Philadelphia Eagles Remain In Playoff Hunt


Oct 26, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles outside linebacker

Trent Cole

(58) reacts after being flagged for roughing the passer as Arizona Cardinals quarterback

Carson Palmer

(3) looks for a hand up during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles Remain In Playoff Hunt

Philadelphia Eagles remain in playoff hunt despite losing a second west coast heart-breaker.   And yes, heart-breaker was what it was.  Once more, the Eagles found themselves with the ball and within striking distance of a victory: despite the bad calls, the turnovers, and the Eagle-killing performance of Larry Fitzgerald.    Once more, the Eagles found themselves short.

The game was one of the better games of the day, and certainly if you wanted a game that came down to the wire, you got it.   In a game with 104 passes thrown, not one quarterback sack happened.  On a day where the Eagles defense came to play, it was the big play offense of the Arizona Cardinals who won the day.  On a day where the Eagles offense actually won the time of possession, on  a day where the Eagles ran 82 (yes count em, 82) plays, and on a day where the referees literally penalized the teams at a level that equals the offensive output of an NFL team on a bad day…. the Eagles came close but no “Weo”.

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Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin came to play.  Despite the formidable Cardinals defensive backfield, Maclin lit up the field with a twelve catch, 187 yard two touchdown performance.  Eagles running back LeSean McCoy had several runs for negative yards, but his 83 yard performance against the number one rushing defense was pretty good.   The Eagles offense did have sparks for hope today.   Quarterback Nick Foles threw 36 completions for 411 yards.  The Eagles rushes for 110 yards against a team that had NOT allowed 100 yards rushing.   Despite the big plays, the Eagles pass defense held Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer to a sub .500 completion rate.  Take out two killer passes – an 80 yard touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald and a 75 yard touchdown to wide receiver John Brown – and the Eagles had the Cardinals passing game in check.

The game had plenty of reasons to leave a fan upset.   The referees had no problem calling “hands to the face” on Eagles tackle Jason Peters, but seemed to turn a blind eye to horse-collar tackles on Arizona defenders trying to bring down an Eagles ball carrier.   They had no problems calling an illegal “pick” play on the Eagles, but that same blind eye stared blindly as the Cardinals ran a similar play to spring wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald for an 80 yard touchdown.   The referees caught the Eagles making a “low block”, but completely missed the helmet launching of Cards linebacker Deone Bucannon against wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, contacting his full helmet along the side of Maclin’s helmet which such force that his own helmet flew off and Jeremy Maclin was reported to be bleeding from the ears.  It seemed that despite the 19 meaningless and game killing penalties called in the game, the officials missed plenty of meaningful penalties that should have been called.

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  • Before today, many considered the Philadelphia Eagles to be the team to beat in the NFC East.  Had they won today’s game, it would have been difficult to imagine these Eagles losing more than four.  But nearly as many considered the Eagles to be that “lucky team” whose record could easily have been two wins and four losses.   After today’s game, that crowd grows silent.

    But there is the reality that the Eagles have lost two games, and are in the division with front runner Dallas Cowboys whose schedule looks to have little challenges with the exception of the two games with the Eagles.   Considering the annual home-field advantage every year on thanksgiving, the Eagles may be looking at the playoffs from the wild card track this year.   Unless the Dallas Cowboys, who have fallen from successful starts to seasons, fall this year when the weather turns colder, the Eagles will be competing for the post season with road trips and an extra game.

    There’s another version of this though.  Despite a long trip to a very good team’s stadium, these Eagles were clearly in a position to win it.   There are no undefeated teams in the NFL this year.   However you look at it, the Eagles biggest foe so far seems to be themselves.  At five wins and two losses in seven games, the team is far better than a three win in eight games start from a year ago.

    “I thought our defense was playing really, really well.  I had confidence in them and told them.” – Chip Kelly

    You will read articles about the way these Eagles have lost two games from their own mistakes.  But don’t make this mistake: Don’t look at the game we’ve lost to the Arizona Cardinals in the view of what we did not do.   This team battled turnovers, bad referee calls (and no calls) and the best team in the NFC right now on their home field and nearly won the game.

    If we meet again, we’ll win.  And the only way to meet again is by winning and getting to the playoffs.