Where to begin? Well for starters the Philadelphia Eagles 2011 postseason hopes have officially been dashed. True that mathematically there is still a chance that Philadelphia could possibly under some dire series of remotely unlikely events still have a shot, but Eagles nation has folded up the banners, taken down the bandstand and parked the bandwagon in mothballs until next season. This party is over as even the most ardent fans will attest. Need proof? All you had to do was watch this game.
A lot could be learned from the New England Patriots. They play with a third string center, wide receivers in the defensive secondary and a cavalcade of undersized, no-name players but they just keep winning. Scoring when they want to and managing to attack the Philadelphia offense with whatever pass rushers happen to be lying around, the Patriots are the consummate team. The Philadelphia Eagles have very clearly defined themselves as a collection of talented players who have not formed into a team despite 12 weeks of trying to do exactly that.
This game began with the Eagles taking a 10-0 lead over New England. While the statistics don’t tell much of the story, the final score (38-20) is the only important number. The game was not as close as the 18-point deficit. While the game started out 10-0 Eagles, the first half ended @ 24-13 (yes that would be a 24-3 run for New England). The Eagles defense had difficulty stopping Tom Brady (24-34, 361, 3 TD) and the passing game just as much as they failed to slow the rushing attack (BenJarvis Green-Ellis 14-44, 2 TD). Conversely, Eagles backup QB Vince Young (26-48, 400 yards, TD, INT) had trouble keeping drives moving – going 4-13 on third down conversions (Patriots were 6-11). LeSean McCoy was a non-factor (10-31 rush, 4-30 rec).
Looking over the game stats, the numbers look about even (353-393 passing yards, until you compare penalties (3-20 vs. 10-60), rushing yards (104-73). Watching the game it was clear that the Eagles had no rhythm on offense (Young was staring down receivers and forcing balls into tight windows or being sacked while seeking downfield options) while the Patriots operated like a well-oiled machine. Somehow the game seems easier for Tom Brady, who fluidly progresses through his options confident that one of his receivers will find an opening in the defense. That was especially true as Philadelphia had a depleted secondary and their usual linebacking problems. Philadelphia’s front four did manage to pressure and maul Brady (Patterson and Jenkins got to him twice but for only one sack) while Young seemed constantly in panic mode.
Now that the Eagles are 4-7, they can look forward to a cross country trip to Seattle and playing out their string. The only meaningful game is against Dallas but there is the sense of relief due to the fact that the Eagles fate lies in someone else’s hands. The only way the Eagles make the postseason would be the complete collapse of Chicago, Dallas, NY Giants and Detroit. While that is theoretically possible, the Eagles sit two games back of the NY Giants in NFC East and will watch the Giants play New Orleans on Monday Night. A Giants win would make that deficit three games, which even in the weak NFC East is a Strahanian gap. Qualifying for an NFC wildcard would mean that after Green Bay, San Francisco, NY Giants and probably New Orleans wins their respective divisions, the Eagles would be tossed in among Tampa Bay, Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta and possibly Dallas for those two wildcard positions. Most of those teams lie ahead of the Eagles in the standings but worse is that all but Dallas hold tiebreakers over Philadelphia. Don’t hold your breath Eagles fans.
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