The Eagles dropped a 22-17 decision to the Browns in Cleveland on Sunday. The players will be at the NovaCare Complex to review the film and turn the page to a Monday night showdown with the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks will be rested after defeating the Arizona Cardinals in a thriller last Thursday to improve to 7-3. Seattle will be no worse than in a tie for first place in the NFC West. Of course, the Eagles would love to exact some sense of revenge for last season's Wild Card Round playoff exit at the hands of the Seahawks. It should be noted that all three of the Eagles' wins this season have come in prime-time games.
First things first, let's wrap up everything from Sunday in our Morning Roundup, presented by Microsoft.
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Tight end Richard Rodgers hauls in a pass from quarterback Carson Wentz for a 19-yard touchdown to get the Eagles on the board in the third quarter. The scoring play came immediately after linebacker Alex Singleton recovered the fumble created by defensive tackle Fletcher Cox's strip-sack of Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.
1. Doug Pederson wants to find out about the character of this team
Following the loss, Head Coach Doug Pederson shared his message to the team.
"The message to the team, basically, is pretty simple. We are where we are because of the mistakes that we have been making - coaches and players, that is everybody included. But this will be a great test for our football team. This will be a great sign to see, really, who is in and who is out. That was the message. That is the challenge to everybody and that is just where we are," Pederson said.
"It is a matter of now really challenging the leadership of the football team, challenging the coaches, challenging the guys to keep this thing together. There are six football games left. We still an opportunity, obviously, in our division, but it is just really going to challenge all of us moving forward."
This bears repeating. If there is one reason to believe in any potential turnaround, Pederson has done it the past two seasons with the nucleus of players in place.
The Eagles won five of their final six games in 2018 to make the playoffs and win a Wild Card game at Chicago. Last year, the Eagles won their final four games to capture the NFC East.
The players understand that time is of the essence.
"We have six games to do it," defensive end Brandon Graham said. "I do know that we have some fighters in here. We want to get this thing right. We talk about winners win and losers just figure out how to lose. We are not doing that. We are winners here. We always hold that high standard with what we have to get accomplished. We do not want to make excuses. We just did not get it done today."
2. On the Inside: A look at the offense's struggles
Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro's postgame column focused on the offensive side of the ball:
On a rainy Sunday in Cleveland, the Eagles' offensive struggles continued against the Browns, accounting for just 209 net yards in the passing game, turning the football over three times, and costing the team two points on a safety in a 22-17 loss that dropped Philadelphia to 3-6-1 in this frustrating 2020.
While the defense hung in there against Cleveland's powerful running game, limiting the Browns to 3.4 yards per carry, the offense managed only one touchdown after a defensive takeaway and a last-minute touchdown to make the score close. Quarterback Carson Wentz completed 21 of 35 passes for 235 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. His only real bright spot a 19-yard touchdown pass to tight end Richard Rodgers following Fletcher Cox's strip-sack of quarterback Baker Mayfield that linebacker Alex Singleton recovered.
Otherwise, Wentz was ineffective until the Eagles were down late in the fourth quarter and the Browns backed off in coverage. Against a Cleveland defense minus star end Myles Garrett, the Eagles opened with a 10-play, 71-yard drive that ended on a Miles Sanders fumble at the Cleveland 4-yard line and then had not much of anything else.
"I've got to be better," said Sanders, who carried 16 times for 66 yards. He had 11 carries for 63 yards in the first half and Cleveland's adjustments, along with an offensive line that lost tackles Lane Johnson and Jason Peters to injuries and had center Jason Kelce playing with a brace on his left elbow in the second half, stopped Sanders cold. "No excuses. I've just got to be better. I exposed myself in there and they got one, they got one out of me."
Wentz was sacked five times, three of them by end Olivier Vernon. The passing game didn't threaten the Browns much, if at all, down the field. In one five-possession stretch from very late in the second quarter through the entire third quarter, the Eagles had four three-and-out series. The only exception was the touchdown pass.
• Read Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro's entire column here
3. A tip of the cap to Jason Kelce
Sunday's result made selecting the nominees for the Toyota Player of the Week award difficult, but there was a strong consideration to choose center Jason Kelce for the toughness he displayed.
In the second quarter, Kelce injured his left elbow blocking on a run play by Miles Sanders. Kelce came to the sideline and refused to go into the blue medical tent. He paced the sidelines before finally going into the locker room.
Rookie free agent Luke Juriga entered the game and finished out the half. The Eagles got the ball to start the third quarter and, of course, Kelce was on the field with his left arm in a brace. The FOX broadcast captured guard Isaac Seumalo helping buckle Kelce's chin strap.
In all, Kelce missed just four snaps. They were the first ones he missed since the 2018 regular-season finale when the Eagles had the win secured over Washington.
"I do not know the exact injury; I just know that is a tough son of a gun," Sanders said. "Probably the toughest player on our team and plays through whatever. He does whatever it takes to stay on the field and help us win. Even in practice, when he can take easy days, he is always there practicing. I do not know his injury; I just know he is going to be fine and ready for practice on Wednesday."
When searching for positives and reasons why things can turn the corner, just look at the center and the example set by No. 62.
4. Valiant effort by defense, mostly keeping Browns run game in check
The Eagles' defense allowed only 13 points on Sunday and quarterback Baker Mayfield didn't throw a touchdown pass.
Of course, it wasn't enough and the loss falls on the entire team.
The focal point of the defensive effort Sunday was to limit the vaunted rushing attack led by Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Chubb did get over the 100-yard mark thanks to a 54-yard gain that led to Hunt's 5-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Chubb finished with 114 yards, while Hunt had just 11 on 13 carries.
"They just made a play. When I think about the big one, Chubb, we just missed a tackle," defensive end Brandon Graham said. "He made a heck of a play. We knew both of those backs were really good and I felt like we were coming, but we were missing some tackles there and they were getting leaky and we did not do enough to get off the field."
The Eagles did generate a turnover with Fletcher Cox's strip-sack in the third quarter that led to a Richard Rodgers touchdown on the next play. The Eagles also denied the Browns at the goal line with a fourth-down stop as Hunt was tackled by safety Jalen Mills and defensive tackle Javon Hargrave. The defense only allowed 13 points, but 10 of them came immediately after the offense scored.
"At the end of the day, we care about those 13 points that we gave up. That is where we have to improve. It was not good enough," safety Rodney McLeod said. "We talked about eliminating big plays, and they capitalized on three today. They all contributed and turned into points.
"When I look at this film closely, I have to look at what we can do as a defense to change the outcome of the game, myself included. I look at the long run that (RB Nick) Chubb had, and I missed that tackle. I pride myself on being a good tackler. Other plays were self-inflicted that they got on us. Next week, we have to eliminate those if we want to be the leader on this team. As the defense, we set the pace. We can't allow those plays to happen. We have to minimize them as much as possible and create more turnovers for our team."
5. Former Eagles Jimmie Giles, Roynell Young going into Black College Hall of Fame
Some good news came over the weekend as former tight end Jimmie Giles and former cornerback Roynell Young were announced as part of the Black College Hall of Fame's Class of 2021. The two were teammates at Alcorn State, with the Eagles, and are reunited again in the Black College Hall of Fame.
"I'm just happy for the people who are in my orbit because that makes them happy," says Young, a Pro Bowl cornerback who spent nine seasons with the Eagles from 1980-88. "As far as myself, at this stage of my life, don't get me wrong, it's nice to be acknowledged, but I don't spend too much time collecting or seeking accolades.
"But once I received the call and to see how my loved ones, well-wishers, old teammates, and everybody is reacting really gives me a sense of satisfaction. I wasn't prepared or didn't anticipate that type of reaction. But it does my heart really good to know all those who know you best, that it gives them so much joy."
• Catch up with Giles and Young here