Eagles unable to overcome Burrow and Bengals, end in 23-23 tie

The Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals played to a 23-23 tie, the first of the 2020 NFL season.


The Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals played to a 23-23 tie, the first of the 2020 NFL season.

Thomas Tait '22, Editor-in-Chief

The Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals finished their game on Sunday in a 23-23 tie, the first tie of the 2020-21 NFL season. Once again, QB Carson Wentz and the Eagles put on a shaky performance, continuing their winless start to the season. This is the first time Philly has gone through the first three games winless since 1999. Despite this losing record, the team remains half a game out of the lead of the NFC East – the division in aggregate is 2-9-1 this year; the worst record in the NFL.

Carson Wentz looked bad through the first three quarters of the game. He was playing defeated, and the Bengals took advantage, going up 23-16 midway through the 4th. For a moment, Wentz regained some of that magic on a 2:44 long drive that culminated in a 7 yard touchdown run. That magic promptly disappeared once again, as neither team could get anything going in the overtime period.

One of the biggest stories of the game was head coach Doug Pederson’s decision to punt on the last drive with 19 seconds left. Following a Matt Pryor false start call, the team brought out the punt unit, effectively ending the game and cementing the tie. With 19 seconds left on a 4th and 12, the question still remains, why did Pederson punt? Most would agree that you go for the win in this situation, especially when your team is 0-2. One of two situations could have unfolded had the Eagles gone for it on that 4th and 12. Best case scenario, you complete the pass (likely an outside throw to set up a field goal), and you make the kick to win the game. Worst case scenario, it’s an incomplete pass that takes a lot of time off the clock, and the Bengals don’t have enough time to get a real chance at the game winner.

The other big question of this game is – what is going on with Carson Wentz? He is tied with Kirk Cousins for the lead in the NFL in interceptions (6) and has the lowest passer rating in the NFL. Wentz has a total of five touchdowns this season and has been average at best in every game this season. He’s played two subpar defenses in the Washington Football Team and the Cincinnati Bengals and has looked atrocious in both games. With their confidence in Wentz quickly fading, fans and media alike have begun to call for 2nd round rookie Jalen Hurts to start. A matchup against the injury-riddled 49ers is poised to be a solid matchup for Wentz, and it could be his last real chance to prove that he can remain a long-term option for the Eagles. The chances of being benched this season seem low, especially when you factor in the mega-contract he signed in 2019, but a move off of the QB in 2021 isn’t out of the question.

Wentz and the Eagles need to break out of this slump, and fast. Philly heads into a Week 4 Sunday Night Football matchup with the defending NFC champs in San Francisco, then the 3-0 Steelers in Week 5. In Week 6, they play the electric Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. With a very real chance the Eagles could fall to 0-5-1 on the season, they need to figure out how to win the “easiest” of their next three against San Francisco, who plans to start their backup QB Nick Mullens and has had cluster injuries at running back and defensive end. And as the injuries continue to pile up for the Eagles, these already challenging matchups only get more difficult to manage.

The Eagles are crumbling fast, and if they can’t stop the bleeding soon, they could be in serious danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in three seasons