Sloppy Eagles Get Pummeled By Saints


A funny thing happened on the way to running Kevin Kolb out of town on Sunday. The Eagles defense and special teams decided to take a week off, thus allowing an explosive Saints‘ offense to annihilate the Birds. Penalties, turnovers, missed tackles and missed calls were the norm on this Sunday.

Unfortunately, nothing much went right after Kolb hit DeSean Jackson for a 71-yard touchdown early in the first quarter. The wheels began to spin off near the end of the first half. The defense forced a three-and-out with just over two minutes remaining. Jackson stupidly fielded a booming punt inside his five, made some nice moves, but a pair of illegal blocks negated the return. Backed up at their own three, Kolb threw behind Jackson on a critical third down play.

After a punt, it took Brees two plays and 37 seconds to give his charges a 17-10 lead. Kolb did an excellent job taking the offense 65 yards to setup an Akers field goal, which cut the lead to 17-13 at halftime. Kolb’s numbers after two quarters: 14/22/196/1 TD/O INT. He made a couple errant throws, but overall looked great.

Then came the second half. Eagles would get the ball first. Time to make a statement at home. Go grab the lead. A fumble on the opening kickoff by Ellis Hobbs derailed any such plans. Three plays later it was 24-13, Saints. A Kolb interception on the ensuing Eagles drive gave Brees another short field. He would make the defense pay with his third touchdown strike of the day. An 18 point deficit was too much to overcome, despite a game effort from Kolb.

Final score: Saints 48, Birds 22. Ugh.

So, what went wrong? The special teams were abysmal. Five penalties and a key turnover gave the Saints favorable field position the entire game. The defense was unable to supply consistent pressure and missed a gaggle of tackles. Even the normally stout run defense disappeared in the second half. Basically, it was the opposite of last week’s overpowering performance versus the Panthers. They registered a pair of sacks and one interception, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

The offense wasn’t without fault, either. Where was the running game? Reid dialed up the Wildcat with some success, but also looked foolish on a couple razzle dazzle plays that failed miserably. Westbrook was a non factor, which was disappointing. He didn’t look bad — he just didn’t get enough touches. DeSean and Brent Celek both looked sharp from start to finish. They combined for 205 yards on 12 catches and a score. Jason Avant chipped in 7 grabs for 79 yards and a score. However, 1-5 in the red zone tells the story. They continue to falter when it counts the most.

Then there was Kevin Kolb. He did his job. He was not the problem. I’ll repeat what I wrote on Twitter near the end of the game: Anyone who blames Kolb for this loss doesn’t understand football. He threw for 391 yards, 2 TDs and 3 INTs. Was he perfect? No. But he was a helluva lot better than most of the other Eagles.

Both Westbrook and Samuel suffered injuries. Brian’s ankle is still giving him problems and Asante got a stinger. Obviously, Brian is a concern. It’s not unexpected, though. Him making it through the season unscathed was a pipe dream. Also, Dimitri Patterson fractured a hand and will have surgery. Look for the Iguana to possibly be elevated from the practice squad as a replacement.

Reid and Co. will have a busy week. The mistakes, both mental and physical, need to be corrected. The special teams need a lot of work. They lack discipline and fundamentals. The defense was gashed horribly. Lucky for them they won’t see another quarterback as dangerous as Brees the rest of this regular season. At any rate, Sean McDermott has things to fix.

Hard to sugarcoat or spin this one any other way. The Eagles got hammered by a pretty good team. They can ill afford a repeat performance next week versus the 0-2 Chiefs.

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