Tuesday, February 9, 2016

For Eagles, a total disaster

Patriots 38, Eagles 20

For Eagles, a total disaster

A Vince Young pass intended for DeSean Jackson gets intercepted by the Patriots´ Antwaun Molden. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
A Vince Young pass intended for DeSean Jackson gets intercepted by the Patriots' Antwaun Molden. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

This day will be remembered as a complete and total disaster for the Eagles. There is no other way to view it.

It was a day when DeSean Jackson dropped three passes, two of them in the end zone, one more timid than the next. It was a day when the crowd twice chanted two words that they have not chanted before, not in almost 13 years: “Fire Andy.”

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady toyed with the Eagles’ defensive backs when he wasn’t carving them up into bite-sized pieces. Safety Nate Allen has never been worse. And on the other side of the ball, the Eagles came out firing, gained a 10-0 lead, and then completely forgot about LeSean McCoy, the running back who was leading the NFL in rushing yards as the day began.

The result was a 38-20 win for the Patriots that leaves the Eagles with a 4-7 record and no realistic hope of making the playoffs. They are left with two choices, one more of a fantasy than the other: that enough teams would collapse down the stretch, or that the Eagles would somehow find a way to win the rest of their games.

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There isn’t a lot else to say. Playing without starting quarterback Michael Vick (ribs), starting wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (hamstring) and starting cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (knee), except in certain packages, it wasn’t the ideal lineup to be going up against a team with the firepower that the Patriots can display. But the Eagles wilted.

It isn’t as if New England receiver Wes Welker is some secret weapon, but he was open all day. As for Brady, the Eagles had to hit him to win the game, and they did hit him a couple of times early, but Brady began to get ready of the ball quickly, and in rhythm, and the pass rush had no chance.

On the other side of the ball, quarterback Vince Young threw for the most meaningless 400 yards in the history of the league. Even with that, nobody could hold on to the ball. Jackson’s drops were the most egregious, but they were only a part of a team-wide inability to hang on to the ball. There might have been a half-dozen dropped passes overall. And Jackson spent the last few series of the game on the bench, for whatever reason.

Meanwhile, all of this continues to fall on the head coach. The chanting of “Fire Andy” was a new wrinkle added to a terrible year. Now that the playoffs are beyond improbable, the question of whether or not this team completely implodes -- and what that might mean for Reid -- will dominate the final five weeks of the season.

With all of that, there was no chanting at the end of the game. Then again, there were almost no people left in the stands at the end of the game.

Daily News Executive Sports Editor
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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 Executive Sports Editor
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