After winning four-straight games last month to capture the NFC East crown, the No. 4 seed Philadelphia Eagles lost 17-9 to the No. 5 seed Seattle Seahawks at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday night.
In a strange coincidence, the last time these two teams played each other in Week 12, the Seahawks defeated the Eagles, 17-9, at Lincoln Financial Field.
Sunday’s NFC wild-card game was supposed to be the coming-out party for Eagles starting quarterback Carson Wentz, who was making his NFL playoff debut.
However, his debut only lasted eight plays as Seattle Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney delivered a crushing helmet-to-helmet hit in the first quarter.
Wentz ultimately did not return to the game, leaving it up to backup quarterback Josh McCown to lead the injury-ridden Eagles.
The 40-year-old McCown completed 75-percent of his passes for 174 yards but was sacked six times. He engineered multiple scoring drives, but they ended in field goals from kicker Jake Elliott.
In regards to the Seahawks, the Eagles defense did their best to contain dual-threat quarterback Russell Wilson, who still found a way to make the necessary plays to win the game.
The veteran signal-caller completed 60-percent of his passes for 325 yards and a touchdown. He also led the Seahawks in rushing with 45 yards.
Wilson’s favorite target on Sunday evening was rookie wide receiver DK Metcalf. The outstanding rookie out of Ole Miss had a career performance with seven receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown.
Philadelphia’s secondary did not have an answer for the 6-foot-4 wideout, who showed on the biggest stage that teams made a mistake by not drafting him.
With the loss, the Eagles now head into the offseason with a lot of questions left to be answered. Some of those questions revolve around the wide receiver position, defense, and coaches.
However, before those questions can be answered, here are a few takeaways from the Eagles’ first playoff game in this new decade.
1. Injury bug finally catches up to the Eagles
Over the last month and a half of the regular season, the Eagles lost numerous players to injury. From Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Ronald Darby, to Brandon Brooks, and Lane Johnson, Philadelphia could not catch a break.
On Sunday evening, the injury bug struck again, this time taking out Wentz, but also starting defensive end Brandon Graham, who left the game with a knee injury.
Losing one of your starting defensive linemen is tough, but then to add-on your franchise quarterback on top of that. It just makes the task of winning that much harder in a win-or-go-home situation.
But, to their credit, the Eagles did not give up, despite depending on a ton of young players to get the job done. Rookie running back Miles Sanders fought through an ankle injury and still had 69 rushing yards on 14 carries.
Second-year tight end Dallas Goedert led the team in receiving with seven receptions (eight targets) for 73 yards. On defense, linebacker Nathan Gerry had three tackles for loss and cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc made his presence felt throughout the game.
Lastly, All-Pro tight end Zach Ertz shockingly played on Sunday, despite missing last week’s game against the New York Giants with fractured ribs and a lacerated kidney.
2. Metcalf proves he’s the real deal
As previously alluded to, Metcalf caused problems all night for the Eagles secondary. It did not matter who was covering the former Ole Miss standout, he still found a way to make an impact.
In Week 12 contest back in November, the 6-foot-4 wideout dropped catchable passes, which had the chance to be touchdowns. However, that was not the case on Sunday night as Metcalf showcased his speed and strength with a ridiculous 53-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter.
With his insane playmaking ability, Metcalf is on track to being one of the best wide receivers in the NFL going forward.
3. Second-half red zone woes doom Eagles
Even though the Eagles were without starting quarterback Carson Wentz, backup quarterback Josh McCown did an admirable job putting the team in position to score.
The only problem was, instead of scoring touchdowns, the Eagles settled for field goals.
In the third quarter, Philadelphia squandered their first touchdown opportunity as they had a delay of the game penalty, a McCown fumble, and McCown getting sacked.
A few minutes later in the third quarter, the Eagles tried to run the ball inside the red zone, but to no avail, they could not find the end zone.
Finally, in the fourth quarter, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson decided to go for it on fourth down. But Philadelphia could not convert as Sanders dropped a pass inside the red zone from McCown.
Coming into Sunday’s game, the Eagles were ranked third in red-zone scoring percentage (66%) in the NFL. However, against the Seahawks, they were 0-for-3.