There were a few curious choices Pederson made in the Eagles' 24-10 defeat to the Seattle Seahawks. From fourth-down decisions that backfired, to time management, to play-call choices, Pederson had much to discuss after the road defeat in their toughest test in months.
The biggest question came after the coach's decision not to challenge a forward lateral on a Russell Wilson's scramble. The play came on third-and-8 near midfield on the drive after Philly cut the lead to seven points. NBC cameras showed Wilson's flip to running back Mike Davis for a first down clearly went forward. Pederson didn't challenge before the next snap. Instead of getting the chance to get the ball back, the Eagles allowed Wilson to toss a TD pass four plays later and essentially put the game out of reach.
"Real time, it looked fine. It looked legit," Pederson said of the decision not to challenge, via NBC Philadelphia. "We didn't get all the necessary looks. They hustled to the line, but at the same time, it looked good, and I trust the guys upstairs making those decisions and didn't challenge that. I already challenged one in the half and lost that, so I didn't want to risk another timeout."
Pederson's decision not to challenge the crucial lateral piled onto an already shaky decision to challenge a fourth-and-inches spot on an earlier drive. Spot plays are notoriously difficult to overturn, and with five inches to go for the first down there was an argument Pederson could have saved the challenge since he was going to go for it regardless.
"Nothing on the field, but upstairs felt like the challenge was legit," he said. "We felt like we had the line to gain. Sometimes those are tough, but at the same time we felt good, and with the information I got upstairs."
Pederson also had to answer for his decision to eschew a fourth-and-1 near midfield in the first quarter -- a play he's gone for regularly this season with Carson Wentz perfect at picking up short-yardage gains. He was questioned about going for it on fourth-and-3 call in field goal range in the fourth-quarter, which failed. And he was grilled about punting with 18 seconds left in the first half, again near mid-field.
The questions on game-management somewhat cover the larger head-scratching decisions to deploy a run-first approach early in the game instead of allowing Wentz to pick on an injured Seahawks secondary. The Redskins and Falcons provided a blueprint for how to attack the limping Legion of Boom. Instead, Pederson repeatedly banged his head into a still stout defensive front. The most questionable run could have been an end-of-half pitch on third-and-2 that got stuffed, setting up a punt instead of possibly picking up points before the break.
It's fair to question decisions after the Eagles' first loss in three months, but Pederson still has his team in position for an NFC East title and a first-round bye. For the first time in a long time, Philly and its wunderkind quarterback must bounce back from adversity.