Thank You For Choking

Posted: December 16th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 73 Comments »

December. Dallas. Big lead. What could go wrong?

In a word…everything.

The Eagles made us all miserable for 3 hours on Sunday afternoon. Then the Packers made that worse for 90 minutes as they fell behind Dallas 26-3. That’s when the Dallas defense remembered that it can’t stop anyone and fell apart.

Tony Romo threw a pair of late INTs, although one wasn’t his fault. But why let facts ruin a good narrative, right? Romo and Dallas had the chokiest of chokes. They were at home. They knew the Eagles lost and that it was critical for them to win. They led by 23 points. And they were facing Matt Flynn.

And still Dallas found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. If Tony Romo is Charlie Brown, the month of December is Lucy, always moving the ball at the last second.

Good grief.

* * * * *

The Eagles now retain a 1-game lead in the NFC East. The Boys loss doesn’t wipe away the loss to the Vikings, but it sure makes that game a lot easier to swallow.

Sunday’s loss was incredibly frustrating. It is mind-boggling that the Eagles gave up 48 points to Matt Cassel. I literally didn’t think that was possible. The Eagles got blocked up front and then did a poor job in coverage.

And you really do have to give Cassel credit. He played great. This wasn’t like the dreadful 13-9 loss to Oakland back in 2009. That was a letdown game where the Eagles played awful football. Cassel and the Vikings made a ton of big plays today. There were too many wide open receivers, but there were a few plays where a receiver caught the ball inches away from a DB’s hand.

Give Leslie Frazier a ton of credit for having his team playing so well in recent weeks. If not for a miracle last week, the Vikings would be 3-0-1 in the last month. That’s impressive.

I’ll get into a more detailed post in the morning with some postgame analysis. There will  be plenty to discuss in the next few days.

I think the most important thing is not to look for a goat or a smoking gun. This was a team loss. And it had nothing to do with heart or effort. It was all about execution. The Eagles just made a ton of mistakes.

Chip Kelly and the staff need to identify the problems. They will then make corrections in practice this week.

Obviously the defense has some issues that are due to lack of talent. There isn’t much to do about that right now. That’s why execution is so critical. Units with lesser talent can’t afford to make mistakes.

* * * * *

While I’m frustrated with the loss, I’m not down on the Eagles. They’re still 8-6 and having a good year. There are highs and lows to every season.

I don’t see this as a case of the Eagles getting exposed. The Vikings played a great game on offense. We already knew the Eagles had weak spots on defense. Today was just a case of the problems all flaring up at the same time. Bradley Fletcher played his worst game of the season. Patrick Chung got burned for a long TD. Tackling was sloppy. Cole, Barwin and Graham were too invisible today.

The Eagles had been very stingy in the Red Zone. Not today. Minnesota was 5 for 6. Today the yards were backed up by points.

I do hope the Eagles got their clunker out of the way today. They can’t afford to play like this anymore.

_


  • Mitchell

    It will be nice to have that #1 corner though…. someday.

    • SteveH

      We were spoiled for a long time with talented corners, so I guess we were bound to regress to the mean at some point.

      • ICDogg

        Yes, we do need to get better there, but there are no shutdown corners anymore with the rules the way they are now.

      • Anders

        Does our run of good to great CBs go back to the pre Buddy years?

  • mtn_green

    I do see some fatal flaws.

    1. Lack of pass rush with decent blocking.

    2. DBS aren’t good enough to play tight, they will constantly give up the 5-8 yard reception due to scheme to overcome that lack of talent.

    3. Safeties are pretty bad on defending pass. No make up speed, poor ball skills.

    4. Seems that DBS are especially bad when refs call minor contact as PI.

  • ICDogg

    I hate losing, but if you’re going to lose, you may as well get beat badly.

    That way, they don’t get ideas like “if they had gotten a break or two with the officiating” or “if the opposing team hadn’t gotten lucky”… they know they were beat and know they have to do something about it.

  • Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran

    The Eagles threw the game because they knew Romo and the Boys would choke one out, and they want to be the ones to knock the Boys out of the playoffs, not some other team.

    Yea, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

  • SteveH

    “Tony Romo threw a pair of late INTs, although one wasn’t his fault. But why let facts ruin a good narrative, right?”

    Well one of the INT’s was his fault, so that’s good enough to fit the narrative in my book.

    Anyone else see newly extended with 9 million in guaranteed money cornerback Orlando Scandrick get owned by Jordy Nelson in the endzone? Thing of beauty I tell ya.

    This Eagles game sucked, it was brutal, we started slow and played bad through most of the game. I’m choosing to focus on the positives:

    Ced Thornton and Bennie Logan came to play, good games for both of them.

    Mychal Kendricks made some impact plays, good to see him back from injury and flying around.

    Nick Foles kept battling despite the adversity and made some good throws to get us back in the game.

    Matt Cassel will never play another game as good as that one for as long as he lives. I don’t know how that’s a positive for us but I’m putting it in anyway.

    Patrick Chung only has a handful of games left as an Eagle.

    DSJ bounced back from the sideline blowup and actually played really well. Awesome catch and run late in the game.

    Lesean Mccoy only had 8 carries, so less wear and tear on our best offensive player. Disingenuous I know.

    We let Brandon Boykin return a kick which got our best cornerback hurt. Wait am I still doing the positives list?

    Thank god for the Cowboys because today would have been misery squared if they hadn’t lost.

    • Kristopher Cebula

      I felt like Foles had a lot of poor throws today as well. Ball lacked it’s normal zip. Was throwing a lot of floaters. Also seemed like he wasn’t on the same page with the receivers a lot of times.
      Why isn’t Brad Smith returning kicks? isn’t he supposed to be a good KR?
      LOL Cowboys!

    • Maggie

      I believe it was the Cowboy DEFENSE who let the wounded Green Bay Packers score 37 points. Like the Eagles defense let the wounded Vikings score 48.

  • GENETiC-FREAK

    Well guess you could say Eagles n Cowgirls both choked today.. Sucks to lose to a understrength team when you know you should of won.. Good teams when these games

  • T_S_O_P

    Wow. I woke up and avoided looking at the scores after turning in last night with the ‘Pukes up 26-3. We have just been given a lesson by the Vikings, some good learning material and we got it for free. Ho ho ho!

    NFCE run down
    Eagles – they shouldn’t forget that they were 5-11, there was a reason
    Cowboys – Debbie may do Dallas, but December doesn’t
    Giants – The debacles elsewher in the East disguise their total inept performance
    Washington – Cousins distributed the ball to 111 different recievers but they go for 2 instead of for OT. Clearly no disfunction in the Capital!!!!

    • nicolajNN

      You know things went bad elsewhere in the division when a shut-out gets no attention

    • BlindChow

      I thought going for 2 at the end of the Washington game was an excellent decision. It’s preseason strategy in a game with 2 awful teams with no playoff implications. Going for overtime and playing another quarter doesn’t really help anyone.

    • Andy124

      4-12

      • T_S_O_P

        That’s the Chip affect, even after defeat, I feel good enough about the Eagles to improve their season last year.

        • Andy124

          Good point. 5-11 it is.

  • nicolajNN

    I don’t feel much different about the team now compared to before the game. I thought then as I do now, that on a good day we have a chance against any team. The flip-side to that, as seen yesterday, is that we don’t have the talent to have rough games and win, even against bad teams.

  • anon

    Glad the secondary got exposed hopefully Howie will remember in the off-season. That said I think the d relies on pass rush which we didn’t get. Way too much patting ourselves on the back recently.

  • Joseph Dubyk

    Did ANYONE have a good game? I felt like there were several plays where Foles had 4-5 seconds to throw and NOWHERE to go with the ball. It was a collective effort from the entire team to play bad.

  • Phyxius

    I think yesterday’s game did it for me. I’m done with DeSean Jackson. He proved what I already knew, he plays for himself; lacks heart. I’m disgusted that someone like him even wears that uniform, I will never cheer for that punk ever again.

    • Joseph Dubyk

      except besides Shady he’s our 2nd best offensive player.

    • A_T_G

      Really? I saw the play where he could have drifted out of bounds, but cut back inside and took it 50 yards even though the game was out of hand as a great sign that he is playing for team and took pride in the effort, regardless of the situation. I thought he showed more heart than in years past.

      • Phyxius

        A little too late for that. I’m done.

        • Kristopher Cebula

          So context means nothing with his statements? He was mad because he wanted to make a play and it didn’t happen. He was upset they were losing. Desean has had moments in the past of being a little bit of a dick but has been very professional recently. Did he have an outburst yesterday? Yes, but he was mad that the team was losing. Did you see Dez Bryant on the sideline yesterday? That, my friend, is an asshole. Made Desean look like a choir boy.

          • Phyxius

            Y’all can continue to cheer him on, that’s cool.

            Like I said, I’m done with that soft prick.

        • xeynon

          It’s an emotional game and guys get frustrated. Jackson wasn’t the first Eagle to go on a sideline tirade and won’t be the last.

          I’m with A_T_G here, this was one of Jackson’s gutsier performances. He stayed in bounds and took some big hits when he didn’t have to, even as the game was already out of hand. I’ll cut him some slack for losing his temper over one frustrating play.

      • bill

        Desean came to play. Had a small mental lapse when he didn’t notice the db cutting in – that happens. I’m actually glad to see that the team was upset, and that includes Jackson. You’re going to have these sorts of things when everyone cares about the details. I think Desean handled it the right way afterward. He went out and made a play(s). He didn’t pout.
        Kind of a refreshing change from the last two years where large parts of the team, sometimes including Desean, just really didn’t give a flying fart about the game, much less the details of technique during a game.

      • Anders

        We all hate guys who do everything in this offense and is having his best year of his career.

    • Maggie

      Lacks heart????????????????????

  • Daniel Norman Richwine

    Tommy, take your Buddy Ryan out of the basement and tell him his Birds need him again. Score 30 against the Vikings and you expect to win.

  • Corry

    I have to admit my faith has been shaken by that performance. It was a piss poor gameplan coupled with even worse execution. The offense did put up points and yards but just didn’t seem to pass the eye test for much of the game. Your opinion might be different, but something was just off. The defense should just be flat out embarrassed. They have to play better. You can’t let Matt Cassel do that. No excuse for them. As for the special teams…they were special alright. Dave Fipp was afraid of Patterson and it showed. For the all of the woes on defense, the special teams did them no favors by letting the Vikings start with awesome field position. Pathetic all around.

    But at least we aren’t the Redskins.

    • Andy124

      The offense did put up points and yards but just didn’t seem to pass the eye test for much of the game.

      At least some of that is because it’s being compared to an offense that put up 48 points imo. 30 doesn’t look so good in comparison.

      • ICDogg

        It’s just not the numbers. It’s what we’re seeing. Even a lot of the passes that were complete were difficult receptions. If it were not indoors this would be one thing – hard to gauge the effect of weather on throwing accuracy – but indoors, he shouldn’t be so far off with those throws.

        • Andy124

          Similar to the GB game. He may not have been quite as good as the numbers, but when the numbers are that good, he couldn’t have been too bad.

          The point I was making though is that it’s human nature to compare. When the offense that the Eagles are going against puts up 48 points, the Eagles offense is going to look “off” in comparison, regardless of the objective reality. That’s not the only factor, but it plays a role in how humans perceive and process the events they witness.

          • ICDogg

            We’ve seen Foles when he’s “on” and he looks a lot better than he did yesterday. Part (though certainly not all) of the reason the defense is having trouble is that the offense is going 3 and out early and often.

          • bentheimmigrant

            At the same time, there were like 3 drops in the first Q. I suspect he would have looked a lot better if Ertz had made that catch (yeah, it was a bit high, but pretty much would have hit his helmet) on the first drive. I have to say I was happy to see Foles fight back after a rough first half… Gave me some hope.

  • Frencheaglesfan

    I think it´s safe to say that our coach don ´t Believe in henery. I mean if you can ´t hit a touchback in a dome you Won ´t have a long career in an nfl team. His onside kick was good though. The play that end the game was that 3rd and long conversion of the Vikings TE, we were hot. That is really frustrating to have that loss but this week-end shows us that it happens to every team and we are still in control of our destiny. We do need help in the pass rush and secondary but I think our defense had a good year. Hope boykin and wolff Will be ok for next week, chung doesn ´t belong to an nfl team.

  • Julescat

    is the Dallas defensive coordinator finished?

    • nicolajNN

      As defensive coordinator for sure, Jerry will promote him to head coach once the season is over

  • A_T_G

    If one so chose, one could create a narrative where no one wants to win the NFCE, and use the lower draft pick as rationale:

    The four teams all look terrible to start, then the ‘Boys get on a bit of a roll, with some lucky bounces, and take the lead. Chip thinks we are far enough back that we are safe and relaxes the reins a bit. Next thing you know, we are gaining on the Cowboys, who see us coming and start to pump their breaks. Without intending, Chip overshoots and blows past the “Boys. This week, Chip tries to throw it into reverse, meanwhile the Cowboys make a statement that it is going to take more than that to pass this rotting hot potato. Meanwhile the other two NFCE teams are proudly securing their draft positions, one by playing chicken with victory before diving back to the safety of ineptitude while the other is bravely laying down in the street before the light even turns green.

    If one were to subscribe to this line of motivation (which I don’t) it sets up a final two weeks of a passively flat performance against the Bears before an actively bumbling performance by both teams to end the season, and I think it would be hard to out bumble the Cowboys in December.

    • TommyLawlor

      “I think it would be hard to out bumble the Cowboys in December”…great line.

    • ICDogg

      I’ve heard analysis from Terry Bradshaw that doesn’t make any more sense.

  • ATLeagle

    I am worried that the offense did get a bit exposed. I have been waiting for someone to stick to this type of D the entire time, and it seemed to work. Everything forced things away from the run, then had pressure combined with taking away the quick hits and first reads. Things fell apart. Too many yards and points were in garbage time, so I dont think the stat sheet is going to tell the truth.

    I dont see how it can be that the Eagles can decide they have to throw to catch up a week after scoring 20+ in one quarter on long runs. This was too much like Andy just getting happy to beat on the third string CBs and then forgetting that he had to dance with who brung him.

    • P_P_K

      Are you claiming we didn’t run enough? C’mon, Shady had 8 more carries than Adrian Peterson.

      • Kristopher Cebula

        and toby gerhart. COMBINED

        • ATLeagle

          hah, that power house speedster Foles got 5 more than those slacker punks!

    • bill

      If getting exposed is putting 30 points on the board, I think the offense is in pretty good shape. I’m no fan of the playcalling yesterday, and Foles was far from perfect, but compare his game to the other 2nd year signal callers yesterday. Are we holding him to a higher standard? If Wilson or Kap have a 3 td/ 1 int game, do you think it’s a loss for them? Do you think anyone’s picking their game apart, or do you think the internet would be abuzz with talk of their clutch performance in another convincing win?
      On the other hand, it’s hard to win games in the NFL when your D is letting a 2nd string journeyman QB and 3rd string RB hang over 45 points on you. And I hate playing scared on STs – it sends the wrong message. If you think you’re the better team, you tell your team to go out and execute, don’t play scared on STs.

      • ATLeagle

        that is a lot of garbage time though. At 4:30 left in the third quarter, the Eagles had a total of 3 field goals. From then on, Foles had 14 completions on 23 attempts , 2 sacks , and one delay of game. Of those 14 passes completed , 2 were under 10 yards, and 8 and a 2 . These are stats sheet numbers, so I cant tell you how many were quick throws for big gains, but the strategy was hold it and go deep for the game that i was watching.

        30 points only sounds good when you dont consider the other team was at 27 before we got a touchdown, and they could afford to sit back a bit.

        • xeynon

          Before that point the Eagles had had five possessions and moved the ball effectively in three of them, with the other two being short-circuited by a dropped pass and a sack. They had over 200 yards of offense at halftime despite hardly being on the field. And you can’t dismiss touchdowns that brought them to within one score in the third quarter as “garbage time scoring”. The offense was far from its best yesterday, but it wasn’t awful. If the defense puts up anything better than an all-time stinkfest they win that game.

  • Kristopher Cebula

    What is it about the Vikings that seems to get us every time?

    • jshort

      Think It’s the horn, our guys must love to hear it. They got to hear it all week in practice, and just simply fell in love with it.

    • Andy124

      It’s Joe Webb.

  • Dave

    I’m sort of surprised by all the negative Foles articles this morning. They all have the same gist, despite his good stats, he did not play well. I disagree wholeheartedly. It seems people look at some throws he missed and want to now nitpick that he was only 62% completion instead of 80%. That’s unrealistic.

    One thing that stood out in our passing game was that Cooper and Ertz are the only 2 players who will go up for a deep ball. I imagine that if that deep interception was to Copper that it would either have been caught, or knocked down.

    I’m still pretty stoked going forward that he is the real deal at QB. When you look at the QB ratings for all of Sunday’s games, Foles is the only QB in the top 15 on a losing team.

    • Andy124

      Mostly agree.

      Just want to point out that DJ has done a good job playing D when necessary this year. Based on various quotes and just watching the play, I don’t think he had any idea Prater was there. Just thought that ball was about to drop perfectly in to his hands.

      • bentheimmigrant

        Yeah. On the replay, it doesn’t look like Djax had a chance to really plant his feet and work back for it. It was underthrown, and Prater was locked onto it before DJax turned his head. It definitely didn’t look like DJax gave up on the play. Not that any of that matters. I suspect we’ll be fighting this myth for a few weeks yet.

  • Mike Roman

    Maybe losing is what this team needed. In hindsight, winning 8 games in a row to close out a season is not an easy task to accomplish – it was probably an unrealistic expectation. Make that 9 games in a row if we plan on hosting and winning a wild card game. Midway through the first quarter, I just thought we looked flat. The offense wasn’t executing and the defense wasn’t swarming to the ball like they have been for the past 5 weeks.

    Players can talk all they want about not taking a team for granted and even if they truly respect their opponent, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to get up for a game. I don’t think we can get too down on the team. I’m still in disbelief that we layed an egg yesterday but I don’t think we should be sounding any alarms. I truly believe the Eagles will come out fired up on Sunday night and take care of the Bears and get back on track and refocused. It won’t be easy but this Eagles teams almost seems to play better in pressure situations.

    • ICDogg

      Well, that’s what we have to hope for.

    • bdbd20

      I kinda agree with this theory.

      Sometimes you need a bad performance to re-focus. This game against Chicago will tell us a lot about the character of the team.

      If we’re just a mediocre team, then it’s best to know now than against Carolina or SF in the playoffs.

      • ICDogg

        Wonder if we’ll be squib kicking to Hester.

        • bdbd20

          I really think that garbage will be shelved after this game. It was probably a good idea when they drew up the gameplan, but it sent a poor message to the team.

          If you’re preaching competition on every play, it doesn’t look good to avoid competition out of fear of failure.

          • ICDogg

            I hope so. I think it’s roughly the equivalent of playing the prevent defense for the entire game.

          • bentheimmigrant

            I didn’t understand why we squibbed it when the rainbow kicks to the 20 worked as well as they did. Maybe to keep them guessing? Either way, after the second (if not the first) squib, they should have kept it off the ground.

  • ICDogg

    Can’t wait for the Ashley Fox article about this game.

    (hint hint)

  • ICDogg

    This is Eckel, so take it with a grain of salt. He asked a couple of NFL personnel guys to compare Foles to the other QBs in the league. (Note: this looks to have been before yesterday’s games).

    Better than Foles (according to both guys):

    Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay; Matthew Stafford, Detroit; Drew Brees, New Orleans; Matt Ryan, Atlanta; Cam Newton, Carolina; Russell Wilson, Seattle; Tom Brady, New England; Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh; Andrew Luck, Indianapolis; Peyton Manning, Denver and Phillip Rivers, San Diego.

    Split decision:

    Tony Romo, Dallas; Robert Griffin III, Washington; Jay Cutler, Chicago, and both of last year’s Super Bowl quarterbacks: Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco and Joe Flacco, Baltimore.

    Worse than Foles:

    Eli Manning, Giants; Christian Ponder, Minnesota; Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay; Carson Palmer, Arizona; Sam Bradford, St. Louis; Ryan Tannehill, Miami; EJ Manuel, Buffalo; Geno Smith, Jets; Weeden, Cleveland; Jake Locker, Tennessee; whomever Jacksonville and Houston decide to play; Terrelle Pryor, Oakland; Andy Dalton, Cincinnati and Alex Smith, Kansas City.

    http://www.nj.com/times-sports/index.ssf/2013/12/eckel_eagles_nick_foles_stock.html

    • Cafone

      I’m sure there are many names to quibble with there, but the one that sticks out to me is Big Ben. I think I would take all those split decision names, including Foles, over Ben these days.

  • AnirudhJ

    Scariest part of the game – not our god-awful secondary or the non-existant offensive line or the complete lack of pass rush. It was the coaching.
    - The kickoff strategy was mystifying. I’ve never seen a team go an entire game bullheadedly refusing to kick to a returner. Not even against Devin Hester (though admittedly, I haven’t seen every Hester game)
    - The run pass imbalance. Minnesota has a bad secondary, but we also have the best (healthy) running back in the league
    - Challenge
    - Playcalling – and not just the 4th and 1

    We can fix the secondary (at least in the offseason) and I’m guessing the O and D lines were just both having off days. The coaching just makes you wonder whether Chip Kelly really is a fundamentals focused coach or if he really will end up becoming a gimmicky kind of guy.

  • bentheimmigrant

    Went to bed sad because Dallas were like 80 points up. This epic choke has really brightened my day.

    As for our game, I give the Vikings’ O a lot of credit – they played exactly the right game for our D. Shorter throws underneath Williams, attack Chung, and take some chances deep against Fletcher. It was almost like they’d watched some of our games. Cassel looked like the 2008 version, so props to him for getting back in the groove.

    I don’t know if I could look at this game rationally so soon if it weren’t for the fact that Dallas sucks. Thanks Romo!

    • ICDogg

      pic.twitter.com/Ak3XB0YIhd

  • ICDogg

    new thread

  • bsuperfi

    Overreactions abound this week. Tommy’s right: we could’ve played better, but it’s not a completely intolerable loss.

    The offense scored 30, but it feels like they left points on the field. If one or two of those early FGs were TDs, it would be different. If Foles hit a couple more passes that looked doable, it would be different. But still, we should win a game when we hit 30.

    The defense was the main culprit (obviously). We have more talent weakness on that side of the ball. It showed today. It doesn’t always (or even usually) show.

    Our punting game also felt curiously off in the dome. As discussed, punting has been an important component of the win streak.

    But remember: it’s also a week when Manning and Brady lost games they should’ve won (to the extent it’s in the QB’s control). And now everybody’s questioning their teams.

    It’s the NFL. It’s a game of odds every week. The Eagles didn’t play terribly, but they lost against a Vikings team that played above its head.

  • Cafone

    Tommy: “Obviously the defense has some issues that are due to lack of talent.
    There isn’t much to do about that right now. That’s why execution is so
    critical. Units with lesser talent can’t afford to make mistakes.”

    I think this is the best explanation. Our defense doesn’t have a lot of talent. They need a lot of things to go right to play the way they’ve been playing recently. I give a lot of credit to Bill Davis and his assistants, and a nod to luck, that they haven’t been exposed more often over the last month or so.

    After referring to him as “interim defensive coordinator Bill Davis” earlier in the season, I’ve been pleased with the job Davis is doing lately. I look forward to seeing what he can do next year assuming we can bring in some more talent for our secondary.

  • Pingback: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, Eagles Laid an Egg | Sports Feedr