Tuesday, September 18, 2007


The Eagles’ loss last night was the worst kind- a home division beating to a team ticketed for something like .500. Even Hillary appears disgusted. The Nats savaging the Mets provided little in the way of solace.

It was a weird, boring affair- a game that sort of turned a lot of stuff we know about the League on its head. How can you play a game where you rush for 100 yards, commit no turnovers, make all your kicks, get a turnover of your own- and still lose by two scores at home?

Well, most NFL games ultimately come down to two factors: who makes fewer mistakes/commits fewer idiocies- there wasn’t much advantage there for either side last night- and who gets the better quarterback play. Campbell whipped McNabb badly last night. All facets too: big third down plays, big plays in the red zone, etc. As long as Campbell is two whole tiers better than McNabb- and Washington generates a darn tight game elsewhere, this is now a problematic match up for Philadelphia.

The Eagles sort of were able to hang around. Gibbs continues to be a bourgeois- and continues to run this banal offense. Only Washington can run the ball effectively, get real quality quarterback play- and still need a sort of malaise from its opponents to crack 17 points. As a result, any sort of Eagles effort, coupled with zero turnovers, sort of guaranteed Philadelphia would be in it until the final gun. The Eagles showed a little life on offense late- the defense came up the key stop. But in the end, all they could do was rely on Washington’s shackled offense to keep them close.

So I don’t really know what else to say. The losses aren’t a tactical or strategic question that can be answered. I mean, the Eagles’ defense gets a pass, right? They’ve allowed two total touchdowns in eight quarters. I mean- what is excellence here? one total touchdown? I suppose you can point to the wide-outs- or to some protection breakdowns with the offensive line- but really, it doesn’t matter. This crew proved last year they could move the ball- it is the quarterback that is the problem. The last year or so- they have lost when he played and won when he did not. Period. And until he gets fixed, it won’t get fixed- and when he does get fixed, they’ll score more than enough to win most Sundays.

And you know, if you were killing Reid for taking a quarterback with his first selection this year, you just a whole glassful of why it was both the right idea and why the Eagles manage the roster as a whole with a degree of competence.

Is Detroit now a must win? I don’t know- obviously if they want play-off home games- they gotta start winning games soon. But if you agree with my 10-6, second year of rebuilding effort projection… well then, they’re in that realm of capacity until they lose that seventh game. I actually think the Giants game is a more do-or-die affair. No matter what happens in the Detroit game- if they lose that Giants game it will be hard to say they’re going in anything resembling the right direction.

Look, they got problems- but they were worse last year (McNabb going down against the Titans) and below .500 into the second half of the season. Then Andy got it figured out and began administering bad whippings to all and sundry. Don’t panic yet.