27-point finish sends Titans over Eagles, 37-19

By MATTHEW WATERS
Staff Writer — mwaters@highhopesblog.com

________

Things got messy late in the game, Sunday, for the Eagles. (Philly.com)

What a great way to cap off a weekend in Philadelphia sports.

All eyes shifted toward the Eagles today after Philly’s $25 million man watched our city’s World Series dreams go down the drain, taking a direct route through the strike zone. The Eagles were in great position to go into the bye week on a high note, but Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt had other plans, scoring all three of Tennessee’s offensive touchdowns as they routed the Eagles 37-19 thanks to an incredible Philadelphia meltdown in the fourth quarter.

Kevin Kolb seemed to miss DeSean Jackson’s presence on the field as he went 26 of 48 for 231 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions for a 56.9 passer rating, his lowest by far in any of his full games this season. His big play receiver was the surprising Riley Cooper, who made an unbelievable 37-yard catch which looked like an interception the whole way. Kolb hooked up with Cooper to finish off the drive for his first career touchdown, capping his three catch, 51-yard game. Jason Avant was the team leader in receptions with six and yards with 60, and LeSean McCoy didn’t break 50 yards rushing despite 16 attempts on the ground. Needless to say, the offense is as much to blame as the defense.

The trouble actually started with less than six minutes to go in the third quarter. Kolb and McCoy couldn’t connect on a hand off and instead of walking away with most likely a touchdown but at least a field goal, the Eagles lost possession on the Tennessee three yard line. Rod Bironas kicked a 41-yard field goal to close the gap to six, and the Eagles went into the fourth quarter with possession and a 16-10 lead.

David Akers tacked on a field goal quickly to make it a two-possession game, but backup quarterback Kerry Collins and Britt connected on their first play from scrimmage for an 80-yard touchdown reception. This touchdown would begin a nightmare quarter for the Eagles on every side of the ball: 27 unanswered points, no first downs on four drives for the offense, and a special teams fumble that allowed the Titans to tack on another field goal to put the game out of reach.

Kolb had :22 seconds left to try something, but after a holding penalty by King Dunlap, Kolb was forced to hurl the ball down the field in no particular direction. The pass was intercepted by defensive back Cortland Finnegan, and the Eagles showed no hustle to tackle him as he waltzed into the end zone with a 41-yard touchdown return to end the game.

Multiple records were broken that all went against the Eagles. Tennessee’s 27-point fourth was the highest-scoring quarter in franchise history. Britt’s 225 yards on seven receptions was the most by a Titan’s receiver since the franchise moved to Tennessee in 1997, and was the best performance in history by a wide receiver against the Eagles.

The front four on defense were playing at a much higher level than the back four of the defense. The defensive line held one of the most explosive running backs in the league, Chris Johnson, to a measly 66 yards on 24 attempts and recorded two sacks. The back four had two interceptions, one by Quentin Mikell and another from Asante Samuel, but they could not keep a body on Britt at all. It’s disgraceful that they let one receiver gain over 80 percent of their passing yards, but there was no change in defensive sets to deny the big play.

The Eagles have now allowed 63 points in the fourth quarter this season, with just under half of them coming from this game. All Andy Reid ever says is it’s his fault and he’s to blame, but someone needs to be held accountable for the defense lacking a killer instinct. This is the fourth game in which they’ve allowed fourth-quarter scoring, though it’s just the first they lost.

The most telling image came toward the end of the game, when Kolb was on one knee on the sideline with a sick look on his face while he watched the Titans wind the clock. No one can be sure what went through his mind, but he must have felt the starting job slipping out of his hands after his sub-par performance. Lucky for him, he has two weeks now to prove he’s the better fit than Vick, though Reid said Vick is the starter whenever he’s ready—which means this should be one of the most interesting bye weeks in recent history.

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