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Monday, September 26, 2011

Eagles Lose to Giants; Defense Embarrassed

          I don’t have the stomach to go through a detailed breakdown of yesterday’s Eagles loss to the New York Giants, mostly because I had an inkling that they were going to lose (see Friday’s post) and didn’t have the stones to make it a pick.
          The Eagles lost the game, 29-16, and likely lost their quarterback for several weeks.

          This was a classic Eagles home opener. People were talking all week about how the Eagles should rest Mike Vick due to the concussion he suffered the previous week and “just play Mike Kafka.” Well, they got plenty of Kafka when Vick went out with a broken hand, and might see plenty more of the inexperienced quarterback for a while.

          Kafka was 4 of 7 passing for 35 yards and 2 interceptions. The alternative at quarterback is Vince Young, who many agree was outplayed by Kafka in the preseason.

          But the Eagles were already losing this game when Kafka was forced into action for the second straight week. Every analyst talking about this game last week said that the Giants were limping into Philadelphia without their best receivers and a defense that hadn’t been healthy. Yet, they jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, and kept the Eagles out of the endzone in three separate red zone opportunities for the Birds, including two goal line stands, keeping them to field goals.

          Despite all of that, and an embarrassing display of how not to make a tackle by the defense, the Eagles actually managed to take a brief 16-14 lead in the third quarter of the game.

          The problem was that they took the lead on a field goal after the Eagles failed to score a touchdown on three consecutive plays from the Giants’ 2, 1, and 1-yard line. Two of those plays were Vick sneak plays that went nowhere.

          I’m always ripping Andy Reid for not running the ball, but the Eagles ran the ball plenty yesterday. It’s questionable not to give the ball to their best running back, LeSean McCoy, on any of those plays and to run sneaks for their recently concussed quarterback. But the players also have to execute.

          However, Reid doesn’t get a pass by a long shot for this loss. In the second quarter the Eagles pounded the ball with the running game seven consecutive times to the Giants 15-yard line. Then the offense reverted to form, throwing on 3 of the next 6 plays, and the Eagles ended up kicking a field goal from the Giants’ 3.

          But the story of the game might just be the Eagles defense or lack thereof. Remember all of those big name free agents the Eagles signed right after the lockout? Most of them were on defense.

          Yesterday looked like a comedy of errors by the defense. When fans can watch Casey Matthews not know what the hell he’s doing watching the live broadcast as a Giants running back runs right passed him to catch a touchdown pass it’s embarrassing.

          Of course the most embarrassing play came when Victor Cruz, a Giants receiver playing due to the injuries to their real receivers, went 74 yards to make it 14-0 early on. Most of those yards came on the run after the catch as seemingly the entire secondary, especially the heralded Nnamdi Asomugha, looked like they had never tackled anybody before – and they didn’t do it on that play either. Asomugha was made to look bad again by Cruz when he out worked the Eagles cornerback for the next Giants TD that put New York ahead for good.

          The second Cruz touchdown was set up by none other than the Eagles head coach. Unlike the infamous playoff game in New Orleans when he decided to punt late in the fourth quarter with his team trailing, Reid went for a 4th-and-1 at the Giants 43-yard line with his team ahead.

          The run by McCoy failed. So did the Eagles.

          Ironically, it was Vick’s last play even though he had gone to the locker room after being injured earlier and returned to action. It took the Eagles staff that long to figure out he had a broken hand.

          So, once again the Eagles lose a game they could have won and have to wait to see when their quarterback can play again. The “Dream Team” is suddenly 1-2.

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