I’ve finally reconciled with myself the fact that the Eagles are not underachieving or giving underwhelming performances; this is as good as this team can possibly play right now. It’s disenchanting, especially considering the glimpses of greatness that have, at times, shone through what has otherwise been a murky mess of a football season. It should be clear to the naked eye at this point that the Eagles are a team that is defeated. There are a few players that are still playing with the intensity that success in the NFL requires, but for the most part, instead of Swoop running onto the field with an Eagles flag, he should be waving a white flag, indicating that the Eagles have surrendered even before the coin toss.
Granted, Marshawn Lynch has been the NFL’s leading rusher since week 9, accumulating 591 yards, including last night’s 148 yard, 2 touchdown performance. But it was the manner in which he gained a significant portion of those yards that speaks volumes about this Eagles team. Lynch’s first touchdown run was a display in heart and determination, getting stood up at the line of scrimmage only to keep fighting and eventually breaking through just about every Eagles defender to find paydirt. His second run was more of an exhibit in futility on the part of the Eagles defense than anything else. Lynch took the handoff to his right and sauntered 40 yards, basically unscathed, to score once again. The hole that the Seattle offensive line opened was big enough to land a 747 and Lynch took full advantage. Philly did manage to get some pressure on Seahawks signal -caller Tavaris Jackson, notching 3 sacks, including the 11th and 12th sacks of the year by Jason Babin. The pressure was more a result of some well designed blitz packages as opposed to pressure from the Eagles’ front 4.
On offense, LeSean McCoy actually received a commonsensical number (albeit still not nearly enough) of carriers, with 17 for a total of 84 yards and a touchdown. The league’s leading rusher (1,134 yards) also added 4 receptions for 49 yards and yet another touchdown. Outside of the stellar play from McCoy that Eagles fans are accustomed to witnessing (as long as he is given the opportunities) there was really no other bright spot on an Eagles offense that has continued to play disconnected, individualistic football. Quarterback Vince Young…..lit up (?)….. the Seahawks, going 17/29 for 208 and a touchdown…oh yeah, and four interceptions….I almost forgot about those. While Riley Cooper ended the night with 5 catches for 94 yards, he short armed a critical pass from Young in the red zone that led to one of Seattle’s 4 picks on the night and stalled yet another Eagles drive in the red zone. Mr. Highlight, himself, DeSean Jackson hauled in 4 passes for 34 yards, but it was what he didn’t do that is more telling than anything. There were several instances, some of which were pointed out by commentator Mike Mayock, where Jackson was clearly jogging through his routes and did not even bother looking for the ball. Jackson is by no means helping his impending contract negotiations, as he has become a divisive member of the locker room, adding to the circus that is the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles team. Teammates are fed up with his lack of concern for anything other than his next contract (which is going to be a lot smaller than everyone once thought unless he gets his head on straight).
Seeing as how the Eagles are definitely (as if there were really any question) not going to the playoffs, we are going to see who is in it for the long haul and which players pack it in for the year. I can’t help but think a lot of these players are auditioning for jobs next year, either in Philly or elsewhere, and they need to play as such. A nice, long offseason may just be what the Eagles need to reevaluate their situation and pull this thing together for 2012 and beyond. In the meantime, at least we get to enjoy 4 more weeks of this dysfunctional mess without having to worry whether or not the Birds are going to lose in the first round of the playoffs again.
UGH. This means another offseason of having to listen to Steeler’s fans, which is probably the worst part of this whole damn thing.