If you are looking to define the term ineptitude, simply watch a replay of the Patriots – Eagles game from yesterday; and least the Philadelphia parts of the game. The same problems that have been plaguing the Eagles all season reared their ugly head again, this time against a vastly superior opponent … and it showed.
The first drive of the game was great for Philly, with Riley Cooper catching a bomb down the middle of the field and the Eagles jumping out to a quick 7-0 lead. The defense was able to get pressure on Tom Brady, harassing him for the first 2 drives of the game, and the Eagles were up 10-0. To the surprise of most, things were looking good. Then, as I imagine most expected, it all started to fall apart.
New England moved to a more up-tempo, no huddle offense, which seemed to completely befuddle the hapless Eagles. Gone was the pressure they were previously able to throw at Tom Brady. The Patriots were running the ball effectively, more so it seemed than the Philly coaching staff anticipated. The success in the running game opened up the short and intermediate routes that Brady loves, surgically dismantling an overmatched Eagles defense.
If the Philadelphia coaching staff was as caught off guard by the Patriots use of the no huddle offense as it appeared, it is an indictment of their ability to gameplan for an opponent, and they need to be relieved of their duties. It’s not like this is the first time that New England has ever used the no huddle throughout the game, and it is something that Philly should have been expecting.
The seeming lack of an effective gameplan, when combined with the Eagles usual defensive woes (blown coverage, lack of discipline and poor tackling) was a recipe for disaster. This was especially true, considering the Eagles defensive track record against tight ends and the fact that the Patriots boast two of the best young tight ends in the league in Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski (who combined for 10 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown). Brady was content to dink-and-dunk the Eagles to death, all the while waiting for the big shot that he is so well equipped to execute.
In the 2nd quarter, Brady made a half-hearted attempt at a play-action fake, which completely baffled Joselio Hanson and Nnamdi Asomugha and allowed Wes Welker to run free down the seam for a 41 yard touchdown pass. Either Hanson or Nate Allen could have jumped in on coverage, but neither chose to do so, and it resulted in an easy pitch and catch for Brady and his favorite receiver. In the fourth quarter, Gronkowski absolutely beat Hanson and got inside position, getting himself wide open and allowing Brady to hit him in stride for yet another touchdown.
Listening to Vince Young’s postgame press conference, he seemed relatively happy with his 400 yard performance, despite the Eagles loss. That basically sums up this Eagles team: a group of individuals who are content with personal success, even if it doesn’t translate into success for the team as a whole. DeSean Jackson couldn’t get his head in the game again, dropping a sure touchdown pass from Young in the end zone and short-arming another relatively easy catch in the end zone for fear of getting hit. Somehow, LeSean McCoy is still the league’s leading rusher, despite getting a whopping TEN CARRIES for 31 yards, with a long run of 22 yards. McCoy has 1,050 rushing yards on the year, resulting from 198 carriers. If he were utilized in a more lucid fashion by the Eagles coaching staff, he would more than likely be over 1,500 yards at this point in the season, if not approaching 2,000. It boggles the mind how quickly the Eagles coaching staff abandons the run week in and week out, despite having the league’s leading rusher. McCoy has achieved this level of success despite the Eagles coaches, not because of them.
It was yet another laughable performance at home by Philadelphia, who is now 1-5 at home this season and 1-8 in their last 9 home games dating back to last year, including the playoffs. Frustrated fans loudly voiced their opinions beginning in the 3rd quarter, when a chorus of “Fire Andy” chants rained from every corner of Lincoln Financial Field, which the coach and players acknowledged hearing. Maybe the fans were right, maybe they were wrong. One thing remains certain, however, and that is that major changes need to occur in this organization for the team to begin to regain some semblance of respectability next year, considering this year is already lost.