In a “Dream” Season, that has quickly become a nightmare for the Philadelphia Eagles (3-6) , the Birds lost another 4th quarter lead and very well their entire season in a 21-17 home defeat to the Arizona Cardinals (3-6). Going into this “trap” game, the slogan for the Eagles was simple, it was a “Must Win” situation – like it seems every game this season has been.
After losing earlier in the week on Monday Night Football to the Chicago Bears in another home loss, the Birds and their beleaguered head coach Andy Reid needed to find a spark that could possibly inspire a late-season run to catch the NFC East-leading New York Giants. However like so many other games this season, Philadelphia was sloppy and never really put the Cardinals away as their “lower-tier” opponent awoke late just-in-time to pull out an improbable win – Philly has lost seven of their last eight home games.
As stunned Eagles’ fans went home muttering about the possibility of the Reid era ending. Though the Eagles had the lead for the majority of the game, mostly due from a Pick-6 by CB Asante Samuel and another solid game from RB LeSean McCoy. Without malcontent receiver DeSean Jackson in the lineup – inactive for the game due to his tardiness – and their season-long recipe for disaster (dropped passes, penalties, turnovers, and key injuries) there was little fight in the currently rudderless team.
The end came on another bad pass hanging interception from beat-up quarterback Michael Vick — third-and-20 pass was intercepted by Cardinals CB A.J. Jefferson — but the end came much earlier for the Eagles. Arizona back-up QB John Skelton, who was subbing for injured starter and former Philly passer Kevin Kolb, threw a 5-yard TD pass to receiver Early Doucet with 1:53 left in game TD to cap an 87-yard drive. The score gave Arizonaa 21-17 lead that they never would relinquish. And you knew the Birds were not going to fight their way out of their sixth loss of the season – 5th where they lost a fourth quarter lead.
The win snapped the Cardinals’ 11-game road losing streak, but more importantly it confirmed what a lot of Eagles’ fans already knew. That in 2011 Season, the Philadelphia Eagles (3-6) just are not good enough. And in the unmerciful ultra competitive NFL, every single one of the their opponents is more than willing to prove that good teams are not built from preseason press clippings, but from hard fought wins on the field. Though he was playing without D-Jax and Jeremy Maclin (injured), you have to lay most of the blame for the loss at the feet of Vick. The former Pro Bowl quarterback has not looked the same since signing his big contract earlier this season and it showed Sunday.
As he produced “pedestrian” numbers 16 of 34 for 128 yards and two interceptions plus a couple near picks including one overturned on replay. After the game, the Eagles on-field leader had little answers as he said, “We were never able to get in a rhythm. I never got comfortable. You have to find a way to get it done. I didn’t do it.”
The Eagles now will turn their attention toward the NY Giants (6-3), who are their Week 11 opponent. But the circumstances surrounding this formerly anticipated NFC East showdown have definitely changed. Instead of the Eagles hoping to ride multiple-game winning streak into the contest and a good chance of getting back in the playoff race, they are instead a floundering group who clearly have lost their collective confidence and are now “hoping” instead of planning for a win.
After a loss that felt a lot like the Birds’ horrible tie some years back to the Bengals – perceived low-point of the Reid era — some are questioning if this is indeed sub-zero level for Reid in Philadelphia and it could very well be. But after years of covering this coach and his teams, I still believe that the veteran coach will be given the time needed from management, i.e. another season, to fix a very broken team, at this time.
We will see where the Birds go from here, but right now in Week 10 with a record of 3-6, they do indeed resemble the soft” bunch that several Niners described them as after their early season match-up. I guess the Eagles are starting to learn that “effort” and not acquisitions is the key to victory in the National Football League.
“We’ve all got to do better” Reid said after the loss….. And Andy, you just said a mouthful.
Lloyd Vance is the Editor for Taking It to the House , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and contributor for The Sports Journey Broadcast Network. Lloyd can be reached on Twitter @lloydvance_nfl