Philly's Wentz shows flaws and potential in loss to Seattle
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By TIM BOOTH
SEATTLE (AP) Carson Wentz gave Philadelphia plenty of opportunities. He also made the Eagles' biggest mistake.
Wentz took responsibility after Philadelphia ended its nine-game winning streak in a 24-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night. Wentz was brilliant at times, throwing for a season-high 348 yards and a touchdown. He also was left to lament the most critical of Philadelphia's mistakes: fumbling at the 1-yard line on the opening drive of the second half when the Eagles were on the verge of pulling even.
"We were rolling there. You just can't put it on the ground. ... I saw the goal line and knew it was going to be close. I made that extra lunge and it cost us," Wentz said. "That's the story of the game, really. We turned the ball over and they didn't."
Still, everything remains in the Eagles' control. They're on the cusp of clinching the NFC East. They can still nab the No. 1 seed in the NFC and get home-field advantage in the playoffs.
Yet the loss to Seattle (8-4) exposed some truths about the Eagles. Yes, they can be run on, although it helps to have a quarterback like Russell Wilson. Yes, their run game can be stopped, although having to play from behind in the second half limited the amount of running opportunities.
And yes, for as good as Wentz has been so far this season, he's still a second-year quarterback prone to occasional mistakes.
None was bigger than his fumble. The Eagles (10-2) went down the field with ease to open the second half and had a chance to tie it at 10. Wentz was headed for the end zone when Richardson reached out his arm and stripped the ball free just shy of the goal line, and it bounced over the end line for a touchback - Seattle's ball at the 20. Eleven plays later, Wilson hit Tyler Lockett on a 1-yard TD pass to make it 17-3.
"It's just ball security," Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson said. "You know when you're down in that area - and I applaud the fact that he was going for the end zone and the touchdown - you know you're going to be in some traffic. ... He's made a lot of football plays. I'm sure he's sick to his stomach about that one, but he'll learn from it, get better and move on."
Wilson was brilliant while throwing for three scores and using his athleticism to create plays few others can even attempt. But it was Seattle's defense that may have put together arguably its best performance of the season. Wentz may have thrown for 348 yards, but the Eagles finished with 98 yards rushing and just 8 yards rushing in the second half.
"We knew what we were capable of and they shouldn't have even scored that one that they got," Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright said.
Here's what else to know from Seattle's fourth straight win over the Eagles:
RED-ZONE JIMMY: Jimmy Graham continues to be Wilson's favorite target near the end zone. Graham caught an 11-yard touchdown in the first quarter, his fourth straight game with a TD and his ninth TD catch in the past seven games. Graham had eight TD catches his first two seasons with Seattle combined.
NELSON'S NIGHT: The one Philadelphia receiver to consistently get open was Nelson Agholor.
Agholor had seven catches for 141 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to pull the Eagles within 17-10. Agholor also had a 51-yard reception on a remarkable throw from Wentz as he was about to be tackled from behind. It was a career high in yards and receptions for Agholor.
"We knew he was going to have some chances, he made great plays when they came his way. He got open and does what he does best," Philadelphia wide receiver Torrey Smith said.
MAN IN THE MIDDLE: Seattle LB Bobby Wagner continued to strengthen his case to be considered for defensive player of the year. Wagner had 13 tackles including two tackles for loss in the victory. Wagner was vital as Seattle's run defense improved drastically in the second half. Wagner was one of three players with 10 or more tackles. Safety Bradley McDougald had 12 tackles and Wright had 10.
SCORING STREAK: Philadelphia saw two of its scoring streaks come to an end.
The Eagles had yet to allow a first quarter touchdown this season, but that ended when Wilson hit Graham on a score late in the quarter. The Eagles also had a streak of 15 straight games scoring at least 20 points end. That streak dated to the end of last season.
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Updated December 4, 2017