March 2, 2015

Defense, McNabb come up short, Eagles lose 4th NFC Championship Game

I’m writing this at halftime, and if we continue on the path we are on, I imagine I will be too ticked off to write anything after the game.

 Well, the Eagles look unprepared and over matched against this red-hot Cardinals squad. Where to start with the blame game?

  •  The defense is getting absolutely and completely ripped apart. The Cardinals have amassed 260 yards in the FIRST HALF.  Our run defense is pathetic, as the recently not-good-enough-to-play Edgerrin James has averaged 8.0 yards per carry. I have no explanation. They dominated the Giants, and the Giants have a better O-Line.
  • Jim Johnson, after repeatedly saying Larry Fitzgerald is their biggest concern, has repeated called defensive that match him up against safeties and let him run free across the middle of the field. It’s astonishing that this isn’t working.
  • Thinking it wasn’t enough to fall down on Fitzgerald’s 2nd TD, Quentin Demps decides to level Kurt Warner for a roughing penalty.
  • McNabb is missing open receivers, and the ones that he is hitting are not being hit in stride. His pass to Baskett would have gone for a TD with a good pass. Also, someone needs to explain to him what intentional grounding is.
  • The offense can’t finish drives. This has been a problem for the last 2 years, and it’s a problem again today.
  • Westbrook shouldn’t be playing. He is way too injured to be effective. Seems like that has been the case a whole lot during his career late in the season. Not sure how you go about fixing it.
  • How about the D-Ends? One of my main keys to the game was to pressure Kurt Warner, and we haven’t been able to.
  • How about Gene Wojohowski and all the morons who all but said we didn’t even have to play this game because it was a forgone conclusion. How you can be a professional sports writer and not understand sports is beyond me.

 Well, if we come back and win the 2nd half, I imagine this won’t be read.

 If we don’t, it’s clear that the Cardinals had a great game plan and executed it to near perfection. I’ll be rooting for them in the Super Bowl.

 On the Eagles end…no one thought we would get here and you have to appreciate it, but it certainly seems like the whole team is just out of steam. I imagine people will forget the Giants game, and rail on McNabb and Reid, some of it deserved, but if you asked me after that Bengals game whether or not I’d take 2 playoffs wins and a trip to the NFC Championship, even if we got embarrassed there? I’d have to take it.

 2nd Half Quick Notes

 Alright, since we made it so close, I’ll add a couple things.

  • Offense and defense played perfect up until the last drive for both. Defense let Cards march right down the field for the game winning score (including a horrible non-wrap up tackle by Quentin Demps at the goal line). McNabb had 2 poor throws on the last set of downs and sorry, but we got screwed on the non-PI call on Curtis on 4th and 10. Hood was grabbing his right leg before the ball got there. And even the clearly-rooting-for-the-Cards Troy Aikman thought so.
  • Seriously, David Akers?
  • McNabb will become the first QB to throw for 375 yards and 3 TD in a playoff game and get trashed after it. Some deserved, some not.

 90% of NFL teams would consider this a tremendous year for their team, but it doesn’t feel that way at all. Too many seasons have ended this way to take away much silver lining.

 Congrats to the Cardinals, and thanks to the Eagles for extending the football season into late January yet again. We might not appreciate it now, but we will when it’s gone.

 Time to go shave my beard and get the baseball preview going…


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  1. Zack says:

    About the game – like I said before, the Eagles’ coaching staff has trouble focusing when they think they’re better than the other team.  It’s really a shame.

    (Pete, since you mentioned the MLB preview here’s my two cents – you got me thinking about what I’d like to see, and what I would want are good reads, not really previews.  With previews, I tend to skip right to the Philly teams, look at the teams of the players I like, and then go to another website/put the magazine back.  I recommend giving an interesting take on each team, a special reclinergm take.  For example, for a team I couldn’t care less about, like the Orioles, I’d try to get a Philly reader’s interest by looking at their season right after Gillick’s last year, something like that.  Or think about what you would do if you needed to get the O’s to the top of the AL East within 3 years.  Do whatever you find interesting, I’m sure people will be interested, too.)

  2. J Dubbz says:

    From a football fans point of view that was a great football game.  From an Eagles fan, that freakin hurt.  You have to look at it this way, Tampa Bay threw away their playoff guarantee by losing to Oakland and gave the Eagles the luckiest playoff birth since I can remember.  TB was NOT supposed to lose that game.  So this playoff run was truely a bonus and where they went with it was waaaay better than expected.  It would have been nice to get to another Super Bowl, but a SB loss would have hurt 10 times more IMO.

    Back to a convo that was going the other day, is McNabb a HOF quarterback?  4th quarter, 3 mins left, 80 yards to the game winning TD, that is what makes a HOF quarterback.  If McNabb drives the field there and wins  one of the greatest comebacks in HOF history, then he is amoung the greats.  What he did is anything but HOF.  Do you think the likes of Montana/Elway/Young/Favre would have ended that game like that?  I don’t think so.  Not sure at this pointif McNabb is worthy, stats or not.  HOF QB gets it done in that situation.

  3. Pete says:

    interesting poll…..8,000+ responses….. I voted for Andy Reid

    Who takes the blame for the Eagles’ loss in the NFC title game?

    The defense
      3453 (41.9%)
    Donovan McNabb
      1462 (17.7%)
    David Akers
      396 (4.8%)
    Andy Reid
      672 (8.2%)
    No one is to blame; the Cardinals were better.
      2259 (27.4%)

  4. jkay says:

    jdubbz: i second you that this was a bonus they should have cashed on. the stars aligned just for them to get that wild card spot

    wow. McNabb again comes up short. heck this was his moment to become a hero….splat!! won’t do. this’ll sting fans for a while. but u gotta hand it to ‘em if they can drive the ball down the field on our NFC  best defense like that, then THEY deserve to be in the Super Bowl. In my opinion they were the better team tonite. not by much but enough to get it done. sleep it over ppl and start cheering the sixers and flyers.

    did you see all his YAC. crazy!! Samuel couldnt hold him back, heck it took 2 linebackers to keep him away from the yellow line on one play.

  5. jkay says:

    follow up to my last comment: if i was the commissioner i would have him tested  immediately , at least twice to be sure. what vegetables is he eating?

  6. Pete says:

    yeah, it really seems like McNabb can’t get over the hump… the question becomes….

    Do you want to be competitive and win a couple playoffs games with McNabb for the next couple years and then start over OR do you want him gone now and start over now?
  7. jkay says:

    you know the answer to that already. Lurie & Co. just care about tickets. will re-do McNabb’s contract and continue selling the same promise to the philly faithful that THIS year will be different…somehow. trust me, optimism will be at record levels again come training camp. just sign some receiver or something. that’ll keep ‘em happy.

    and honestly with the quality of QBs in the league so far, that may not be such a bad idea after all.

    to wait patiently for a hero…? or keep trying the same ole thing?
    frankly i think winning a SB is 30% luck; things have to go right – injuries, momentum etc. sucks that they wasted this one though.

  8. Ken says:

    I never had a doubt this team wouldn’t win today. I’ve seen this same ole story with Reid, McNabb, and the Eagles not performing up to par in the biggest games too often. I decided this time this team wasn’t going to break my heart, again. i refused to believe, I couldn’t.

    Personally, I would like to see Reid step down as GM but remain as coach. My feeling wouldn’t be hurt if McNabb is traded or released. His cap hit isn’t that bad anymore. Giving him a new contract would be insane. I’d like to see Banner do a true evaluation of the team from the top down. If guys like Gruden and Shanahan can get changed out we can’t the Eagles change a few things. Also. can we get a heavier running back to help out Westbrook? I love Buck but apparently the coaches lack faith in his abilities. Bye-bye LJ Smith and Greg Lewis.

  9. Morty says:

    My take is that the Eagles got out coached – especially the Cardinals offense v.s our defense. They knew how,  from where and when we were blitzing. That and for some reason we did not double Fitzgerald every play.

  10. jjg says:

    Morty  I think positioning and misfiring strategy played a part, but 24-6 at halftime includes not a little all-around a**kicking too.   The numbers weren’t artificially derived.  There was Eagle player underperformance up and down the lineup, save Jackson and Celek.  In biggest game of season, Eagles’ – both sides of ball – shrunk in the 1st half glare, dug their own grave.

  11. jjg says:

    line 5 apostrophe:  illegal formation, 5 yards

  12. jjg says:

    Coach & QB:  ‘Krispy Kreme’ time again!

  13. J Dubbz says:

    I have really been thinking that getting rid of Reid and bringing on a winning coach like Gruden may be the spark this team needs right now to get over the hump.  If McNabb goes we stink for 2-3 years and by that time the defense/Westbrook are aged.  You have to go after it the next 3 years and just tweak what we have right now to get the job done.  A new coach/receiver/big RB may be the pieces needed to win the big game.

  14. deepsixersuede says:

    Did Fitzgerald show our organization a big time reciever COULD help ? Like the Phillies rotation till they got a #1, like the Sixers till they get a #1 [Thad?] the Eagles with Curtis and Jackson as a 2 and 3 reciever could be scary. I say keep McNabb, take the G.M. tag off of Reid and use our 2 #1  picks to get a #1 reciever and stud back that allows Westbrook to become our T.Medcalf  which may prolong his career and make our offense scary.

  15. deepsixersuede says:

    Andy relying more on the run was the first step. I believe in the Elway theory that if Mc Nabb is given less responsibility [running game] than he may be good enough over the next 3 years to get us a championship. If not then blow it up and rebuild.

  16. J Dubbz says:

    If Reid stays, the play calling HAS to include more of the run game.  This would in turn require either more Buckhalter or a new RB.  Why don’t they run sweeps or run plays to the outside to spread the defense?  It seems with the new running offense (if I can even call it that) 90% of the run calls are within the tackles.  Obvi Westbrook is not a power back and his strength in the running game is his speed, so why not utilize that?

  17. deepsixersuede says:

    JDubbz, big is THE word for me as in a bigger running back and a bigger reciever. By the way an upgrade at tight end works for me as much as at reciever.

  18. J Dubbz says:

    I thought Celek gave a valiant effort yesterday, but having a receiver of the Fitz caliber would be ideal.  Get a bruising back like Beanie Wells and a big receiver like Crabtree in the 1st round would be a dream come true.

  19. GMoney says:

    I tried to be pessimistic about this game, but still got hurt in the end. I had hope that the Eagles would win when the score turned and they were winning 25-24. But then again, I should have known, this is typical Eagles playing style. The Eagles are not a superbowl team. Andy Reid is not a SB coach, McNabb is not a SB QB, and the offense is not a SB offense. McNabb and the offense cannot capitalize when it matters, but then again they never could. Andy Reid can’t call plays in time and wastes important time outs. David Akers, as a professional kicker, should not be missing field goals that cost us the game. Bottom line, there is no one person to blame, the whole team is at fault and it starts at the top.
    The Eagles don’t need to start over. They should keep McNabb, but get him some recievers that can actually catch and make plays. For the love of God, get rid of Andy Reid. He’s awful. We need a SB winning coach and Andy Reid is not it. And get rid of David Akers….great guy, but his career is over.

  20. While McNabb did not play his best game, he played well enough to win.  this game has to be hung squarely on the shoulders of the defense.  McNabb engineered a perfect drive to take the lead to 25-24.  If the defense makes any stops on that ensuing drive the Eagles win.  It is that simple.  On the final drive, McNabb was off.  But he made a solid throw on 4th and 10 that was deraild by a no-call. 

    If we are passing blame for this game, blame the D and not Donovan–he did his part.

  21. jjg says:

    suede  Westbrook’s a fine back but I’m afraid he no longer has Metcalf-quickness; seems a little thicker and not quite as explosive as before … maybe injuries fully account, but I have some doubt about the degree of his impact going forward.

    Also, Eagles had a big-time receiver in their grasp, remember?  
    couldn’t accomodate him for more than 1 season.  #1 receiver and free-spirited provocateur (who had returned from a serious leg injury to play like a champ in Super Bowl loss in Jacksonville, FL.) was sacrificed – through much drama – for the fragile leadership (and sanity) of #5. 

     McNabb’s hot dog posturing after Jackson TD pass tells ya what you need to know about his leadership qualities in a game of that magnitude
    … “I, not we” celebration gyrations (my take) with 10:45 left and game 
    in doubt.  Then, 1st & 10, 47 yards from paydirt, 2:09 left in game’s final series of plays - 3 consecutive incompletions.  His “six-shooter” empty again when it counted most.     

  22. J Dubbz says:

    I blame Reid and the play calling on that last drive just as much as McNabbs inability to get it done.  Why do you run 4 straight pass plays of 10+ yards, only to put yourself in a 4th and 10 situation?  Why not get a nice managable 3rd and 3?  Its the play calling that puts all the pressure on the shoulders of McNabb.  He is not the quality of QB that can handle that and succeed.

  23. Pete says:

    jjg -

    how can you rip on McNabb’s leadership qualities and then support the anti-leader T.O., who quite literally quit the team and is the very definition of a me-first player?
    you aren’t  necesarily wrong on mcnabb, but it shows greats inconsistency in your argument. you either value leadership, or you don’t. 
  24. Pete says:

    anybody else think the team should go after Julius Peppers?

    I think the defense it solid at every position, but needs an ELITE talent. Peppers want out of Carolina, maybe they will take their 1st rounder back for him. 
  25. deepsixersuede says:

    Jumpin, I meant more his use [versatility] than speed comparison. I just think McNabb did show he is capable when Owens was here but we will have to see what he wants, contract wise.

  26. Pete says:

    everyone knows I like McNabb, but why does he think he’s deserving of a new contract?

    doubt he’ll get it. maybe he just wants to use it as an excuse to get out.

  27. jjg says:

    Pete  Because leadership is action, not posture or the result of a granting.  And any QB, by virtue of that position, assumes more of a leadership role on a team than a wideout. 

    While T.O.’s behavior is sometimes distracting or divisive, he makes the high-octane plays commensurate with his high-octane personality and salary; has a long career record – SF, here & Dallas - of making big catches, big runs after catch, big blocks - winning plays - in the clutch. 

    And because McNabb been drafted, paid very well, coddled and promoted ad nauseum, his coming up short in the clutch for a decade is a subject of fair note. 

  28. Pete says:

    “his coming up short in the clutch for a decade is a subject of fair note. ”

    dont disagree at all on that point.

    just didn’t think TO situation was McNabb’s fault. but that’s old news, no need to discuss further.

  29. Dannie says:

    Give them Lito and a pick for Peppers.  It’s clear Lito will likely never play here again unless we have massive injuries in the secondary.

    I think they didn’t play him because he had performance/games played bonuses they didn’t want him to get rather than his inability to contribute on the field when healthy to be honest. Just my opinion of the situation. 

    The Birds seem to value Hansom more than Lito now.

  30. Pete says:

    upon further research, Peppers is a FA who can’t be franchised.

  31. jjg says:

    suede  I get ya on Westbrook versatility; with age’s toll, he needs more help in backfield, beyond Buckhalter (whom I like a lot … the Willie Green of the Eagles).

    Your continuing faith in #5 is commendable, and somewhat curious.  Do you think he’s gonna Elway to Super Bowl Champion some day?   

  32. J Dubbz says:

    Anybody know what Peppers last contract was structure and $$ wise?

  33. Dannie says:

    In that case I am not that confident the Eagles will go the “Javon Kearse” route again and pay top dollar for him outright.  Hoping they surprise us though.

    I thought the last game was a good example of why we need an elite pass rusher.  When the blitz is well prepared for and consistently pick up you need an individual talent to get the job done on the line.  And Trent Cole has been inconsistent and marginally impactful (only one game with 2 or more sacks) in that respect. 

    If you have a guy on the line that the offense needs to account for on every passing play that makes the blitz much more effective.

  34. Pete says:

    maybe peppers can be franchised, I’m reading different things now…

  35. Ken says:

    McNabb doesn’t deserve a new contract. Re-signing him to a new deals means management is okay with being the bridesmaid always. There is no great honor in reaching the championship game when the team consistently fails to perform in the biggest games. The bottom line is Reid + McNabb = no championships. I’ll say it again, Reid needs to turn personnel responsibilities over to someone else and concentrate on coaching. We need to draft or trade for a bigger back to support Westbrook and then start running the ball. Finally, Jim Johnson needs to recoginize that it’s okay to drop extra defenders in coverage when the other team has solved your blitz schemes.

  36. Michael Donnelly says:

    Too busy crying still, but it was NOT Donovan’s fault.  Covering Fitzgerald with our backup safety??   Our D came up small giving up 30+ points against the friggin Cardinals.

    Ya a true #1 WR doesn’t make any difference thanks Howard Eskin and the rest of those buffons.   Give McNabb a weapon for cryin out loud.

    Andy Reid, it’s been nice, but you’ve got to go.  You can’t get this  team over the hump.  Maybe you will somewhere else but not here. See ya.

  37. deepsixersuede says:

    Jumpin, I!m neither here nor there with McNabb but the alternatives aren!t promising. I am an Elway fan and I!m not comparing the two players but more their situations. If I had to pick the deciding factor yesterday it was their offense against our blitzs, they were well prepared and it took us too long to adjust. And if you switch Fitzgerald to our team, who wins the game.

  38. jjg says:

    suede  The alternatives aren’t EVIDENT, but I suggest that they (whomever and whatever they might be) ultimately may hold as much or more future promise as present #5 in Philadelphia’s QB attention-cauldron. 

    Fitgerald on our team?  You would SUPPOSE Eagles would win.   

  39. jjg says:

    And the same supposition goes if Fitzgerald were on our team.


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