The Philadelphia Eagles fell to the Cincinnati Bengals by a score of 32 to 14 earlier today. Philadelphia is now 5-7 on the season and is all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. This was a game that the Eagles should have won, but they looked lackluster in almost every category today. It seems like Cincinnati is yet another team in a growing list of teams that have the Eagles’ number as the Eagles have not beaten the Bengals since the year 2000. Here are five of my reactions to the Eagles-Bengals game:

Would you look at that? The Eagles STILL need a cornerback

I almost feel like a broken record at this point because of how many times I have typed this very sentence in a recap after an Eagles’ loss. Every week, whether the receiver is Dez Bryant, Odell Beckham, Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, or even Davante Adams, you can count on the Eagles’ secondary letting up an unsightly amount of yards to a team’s receivers. This week’s beneficiary of the Eagles’ atrocious cornerbacks was Brandon LaFell. LaFell had five receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown. Most believed that with AJ Green out, the Eagles would be able to contain the Bengals. That could not have been further from the truth. Both Leodis McKelvin and Nolan Carroll looked foolish out there while being absolutely torched. This endless carousel of awful cornerbacks needs to stop this year. I want a high-caliber first-round playmaker as much as the next guy, but this team NEEDS a stud cornerback. Full stop.

Carson Wentz is seemingly regressing

Before you start to shout “HE’S A ROOKIE WITHOUT ANY HELP,” hear me out. In Wentz’s first three games, the gameplan was heavily schemed to give the rookie as much help as possible. It allowed Wentz to get in grooves while minimizing his weaknesses and playing on his strengths. The gameplan as of late has not been so kind to the rookie. Wentz was asked to throw the ball SIXTY times today. On route to those 60 attempts, he threw three interceptions, two of which were very much his fault. There were a number of throws that should have been intercepted as well, but were thankfully dropped by Cincinnati’s players. Wentz has a hitch in his throwing mechanics that causes him to throw the ball high. Sailing the ball is not something that is friendly to quarterbacks in the NFL. The Eagles need to work with Wentz this offseason to properly develop his throwing mechanics.

Paul Turner had a good game

The undrafted rookie filled in a for an injured Jordan Matthews and played really well while doing it. Turner was targeted all four times and he hauled in every single one of them. Turner finished the day with 80 yards in only his second career game. For comparison’s sake, Nelson Agholor’s career high in yardage is 64. Turner showed off the speed that intrigued Eagles fans and the team alike during training camp. He was a relatively bright spot in a game where there were a lot of mistakes and disappointments.

Wendell Smallwood is probably not a feature back

There is an argument to be made that Smallwood has not been given enough of an opportunity to showcase his skill set. I get that argument, I really do. But when I watch the rookie running back, I have a really hard time envisioning him as a three-down guy. The stats look like they may back that sentiment up. Since Smallwood began having an increased load in the Falcons game, he has rushed for 174 yards on 43 carries for an average of barely over four yards per carry. Again, it would be nice to see what he does with 25 carries a game to really see if he can be the running back of the future, but I don’t get that feeling when watching him. I hope I am wrong.

This team is extremely young

It is true that the Eagles are a physically young team. Most of the offensive playmakers are under 25 years old. But they are also a mentally young team. It is easy to see Philadelphia commit easy mental mistakes that only maturity and discipline will reduce. I had a ton of fun when the Eagles were 3-0 and considered one of the hottest teams in the NFL, but I knew it would not last. That isn’t because I am a pessimist or because I’ve given up on my team; it was because I knew this team was in for some growing pains. That is what we as fans are experiencing right now. Young teams RARELY keep it together for a whole season, and even more rarely make deep playoff runs. The silver lining to all of this is that the Eagles have found their franchise quarterback even though he is playing very much like a rookie right now. The Eagles also have a ton of draft capital in the future, complete with a 2017 first round pick. The defense, while frustrating during some weeks, has shown elite flashes throughout the season. These are the pains of liking a young, rebuilding team, but in a few years I can’t help but feel like we will all be handsomely rewarded for sticking by them.

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