when Cheddar Bob pulls a gun out and then promptly shoots himself in the leg. Let’s be honest as hard as that may be, the Eagles have no one to blame but themselves for what happened in Seattle, not the officials (just one holding call would be nice), not Russell Wilson (my favorite almost Eagle of all time), not the Seahawk’s defense, no one but us. In what was the Birds true first “prove it” game of the season, we came up small and wow I forgot how much losing sucks.
I know it might have seemed like Seattle wasn’t the same team as the one that went to back to back Super Bowls, but our offensive ineptitude, timid approach and get punching mistakes sure made it seem like the Legion of Boom still existed. The outcome of this game is disappointing but not surprising given the circumstances and they, meaning Russell Wilson who has to do everything for them, delivered. For any Penn State fans, this game was JT Barrett going 13 for 13 in the 4th quarter: it could never before and will never happen again but it happened. At the end of the day, this game just happened. The Seahawks, needing a big win in order to keep pace with the Rams in the NFC West, played like a team with a sense of urgency and the Eagles just played.
The officiating did seem quite a bit in favor of the Seahawks but that’s football, some games you get the calls, other days you don’t and the elite teams can still find ways to win. The Eagles were able to do that against the Panthers but Carolina isn’t Seattle and Cam Newton isn’t Russell Wilson. In order to win in Seattle, the team needs to play almost flawlessly and Philly was far from sharp, even our savior Carson did not look like his usual self. Watching Wentz be anything but elite is almost shocking this season but let’s not forget he is still in second season and he still will experience growing pains. And all of this is okay, everything that I just mentioned is okay.
Even though we had to sit through that clunker of a game for hours, the Eagles as a team are going to be better because of it. While Philly was absolutely crushing opponents, who were not that good, they developed a sense of complacency and while you absolutely need to have confidence to be successful in the NFL, sometimes you need a little blood in your mouth. The Eagles got punched in the mouth but this game was in December and Philly is still 10-2 with a shot at home field advantage. I’d rather take our wake- up call in this game than at halftime in the divisional round of the playoffs.
As far as silver linings go, Brandon Graham looked dominant and Nelson Agholor had a career day as he battled the demons of his last bout in Century Link Stadium. But, the biggest takeaway was that this game was this team’s, and especially Carson’s, first taste of playoff-ish football. A primetime game in another stadium with a hostile crowd where you spot them 10 points is just something you can’t simulate. Look, I love kicking the shit out of the Bears as much as the next guy, but it was about time we got thrown into the fire in a game with some serious playoff ramifications.
There is no sense in dwelling on the game now and a bunch of hypothetical, what-if type questions. What happened in Seattle sucked but it was necessary, what happens in Los Angeles will tell us more about where the Eagles really are. If they come out confident and take care of business then the number one seed talk is back baby. But, if they come out flat and lose another then, well, I wouldn’t listen to sports talk radio come Monday. A lot can happen in four games but watching how the Eagles look against the Rams will give us a good indication of what to expect for the end of the season and the playoffs. The Birds got pushed around by a good football team, they let Bobby Wagner beat them up on the playground and steal their lunch money. Let’s call it a blessing in disguise, because if they come out focused and execute then we will look back on what happened in Seattle and say it was the reality check the Eagles needed at exactly the right time.