In the marquee matchup of Wild Card Weekend, the 10-6 Philadelphia Eagles and the 10-6 Green Bay Packers did battle at Lincoln Financial Field with so much on the line. It was win or go home and this time Eagles fans went home in disappointment with another season ending in heartbreak.
The Eagles fell to the Green Bay Packers 21-16 as QB Michael Vick tried to put on his 4th quarter heroic routine but the miraculous season came to end on an endzone interception intended for Riley Cooper.
The Eagles were down 21-16 late in the 4th quarter after battling back from an early 14-0 deficit. They found their groove to move the football late in the game and put some points on the board with Vick and the offense almost had another near-miracle comeback. With 44 seconds left in the game and the Eagles 27 yards away from taking to lead after being down 11 points in the 4th quarter, CB Tramon Williams jumped in front of Vick’s longball to shatter the Eagles chances of a Super Bowl run. Vick finished the game with 329 total yards and two scores (1 rush) in the game.
But it was just an absolute despicable performance by this Eagles team. The sluggish performances heading into the post season carried over into the playoffs and it showed. For some reason this team can’t show up for the first three quarters of a football game and decide to wake up and realize what is at stake in the 4th quarter of a football game.
Nothing was going the Eagles way in this game. Offensively, early the big story was the loss of WR Desean Jackson who left with a knee injury and later returned to the game and finished with two catches for 47 yards. Without your deep play weapon to stretch the field for almost a half of football, the Eagles were limited and could not pick up the Packers blitz packages and got no answer to contain LB Clay Matthews with his speed off the edges.
When your offensive lineman is getting beat on nearly every play, as a head coach you need to recognize that and get him some help with either from the tight end or full back or someone but again Andy Reid showed his true colors to not put his players in the right position to make plays. Vick was sacked three times in the game and the Packers defense did a tremendous job to contain the versatile quarterback. Without the ability to stop the pass rush they couldn’t get in a rhythm early and were unable to establish a consistent drive of moving the football and moving the chains and it cost them in the end.
A lot of that inability to move the football early came down to falling behind early 14-0 the offensive attack became completely unbalanced. The Eagles only had 13 designed runs in the game with Lesean Mccoy only able to pick up 48 yards on 12 of those carries. The Eagles became pass heavy and abandoned the run completely allowing Green Bay’s defense to sit back there in coverage and play against the pass. The Eagles fell right into the Packers trap abandoning the run and allowed Green Bay to open things up on the defensive side and contain Vick.
The story in this game is what has haunted the Eagles all season — missed opportunities. The Eagles had their chances in this game to win it. The wind conditions were treacherous and were tough for any kicker, but David Akers missed two field goals in the game and gave the Packers decent field position to start. But to add to that they struggled to execute with the short field. The Eagles caught a break early after a Packers LB Brandon Underwood touched a short punt and was recovered by the Eagles to only end with no points on the board. But a lot of problems lied solely on the defensive side of the ball.
Since taking over for the late, great Jim Johnson, Def. Coordinator Sean McDermott has struggled fixing the defense. All season long they have struggled getting off the field and limiting the amount of points. That didn’t change today.
Like all season long, the red zone woes continued allowing the Packers to convert on all three trips in the red zone which was the deciding factor in the game. They were unable to get off the field letting the opposing offense execute and pick up third down after third down. This defense allowed 62% on third down. What was really frustrating was the lack of discipline on this defense.
Take a 3rd and 4 in the first quarter in a tied ball game into account. You finally stop them to only be called for an offsides penalty to continue the drive which eventually led the Packers touchdown and the lead. Mental errors like that cost you a football game.
What is so frustrating is your at home with the crowd on your side and put up a stinker like this is embarrassing with the lack of tackling, missed assignments, blown coverages. This is a unit this offseason that needs a lot of change if this team wants to contend for a championship.
Seriously this was a team that was stoked against the run all year long to allow a nobody like RB James Starks to run all over you for a Packers’ rookie rushing record in a playoff game with 123 yards in the game, is just astonishing.
Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers of course exposed this secondary for three touchdown passes and they had no answer for him. The pass rush was nonexistent and couldn’t find a way to rattle him and disrupt his throwing. To allow the Packers to establish drive after drive killing the clock, they might need a change with a defensive coordinator which most likely won’t happen.
Overall an embarrassing performance and the Eagles had their chances to win this game but just couldn’t grasp it. It came down to that the Eagles were completely out coached and were not ready for this game. The bye week in Week 17 to get players healthy didn’t matter and were just not insync after the performance they put out on that football field Sunday evening. The Packers had more heart and the better game plan to move on in the playoffs where the Eagles season is over and start over looking forward for next year.
Offense- D 1/3 in the redzone, couldn’t establish a drive as they could only pick up 38% on third down, the unbalance play calling and just had no answer for the Packers pass rush resulting in offensive struggles for Michael Vick and company.
Defense- F They couldn’t stop the Packers offensive attack as they steam rolled all over them in the running game and allowed Rodgers to pick apart this secondary for three scores. The third down conversion rate through the roof and another awful performance by the Eagles defense.
Special Teams- F Two missed David Akers field goals could have been the deciding factor in the game, Sav Rocca sluggish punting performance for most of the game and the disaster in the return game killed the Eagles chances and the battle of field position. Wind did play a little factor though but can’t fully blame it on that.
Overall- F Their season is over and now look forward to the offseason. The Eagles had their chances but now look forward with a lot of questions on this young football team and whether the potential lockout with affect their decision making on a lot of players like whether Michael Vick will return. The inexperience on this football team showed with a large amount of rookies playing significant roles and gained valuable experience to advance and get better in the offseason.