Thursday, December 1, 2011
Wrap-up: Seahawks 31, Eagles 14
By Dan Graziano
Some thoughts on the Philadelphia Eagles' latest new low -- an uninspired 31-14 loss to the Seahawks on Thursday night in Seattle that ended their mathematical chances at even a winning season:
What does it mean?: The Eagles are losers. It's as simple as that. One more loss will ensure a losing record for a team that does nothing as well as it does losing. There was absolutely no excuse for the defense to come out the way it did in this game, playing soft, missing tackles and watching Marshawn Lynch, who it knew was Seattle's only real weapon, run over it at will. There was no excuse for DeSean Jackson, who's still moping about his contract after insisting he wouldn't, to be giving up on deep routes when he's the only deep threat the team has. There was no excuse for the Eagles' penalties, for not calling timeout after a third-down stop with a minute left in the first half, for sending 12 men onto the field for a punt return and having to call a timeout when they were still in the game and looked as though they might need their timeouts. These are the careless, lazy, undisciplined acts of losing players and losing teams, and whatever the Eagles might have been or should have been, this is what they are. They are 4-8. They are the most disappointing flop of a team in the entire league. They are losers.
How much can Andy Reid weather? In spite of rampant fan dissatisfaction and local media fatigue, there has to this point been no indication that the Eagles' front office intends to hold this one horrible season against Reid and fire him in spite of the previous 12 years of success. But if they keep losing -- as in, if they lose all the rest of their games and finish 4-12, which is possible given the effort they're putting forth right now -- you have to wonder whether that will change. And Reid is coaching like a guy who either doesn't know what to do or is trying to get himself run out of town. I still can't figure out why a guy who's legitimately trying to win a game wouldn't call that timeout with a minute left in the half.
Vince Young is not a good quarterback: Look, I'll allow that he was one of the few Eagles players who actually looked as though he cared. He wanted to win this game. He was out there making the best throws he could. He threw a killer block that helped LeSean McCoy pick up a first down. And he hit some receivers (Clay Harbor, Riley Cooper) in the hands a couple of times and saw them just drop the ball. But two of the four interceptions -- including the fourth-quarter backbreaker -- were the result of awful decision-making. He nearly threw another in the end zone earlier in the game because he took too long to throw the ball. He's not accurate or smooth or reliable, and this whole idea that some people were spouting a couple of weeks ago that the Eagles would be better off with him than with Michael Vick has been proved false and foolish.
However: With all now lost and no chance left at the playoffs, you have to wonder whether the Eagles might just shut down Vick and let him come back fully healthy and well rested for 2012. He puts himself at risk when he plays, and they certainly can milk the broken-ribs thing for four more games if they decide the best course of action for the future of their franchise is to protect Vick from injury in the final month of a lost season. Ditto guys such as Jeremy Maclin, Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and others who have been grappling with injuries that have limited them or prevented them from playing. With nothing left to play for, why rush back from an injury and play at less than 100 percent? We could be seeing a lot of these backups the rest of the way.
Injury bummer: Eagles special teams star Colt Anderson, who had legitimate Pro Bowl hopes and a ton of friends and family in the stands for this game, tore the ACL in his right knee and will miss the remainder of the season. Anderson is the heart and soul of the Eagles' coverage units, and one of the few on the team who played consistently hard all season. It's sad for him that he won't get to finish it.
What's next? The Eagles will travel to Miami and play the Dolphins a week from Sunday. The Dolphins are another team that has eight losses, like the Eagles do. The Dolphins could have nine by then, but regardless, if you can't stop Tarvaris Jackson and Golden Tate, you're probably not going to stop Matt Moore and Brandon Marshall, either.