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Eagles Suffer Bitter Loss

Sunday's home loss against the Lions was egregious. If the season continues like this, Andy Reid will be out of a job.

The Eagles suffered their first home defeat of the season in one of the most disgraceful losses in recent memory. The circumstances were very similar to one of the many disheartening losses the team suffered last season. With the erratic offense and a defense that is unable to hold a fourth-quarter lead, the team is in danger of being just as disappointing as was last season’s team.

For the second straight week, the Eagles went from leading in the fourth quarter to watching the opposition hit a game-winning field goal—but this was loss was much more egregious. It was at home, it was against a bad team and the lead surrendered was much more substantial.

When Jeremy Maclin crossed the goal line after catching a 70-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter, the Eagles held a 10-point lead and the clock read 5:18. Then everything went awry. The Lions took about 90 seconds to shred the Eagles' suddenly porous defense to cut the lead to 3 on a 17-yard TD pass to Nate Burleson.

The Eagles offense got the ball back and promptly went three-and-out—just like last season. The defense suddenly began leaking oil in the fourth quarter and the offense did nothing to help matters by continually punting on four downs.

The Lions drove the ball down to the 1-yard line before the Eagles defense finally stiffened and the Lions were forced to kick the game-tying FG with 3 seconds left to force overtime.

The Eagles won the toss and got possession first, but inexplicably, Mike Vick took two deep drops and was sacked twice. The second sack, on third down, forced the Eagles to punt from their own end zone. A couple plays later, Jason Hanson kicked a 45-yard FG to win the game for the Lions.

This was a very bitter loss on a number of fronts. The Eagles defense had held the Lions to just two FGs for the first three quarters. Then the floodgates opened and they allowed 17 points in the final quarter and 14 in the final four minutes.

The defense blew it, but the offense did not help. Aside from not picking up even one first down to stem the tide, it is just not winning football to turn the ball over three times. Mike Vick had yet another fumble to go with his two interceptions.

Just as troubling for the Eagles as the ghosts of 2011 reappearing is that LeSean McCoy seems unable to run the ball effectively. The offensive line seems to be in disarray in both pass and run blocking. But all that being said, the Eagles did hold a 10-point lead with five minutes left in the game.

What happened in that final five minutes that allowed the Lions offense, which had been stifled all game, to suddenly come to life? Only the coaches know. Or maybe they do not even know and that is why they could do nothing to stop it.

Whatever the case, this was a critically important game going into the bye week and the Eagles collapsed. Fans, still haunted by nightmares of last season, are now going into the break stewing over two straight games in which the Eagles lost by a FG on the last play of the game.

Fans are always reactionary, usually detrimentally so. However, it does seem as though this team has reached a crossroads. Even at this relatively early point in the season, it seems something needs to change fundamentally.

It may be time to bench the starting QB. Andy Reid will be reluctant to do so because he can point to the fact that the Eagles offense gave the team leads in each of the last two games and they lost because the defense collapsed.

That is true, but the turnovers are just too glaring to ignore. He will elect to give Vick the bye week to recuperate and see if he can come out of the break re-energized and more able to reduce his turnovers.

That may be sound logic in a vacuum, but viewed against the backdrop of Mike Vick’s history, Andy Reid’s career and the stagnant state of this team, it just might be time to panic.

There are other things to consider such as whether another QB could survive behind this offensive line. There is only one way to find out and we may have reached that point.

The season is not over. The Mike Vick experiment may be. Fans have seen the Eagles rebound from the depths before, but not with this QB at the helm. Aside from his amazing run when he first became the starting QB in 2010, Mike Vick’s tenure here has so far been one of disappointment. The arc has been continuously sloping downward ever since the Eagles first round playoff loss after the 2010 season.

With Vick remaining as the starting QB, we know how this script ends. Maybe with another QB, it ends differently—if he can protect the ball. Reid will not want to make that change yet. Either way, if the end of the story does not change, Reid will no longer be in a position to change it. If this continues, Reid will be unemployed.

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Porterincollingswood October 16, 2012 at 03:49 PM
So we fired our best offensive line coach...
Mike Diviney October 16, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Porter, Vick doesn't step up in the pocket because once he gets in there he's too short to do anything. I know it's not all his fault, but the turnovers are so deflating and old. We should stick Juan back at his O-line post since Mudd won't be here much longer anyway.
Mike Diviney October 16, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Bringing him back wasn't even as ridiculous as hiring him in the 1st place. Andy takes a BIG bullet on this one. Fortunately, he wasn't too stubborn to fire him- someone's gotta pay for that SLOP we saw in the 4th quarter Sunday.
Mike Diviney October 16, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Great post Larry. I know getting pressure with the front 4 is best for the D because you don't have to dedicate players to blitzing and they can play coverage. They got 47 sacks from the d line last year. The league adjusted so the Eagles have to adjust to that. Apparently, Juan couldn't play chess with the big boys. Let's see how Bowles does.
Porterincollingswood October 16, 2012 at 06:35 PM
What I love about the move is that it weakened two units - the defense and the offensive line. Promote your marketing guy to IT Director, and then replace him with a far weaker marketing pro. Then tell your new IT Director (who knows nothing about IT) that he needs to take direction from a subordinate with an extremely limited skill set and scope of knowledge. See if you have a job when no computers work and suddenly your marketing efforts stink. That's what Reid did.
Mike Diviney October 16, 2012 at 07:41 PM
I know Mudd's known as the best in the business and I they had a very good line last year. Seems losing Peters and Kelce is the problem there, not Juan's departure from coaching them so I don't have a problem with that. But I agree it was incredibly foolish to move an O line coach to D coordinator. Probably a good reason it's NEVER been done before, to my knowledge. We'd be better off if Bowles had been in place for a year and a half as opposed to now having to jump in on the fly. I do think they have talent on defense. Having Castillo coach them was a plain stupid decision by Andy.
Porterincollingswood October 16, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Mudd's the best? Says who? Mudd. And Reid. He's the Rex Ryan of the assistant coach set - a good quote but little else. He was in Indy, no? You could have coached that line given Manning's release. Heck, you could have played LT and given up no sacks given Manning's release.
Bo October 16, 2012 at 11:45 PM
This move to sack Juan is very lame, and just pretty dam lame to hook anything here on Juan. The guy most often worked his ass off, for the last decade plus here. Who would say he hasn't improved in the DC position, in his second season as such, along with what we've seen of this defense thus far.
Mike Diviney October 17, 2012 at 12:37 AM
All I can go by for evaluating an O line coach is reputation and he's very highly regarded- all I'm saying.
Mike Diviney October 17, 2012 at 12:41 AM
I hear you Bo, but someone's got to pay for that collapse. Ultimately, it's on Andy since he hired him. He probably has improved, but some of the same defensive problems from last year still exist. They should have hired a guy with experience in the 1st place, then Juan would still be working his ass off as a line coach, but Juan did ask for the DC job.
Porterincollingswood October 17, 2012 at 02:53 AM
And I can show you a bevy of quotes, inclusive of Andy, extolling Juan Castillo as an "up and coming" young offensive line coach in this league. I just look at it and say...I didn't used to complain about the offensive line like this.
Porterincollingswood October 17, 2012 at 02:54 AM
Mike - do you think this was Andy's call 100%. Or did Lurie demand a scalp? I think the latter.
Bo October 17, 2012 at 05:23 AM
Nope there is no denying now that big red put himself in a jam by placing juan in a challenging situation, on the other side of the ball, and then as a coordinator, and all this began with the labor stoppage which shorten training camp. Maybe it was a good thing?
Larry O'Doyle October 17, 2012 at 07:57 PM
A lot of "experts" speculate about the termination of Juan and the lack if impact it will have on a defense composed of the same players. I couldn't disagree more. I can recall a somewhat similar situation when Ray Rhodes demoted Dana Bible and gave Bill Musgrave play calling duties toward the end of a season. I can vividly remember the offense shifting from a dink and dunk attack to taking more shots down the field. Now, that team was in dire straits with little talent but this team is not. I found the vanilla scheme being implemented very out of character for such a spicy Latino. Hopefully, Bowlesy brings some Durkee Red Hot to the party!
Porterincollingswood October 17, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Greg parallel, because that year the offense was left shattered after the death of Doug Scovile, no?
Porterincollingswood October 17, 2012 at 08:08 PM
I also meant to post this when they retired #20 - probably many saw it but maybe not. It's worth the read. Since the team is imploding it's a nice reminder of what makes this city, team, and the figures surrounding it (Gary Papa, Dawkins) special. http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/sports/pro/football&id=8828627
Mike Diviney October 17, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Porter, I think it was Andy's call entirely. I think Lurie is of the attitude that Andy's in charge of football and to let him do what he wants. If it doesn't work, then Andy loses his job.
Mike Diviney October 17, 2012 at 08:26 PM
What do you mean Bo, that it might have been a good thing?
Mike Diviney October 17, 2012 at 08:29 PM
No doubt it seemed VERY vanilla. After 50 sacks last year, can't understand what the problem is with getting pressure- to a ridiculous degree. Yeah, the D kept points down, but wasn't forcing enough TO's. Maybe more inventive D play-calling will accomplish that- we'll see.
Mike Diviney October 17, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Porter, that was earlier. Randall was only here for 1 year under Rhodes and Scovil was early in Randall's career. He was QB coach under Buddy and I think he passes away before Ray Rhodes became HC.
Porterincollingswood October 18, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Mike - I think you are right. Who was it then? I remember Dana Bible came in at 11pm on a Wednesday and was out by 6pm the next Sunday. Some weird circumstance led to his hiring, but it was years ago.
Phil McConkey October 18, 2012 at 01:39 AM
so they fire Juan because the defense you guys said was not the problem and "one of the best in the NFC" and this is going to fix the issues. Has there been any teams that fired their cordinators besides the Ray Rhodes era that have done anything? Also listen to Bill Simmons podcast with Mike Lombardi (Bo in case your wondering Lobardi does live in the philly area but I'm sure you are well aware of this), Simmons says twice on the podcast that he doesn't want to talk Eagles because they are not a playoff team and he is smarter than i. Does a cordinator change the turnover problem. Do you fire a cordintator becaue the D isn't forcing enought turnovers? Why doesn't Andy just tell him to blitz more? Scapegoat?
Phil McConkey October 18, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Also new rankings are in #1 Eagles Fans #2 Yankee fans #3 Patriot Fans the last 3 years #4 New York Liberty fans #5 Angelo Cataldi These are the top 5 whiners of the last 4 years
Mike Diviney October 18, 2012 at 02:27 AM
The defense looked great 1st 4 weeks. Protected 3 narrow leads to end the game. Suddenly, they reverted to 2011 and gave up leads in the 4th quarter. Can't have that. And the timing with the bye made it that much easier to make a move. A scapegoat to some degree but it's Andy's fault in the 1st place. Simmons is retarded, but right now, the Eagles haven't proven they're a playoff team so we'll just have to see, won't we?
Mike Diviney October 18, 2012 at 02:28 AM
Are these your rankings? At least 2 of the 5 are NY-based, just like the "your" Giants. Whining= passion so we'll occupy the top spot with pride.
Larry O'Doyle October 18, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Phil, you're the coolest...
Mike Diviney October 18, 2012 at 08:32 PM
This just in... Phil is NOT the coolest.
Phil McConkey October 18, 2012 at 08:54 PM
yeah they're mine, I was up all night putting that list together. I do think Yankees fans are worst but for the sake of this blog i put the EAgles first. And in full discolure i probably whine the most about the New York LIberty because I'm just not sure how/why the WNBA exists
Bo October 21, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Sometimes a change is done for its supposed affect on the players, and sometimes it is done because there might be someone in the wings, Todd Bowles, who is an up and comer. I see both these reasons as to why Juan was let go. What is a shame in a sense, is that Juan's heart and soul were an important part of this team and organization for a long time. This is why our owner somewhat came to his defense and felt compelled to say such to the media. Juan didn't deserve this firing, considering the circumstances which were unfavorable to his growth and success as DC. I hope Todd Bowles is at the beginning of a very promising career as a defensive play caller, and players on both sides of the ball got a clear message with the firing of Juan Castillo. Mike, I love Simmons but he's too Boston, so whatever he says relative to a Philly team I take with a grain of salt. He is smart but this is Philadelphia and not Boston so per Philly sports you have him by a wide margin, and no matter how national he appears to becoming with his great site Grantland. Now mike tell me what or who grantland is and I'll give you a book relative to the question.
Mike Diviney October 24, 2012 at 02:35 AM
Bo, don't know the site, but I imagine it refers to Grantland Rice who along with Damon Runyan is probably the greatest of the old school wordsmiths who covered sports back in the day.

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