This week's impact play doesn't involve an actual play in last night's heartbreaking defeat, but rather for an injury. After Lane Johnson left early second quarter due to a head injury that is when things went south for the Eagles, as his absence was felt almost immediately.
The Eagles offense got off to a fast start in the game. With Johnson on the field they were able to get a field goal and a touchdown on an impressive long drive which ate up a lot of clock. Things went south in the second quarter when Johnson went to get checked for a head injury, only to be diagnosed with a concussion which forced him out for the rest of the game. That is just about when things went south for the offense. They started making mistake after mistake when Halapoulivaati Vaitai came in to try to fill his place. A combination of the offensive line faltering and Carson Wentz holding onto the ball too long created a mountain that they couldn't climb over.
With Johnson on the field, the Eagles managed to get 10 points and 147-yards. Then without Johnson, they simply did not find the endzone again. Wentz did get sacked five times, and had one ugly turnover with a fumble that the Patriots recovered. They did manage to get 108-yards by the end of the game with him off the field but it was not nearly as smooth as it could have been with him.
All the Eagles players admitted in interviews that Johnson's absence had a big impact on how this game turned out. They admitted that the offense needs to find ways to keep going even if an important played like Johnson gets hurt in the game. (at 2:15 Zach Ertz, at 3:43 wJordan Matthews, and at 10:10 Miles Sanders all comment on Johnson's absence being felt.)
If Johnson is out long-term, the Eagles will need to figure out how to win games without him. So far they have not had much success without #65 on the field in the Carson Wentz era.
The Eagles will face the 8-2 Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, and if Johnson cannot clear concussion protocol, then either Halapoulivaati Vaitai or Andre Dillard will have to face Jadeveon Clowney. Things might get even uglier for the Eagles offense next week if they cannot figure out a solid gameplan to adjust for the loss of Johnson.