Philadelphia Eagles: Inside Nelson Agholor’s bizarre 100-yard game

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

After largely underperforming in Week 1, Nelson Agholor came alive for the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2 – but it wasn’t enough to secure the win.

After being largely ignored in the Philadelphia Eagles‘ Week 1 win over the Washington Redskins, Nelson Agholor had a fitting return to form in Week 2 – but that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Elevated uncharacteristically to the team’s top receiving option after a string of injuries to Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and Dallas Goedert, Agholor went off to the tune of 107 yards on eight catches and a touchdown.

If for some reason you’d started Agholor in fantasy football, you’re probably pretty happy with those results, but for fans at home wanting to see their real live team win real life games, the results were far less encouraging.

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You see, despite hauling in eight catches, Agholor was targeted a team-high 11 times, including one that could have been an absolute dime of a touchdown that sliped through his fingers for seemingly no reason.

In a weird way, it’s almost like the USC product was too open and simply forgot to, ya know, actually catch the ball before taking it to the end zone for six.

While he largely made up for the blunder with a beautiful catch on one of the most unbelievable throws of Carson Wentz‘s career, had Agholor simply caught that go-ahead touchdown, the Eagles wouldn’t have needed any late-game heroics.

Granted, it was only one game, but in a way, this one game served as a pretty concise summation of the 26-year-old’s career up to this point and why he may not be a part of the team’s plans long-term.

Now one could easily point to Agholor’s first two seasons in the league as evidence of his lack of an ‘alpha’ trait, but for the sake of argument, let’s throw those numbers out. Miscast as a lead outside receiver in Chip Kelly‘s offense, Agholor struggled to transition into the NFL both physically and mentally and was largely a non-factor for a pair of underperforming teams.

Since transitioning into the slot in 2016 however, Agholor has become more of the player he truly is in the NFL: A dynamic possession slot receiver.

Sure, he can get you some big plays, as evidenced by Week 2’s should-have-been touchdown and his crucial fourth-down grab, but for the most part, Agholor has looked much more like Marqise Lee than Robert Woods or JuJu Smith-Schuster, a trio of receivers he shared time with in Southern California.

Despite having 4.42 speed at 198 pounds, most of Agholor’s catches come across the middle of the field, as evidenced by his 11.6 yards-per-catch career average. Furthermore, despite presumably having the agility needed to make people miss in open space, Agholor’s only recorded 645 yards after the catch since 2017, an average-at-best mark when compared to most NFL pass catchers.

While an offensive weapon like Agholor can still be effective, he’s much more of a complementary piece in a buzzing offensive assault, as opposed to a primary weapon worthy of a dozen targets.

If allowed to hit the open market next March, there will certainly be teams who want to sign the former USC product to a new deal, potentially one that outpaces Woods’ five-years, $39 million deal, but it will almost certainly be to be the second, or potentially even third wide receiver next to an established star in a balanced offense.

Who knows, maybe Agholor could even finish out the 2019 season on different team, as his name routinely comes up in trade conversations anytime a star player (this week Jalen Ramsey) expresses dissatisfaction, but whether in March or in October, it’s fair to assume number 13 be on a different team next fall.

And frankly that’s fine.

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Regardless of the extenuating circumstances, Nelson Agholor had a prime opportunity to help keep the Philadelphia Eagles in their Week 2 bout against the Atlanta Falcons as the team’s top receiver, and while individual accolades are nice, two straight W’s would have been so much sweeter.