What was one of the first things Sean McVay did when he became head coach of the Los Angeles Rams? He went to Jared of course.
No, I don’t mean Jared, the “Galleria of Jewelry”, to buy his girlfriend a ring (sorry to disappoint you ladies).
Instead, he went to Jared as in Jared Goff, the Rams quarterback who had become somewhat of an enigma, to discuss what had taken place in his rookie season.
Goff, and Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, were both taken as the #1 & #2 overall picks, respectively, in the 2016 NFL draft. And while rookie quarterbacks generally go through some growing pains in their first year, the general feeling around the Eagles at the end of last season was that the drafting of Wentz was the right decision. Unfortunately, the same could not be said of Goff.
The Rams were dead last in the league in scoring last season, with Goff starting the last seven games and throwing 5 touchdowns and 7 interceptions with a passer rating of 63.6, which did nothing to inspire confidence that he was the bona fide future QB of the team (ironically, the starter for the first nine games was Case Keenum, who is leading the Vikings to a 10-2 start this year).
As for Sean McVay, he is not just another rookie coach, but was the youngest coach in NFL history at 30 years old when he was hired (he is 31 now) after spending the last three seasons as the Redskins offensive coordinator . And while experience can be a big advantage in the NFL, McVay has proven that it can be overrated, as the Rams are tied with the Eagles for the #1 scoring offense in the NFL.
But to make sure that McVay has some quality experience around him, his defensive coordinator is Wade Phillips, who at 70 years old is old enough to be McVay’s father, and was the defensive coordinator for the Eagles from 1986-1988 during the Buddy Ryan years.
As for the Birds, I don’t know about sleepless, but their movie should be aptly named “Sloppy in Seattle”.
Perhaps it was the four consecutive blowout victories that preceded the Seahawks game that had them thinking they just needed to show up to win.
Or maybe there was too much attention paid to whether the defense would be doing the 1) Cha-Cha Slide or the 2) Cupid Shuffle as a follow up to the “Electric Slide”.
Whatever the reason may be, last Sunday’s game could best be described in three words: SLOPPY, SLOPPY, SLOPPY.
But have no fear Eagles fans…there is no reason to jump off the bandwagon or cancel your flight to Minneapolis in February just yet.
The silver lining in all of this is that no team, in a 16-game schedule, comes fully prepared to play every week. And it wasn’t a case of the Eagles being overmatched by a veteran Seattle team. Even with all the sloppy play, the Birds had chances to win the game.
In the 1st quarter, Carson Wentz overthrew Nelson Agholor on a pass that may have resulted in a touchdown. He usually makes that play.
Later in the game, another pass to Agholor is caught but underthrown. That same pass thrown in stride may have resulted in a touchdown.
In the 3rd quarter, Wentz, while going in for the tying score, fumbles the football, which results in a turnover and a huge opportunity lost. Funny how, when you fumble the football while heading for the end zone against the “Bad News Bears”, the ball stays in bounds and is recovered by one of your teammates for a touchdown, but when you do the same thing against a good team like the Seahawks, it goes out of bounds and results in a touchback. Good teams create their own luck it seems.
One pass overthrown, one underthrown, and a fumble at the goal line. Twenty-one points left on the field right there. Good teams like the Eagles don’t make those kind of mistakes.
The good news about this Sunday’s game against the Rams is that, while it is technically a road game, it may not actually feel like such. Much like the game against the Chargers two months ago, it may be a stadium filled with rabid Eagles fans (including yours truly).
The Rams seem to think so, as they have been practicing with a silent count this week, which is usually only needed when playing on the road in a hostile environment.
The fact that the Eagles may have a home-field advantage out in LA is both a blessing for them, and a sign of how pathetic the idea of keeping an NFL team in Los Angeles really is.
The Eagles will gladly take all the help they can get, as after last week’s loss, they now find themselves playing in a game this Sunday that will have HUGE playoff implications.
Win, and they will keep their #2 conference seed with a chance to move back up to the #1 spot, should the Vikings slip up on the road against the Panthers on Sunday afternoon.
A first round bye comes with a week of rest and relaxation and the comforts of possibly never having to leave home.
Lose, and the Eagles will fall to the #3 and maybe even the #4 seed, if the Saints can defeat the Falcons on the road Thursday night.
Lose, and the result could mean a more precarious route to take on the road to the Super Bowl, with land mines at every turn. That’s how important a win is this Sunday, even with four games left in the regular season.
The Eagles will win this Sunday because Carson Wentz will not repeat the same mistakes he made last week.
The Eagles will win this Sunday because their Prince Harry look-alike QB will carry this team on his shoulders.
Birds win 38-20. And the Enchanted Season WILL continue.
Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week:
Saints at Falcons 8:25 PM NBC/NFL Ntwrk (Thurs)
Vikings at Panthers 1:00 PM CBS
EAGLES at Rams 4:25 PM FOX
Seahawks at Jaguars 4:25 PM FOX
Ravens at Steelers 8:30 PM NBC