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Nightmare (not) on Broad Street

Posted By Christopher Rowe On Dec 26 2011 @ 11:20 am In Philadelphia Eagles | 2 Comments

It has ended and what a long, strange trip it has been. The Philadelphia Eagles may have won the battle with the enemy Dallas Cowboys (20-7) but they lost the war. December 24 would become the day the playoff hope died and the beginning of a winter, spring and summer of rampant discontent.

[1]As of their 4:15 EST kickoff in Dallas, the New York Giants were ahead of the New York Jets 20-14 with about 5 minutes left to play. By the waning moments of the first quarter the Eagles held a 7-0 lead over the Cowboys but the  scoreboard reported the end of Philadelphia’s already slim playoff hopes.

[2]Giants scored a safety by sacking Jets Mark Sachez, then punched the ball across the goal line courtesy of Brandon Jacobs (who had taken out his own coach on the sideline a few plays earlier).

The final nail in the proverbial coffin came when Sanchez was picked off and the boys in blue knelt down to run out the clock – much to the chagrin of all the boys, girls, men, women and anyone else wearing green. The “visiting” Giants felled the Eagles playoff hopes and maintained their own bragging rights – not to exclude their own postseason promise.

[3]Jets fans retain some slim measure of hope as the ninth overall seed and third in line for the final AFC wildcard spot. As for the Philadelphia Eagles (7-8) despite the victory, they don’t qualify for any chance at a wildcard berth (due to losses against Seattle, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco and a split with the New York Giants).

Enjoy the win over Dallas Eagles Nation … but better luck next year.

[4]Philadelphia won this week’s game by default, concession and a solid amount of defense, tantamount to lack of interest on Dallas’ part. The proceedings  included Trent Cole planting Tony Romo into the turf like a rejected Christmas tree (after Romo injured his hand trying to escape Jason Babin’s wrath) and a secondary playing without Asante Samuel.

[5]The patchwork linebacking effort has often been criticized as have the Eagles offensive line, receivers, quarterback and anyone else whose name is not LeSean McCoy (13-35 rushing vs. Dallas).

Michael Vick threw 2 TD passes (one in the opening series going 80 yards in 8 plays, the second just before halftime for 293  [6]total yards), Tony Romo left after injuring his throwing hand on the first series and oft-injured Dallas RB Felix Jones hit the bench for good after the second series.

[7]Clearly this game was rendered meaningless by halftime and the letdown was palpable (even from the cheap seats – of which there are none at Jerry Jones Palace).

Alex Henery kicked field goals of 43 and 51 yards for the Eagles’ only points in the second half. Dallas came within 7 seconds of getting shut out [8]relying on Steven McGee and Sammy Morris to lead their paltry offensive effort (“effort” may be far too strong a word).

This was a team not only playing it safe, but playing dead from the neck up!



[9]Philadelphia (7-8) won its third straight, giving the ersatz “Dream Team’’ the chance to avoid a losing record. Beating the Redskins at home in their finale next weekend would be the second victory over Washington and a 5-1 divisional [10]record (losing once to NY Giants) but the 2011 season is over for Philadelphia fans. The Eagles swept the season series against the Cowboys for the first time since 2006, having clobbered Dallas 34-7 in October (54-14 combined).

[11]The Cowboys (8-7) lost for the third time in four games. If Dallas misses the playoffs, such a post-Thanksgiving flop will loom large all offseason. Should they win the division, it’ll only be a footnote.

The upcoming week will be filled with all sorts of similar high-stakes ramifications riding on the finale for both Dallas and New York. Despite injuries to Felix Jones and Tony Romo, the Dallas Cowboys will square off against those New York Football Giants with the NFC East title on the line.

[12]Philadelphia now is resigned to playing for pride and retooling for 2012 – the final season in Andy Reid’s contract. Questions abound as to what sorts of coaching changes could be in store as well as draft plans or perhaps additional free agent pursuits. More on these later…

[13]A 2011 Eagles season that began amid a labor lockout, two week free agent feeding frenzy and media mongers taking the phrase “Dream Team” to new levels of exhaustive overhype soon morphed into a 1-4 start. That turned into a 4-8 season due largely to blowing fourth quarter leads in five different games (turnovers, lackadaisical defense, poor in-game adjustment, etc.). Much of the blame fell on Head Coach Andy Reid and his protégé, former offensive-line-coach-turned-defensive-coordinator – Juan Castillo.

[14]In Reid’s 13th season with the Eagles (and Castillo’s 17th) the clamor came for new voices, new offense, new defense, new cheerleader uniforms and probably a new type of Cheez Whiz at the concession stands. Still waiting to see which of those requests are granted and which must wait yet another season.

[15]Most Eagles fans will look forward to the New Year’s Mummers Parade and multiple fireworks displays on Penns Landing than the season finale at Lincoln Financial Field.

The good news is that when this Philadelphia Eagles football team plays fundamentally sound, they are a good as any team in the NFL. Patching a few holes and shoring up a scant couple weaknesses among the reserves should make 2012 another season of great expectations – hopefully with far better results.


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