What Would Buddy Do?
Birds fall to Skins in Platonic ideal of Bad Eagles Loss
Posted on December 21st, 2008 at 8:57 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Well that wasn’t very fun at all.

Not quite Cincinnati-game frustrating, and not Baltimore-game terrible, and not even Redskins-home-loss humiliating, but pretty crappy.  Nothing shameful about the defensive performance (though the Redskins’ offense doesn’t conjure up memories of the Greatest Show On Turf), but the offense was a bad in all of our old/ familiar/ favorite ways.

That is, today’s loss approached the Platonic ideal of a bad Eagles game: no plays or playmakers amongst the wideouts, an abandonment of the running game, some iffy clock management, and — most importantly — a horrific performance from L.J. Smith.  If they could have just managed to somehow surrender some points at the end of the first half (in some particularly surprising/ unlikely manner involving the special teams?), well, the universe just might have exploded.

After a couple weeks of strong performances, we can’t pretend that the Birds weren’t due for one of these efforts.  They certainly didn’t get blown out, they just didn’t really make any of the plays that are required to win.  Pretty standard, really.

Highlights of frustration below:

Welcome back, the-wideouts-aren’t-good-enough meme.  The drops were bad throughout, but the Redskins dropped their fair share as well.  This was a game where I wish I could have been in the stadium to see if guys were actually getting open (my guess is an emphatic no).  We love the CamelCased one, but young DeSean dropped a couple that would have made a difference.  He’s a rookie, yup, but he was also the best guy the Birds had out there today.  I dunno.  At least we’re all pretty well-versed in beating up on the wide receivers.  I look forward to closely monitoring which diva pass-catchers from around the league are unhappy this off-season.

There’s something about Jason Campbell.  Does this guy play this way every week?  I mean, it doesn’t seem threatening and explosive at all, nothing vertical or down the field, but he’s a pain in the ass on third down.  Those scrambles for first downs are insanely frustrating.

The Redskins’ best player.  Helluva a day from the Redskins punter.  Seriously — that Ryan Plackemeier did himself proud out there.

Intrigue remains in re: Big Five.  McNabb wasn’t great today, but he also wasn’t terrible.  He’ll take heat for this game, sure, but it didn’t look like he had a ton of help out there — from his teammates or the play selection.  And he did make a couple big throws in the fourth quarter, only to get let down by the overwhelming lameness of the wide receivers.  Net net, it means that we can’t emphatically ship him out of town in this week’s papers.

L.J. Smith and his personal quest to lose games against the Redskins.  Was it the two drops in the first half on third down?  Or the horrific missed block on the screen to Westbrook at the Redskins’ five (lots of good questions in the postgame pressers about that one)?  Which specific play was the worst?  I actually think that he might have been the one who was out of position at the beginning of the third quarter when the Birds burned their timeout as well.  Maybe we wouldn’t get down him so much if he hadn’t also been personally responsible for goal-line mistake against the Skins in October as well.  Not impressive. I hope the fans at the Dallas game remember that this will be their last chance EVER to boo L.J. in an Eagles uniform.

Other BOOOOOs.  Asante Samuel for dropping that pick.  Reggie Brown for being almost but not quite good enough.  Sav Rocca for being outpunted.

My goal is to not spend the rest of the evening moping about and reading every word bit of Internet content on the game.  I’m putting in a movie, ideally something really stupid and/ or cartoonishly violent.  More tomorrow.

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