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Eagles' Comeback Bid Grounded Intentionally

Just two weeks removed from end-game heroics, the Eagles were unable to finish another literally last-second comeback after QB Nick Foles was called for intentional grounding.

The Eagles had more first downs than the Redskins, outgained them by 100 yards and ran 20 more offensive plays than did the Redskins on their way to yet another demoralizing loss.

The reasons the Eagles managed to lose their 10th game in 11 outings are twofold: they again lost the turnover battle, and they again were badly outplayed in the red zone. Final score: 27-20.

Nick Foles played relatively well, but committed two costly turnovers. The Eagles defense intercepted a pass for the first time in 270 pass attempts by opponents—spanning an unbelievable 9 games—but it was too little, too late.

More damaging was the disparity in Red Zone effectiveness between the two teams. The Eagles converted just 1 of 3 opportunities, while the Redskins were 3-3 within 20 yards. That more than erased the Eagles advantage in yards and first downs.

The Eagles defense is soft and toothless; that is beyond dispute. No matter any statistics to the contrary, and there aren’t many, this defense is an embarrassment to the Green and Silver.

There are gaping holes all over the field in which opponents can roam without fear because the Eagles have no hard-hitters in the defensive backfield. The shoddy tackling, poor coverage and average pass rush are not what the Eagles have long been known for. It is a disgrace for any longtime Eagles fan to watch.

The offensive line is horrendous. It allowed 5 sacks on Foles, and Eagles running backs frequently met defenders in their own backfield a split-second after taking a handoff. Provided some injured offensive linemen return next year, the line should be a lot better, but that seems a long way off right now.

Lesean McCoy played well in his return, making Foles’ job a little easier. The rest of Foles’ supporting cast is comprised of too many backups. He finished 32-48 for 345 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Those impressive numbers should be graded on a curve because his protection was poor all game long.

Brandon Graham did not record a sack, but again played well, leading the team with 7 tackles. There were few other positives to point to regarding the Eagles D.

The only significance of this dressed-up preseason game was that it was probably the last home game for Andy Reid. It ended fittingly.

Foles engineered the 2-minute drill admirably again, driving the Eagles down to the Redskins 5-yard-line with less than 20 seconds left on the clock. Foles made a costly bad decision and tried to elude a tackler instead of getting rid of the ball early. He did finally get rid of it under duress, and with 1 second left on the clock, he had one more chance to recreate the last second TD he threw against Tampa Bay.

What seemed like 5 minutes later, the officials stepped in and called a very questionable intentional grounding penalty. That carries with it a 10-second runoff and the game was declared over. Eagles fans were deprived of even an opportunity to play spoiler. Officials are there to officiate, not decide the game. Referee Ed Hochuli often forgets that and did so again Sunday.

Andy Reid’s impressive accomplishments of his first 12 seasons should not be minimized. However, this team is back to being the basement-dweller it was when he became HC in 1999. Clearly, it is time to go in a new direction. Over the next two-to-three weeks, fans will be watching with Eagles-eyes to see if Jeff Lurie agrees. 

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Larry O'Doyle December 28, 2012 at 02:40 PM
That is complete heresy on your part Mr. Diviney and also absolutely true. However, the defense was always the strength of the team during Andy's tenure. Also, I feel that the blame for the the two worst championship losses (TB, Carolina) falls at the feet of of Big Red and his premature abandonment of the running game. That's how I FEEL and feelings are not right or wrong they are just FEELINGS. Tootaloo Andy
Bo December 28, 2012 at 04:12 PM
When does this get boring? No the defense wasn't the strength, it was overrated by us cause we like the attacking style, and Mike is dead on Jim Johnson wasn't that great just like Buddy Ryan wasn't that great. No the blame should be shared on both sides, but we don't like words like finesse around these parts, which had its shortcomings and failures as our offensive scheme. Mike is dead on for pointing out something that often gets ignored. This is a train wreck, wherein I was trying to remember why you fall in love with your team, cause right now is hard seeing the light at the end of the ...
Bo December 28, 2012 at 04:33 PM
What is most frustrating going forward is having this roadblock of howie roseman in the way. The most important relationship on an NFL team is that one between the head coach and the GM and if any top flight perspective coach doesn't feel that with howie, or believe in him, they'll say thanks but no thanks and we'll have to eventually accept a coach who is a few notches below our expectations. This sucks!
Bo December 30, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Joe Banner loves our old GM Heckert so much it appears he and #5's old QB coach will be fired by monday. http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2012/12/cleveland_browns_vs_pittsburgh_2.html
Long-Underwear Man December 30, 2012 at 02:22 AM
The Eagles should close out the season with a win to go out on a winning note

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