Eagles Fall in 4th Again, 21-17
Another week, another fourth quarter lead and the Eagles figured out another way to lose, falling to the Arizona Cardinals, who snapped an 11 game road losing streak, 21-17 at Lincoln Financial Field.
Keep in mind, this is a Cardinals team that was playing with it's back-up quarterback and is traveling across the country at 2-6, their season was virtually over.
This loss was just another in a long line of disappointing finishes for a team that had such high expectations after a free spending off-season. The Eagles haven figured out ways to be the only team in NFL history to cough-up fourth quarter leads in in four home games and overall and lost seven of their last eight games at home dating back to last season.
“We are not finishing, admitted tight end Brent Celek. "We need to come together and play as a team. That’s how you win football games. It’s time for us to start coming together and getting it done, because we have the talent, we have the coaches and it’s time for us as players to execute. They put a team together like this and we are showing what we are showing, it’s an embarrassment.”
The next question has to be, is Andy Reid's job in jeopardy?
Sure we have asked this from time-to-time, but the way this team is losing games late and some of the head-scratching decisions he has made (hiring Juan Castillo comes to mind), finally "I need to do a better job" might turn into 'Its time to find another job".
The Castillo move is the biggest puzzler of all.
On a team that has Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel in their secondary, they figured out a way to get carved up by a second-year quarterback from Fordham, John Skelton, to the tune of 315 yards and three touchdowns. In the final drive of the game, somehow an all-pro wide-out, LarryFitzgerald was matched-up with a rookie safety who wasn't good enough to dress in most of the games this season, now he is one-on-one with an all-pro.
The decision to pay Asomugha was embraced by the fans, but the way in which Juan Castillo has used him has not. Advertised to be one of, if not the best cover guy on the planet, Castillo has used him in a zone look, and he has looked lost. Cullen Jenkins was supposed to provide a push up the middle, yet in back-to-back games against mediocre (at best) offensive lines, the Eagles have generated no pressure and almost refuse to blitz.
“Yeah, we just have to really take one day at a time and keep working," explained Castillo after another disappointing performance by his defense. "We see some good things, we just have to make some plays and win the game.”
Here is an idea: your two highest paid defensive players play cornerback, so let them play and go after the quarterback. The whole thought process was get a lead, and make teams throw into your strength on defense. The way Castillo calls this defense, teams want to throw at the Eagles soft coverage.
“I don’t know. It’s got the chemistry and the camaraderie, so, I don’t know, said Asante Samuel about what the defense might be missing. "Everybody has to groove together and figure things out together, and have each other’s back. We have a lot of new players and new coaches, we just need to figure everything out at the end of the day.
On offense, the team deactivated DeSean Jackson for missing a team meeting and Jeremy Maclin got hurt, yet the team still threw the ball 34 times and gave LeSean McCoy just 14 carries. It wasnt like McCoy was ineffective, he gained 81 yards or 5.8 per carry when given the chance to tote the rock.
“They kept bringing guys into the box," McCoy explained about the lack of work. "That’s probably why we threw the ball as much as we did. I am never going to judge the calls though.”
It's easy to say after a game like this that Reid could be in trouble, what more does Jeff Lurie think he can accomplish This team has been the king of close-but-no-cigar, but now it looks like the ash is finally falling off, the Eagles look to be out of smoke. Fizzling away to an also-ran, from a team that was consistently playing meaningful football deep into the season.
Sloppy play, penalties, dropped passes, poor decisions, and bad schemes have led this team to 3-6, blowing leads every game but one this season. The team has lost seven of their last eight at home and all we hear after from Reid is: "I need to do a better job" along with "We all have a hand in this and it starts with me".
“We need to focus on the details and come together," Celek stated. "I think it’s easy, when you have a record of 3-6, to go your separate way. We need to come together and play for each other, the city and the organization.”
Finally, lets hope Lurie is listening to not only Reid, but his fan base; because they are sick and they are tired. For once, maybe Lurie will step-in and and say "You need to do a better job and so do we, your time is up."
At this point, what do you have to lose? Another fourth quarter lead?