Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson kept his challenge flag in his pocket when Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson ran an impromptu option and pitched the ball to running back Mike Davis for a first down. It looked smooth in real time, but replays showed it was likely an illegal forward pass.
After the 24-10 loss, Pederson explained his reasoning.
“Real time, it looked fine,” he said, per David George of the team’s official website. “It looked legit. We didn’t get all the necessary looks and they hustled to the line. At the same time, it looked good and I trust the guys upstairs making those decisions and didn’t challenge. I already challenged one in the half and lost that, so I didn’t want to risk another timeout.”
The Eagles are in the midst of an important road trip that will see them remain on the West Coast until their next game against the 9-3 Los Angeles Rams. What would have been an easy win in 2016 is a very tough game this season; the Rams just beat the Arizona Cardinals, 32-16.
The NFC itself is brutal, and the loss drops the Eagles into a tie with the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings play the 8-4 Carolina Panthers next, and they’re coming off of a loss to the 9-3 New Orleans Saints.
In short, the next set of games will really define the playoff picture. The Eagles have a chance to create some space with a win over the Rams, but should they fall to the Rams and the Vikings fall to the Panthers, the entire top of the NFC will be neck and neck.
“Everything matters and particularly here down the stretch, and the beauty of the whole thing is it’s still in our control,” Pederson added. “It’s still in our control. Guys in that locker room are sick to their stomach obviously for the loss but at the same time, we have the same opportunity again against another playoff caliber football team next weekend.
“So we’ve just got to regroup, learn from our mistakes, and get ready for another great game this week.”