Wednesday, December 29, 2010


There's no other word for that inexcusable performance last night, a 24-14 loss to the Vikings. It was the Eagles first loss by double digit points this season, and it came at home, in December, to a 4-10 team.


There are plenty of goats after a game like that, so I can't call them all out, but here's a few of the biggest:

  • Mike Vick - Looking suspiciously like Vick 1.0, he was careless with the ball, missed wide-open receivers, and ran at the first sign of pressure. One of his greatest strengths earlier in the year was his ability to make the first rusher miss, step up in the pocket, and deliver a strike. Instead, he pulled the ball down and tried to take off.
  • Andy Reid - As usual, Reid was steadfast in his attempt to get Vick killed. Not even four big hits on the first five plays could convince Big Red to put the ball in McCoy's capable hands. And even though the Vikings blitzed on nearly every defensive snap, the Eagles never countered it with standard blitz-beating strategies like quick slants and screens. It was deep drop after deep drop, with five- or six-man protection, and no amount of failure was going to convince him that his pre-game plan was wrong.
  • Sean McDermott - The offense was so bad, it's easy to overlook the putrid performance of the defense, but I'm not about to let it slide. For all of Collinsworth's effusive praise about rookie Joe Webb, he didn't throw to the second receiver in his progression one time the entire night. Against a one-read-and-run QB, which Joe Webb is, and most young althetic QBs are, you play a zone defense. This forces him to scan the field patiently, and gives your defenders a chance to read his eyes. Webb didn't look off a safety once, he stared down his primary receiver on every single throw...but it wasn't a problem since the Eagles' safeties were blitzing anyway, leaving one-on-one matchups behind them. On the third-and-11 play which broke the Eagles' backs, the Eagles blitzed two DBs. Percy Harvin, one of the fastest and most elusive players in the NFL, was covered one-on-one by seventh-round rookie linebacker Jamar Chaney. Sure, Webb made a nice throw...but any QB in the NFL should be able to make a one-read throw to a WR in mismatched single coverage down the middle of the field. McDermott made it easy for Webb all night, by getting cute and overblitzing when base defense would have won the game handily.
  • DeSean Jackson - On two of Vick's accurate throws, which were few and far between anyway, Jackson made no attempt to come back to the ball. Both times a defender behind Jackson closed faster than the receiver, who was simply standing still, and broke up the pass. I challenge you to find one play in Jerry Rice's career where he allowed a defender behind him to beat him to the ball. Jackson's an interesting case, as his rookie contract comes to an end, because he has game-breaking talent and clearly changes games. But he's not giving 100% on each play, and routinely pouts when the ball isn't coming his way. He's not on the diva level of T.O. or Ochocinco, but $30 million in his pocket wouldn't figure to improve his motivation.

The good news, if there is any, is that the Eagles earned a bye last night. With the #3 seed now locked up, and no possibility of movement in either direction, expect Kevin Kolb and a cast of misfits to stumble around the field on Sunday. That will give Vick, Samuel, and the host of hobbling Eagles an extra five days' rest before their first-round matchup against the Packers or the Giants.


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