The Philadelphia Eagles had everything to prove Monday night. Not only to the fans, the city and the owner, but to themselves. After playing poorly last week in a blowout against the Atlanta Falcons, the Eagles held a players-only meeting in hopes of righting a quickly sinking ship. But instead, there will be no need for a rescue effort, as their season went under, with a 28-13 nationally televised, uninspiring loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Just like with most of the previous three seasons, the Eagles moved the ball effortlessly downfield until they reached the dreaded red zone. They went 0 for 5, including another turnover, when Michael Vick’s errant pass was tipped by intended receiver Brent Celek, and intercepted by Saints CB Patrick Robinson and returned 99 yards for a TD. That 7-0 lead was all it took to take the life out of the Eagles as the Saints, sporting a horrendous defense, was able to hold the Eagles to one touchdown for the game. Despite LeSean McCoy’s 119 yards on the ground, he was unable to make up for an offensive line, that couldn’t protect Vick, who was sacked 7 times. And to make matters worse, RT Todd Herremans, was forced to leave the game with a right ankle injury. Demetress Bell stepped in and he and RG Dennis Kelly, were horrible as the Saints harrassed Vick for the rest of the night. The Eagles still managed to gain over 400 yards in total offense But the Saints are a different team inside the Superdome and at 2-5 going into the game, played like the more desperate team.
What’s probably the most disappointing aspect of the game, was how bad the Eagles were defensively. Todd Bowles had no affect in his second game as coordinator as his unit was gashed for 140 yards by the Saints version of the 3-headed-monster rushing attack. Drew Brees was very efficient and moved the offense when he needed to the most. The Eagles played with no heart and their tackling skills, or lack thereof, were on display for all to see. The Saints running backs slashed through arm tackles as the entire Eagles linebacking corps was again unable to make a big hit or force a fumble against a previously anemic running game. The secondary was over-matched as well, especially 5’9″ safety David Sims, filling in for the injured Nate Allen, who couldn’t cover the 6′ 7″ TE Jimmy Graham. Brees connected with Graham 8 times for 72 yards and a TD. The Eagles did manage to sack Brees twice, including one from Jason Babin, who finally recorded his first in over a month. Both corners were ineffective as well and Nnamdi Asomugha demonstrated once again, that he tackles just as bad as he covers.
Desperation set in on special teams as the Eagles attempted a tricky kickoff return in the 3rd quarter, when Riley Cooper played possum in the end zone, laying on the Saints logo and receiving a throwback pass from Brandon Boykin and running 94 yards for an apparent TD that was called back for an illegal forward pass. Another of the many mistakes and undisciplined play we’ve seen all season.
What the Eagles showed everyone is a team that lacks heart, resiliency, poise, direction and most of all talent. And earlier today Andy Reid declared this season, which his team now sits at 3-5, can be turned around. And anyone who buys into that thinking, doesn’t know a bunch of quitters when they see them.