The Philadelphia Eagles have overcome injuries throughout the 2019 season en route toward a surprising NFC East title. As the team prepares for the wild-card round, it is going to have to vie for its second Super Bowl title in three years without Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson revealed Brooks dislocated his shoulder in the second half of Sunday's win over the New York Giants and is out for the remainder of the season. The loss of Brooks is significant considering he started 51 consecutive regular season games, the longest amongst guards in the league. Brooks is less than a year removed from a torn Achilles; he returned for the Eagles season opener eight months after suffering the injury. The Eagles mustered just 30 plays for 99 yards the last time they lost Brooks, which came in a divisional round playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints. Brooks left that game in the second quarter with the Achilles injury.
"He's the anchor of the offensive line," Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said Monday. "Definitely a big loss."
Matt Pryor filled in for Brooks at right guard and Halapoulivaati Vaitai anchored right tackle as the Eagles scored 17 points in the fourth quarter. Philadelphia has been without Lane Johnson for the last three games with a high ankle sprain, but the Eagles remain optimistic Johnson will return in time for the playoffs.
If Johnson returns, the Eagles have the option to move Vaitai to guard or keep Pryor in his spot.
"He stepped in and did well," Pederson said of Pryor. "If's he the guy, we expect him to pick up where Brandon left off."
Losing Brooks is just another major blow to the Eagles offense, which has thrived despite all the injuries. Philadelphia has lost Alshon Jeffery for the season, DeSean Jackson for the entire regular season, and Nelson Agholor for weeks with various injuries. The Eagles did not have Jordan Howard for nearly two months with a shoulder injury. Darren Sproles and Corey Clement are on injured reserve and Zach Ertz has a fractured rib that is expected to keep him out several weeks.
The Eagles also lost Miles Sanders to an ankle injury, but Pederson said Sanders would be "day-to-day," a good sign he'd be back for the playoff game Sunday. Sanders finished eighth in the NFL with 1,641 all-purpose yards and led all rookies with 1,327 yards from scrimmage this season, a huge catalyst toward the Eagles winning the division.
Philadelphia has survived the past several weeks with running back Boston Scott and wide receivers Greg Ward, Robert Davis and Deontay Burnett, all of whom spent significant time on the practice squad this season. They still were able to win the final four games and finish 9-7, averaging 27.8 points per game during the win streak.
The loss of Brooks is another punch the Eagles will absorb, but will it be enough to knock Philadelphia out for good?