Sunday, November 15, 2009

Too little, too late: Eagles fall short in San Diego

(AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
You want to know what makes the Eagles such a frustrating team to follow? They start off the game playing terrible, falling way behind, and just when you think they are going to get completely blown out in a game, they wake up and mount a furious comeback to get themselves back in the game and get our hopes up. Then, like clockwork, the Eagles fall just short at the end with the game on the line.

Such was the story today as the Eagles fell to the Chargers, 31-23. The Birds ineptitude in the red zone was on display early in this game as they failed three times inside the 20 and had to settle for David Akers field goals rather than TD's. The Eagles rallied late with a pair of touchdowns in the 4th quarter but ended up falling short when the defense couldn't stop the Chargers on a pair of third down plays late in the game.

Donovan McNabb racked up the individual stats in the game, passing for 450 yards as the Eagles completely abandoned the run after they fell behind. Also having a career day was Jason Avant, who was the one Eagle who showed up all day with 8 catches for 156 yards.

The defense deserves a large share of the blame in this one as they failed to slow down San Diego on the ground or through the air. LaDanian Tomlinson, who has looked washed up in every other game this season, ran for 96 yards and two touchdowns as the Eagles made him look like his old self. Philip Rivers had no problems throwing on the Birds depleted secondary, either, as he completed 20 of 25 passes.

The Eagles did get more bad news late in the game. Brian Westbrook, who returned to the field this week after suffering from post-concussion symptoms, suffered a second concussion today and had to sit out the entire 4th quarter. Two concussions just a few weeks apart isn't only going to keep Westbrook out for the rest of this season, it might end the career of one of the Eagles biggest offensive weapons.

The Eagles lost today for all of the usual reasons. They racked up a ton of penalties, couldn't convert on short yardage plays and failed to capitalize on their red zone opportunities. About the only good news that comes out of Sunday's action is the fact that the Cowboys lost, too, meaning the Eagles still remain just one game out of the NFC East. Of course, the fact that a team that has looked as bad as the Eagles in the last two weeks is still in contention for a division title might tell you a lot more about how weak the NFC East is than how good the Birds are.

And the frustration continues to build, Eagles fans. We know what this team is capable of when they are firing on all cylinders, hopefully it's only a matter of time before they put together a complete football game like they did against the Giants a few weeks back. The schedule doesn't get any easier from here on out but we know you can never count out the Eagles until the final whistle. And that's why we keep watching, no matter how frustrating it gets.


scrappleSports said...

Good article. Couple of other points. The Eagles have not been able to get short yardage since Shawn Andrews went out. LeSean McCoy is not a great blocker. Big dropoff between Westbrook and McCoy at this point. Jeremy Maclin has a hard time getting off of the line. This is why you are seeing Reggie Brown a little more.

Also, I really think that someone needs to do a story about how McNabb can come back and as they are coming back, the defense lets a long scoring drive take all momentum and either gives lead back or lets them expand it. Think Superbowl, AZ in NFCCG, today, and plenty of others. Teams sometimes start slow on road. Championship defenses hold you in those games and make key stops at the end.

Of course, penalties, ofensive line injuries, linebacker and secondary injuries are a big part of this particular loss.

Brian said...

The Eagles are really struggling right now, and like you mentioned, meed to buck the trend of falling behind early and then having to charge back at the end of the game. Nice blog!

JFein said...

The Eagles are really good at going down early and crawling their way back in games, but I honestly cannot remember they got a game-winning touchdown in the last 2 minutes. They have not had any this year, I know they did not have any last year, and beyond that my memory escapes me. Under Reid/McNabb, the pattern seems to be the Eagles either win big or they lose.