Injuries, penalties, fumbles, shaky defense, shakier offense and a maddening time management gaffe added up to a you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up loss to the Redskins in Donovan McNabb’s return to Lincoln Financial Field. Rumors of McNabb’s demise may have been spun incorrectly by the Eagles PR people. Aside from that, the Eagles performance still wasn’t very good!
The Eagles not only lost the game on the field, 17-12, but also lost QB Michael Vick, who suffered rib/chest injuries in the first quarter. Vick will undergo an MRI Monday morning. While diving to the end zone, Vick was sandwiched by two projectile missiles – named DeAngelo Hall and Kareem Moore. Oh, and his thrilling 23-yard goal line gain on the play was nullified by a holding penalty on Max Jean-Gilles, who started for an injured Nick Cole (knee). What’s worse than the sound of one hand clapping? Sarcastic ultra-slow clapping accompanied by the word “Bra-VO!”
Vick’s injury aside, the dynamic offense from the previous 2½ games was nonexistent. The Eagles’ longest pass play covered 31 yards – and it was a run after the catch on a dumpoff grab by running back LeSean McCoy. Eagles’ wide receivers were held to 8 catches for a combined 65 yards. Kevin Kolb completed 22 passes (or 14 more than McNabb) for 201 yards, but averaged a measly 5.7 yards per attempt and in reality, did not throw a pass farther than 17 yards. Most of the time, he wasn’t even looking downfield to find his open receivers. McCoy finished with 12 receptions for 110 yards, and fourth-year fullback Owen Schmitt had a career-high 43 yards.
“We’ve just got to find different ways of getting open and sitting in holes,” said DeSean Jackson, who had only 3 receptions for 19 yards. “We’re not always able to be running down the field and scoring these long touchdowns. We’ve got to accept that and find a way to get underneath the safeties and make plays.”
“They ran a lot of Cover-2 and forced us to nickel and dime them and be accurate,” Kolb said. “I just feel like when a team is playing that style of defense, you can’t make mistakes, and the mistakes early cost us. I didn’t feel like it was anything they did. I think we killed ourselves, and the game would have been a lot different if we had done something earlier.” Something? How about anything? Generally doing something is far better than doing nothing. Geez, eat a sandwich, drink a glass of milk, do SOMETHING!
The Eagles were lacking not just on offense but all three sides of the ball including a run defense that was virtually non-existant and a special teams effort more comparable to the Special Olympics! No actually that would be an insult to the participants of the Special Olympics. Sorry folks. No malice intended there for you. I’d rather reserve it for the lackluster, gut-buster, heartbreaking, haphazard… YOUR 2010 Philadelphia Eagles!
• Fresh off the practice squad, Washington’s Brandon Banks returned his first punt 53 yards. Three plays later, Quintin Mikell was bulldozed by running back Ryan Torain, who finished the run for a 12-yard touchdown.
“I’m not proud of that play,” Mikell said. “Just from the beginning, we were on our heels. Perfect example, on that tackle, I should have come up and, instead of going high on a guy like that, sometimes you’ve just got to go low. I learned my lesson, and that’s that.” Well at least Mikell learned something.
• McNabb – who received a standing ovation during pregame introductions – threw a pretty pass to tight end Chris Cooley, who beat Stewart Bradley for a 31-yard score. But Bradley shouldn’t have been covering Cooley, right?
“That was a coverage miscommunication,” Bradley said. “I should have checked out of it, and I saw it too late. I was like, ‘OK, well, I’ve got to try and cover over there because it’s a bust.’ … I had us in the wrong defense, and that’s the result … I’m running over there like ‘Oh crap, no one is covering that guy.’” In the second quarter, the defense had another “Oh crap” moment. Wide receiver Anthony Armstrong somehow got behind Samuel and Kurt Coleman for a 57-yard reception to set up a Redskins field goal.
• Then with 23 seconds left, the inexplicable occurred. McCoy fell short of the goal line on third-and-goal from the two, and the play was reviewed… For a while …like minutes… “I felt like I crossed the goal line,” McCoy said. “I think my knee hit before I crossed the plane.” Nevertheless, when it was finally announced the ruling on the field stood, the Eagles called a 30-second timeout – it’s Andy Reid, what else would he do? They decided to go for it – but then were penalized for delay of game and settled for a field goal. Seriously? Are you kidding me? What happened? All the time the replay is being reviewed PLUS a 30-second timeout and you can’t get a play into the game that might comprise either one yard or a few inches?
“I goofed,” head coach Andy Reid said. The Eagles thought they needed only inches for a first down, called a play, but then discovered they needed a yard and didn’t adjust in time. Somehow the spot changed.
“I thought the play initially started out as [fourth-and]-inches, but after the review, [it] ended up being a yard. The clock was well into it when we were aware of that,” Reid said. “I can’t question the officials or anybody else, and I’m not going to do that. I just know that where [the ball] originally was and where it ended up being were two different spots. The whole thing is my fault. You have to be aware of when the play clock starts.” But how would the spot change? My suggestion is to hire a clock management specialist to assit Reid.
Explained Kolb: “When they came back and said he [McCoy] didn’t get in, they placed the ball at a certain spot. We had a play call for that spot. Then they moved the ball back, and we went to get our next play call, and by the time I got the play call and was coming back in … I want to say when I was running out there, there were [eight to 10 seconds left].” Different plays for fourth-and-inches and fourth-and-one?
“Yeah, especially on fourth down,” Kolb said. “In that critical of a situation at the end of the half – I told the guys early in the drive, ‘We have to have this one.’ I think everybody understood that, and it was very critical – that extra foot and a half there – and it played a big part in our play call.” That four point deficit played a big part in the outcome. Had they scored a TD, Brent Celek’s fourth-quarter score could have tied it and sent the contest into overtime. McNabb wouldn’t have been briefed on the OT rules so it might have been a way for the Eagles to salvage the game.
That said, the Eagles’ halftime deficit would have been greater than 17-6 had Redskins wide-open tight end Fred Davis not missed a pass that he likely would have taken for a TD. It was one of only two missed completions in the first half for McNabb, who was 6-for-8 passing for 115 yards (2-for-11 in the second).
“[Washington] got the ball at our 39-yard line to start the game, and we’ve got to come out and breathe fire regardless of where they got the ball, and we didn’t do that,” defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said. “We played on our heels, we played passive and we came out the second half and played more aggressive and Eagles-style football. We’ve got to make sure we start faster next week.”
At first, the aggressiveness cost them. Two penalties – albeit questionable – extended Washington’s first possession of the third quarter. Ernie Sims was flagged for a late hit on McNabb, and Ellis Hobbs was penalized for illegal contact. Both came on third down. The Eagles committed eight penalties overall, half of which were by the offensive line. The drive ended when McNabb – who during the series amusingly called two timeouts in 44 seconds – was intercepted by Nate Allen. But the Eagles went three-and-out. Their next two possessions were doomed by fumbles. McCoy dropped the ball – after further review – to end a 70-yard drive, and Kolb lost the handle after being whacked on third down. In the fourth quarter, Jackson was open for a big gain – but Kolb overthrew him.
“I’ve got to execute that play,” Kolb said. “To be honest, when I let it go, I thought it was on the money. DeSean said the wind carried it quite a bit there, and it just kept pushing and kept pushing. But when you’ve got somebody like that, you’ve just got to dot him with it. That’s a big play that we missed out on.” One series later, Kolb threw his first touchdown of the season – preseason included – but fittingly, McNabb – who often infuriated Eagles fans by not running more – converted a third-and-four with an 18-yard scramble with 3:53 left.
As hurt as they were, the Eagles still had life. They started their final drive with 1:07 left and reached midfield with 25 seconds remaining. Kolb launched a Hail Mary, and the sure-handed Jason Avant leapt for it – and maybe he expected contact that never came – and dropped it.
“I’m going to be dreaming about it for a while,” Avant said. “I don’t know how I let it jump out of my hands. Usually in that situation, there’s about three guys boxing you out. Usually you don’t get a chance to jump up because there are guys holding you down – they’re not going to call a flag on the last play. But they gave me a shot, and I wish I had made it.” And Kolb hopes he gets another chance next Sunday in San Francisco.
“It’s vital for our season and for our team right now to go out and win next week, and I hope I get the opportunity,” Kolb said. “But we’ll see what happens with Mike’s injury and what the situation is, and then we’ll go from there.”
The Eagles and Redskins game was so ugly that not even the stats sheet tells the story:
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from Penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||1-2||1-2|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|
CLIPPED WINGS: Also injured during the game were cornerback Asante Samuel and receiver Riley Cooper (both with concussions) and returner Jorrick Calvin (shoulder). No word yet on their official status but both are expected to miss at least one game. LeSean McCoy left the game with ribs injuries but is not ruled out for next week pending examination. Vick is “week to week” with rib and chest injuries which means the Eagles are not willing to disclose any details regarding his condition or availability.
NEXT WEEK: Eagles 2-2 @ San Francisco 49ers 0-4
MEDIA MADNESS: Philly’s sports radio 97.5 the Fanatic Mike Missanelli staged a Chunky Soup Tug of War at local legendary eating establishment Tony Luke’s. This pitted “ProMcNabb” vs. “Anti McNabb” in a Tug of War over an inflatable swimming pool filled with Chunky Soup. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOPeRB93dPc
About the Author
Written by Christopher Rowe
Contributing writer Comcast Sports, NY Times contributing stringer 1996-2000, Contributing writer Yahoo Sports (2001 World Series). Contributing writer Newsday Long Island (1992-1994, Jets Training Camp) and Newak Star Ledger. Freelance Copywriter, Editor/Founder Atlantic Times Weekly (1993-2003) fantasy football magazine, produced screenwriter and general humorist. Hofstra University grad, Marist College honorary alum, Salesian; Purveyor of the Value and Valor of Philadelphia Eagles 1960 NFL Championship; Adrent believer that Eagles could have won Super Bowl XV...and Super Bowl XXXIX...plus modern decade of Eagles 5 NFC Championships... Believer in the Broad Street Bullies and the 1983 Sixers... Witness to Philadelphia Phillies World Series championships 1980 & 2008, Suffered Phillies first pro sports team to reach 10,000 losses,witnessed "1980 Cardiac Kids," 1983 "Wheeze Kids," 1993 "Macho Row" and many, many, many not-so-memorable seasons in-between... until the Philadelphia Baseball Renaissance of 21st Century, Five NL East division titles 2007-2011, 3 NLCS appearances 2008-2010, 2 consecutive World Series berths 2008 & 2009. 2008 World Champions of baseball [miss ya Harry and Richie]; "collector" of MLB ballparks (42 stadiums including 15 which are gone); Fantasy Football & Baseball player since 1992. Always a sports fan... Tenui Nec Dimittam Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org