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Les Bowen: Eagles play for a tie with winless Bengals; is this as low as they can go?

By Les Bowen, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Football

The most pathetic game ending of the Doug Pederson era was announced emphatically by referee Adrian Hill. "THIS is the end of the game."

Hill sounded incredulous, but then again, he had just seen the Eagles punt the ball to the Cincinnati Bengals with 19 seconds remaining in overtime, in order to preserve a 23-23 tie.

So the Eagles are 0-2-1, with San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore on tap. Surely, settling for a tie at home against the winless Bengals will be the springboard for a successful season.

Pederson had to be glad no fans were on hand to witness the franchise's most bizarre coaching moment since Rich Kotite and the wet chart.

The Eagles lined up for a 59-yard field goal that could have won it, had right guard Matt Pryor not false-started. Then, instead of going for a first down on fourth-and-12 or trying to kick a 64-yard field goal, they lined up to punt, took a delay penalty, and indeed punted.

Before that, Carson Wentz had an awful day, but he did drag himself and the Eagles into overtime. When Wentz's arm, his offensive line and his receivers proved they could not be counted upon Sunday, the Eagles' quarterback had one more weapon at his disposal.

 

Wentz sprinted around the right side when no one was open on second-and-goal from the 7, dived for the end zone and made it, getting his team an extra 15 minutes, with 21 seconds left in regulation.

But the Eagles spent much of the day trying to find the bottom and discovering it wasn't there.

Wentz threw two more awful picks. The defense turned third-and-15 into a 22-yard Bengals gain that set up a late field goal, while helping Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow burnish his rookie-of-the-year credentials. Jason Peters looked ancient. And the injury cascade continued - Dallas Goedert (ankle), Avonte Maddox (ankle), DeSean Jackson (hamstring), and late in OT, Peters. By the end, it didn't seem all that odd to see the previously 0-2 Bengals get the better of the Eagles, because, really, are you shocked when Duke Riley and Marcus Epps aren't the answer?

The only really shocking thing, before the ending, was the play of Wentz (29 for 47, 225 yards, 62.8 passer rating) somehow, even though he played like this last week, and in the first half the week before. What is he seeing? What is he thinking?

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