Rebuilding Looks Like This

Eagles Brian Westbrook was brought down by Bengals Brandon Johnson last weekend for a three yard loss in the OT quarter. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

Updating from below: (Confusing, but that's how the kids do it on these internets, apparently):

  Rebuilding sure is fun, isn't it, Eagles fans? Kevin Kolb just led the team downfield, five first downs in a row, first and goal from the Ravens' 1. Kolb tried a QB sneak; it didn't work. No worries, three more runs at it, right?

  Not for an Andy Reid-coached team, of course. The next play was a pass, not a quick pass but a look-around-at-all-your-options pass, thrown by a young quarterback who did not prepare all week to play in this game. He was fooled by Ed Reed, who set an NFL record with a 108-yard interception return and a 29-7 Baltimore lead.

   Not only is the season down the tubes now, you really have to think Jeffrey Lurie, wherever he is, has to be thinking about coaching and personnel decisions. It's going to be an eventful offseason, if it ever gets here.


  Well, the Eagles just got caught in a blitz and rookie QB Joe Flacco, from Audubon, N.J., hit wideout Mark Clayton for a 53-yard touchdown that ought to just about settle this, with the Eagles' offense unable to get out of its own way. Baltimore leads, 22-7.

   Assuming this holds up, the Eagles probably have to win their remaining five games to make the playoffs. That seems a tad unlikely. They've benched their franchise quarterback, their $57 million corner (Asante Samuel) left this game with a neck injury, and their franchise running back, Brian Westbrook, is a shell of himself.

   The third Kevin Kolb possession just ended with an interception on that bomb down the sideline the Eagles have tried over and over again today, with disastrous results.

    The Ravens took a 12-7 lead when George Washington High's Jameel McClain burst in untouched on sav Rocca and blocked a punt out of the end zone for a safety, ending the second possession of the Kevin Kolb era, which moved backward steadily from the 20 to the 4.

  McClain, an undrafted free agent rookie from Syracuse, has two safeties this season. He had hoped to be drafted by his hometown Eagles, but they were way too smart to do that. 


   The Eagles just took the field for the second half with Kevin Kolb quarterbacking. He completed his first pass, a 7-yarder to Brent Celek.

   Donovan McNabb, now bundled on the sideline, completed just 2 of 11 passes, with 2 bad picks, after starting the game 6-for-7.


     Quintin Demps just broke the longest return by an Eagles rookie ever, 100 yards to pull the visitors within 10-7 with a minute and 37 seconds left in the first half.

   Previously: Will the third turnover be the charm? Fans clamoring for Kevin Kolb undoubtedly hope so. After the Ravens took a 3-0 lead on a 44-yard field goal, Donovan McNabb threw his second interception of the first half, a terrible throw behind DeSean Jackson, picked off by Ed Reed. On the return, Reed tried to lateral to Samari Rolle, who was surprised, and let the ball fall to the turf, where the Eagles seemed to recover.

   Ahh, but the NFL rules said otherwise. Reed's lateral was called an illegal forward pass and blown dead. Was it really a forward pass? Well, because the ball hit the ground and was blown dead, the call was not reviewable. And the Ravens were not penalized, because Jon Runyan roughed somebody behind the play.

  Three plays later it was 10-0 on a 1-yard Joe Flacco TD pass to tight end Daniel Wilcox.


   The Eagles have turned it over twice in a scoreless first half. First time, they were driving, first down at the Ravens' 24, Donovan McNabb seemed to be in sync, completing six of his first seven, and then Jarret Johnson went around Tra Thomas and plucked the ball off McNabb's fingertips as the QB cocked to throw.

  That one, you couldn't blame McNabb. The next one, you could. On third and 1 from  his 17, McNabb threw long down the right sideline for DeSean Jackson -- a ridiculous choice, and one that got worse when the ball hung up and was picked off by Fabian Washington.

  Fortunately, the Ravens' offense seems even less likely to score than the Eagles'. It just moved backward from the pick and had to punt on fourth and 37.


     Brian Westbrook is in, for better or worse. Westbrook was not on the list of inactives passed out in the press box for today's game at Baltimore. Lorenzo Booker was, which means the Eagles must have some confidence that Westbrook is able to play a substantial role, with Correll Buckhalter their only other active running back.

 Also interesting is the fact that though he is not listed in the changes to the starting lineup handed out by the Eagles, Akeem Jordan will start at weakside linebacker instead of Omar Gaither, apparently in an effort to do a better job against the Ravens' strong run game. There have been reports that Brent Celek will start ahead of L.J. Smith at tight end; an Eagles spokesman said it might be that Celek will play more than usual, and he might or might not start.

  Stay tuned for updates ...