After all four quarters and a full overtime period, both the Eagles and their opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals, will remain winless. The score ended dead even at 23-23 as both teams’ sputtering offenses played hot potato rather than put points on the board down the stretch.
The Eagles will be hard pressed not to interpret this neutral outcome as some form of a loss. Going in this game at 0-2, they desperately needed a win to keep pace in the NFC East. While that victory was not achieved, the Birds tie was actually the best outcome of any NFC East team on Sunday as the Cowboys, Giants, and Washington Football Team were all handed losses. The low bar of the NFC East keeps getting lower.
The least encouraging take away from the Eagles in week 3 was the persistence of poor play from quarterback Carson Wentz. While the offensive line’s protection of Wentz was once again suspect, that doesn’t excuse his numerous mistakes during the contest. His completion percentage remains abysmal as he went 29 for 47 on Sunday for one touchdown and another two interceptions. His pattern of two interceptions per game continues and I would point to this horrific trend as the single most important reason the Eagles are without a win. “Frazzled” is an apt word to describe his play this season. Frazzled is not translating to wins.
Despite his problems through the air, Wentz was surprisingly effective on the ground. He rushed for 65 yards, most of which came during crucial third down conversions in order to keep drives alive. Additionally, he ran for the game-tying score with just 21 seconds left of regulation. This capped an 11 play, 75 yard drive to force overtime. This terrific last gasp from the Eagles is mystifying when placed alongside all the offensive miscues that took place in the overtime period. For example, a potential game-winning connection between Wentz and Ertz was called back as a result of holding on the offensive line.
For Cincinnati, Joe Burrow was spectacular and showed a tremendous amount of poise in just his third career NFL start, completing 31 of 44 attempts for 312 yards, two touchdowns, and most importantly zero interceptions. Tyler Boyd was easily his most reliable target, hauling in ten passes for 125 yards. Wide receiver Tee Higgins also stepped up and caught two touchdowns while AJ Green was having trouble creating separation all day.
Miles Sanders was once again a bright spot for the Eagles, amassing 95 yards on just 28 carries. His yards per attempt mark remains stellar and points to the Eagles force-feeding him the ball more in future contests.
The Birds next game will be in primetime when they take on the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night. The 49ers are reeling from injuries but still managing to put away poorly run franchises like the New York Jets and Giants. The Eagles will once again try to secure their first win of the season when the teams meet this week.