There is no joy in Eagle land today after Matt Bryant’s 62 yard field goal as time expired capped another bizarre game by the Eagles. No, wait, not bizarre. Poor. Yeah, that’s the right word for it. Poor.
Are the Eagles a good team? The statistics say they are – I guess. Yesterday they rolled up 506 yards of total offense; running 63 plays gaining an average of 8 yards per play.
Fans and talking heads have been complaining that third down efficiency has been poor – well, yesterday, it wasn’t. The Birds went 7 for 11, a conversion rate of 64%.
A more telling stat, though is the one called “Goal-To-Go Efficiency,” where they went 0-1 right there at the end of the first half. Not that I’m pleased to see 5 throw 2 picks returned for TDs – but just how much can I really blame on him? The guy more than made up for his mistakes and put the Eagles in a position to win. But that play at end of the first half was a complete mental meltdown on all involved parties – but, eh, I dunno who the involved parties were. Was McNabb really supposed to throw that ball? Was Smith really supposed to run a route that kept him in front of the End Zone? Coach Reid, please tell me you didn’t draw up a play that called for Smith to catch that ball.
(Side note: why don’t the Eagles ever dial up a damn bootleg down there? Or have they, and I just haven’t noticed?).
So whom to blame for this latest fiasco? – and yes, you need to call it a fiasco. Here’s why: the Eagles are making the same mistakes week after week. Poor penalities, shaky special teams, poor starts.
For those of you whining about the Phantom Mask call, you’re just plain wrong. It would be hard not to call this intentional, given the view here.
So why is McDougle kicking the penalty flag in that case? What does he think that will accomplish, exactly? Give ’em an extra 15 yards, why not?
That led directly to 3 points given away. Given away. If you’re going to blame McNabb – and you should – for giving away 14 points, then don’t you have to give him credit for getting back 21? But here the decision to give 15 yards to the – let’s face it – useless Bucs offense is unforgiveable. In one play the Eagles surrendered 30% of the field – all of their own volition.
And then again after Westbrook scored to take the lead 21-20, the special teams coverage was horrid.
Credit, though, to Bruce Gradkowski for having the presence of mind to throw the ball away quickly to allow the shot at the field goal.
Now, a lot of folks have made a Big Deal out of Bryant’s field goal, Bryant may not be known as a long field goal kicker, but the truth is, he’s never had – well any chances, as it turns out. (Thanks for asking that question, Dad!). In his first 3 seasons in the league, spanning 31 games total, with the New York Giants(27), Indianopolis Colts(1) and Miami Dolphins(3), Bryant had attempted exactly … Zero field goals of 50 yards or more. Zero!
Last year, Gruden sent him out there for Field Goals of 50 or more yards twice, and he hit once.
Oh, I forgot my original point – the Eagles are not a good football team. Good football teams do not continue to make the same mistakes week in and week out. Falling behind early, poor clock management and poor penalties are making every week an adventure. That none of these problems are getting corrected means they are not a good team.
Can they straighten this out? In 3 losses this year, the answer seems to be no. Not Good.