Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Eagles collapse again

Cardinals 21, Eagles 17

Eagles collapse again

Jeremy Maclin lets a pass go through his hands on Sunday against the Cardinals. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Jeremy Maclin lets a pass go through his hands on Sunday against the Cardinals. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

It was a spectacularly bad game. It was a game so terrible that, sources say, the NFL’s marketing office has already requested every available copy of the film and prepared the kindling for a bonfire.

And it might just have been the end of the Eagles’ season.

It was a day when the Eagles, yes, blew another fourth quarter lead. Because of that, the game was 14-14 in the middle of the final period. Then, Alex Henery kicked a 36-yard field goal with 5:06 remaining to put the Eagles back in front. It followed an interception by Nnamdi Asomugha.

But then the Eagles blew the lead again. Cardinals quarterback John Skelton threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Early Doucet to put Arizona ahead for good, 21-17, with 1:53 remaining. It was a touchdown set up by a long pass to Larry Fitzgerald -- who had two earlier touchdowns -- a play in which Fitzgerald was inexplicably being covered by safety Jaiquawn Jarrett.

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And on their final possession, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was unable to muster the kind of come-from-behind drive that would have redeemed what was, for him, a disappointing day.

So, the Eagles’ record is now 3-6. Their chances of somehow making the playoffs are predicated upon their ability to run the table from here and win their final seven games of the season.

You do the math.

The pre-game headline was that wide receiver DeSean Jackson was inactive because he slept through a meeting on Saturday morning. After the kickoff, the story was all about the offensive ineptitude of both teams. The Cardinals’ problems made sense, given their overall talent level and the fact that Skelton was running things in the absence of Kevin Kolb and his bum toe. The Eagles’ problems made much less sense -- because while Jackson has his explosive moments, no wide receiver alters games that much by himself. Of course, Jeremy Maclin’s in-again/out-again day -- because of shoulder and hamstring injuries -- were also a significant issue.

Continuing a pattern, Vick was erratic and ineffective. He threw two interceptions overall. One was a red zone interception. He had another one called back because of holding penalty that occurred 20 yards away from the interception in the end zone, and had another one overturned by a replay challenge that only took place because the scoreboard operator came up with a definitive replay and then froze it on the Linc’s enormous video screens until Eagles coach Andy Reid finally dropped the red challenge flag.

The final interception, with 34 seconds remaining, on a ball badly overthrown up the left sideline, was the end.

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
About this blog
Rich Hofmann arrived at the Daily News in 1980 for a job whose status was officially designated as "full-time, temporary." A senior at Penn at the time, he was hired to fill in on the copy desk during a staff illness. The notion of him covering the Eagles or being a columnist did not exist in anyone's imagination. It was supposed to be six weeks and out, but he never left. It is only one of the reasons why so many people have concerns about him as a potential house guest. Rich has blogged the postseasons of the Flyers and Eagles. E-mail Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com Reach Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com.

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
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