Sunday, December 21, 2008

Welcome To My Nightmare

Sorry I'm stealing from the great Alice Cooper, but the title seemed all too appropriate. Tampa Bay lost to the Chargers in an early game and gave the Eagles control of their playoff lives. The Eagles promptly swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills and took a long walk off a short pier.

The loss to WAS was miserable, just miserable. The offense that had been so balanced and so productive did not show up. Instead we got a pass happy attack that failed, whether ball control or big play. We had more incompletions (20) than runs (16). We had more passing attempts (46) than Westbrook had rushing yards (45).

How can you complain about a defense that only gives up 10 points? Let me try.

The guys did a good job overall. That isn't up for debate. WAS only had 249 yards and their lone TD drive came on a short field after a sack and fumble. WAS didn't have any offensive play of more than 19 yards. We forced them to play small ball.

The problem is that this kind of a game requires you to do more than just stop the opponent. The season is on the line. "Good enough" isn't good enough. You must make plays. We didn't. The defense missed several opportunities:

* Campbell fumbled on the first drive. The ball was in the middle of a pack of players, but an O-lineman fell on it.

* Campbell forced a pass in the Red Zone. Quintin Mikell hit the ball and it went up in the air. Q wasn't able to get it as it fell. A couple of LBs were also in the area, but neither could get to the ball. They kicked a FG on that drive.

* McNabb got sacked and fumbled. That gave WAS very good field position. The defense couldn't come up with a stop on the drive, when we desperately needed one. That proved to be the only TD of the game.

* Asante Samuel had a gift thrown his way. The ball came right to him with nobody around. It was an easy pick. The only question was whether Samuel would go out of bounds at midfield or be able to return it deep into their territory. Unfortunately, Asante dropped it. That cost us a minimum of 40 yards of field position.

* Stewart Bradley had 2 passes in his vicinity with a chance to make a play. He wasn't able to get to either ball. One of them would have been a pick-six.

* Chris Clemons blitzed up the middle on 3rd/long. He came out of control and got blocked, opening up a huge vacancy in the middle. Jason Campbell ran for 19 yards.

As bad as the offense was, it didn't help that we had horrible field position. We had 4 drives start inside the 10-yard line. We averaged starting drives (for the game) at our own 18-yard line. That is awful. WAS averaged starting at the 39.

McNabb didn't have a good game. He finished 26 of 46, but those numbers don't tell you of the stream of errant passes that he threw. McNabb had thrown the ball very well the last 3 weeks, but we got the wrong McNabb today. Donnie was back to hitting the ground too much. He failed to run in the 1st half on a couple of plays where he could have really helped us. He did run a couple of times in the 2nd half, but didn't have the same type of opportunities. The receivers didn't help him out. There were several drops.

DeSean Jackson had 2 chances for huge plays. Donovan hit him down the left sideline with a deep ball, but Peanut couldn't make the grab. The throw wasn't great and he did have to adjust to it. On the final drive McNabb threw a terrific pass down the right sideline. Jackson did a great job of going up for the ball. It hit him in the right forearm and he wasn't able to make the grab. That was in the endzone and would have tied the game at 10.

The Eagles are not out of the playoff hunt yet, but anytime you need the Oakland Raiders to come east and pull off an upset...not good. That's sorta like expecting Amy Winehouse to show up sober when you ask her to babysit.

I know a lot of fans are furious with Andy/Marty and the playcalling. They're mad at Donovan for coming up small in a big game. Do remember to give Washington credit. They have a Top 5 defense. LaRon Landry didn't make the Pro Bowl, but anyone who watched the game hopefully understands just how good he is. Landry is the best FS in the NFC. He just controls the middle of the field.

We knew the winning streak would end at some point. I just didn't want it to come so early. All any of us wanted was to control our own destiny. Tonight I can't help but think of the old saying "Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it." We got it. We blew it.


Mark said...

I feel your pain, bro.

Indeed said...

We blew it is right

T_S_O_P said...

We spiraled into the Offensive that game plan, there is no way on earth surely that AR/MM came up with that as a concept to beat the 'skins. (Maybe we were funneled) And when we spiral like that we are so predictable. Of the 13 running plays, 12 were called on 1st down. The number of consecutive rushing plays within a set of downs, ZERO! The number of consecutive running plays period, one. It was like an instant rewind to the stretch of games that cost us this season.

I used to play TVSports Football on the Amiga, but it got boring because, just like the Eagles O last night, everything the opposition offense did was so predictable (limited programming and no difficulty levels rather than poor coaching was to blame). I had a good idea what was going to happen, and I used to tee off on it. Maybe that is over simplifying it, but I called it, where it was when and how we were going to run, on the EMB last night during the 2nd quarter. And in football knowledge terms, I couldn't hold a candle to most.

Over here in Blighty, things have got desperate for the once mighty Leeds United, who after 11 months in charge, made a TATE like decision and sacked the manager yesterday after he lost his 5th straight game. It has not quelled my anger to their present predicament and more than likely it will not solve their problems. I cannot say I will feel the same should AR get given his marching orders. His relationship with MM is in my opinion the center of the problem, and accordingly the offense during their time has morphed from a low geared roughed up and unexciting pick up truck into into an shiny Alfa Romeo - looks great, can be absolutely thrilling, you'd do anything to keep it, yet is as unreliable as the aforementioned Amy Winehouse.

I don't think the Eagles need wholesale changes, we need a guy like John Harbaugh who will keep the core of the team together and refocus them consistently, rather than annoyingly over a 3 week stretch. I just can't cope with another wasted season.

T_S_O_P said...


Amy looked after the boy last night and she did fine ;)

Stephen said...

You made an interesting comment about the Skins playing well GE. Unfortunately, we can't control how well our opposition plays, however we can control we what do in response to it, and that is the great failing of this game, and this coach.

Its cute because you have to factor in two Donovan Mcnabb scrambles just to get to the aenemic 16 running plays. Another one was a Desean Jackson play. 12 called runs to Westbrook, and 1 to Buckhalter.

I also found it amusing that I kept commenting to people while I was watching the game about how we normally come up just short in clutch situations. I must be clairvoyant.

Tommy Lawlor said...

Too little, too late has been a theme of the Reid era.

I fully expect Tampa to win on Sunday and then we'll beat Dallas 27-17 or something like that.

"If only we'd not lost that close game against (insert team here)..."

T_S_O_P said...

And then what next?

Stephen said...

Lets not forget mismanagement of timeouts either. Think we could have used one more on that final drive? It's funny because its like playing a broken record, its the same stuff over and over.