For the second time in four weeks, the Eagles managed to transform a late-game lead against the hated Dallas Cowboys into a double-digit loss in shockingly quick fashion. 38-33 was the margin this time, but that is largely immaterial.
Hamstrung by a hideous defense and butter-fingered offensive players, the Eagles fumbled and blew more coverages than a high school team to lose their eighth game in a row. This team will do whatever is necessary to allow its opponents to beat it.
These lack of heart and pride from this team is never more evident than when the game is on the line. It is sickening to any fan who has supported the franchise year after year, decade after decade.
For the second year in a row, really, nothing positive can be salvaged from the corpse this Eagles season became before we even reached Thanksgiving. In normal seasons, as December arrives, the NFL season becomes that much more intense. Fans salivate for late-season, cold-weather games against fierce divisional rivals, all waging battle for a coveted playoff berth.
This Eagles team is unworthy of battle, led by a soon-to-be ousted general who cannot instill in his players the work ethic he himself has. His time here has come and gone, and even he is aware of it.
The rabid Eagles fan base has been deprived of that which NFL fans love most. It has been reduced to viewing these last five games through the prism of what could help the Eagles in the future. It is not the way any fan wants to watch regular-season games, but unfortunately, that is where we are.
Foles still showing poise
Given that caveat, there were some important developments last night. Nick Foles played by far his best game. He did not throw an interception and showed his now-customary poise in the pocket. He threw a 15-yard strike to Riley Cooper who made a beautiful one-handed grab in the end zone.
Interesting to note: although Foles is far less mobile than Michael Vick, he gets sacked much less frequently than Vick did, and he is playing behind an offensive line that is even more decimated than the one which was protecting his predecessor. Further evidence that many of the Eagles offensive troubles were caused by Vick’s frenetic, turnover-laden play.
What can Brown do for you?
Foles led the Eagles to their highest point total of the season by a significant margin. He was aided greatly by the second important positive development, RB Bryce Brown. The league has seen RBs burst onto the scene before and then fade quickly—but not often.
That bodes well for Brown, who has undoubtedly burst onto the scene. It has only been two games, but he looks like a star in the making. He is 223 pounds and ran a 4.37 at the combine. He looks unstoppable at times, even behind a makeshift offensive line.
Watching him amass close to 100 yards in the first half alone for the second week in a row, he looked too good to be real. Fittingly, in this Eagles season, he is: he lost a costly fumble again. Brown is vintage 2012 Eagles; two starts, 347 yards, 4 TD’s, 3 lost fumbles. One step forward requires two steps backwards for any 2012 Eagles player.
However, Brown’s talent is undeniable and tantalizing. Plenty of good running backs have resolved fumbling issues; there's no reason to think he cannot do the same this offseason.
Run Eagles, Run
It is unfortunate that the Eagles' two best players, McCoy and Brown, play the same position. Lurie would do well to be aware of that when selecting the next coach. If Foles is competent, as he appeared to be tonight, the Eagles should hire a coach who favors the run.
If the Eagles get their injured linemen back next year and have two outstanding backs to run the ball forty times a game, fans would be thrilled to have the smash-mouth style for which they have clamored for at least five years.
Playing smash-mouth helps a young QB. It also requires a stout defense. This current defense will not do. Collectively, they are an embarrassment. They are so toothless, they should be ashamed to wear the Eagle uniform.
They cannot or won’t tackle, they again did not sniff a turnover last night—for the fourth game in a row. It is mind-boggling how bad they are. They have set record QB ratings for their opponents since Todd Bowles took over as DC, allowing more than thirty points a game on his watch.
Some observers say you cannot put it all on the coach. That is usually true except for that, with the same players, within the same season, they were much better under Juan Castillo. That is not to say Castillo was the answer; it is to say Bowles is not.
The Cowboys came into the game ranked dead last in the entire NFL in rushing and gashed the Eagles for 123 yards. Andy Reid goes somewhere else to restart his career. Bowles should do the same, as a position coach, at best.
This season has been over for some time. Andy Reid will soon be gone. The fan base will suffer through another meaningless December. Is the faint glimmer of hope provided by Foles and Brown enough to hold onto? It has to be—because we have no other alternative.