Posted on January 19th, 2009 at 12:55 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie
You know, I really thought they would win yesterday. I thought they would win because their defense was good enough to best the Cardinals’ offense, and that the Eagles’ offense would be able to score against a Cardinals’ defense that wasn’t as tough as the Vikings or Giants.
Instead, the defense — the one I felt confident calling the best Eagles defense since 1991 — was exposed and fooled by a very clever Cardinals team. We all sort of knew that the Birds would struggle to handle the Larry Fitzgerald superhero act, and he hurt them, but I didn’t expect the linebackers to look so confused and for the tackling to be so sloppy. All credit to the Cardinals and their coaches for outcoaching and outscheming the Birds.
Even with all that, the Birds were leading this game with five minutes to play (!). It was there. But neither the offense nor the defense were good enough to win the game in the fourth quarter. It was there.
It’s been there before, and we can only hope it will be there again. Ouch.
Some day-after storylines:
I didn’t expect to be down on Jim Johnson this morning. It’s just not what we expected, right? That Jim Johnson, who was rightly praised for the efforts of the defense over the past seven games, would be a goat this Monday morning? The Cardinals saw something on the right side of the Eagles defense, and certainly seemed to prey on Akeem Jordan a bit. They got it a bit figured out at halftime, but, um, that was after they’d surrendered more points than they had since the Baltimore game. Ouch. Also, Stew Bradley looked like a first-year starter for the first time in a while.
Brian Westbrook was a non-factor. Save for the great fingertip catch and sprint out of bounds on the Birds’ final drive, Westbrook didn’t really make a difference. It actually looked like the Eagles’ offensive line was getting a good push on their running plays, but big plays did not result. The Eagles got away with a win last week sans a big effort from Westbrook, and they almost repeated the feat this week. It doesn’t matter if he was injured or just old and slow, but that was not a dangerous Brian Westbrook the past couple weeks. And that hurts.
Speaking of, the dread run-pass ratio. I’m sure the score had something to do with this — as well as the state of the Cardinals’ pass defense –but the Birds did end up throwing on 72 percent of their plays. Luckily they were doing a fairly decent job of throwing it, but they didn’t look very committed to balance.
Speaking of, please, enough with the crying about the wideouts. Sure, there were a couple drops and none of our guys look like Larry Fitzgerald, but the Birds’ wideouts made some huge plays yesterday. I feel pretty good about Jackson, Curtis, Avant and Baskett (assuming they bring Baskett back). This is not a position of concern heading into the offseason.
Positions of concern heading into the offseason. Running back! Running back! It’s either a gimpy B-West or a free-agent Buckhalter. Or Lorenzo Booker. Or Kyle Eckel. Yes. It’s feeling very cold in here. Also offensive tackle — both those guys looked their age yesterday.
Are we really talking about Donovan McNabb’s future? McNabb missed a couple throws on that final drive, and the haters will focus on that, but he also had the cape on for the better part of the second half. No running game, a lot of pressure from the edges, and the guy actually brought the team back from an 18-point halftime deficit. Dude. McNabb was not the problem for the Eagles yesterday.
Too much hitting, not enough tackling. Whilst we like the idea of dropping a couple big hits on the opposing team to let them know it’s going to be a physical afternoon, it sure seemed like the Eagles’ defense was throwing shoulders and not wrapping up at all. Shoulders aren’t enough against Larry Fitzgerald.
A guy we hate to admit didn’t make the big play. Quintin Mikell almost — ALMOST — made a season-saving play on the fourth-down run in the fourth quarter. Ugh. That would have been nice for Mikell.
Asante Samuel. Sigh. After picks in two consecutive games, we can overlook a weak effort from Samuel yesterday. Apparently he ducked reporters after the game? Don’t know about that, Asante. Philly doesn’t appreciate that sort of thing. Even if you were hurt.
Guys who didn’t really duck reporters, but could’ve been forgiven for it. Reggie Brown, L.J. Smith, it’s been a pleasure. I guess the Birds thought Greg Lewis had some big-game magic in him? Ummm, not so much. Still, Brown didn’t even dress? Yikes. And Brent Celek’s big day yesterday really makes it that much easier to pretend there never was an L.J. Smith; I wonder what rookie will get #82 next summer?
Lucky breaks we’ve likely forgotten already. How about that DeSean Jackson forcing a fumble for the Birds after the pick? Pretty lucky break! Though not as lucky as the Abiamiri call on the kickoff. Whew. Close one. If you’re whinging about pass interference in the fourth quarter, you need to keep that kickoff call in mind.
Was Akers going to make a fourth-quarter field goal? It sure seemed like he was Chuck Knoblauch unable to find first base by the third quarter. A missed PAT? The kickoff out of bounds? Mercifully the Birds needed a touchdown and not a field goal for the go-ahead points. Kind of a meltdown, no?
That’s it for now. I’ve intentionally avoided the good season/ bad season ruling. Plenty of time for that later this week.
- Andy Reid gets to have seconds tonight, but not thirds
- Friday Eagles Hangover: this week, it’s mostly just the turkey (and all the alcohol)
- Push coming to shove: the most dispiriting part of the Eagles right now
- Monday Eagles Hangover: not with a bang, with a draw
- Birds fall to Skins in Platonic ideal of Bad Eagles Loss