With secondsto play in hostile Baltimore, Carson Wentzsaw nothing but green after taking a snap at the 4-yard line. Trailing the Ravens by seven points, the quarterback scrambled his way into the end zone and that’s when “Big Balls Doug” took over. He called a pass play on the Eagles’ 2-point conversion try (deciding not to try an extra point and head to overtime with four ticks left on the clock).A tipped pass missed the outreached hands of Jordan Matthews and the Eagles lost 27-26.
Wentz tossed an ugly, awful interception three plays into the game, fueling the Ravens who went 39 yards — with a Kamar Aiken touchdown reception — to take an earlylead.
The Birds responded after a solid KenjonBarner kickoff return to turn a short field into a field goal.
In all, the game was a mix of outstanding effort from a Philadelphia team destined to miss the playoffs with some really unacceptable missteps, among them a defensive breakdown as the first half wound down that, instead of a field goal try, allowed Joe Flacco to find Steve Smith in the end zone to take a 20-14 lead after 30 minutes.
A promising, long 11-playdrive stretched into the fourth quarter as Philly looked to take the lead, but red zone troubles (again) gave Philly just three points in a 27-yard Caleb Sturgis field goal and a 10-17deficit.
The defense was asleep on the job again in the ensuing drive as the Ravens ran all over the Eagles en route to a 16-yard Kenneth Dixon touchdown run and a 27-17 lead which was chipped away to 27-20 after Sturgis’ fourth field goal
Here’s what we saw in a wild loss in Charm City:
The Eagles got solid production from their ground game, mainlyRyan Mathews who was getting the lion’s share of carries after Barner left the game with a hamstring injury. Rookie Byron Marshall contributed as well (he scampered for several first downs and 22 yards on the ground), but it was Mathews — who scored the Eagles’ first touchdown and also converted a clutch two-point conversion that made him the standout offensively.
In all, Mathewscollected 128 rushing yards. Philly wanted to give Wentz, who has been throwing a ton of passes this season, a little relief and they did just that, running the ball 38 times and gaining 169 yards on the ground against a Ravens defense that typically allows half that.
Philly had the ball for more than 13 minutes longer than the Ravens did, running 81 plays to Baltimore’s 57.
Pass rush returns
The Eagles pass rush finally looked like its good old self, using an organic four-man rush on most plays to make things difficult for Joe Flacco.
Philly got to Flacco three times in the game, the most important coming late in the first quarter when Nigel Bradham got a strip sack and Fletcher Cox recovered. Mathews marched into the end zone a play later to put the Eagles up 11-10 (after a leaping two-point conversion).
The defense added another turnover when Jordan Hicks intercepted Flacco with his back to the end zone, keeping the Eagles within 10 with seven minutes to play. The added field goal on the ensuing drive would give the Eagles a chance on their final drive.
Wentz’ game-opening interception did little to inspire confidence, nor did his twofumbles (both recovered by the Eagles) or a second-half deep bomb that was picked off but called back due to a defensive penalty.
A week after what head coach Doug Pederson called Wentz’ best performance of the year, the rookie looked less than stellar, completing 22-of-42 passes for 170 yards.
He stood tall in the pocket as the Eagles, down a touchdown, had a final try at tying things with less than a minute left. After drawing a helpful penalty, Wentz found Zach Ertzat the Ravens’ 17 yard line to give the Birds 26 seconds to look for pay dirt. A pass interference call put the Eagles at the 4 yard line and Wentzdid the rest.