Eagles blow playoff bye with abysmal performance

By JEFFREY WARNER
Staff Writer — jwarner@highhopesblog.com
_______

Mike Vick commited three turnovers in a sloppy, inexusable Eagles loss. (Courtesy Philly.com)

The snow that postponed the game came and went as quickly as the Eagles offense and their chances of a 1st round bye. In the first Tuesday night game in 64 years an offense that was explosive and dominant all season long, found themselves wishing they could redo this one.

The two-day layoff affected the Eagles more than anyone else as they were the ones jetlagged in the 24-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Philadelphia was unable to get anything going early. The offense could not get in a rhythm and was unable to give Vick time to deliver the football. He had pressure in his face all day and the offensive line struggles showed as Vick was sacked six times in the game. Also the lack of discipline showed with 12 penalties for 62 yards that killed momentum in drives. That gave the offense suits as they were unable to convert in third and long situations. They only were able to convert 36% on third down. If it wasn’t for a 3rd and 10 pass interference call down field on Vikings’ CB Asher Allen, the 3yd TD reception by TE Clay Harbor from Michael Vick would have never had happen. But that was the least of their problems.

Vick who has done tremendously well all year long at not turning the ball over, committed three turnovers including a fumble that was returned 45 yards to the house by Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield that tied it up at 7-7. He should have had a few more picked off if the Vikings’ secondary didn’t have hands of steel. This is not how you want your star quarterback and the offense to perform just a few weeks before the playoffs. Even though it was a team loss, Vick puts the blame on his shoulders.

“We’re a much better football team than we displayed tonight,” Vick said. “Starting with me as the leader of this football team as the quarterback, I had an interception and two fumbles. It just goes back to being disciplined. If those things don’t happen, then I think we dictate the outcome of this game. I take sole responsibility for not doing that. That’s my job.”

There was no energy and sense of urgency coming from this football team. With so much at stake for a possible first round bye, the Eagles seemed like it didn’t matter. The Vikings defense came prepared in this one completely dominating up front and shutting down this high-powered Eagles offense for most of the game.

The Eagles were the top ranked offense in the league and could only manage 14 points in the game. Just a despicable display and Coach Andy Reid agrees.

“It was an absolutely pathetic job on my part of getting my team ready to play,” Reid said. “We didn’t coach well and didn’t play well. It was terrible, absolutely terrible.”

The coach isn’t the only one who thinks so. The players are also taking responsibility for this lack luster performance.

“We just didn’t play well,” WR Desean Jackson said in frustration. “There are times you win and times you lose. Today was one of those days we didn’t play well and we lost. I am just here to say we didn’t play well and we got our butts kicked.”

The part of this team that has struggled all year long has been this defense. But for the first half they were getting gashed but made the big play when it mattered. But that only lasted for so long as they got worn out with the inefficient offense with constant short drives and three and outs. The rookie quarterback, Joe Webb was very impressive in his first start.

His elusiveness and speed was so effective in the play-action game as he was shifting the defense all over the field because they didn’t know whether it was a pass or a run. He executed it very well with over 200 yards of offense and a rushing touchdown. Webb’s play opened up the Vikings’ rushing attack.

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson became the second rusher this season to eclipse over 100 yards on this defense. The Pro bowler racked up 118 yards on the ground a touchdown. Minnesota as a team ran all over the Eagles as they averaged 5.2 yards a carry on 31 attempts.

The Vikings constantly were moving the football up and down the field and the Eagles defense had no answer for them. The Vikings at one point were able to put 17 unanswered points. It was just overall a poor display by this Eagles team and nothing was going their way.

Despite all the penalties and all the mistakes the Eagles made, they were in this ball game until the end. This season the Eagles have been the “comeback kids” and Michael Vick tried to work some more of that magic. Vick lead the eagles down the field with a 12 play 53 yard drive that he capped off with a 10 yard touchdown run to make it 17-14. But on the ensuing kickoff, the Pro Bowl kicker David Akers kicks the ball out-of-bounds. That gave the Vikings tremendous field position at the 40 yard line and they never looked back.

The Viking’s chipped away the clock and the Eagles hopes of getting the #2 seed in the NFC playoff picture with an Adrian Peterson 1yd TD run to put Minnesota back up 10 points and sealed the victory.

Some people are saying it was the layoff and waiting to play the game but there are no excuses. Both teams played under the same conditions.

Overall this team did not look like the football we have been accustomed to seeing. And if this team wants any chance of making a playoff push, they need to get their act together and start playing the Eagles football that we have seen from this team.

The Eagles can’t advance in the seeding and will sit at the #3 seed and will play either Green Bay, New York, or Tampa Bay. The question now is to start or not to the start the starters next week in a meaningless game against the Dallas Cowboys with already a short week. We shall see what Reid decides to do in this situation.

Report Card

Offense- F: Three Michael Vick turnovers, lack of protection and no energy cost this Eagles team. They would only manage 14 points against a mediocre defense. This team needs to get things line for the playoffs.

Defense- D: The defense hung in there for a while but could only do so much with the offense not establishing drives and they became completely worn out. They made the rookie Joe Webb look like a superstar and the strength of this run defense this season fell apart allowing over 160 yards on the ground.

Special Teams- F: A missed David Akers field goal before half, and then after getting within three he kicks the kickoff out-of-bounds giving the Vikings fabulous field position. Sav Rocca got too much of a workout and did well. The return game was horrible with Chad Hall as they couldn’t break anything.

Overall- F: A first round bye was still at stake and this football team came out flat without a care in the world. They blew their opportunity and now will be stuck with the #3 seed and will have to play three games in a span of 12-13 days. Eagles chances to make the Super Bowl just got tougher.

 

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Filed under game recap, Jeffrey Warner

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