The Philadelphia Eagles were manhandled on Sunday afternoon when they flew to Phoenix to take on the Cardinals. I was in attendance and, as an Eagles fan, I have to say it was the hardest game I have had to watch in recent memory.
Classic game by the Eagles, playing down to the underdogs, like they always do. It seemed like the Eagles failed to record even a first down on every drive and looked to show frustration when on the sidelines.
Whose shoulders does this loss fall on? It was a bad performance on both sides of the ball, but to me, five Eagles clearly stuck out:
1. Damaris Johnson (Returning)
Damaris Johnson the receiver had a great game filling in for the injured Maclin, recording five receptions for 84 yards in his first NFL start. He actually led the team in reception yards and proved he can play with the big dogs.
Unfortunately, Damaris Johnson the punt returner wasn’t so lucky. In the first quarter, Johnson returned a punt and made some crazy cuts and fought for every yard, but he wound up fumbling it on the way down. It was a turnover that essentially changed all the momentum for the rest of the game, as the drive ended in a ridiculous double-tipped pass-to-touchdown by Michael Floyd.
2. Nnamdi Asomugha
Well, I think it’s now officially fair to say that Nnamdi is a bust as an Eagle.
He isn’t half the player he was in Oakland and seems slower and slower every game. Already giving up a touchdown last week to Baltimore, he did it again this week when he allowed Larry Fitzgerald to get wide open over the middle, resulting in another 7 points for the Cardinals. Asomugha stood in the end zone for close to 20 seconds with his hands on his head in disbelief.
It is clear that it’s time for cornerbacks coach Todd Bowles to switch up the chart and list DRC as the number one cornerback as he has consistently proved his worth (even though he clearly had some frustration issues late in the game). Nnamdi is getting old, and frankly doesn’t have much time left to prove what he can do before he gets booed out of town.
3. The Offensive Line
Maybe this is an unfair pick, as two Eagles saw their first starts on the offensive line this week. Dallas Reynolds, the rookie taking over for Jason Kelce, was completely overwhelmed most of the game and let the Cards get to Vick on almost every play. Demetruss Bell also seemed to struggle against a tough Cardinals defense orchestrated by the genius Ray Horton.
It was a terrifying game to watch, mostly because you knew on every play there was a good chance Vick would go down. Mike Vick was sacked 5 times, hit a ridiculous 20 times, and hurried 11 times.
Thankfully, Vick was able to compensate for the shaky line like he always does, but it proved not to be enough. If this team wants to go anywhere in 2012, they need to start by solidifying their offensive line because as we saw today, there is nothing worse than a scared Michael Vick.
4. Michael Vick
The Cardinals went into the half up 24-0. Largely, in part, due to Michael Vick.
In the first quarter, Vick had two passes deflected. In the first half, Vick lost two fumbles. Should have been only one, but Vick dropped the ball on the Arizona 2-yard line with 0:06 seconds left in the half. As fate would have it, the Cardinals returned it 98 yards and recorded a touchdown with zero seconds left on the clock.
A terrible performance by a quarterback who thinks this team is a dynasty. As if it wasn’t obvious enough the first two games, it is now 100% a fact: Michael Vick is not comfortable with the Eagles offensive line, and panics when he immediately doesn’t see an open man.
Vick finished with 217 yards, completing less than 50% of his passes, and a 64.8 passer rating. His fumbles clearly ruined the game and possibly any momentum this team had. One has to ask, if Vick was gone, would this team be a dynasty? Maybe. Is Vick’s job in trouble? Not yet. Is he running out of time? You bet.
5. Andy Reid
He may be fighting for his job, but you wouldn’t know it Sunday afternoon.
When you go down 24-0 in just 30 minutes, it is impossible for the coach to not take some of the blame.
Unfortunately, most of this loss falls on Andy Reid’s shoulders. There is an old saying in football, “give your best player the ball”. Andy Reid doesn’t care about that saying apparently, as LeSean McCoy only touched the ball FOUR times in the first half.
That’s right, Pro Bowler and 2011 team MVP LeSean McCoy wasn’t used at all in the first half. Instead, Vick threw the ball almost every play, and couldn’t connect with anyone. McCoy was able to break out in the second half, but they were also down by 24, hardly time to run the ball.
McCoy finished with a ridiculously low 13 carries for only 66 yards. Andy Reid has to be kicking himself after letting Vick take full control in the first half and forcing McCoy to be a decoy.
Where are the studs you ask? Good question; I have no idea.
I honestly couldn’t come up with five studs, or even three.
Brent Celek had a great game, maybe they should just always give him the ball?
Brandon Boykin had a great return game, but took a step back in coverage.
DeSean Jackson as always was a threat, but looked to give up early on plays.
Alex Henery went 2/2 in field goal attempts (even though they should have gone for it on fourth down both times) and the defensive line looked good as always.
Unfortunately, this team needs to seriously kick it into gear if they plan on winning this division, and it has to start next week against the reigning Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.
TURNOVER TRACKER: 12 turnovers in three (3) games.