Philadelphia – In all irony, the Eagles will still need a win in Week 18 (or a loss to Dallas in Washington) when they host the New York Giants to clinch the NFC East and the top seed in the conference.
Meanwhile, the Giants can sit back and relax if they see fit after clinching a playoff game by blowing out Indianapolis on Sunday. New York can’t get out of the No. 6 seed regardless of the decision to rest or at least radically limit players like Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley is a logical course.
On the field, Philadelphia fell to 0-2 without starting quarterback Jalen Hurts and 13-3 on the season, losing 20-10 easily in Nick Siriani’s worst performance of the season.
Backup Gardner Minshew hurried to forget without star right tackle Lane Johnson and the Eagles defense stumbled early before adjusting a bit.
bag of kings – The Eagles weren’t great in the first half in either aspect, but their pass rush wasn’t bad, scoring three Andy Dalton takedowns within the first 30 minutes, before hitting a season-high 68 by game’s end, putting the franchise up. single season record.
Among the sacks was Brandon Graham’s tenth, the first time the veteran has reached double digits in his stellar career. BG, who also added 11 later, is also just the fourth Eagles player to record 10 this season, making the 2022-23 Philadelphia defense the first in history where four players recorded 10 or more sacks. They are now just four sacks short of the NFL record of 72 from Chicago in 1984.
Devona Smith Skinny Batman had his third consecutive 100-yard receiving game, making nine receptions or 115 yards. On an offense that’s been limping all day, Smith and AJ Brown, who had a 78-yard TD reception, reminded you that if a quarterback plays well, the Eagles are still a bunch.
Gardner Minshaw Accuracy – The Eagles’ backup QB got spooked early on by a ferocious pass rush by the Saints and never really settled down when it came to handing the football.
Minshew was basically high anytime things went awry, and his pick six to Marcus Lattimore in the fourth quarter sealed the Eagles’ fate.
Minshew didn’t have it and wasn’t in sync with an offense that was a three-point machine in the first half, not even securing a first down until 12 seconds left until halftime.
Overall, the numbers weren’t terrible, but Minshew was like a regular pitcher who didn’t have his best against the Saints.
He finished with serviceable numbers, 18-of-32 for 274 yards with a TD and an interception with an 82.0 passer rating but that didn’t tell the story of the four forty-three to open the game and the atrocious Pick-6 to Marcus Lattimore that closed it out for NOLA.
“We couldn’t roll,” said Mincio. “It’s one of those things you try to get first, first, and we kept shooting ourselves in the foot and getting in the way. It’s a good defense too. There’s not much room for error when we’re playing a team like that. We just didn’t do enough to win.”
Jack Driscoll — Driscoll isn’t Lyn Johnson at right tackle but none of the other options. Overall, Philadelphia’s offensive line struggled to try to slow down the pass rush and accumulate six penalties, and Driscoll’s certainty was part of that.
The Eagles’ offense wasn’t as physical as it usually is but there’s no way it would be without the first Pro Johnson in the lineup.
shifts – The Eagles’ recent woes with regard to the security of the ball are well documented, as they have turned it over seven times over their last two incoming games and 14 times in their last seven games before New Orleans. On Sunday, it was only one but it was great, Lattimore’s 12-yard return for a TD that scuttled any chance of an Eagles comeback.
Pancakes Landon Dickerson’s dominant pancake block that originated Kenny Ginnuel’s 28-yard touchdown run in the third quarter called Too Much Dominance clear, though Jordan Mailata could have been called and the officials might have gotten the number wrong.
However, Milata, speaking after the match, noted that the officials called Dickerson that, saying “I guess they’ve never seen a pie (whistle) before.”
injuries – It was a scary sight when Josh Sweat was moved so slowly after suffering a neck injury in the first quarter.
Ranji was sent to a local hospital as a precaution and had movement in all his limbs. The good news is that Sweat is set to be released Sunday night and that’s obviously a very good sign.
-John McMullen is a contributor to PhillyVoice.com and covers the Eagles, NFL, Sports Illustrated and Jackie Sports. He is also the co-host of “Birds 365,” a daily streaming show covering the Eagles and the NFL, and the host of “Extending the Play” on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at email@example.com
Follow John on Twitter: @JFMcMullen