Bill Parcells has perhaps the most fitting quote for the sports world. “You are what your record says you are.” After a devastating overtime loss yesterday at Lincoln Financial Field, the Philadelphia Eagles are 3-3. Michael Vick turned the football over three times with two interceptions and one lost fumble ( which was equally on center Dallas Reynolds) and the Eagles continued to shoot themselves in the foot defensively late in the game.
Heading into Sunday’s games, both the Detroit Lions and the Oakland Raiders were the only teams without an interception. Both teams were able to end that streak, and the Eagles helped end another streak in overtime. Thus far in the 2012 season, teams winning the coin toss in overtime were 5-0, a streak that the Eagles were able to relinquish in the worst of ways in front of a packed house. Overtime however, was not only unfathomable after Jeremy Maclin’s 70 yard touchdown, it was appalling and sickening to any Eagles fan. In fact, rewind to the beginning of the 4th quarter, when the Lions had accumulated only 163 total yards from scrimmage and scored only 6 points. The rest of the game however, was completely different as the Lions gained 286 more yards and 20 more points for the remaining 17 and a half minutes.
The Eagles failed to record a sack for the third consecutive game, and big questions need to be surfaced regarding the scheme that defensive coordinator Juan Castillo and line coach Jim Washburn are running. Matt Stafford was rarely pressured and when executing the roll out passes, he was extremely successful as both Trent Cole and Jason Babin failed to properly contain the edges. Additionally, one must question why Calvin Johnson was being covered by Nnamdi Asomugha for a majority of the game in man coverage, and then in the 4th quarter Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was primarily covering Megatron, which for anyone that watched the progression of the game saw a vast differential in production for the All Pro wide receiver. In fact, the Lions had only one completion to a wide receiver in the entire first half, a 28 yard completion to Johnson on a 1st and 20. Titus Young dropped what looked to be a sure fire big play when he beat coverage on both Rodgers-Cromartie and Kurt Coleman, which is the third time in two weeks that the opposing team has dropped a potential big play ( Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown last week).
Fast forward to the Lions scoring the touchdown to Nate Burleson on an 80 yard drive that lasted only one minute and 46 seconds. Despite the poor defensive effort by the Eagles, the offense received the ball with 3:32 left in the game…at the 12 yard line because rookie Brandon “candy bar” Boykin decided to take the kickoff out of the end zone and try for a big play that backfired. The Eagles managed to take one minute and five seconds off the clock…as well as only one of Detroit’s timeouts. Let’s look at this again. One minute and five seconds, and only one timeout used by Detroit. Gaining six yards. The Lions went 80 yards down the field and it took them only 41 more seconds than the Eagles offense could go three and out and gain six yards. Let that sink in when you want to focus on a Jekyll and Hyde offensive unit.
The Eagles of course punted and an excellent defensive stop on the return by Kurt Coleman limited the return to 3 yards. DeMeco Ryans blew up a screen to Mikel Leshoure with 1:19 left in the game at the Philadelphia 41 yard line. And just as the defense had momentum, Calvin Johnson made a circus catch on the sidelines that was overturned and ruled a catch, and then, the Eagles allowed Detroit to run, literally run the ball on three consecutive plays for 19 yards. Colt Anderson, a special teamer, who was filling in for injured safety Nate Allen nearly committed the game ending penalty on Titus Young when the referees ruled defensive pass interference in the end zone. Stafford had two opportunities at the one, and nearly hit Calvin Johnson with three seconds left. In overtime, the Eagles received the ball and did nothing but move backwards 21 yards after two Michael Vick sacks and an incompletion. Because of the poor field position, Mat McBriar’s punt went only to the 50 yard line, where it was almost a lucky break for the Eagles as Akeem Jordan forced a fumble, fell on it, but failed to bring it in. The rest is history, and the Eagles are now tied with Washington and Dallas at 3-3 and all are looking up at the defending champion Giants.
So…the Eagles head to a bye week in need of rest as LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Nate Allen, and several other Eagles were injured. Philadelphia also needs to find an identity that differs from the one they’ve already demonstrated. The bye week comes at a time when many are questioning the long term viability of both Michael Vick and Andy Reid which is deservedly appropriate for both men. If there is a glimmer of hope, it’s that Andy Reid is 6-7 prior to the bye week and 13-0 after the bye week. Unfortunately for Reid and the Eagles is that the undefeated Atlanta Falcons await the Eagles in a game that carries major playoff implications just eight weeks into the season. Should the Eagles lose, they would fall to 3-4, and will have suffered losses to the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, and Detroit Lions. All three of the aforementioned teams will be fighting for their playoff lives late in the season and when the tiebreakers aren’t in your favor, you could be dependent on outside factors that rarely add up to a postseason berth.
Trent Cole and Jason Babin must establish themselves again and get pressure on the opposing quarterbacks. Andy Reid must find ways to get LeSean McCoy more involved in the short passing game and get the ball out of Michael Vick’s hands quickly, a situation that seemed to be apparent at times and then disappeared late in the game with regards to Vick. Many Eagles fans are depressed and rightfully so, however the sky is not falling and the Eagles still have five divisional games remaining. A lot can change in football, and with over half the season remaining, one can only hope that both Reid and Vick continue to look at the glass as half full, or else, even the most rosy colored glasses will not save this coach and this quarterback from being removed from the Eagles. For now, I implore the Eagles nation to distance themselves from football and focus on the better things in life, because honestly, it seems everything is better than this team right now.