2008 Game 5... Wash 23 Eagles 16
I'm sitting here, trying to think positive. I got nothing. I'm pacing around my room, hoping that somehow, someway, I can spin this game in a positive manner. That would great. I would love to be as positive as Jose Canseco's steroid test results, but I'm starting to think it's going to be closer to Tayshaun Prince's.
Waking up Sunday morning you could feel the excitement, what seemed to come out of nowhere was a big day in Philadelphia sports. Clashing Phillies red with Eagles green, having the remote control ready, your finger hovering over the flashback button taking you between FOX and TBS. The first half hour or so kept everyone quite happy, Jimmy Rollins hit a homerun in the top of the first and the Eagles took their opening drive down the field and scored a touchdown.
Brian Westbrook was back in the lineup and showed his ankle was fine, making quick cuts and running hard up the middle for the 9-yard opening touchdown. The defense also came out of the gate fired up and the Redskins went 3-and-out on their first possession. If you switched to the Phillies for an update then you missed DeSean Jackson field the punt, and return it 68 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead. Ah, it's going to be a good day…
The second quarter was the Shaun Suisham show, the Birds did not give up a first half touchdown, but the Redskins got three field goals and took 5-point deficit into the locker room. Washington dominated the time of possession in this game, and their long 3-point drives took a toll on the Eagles defense that showed in the second half.
A couple things on the not-to-do list: You don't walk Ryan Howard to get to Pat Burrell and you don't come back from halftime and completely abandon the run. Andy Reid sat on the pass side of the play calling seesaw, and no one was there to balance it out. Westbrook carried the ball 12 times for 33 yards in the entire game, and rushed it once in the second quarter for two yards. The Eagles had three possessions in the third quarter and went 3-and-out every time. Washington's touchdown didn't help either, allowing McNabb to keep throwing. And by keep throwing I mean incomplete, incomplete, pass for no gain; in any order you like.
All those 3-play possessions don't help a defense that would have killed for a little downtime. After not allowing a 100-yard rusher through four games Clinton Portis carried the ball 29 times for 145 yards, and a fourth quarter touchdown that put the Skins up 23-14. The Eagles finally put together decent drive, taking the ball down to the 3-yard line. Suddenly, instead of flashing back to the Phillies game, we were taken back to Chicago, with no Westbrook, and no touchdown. This time they had #36, and a 3 rd and less than six inches for a first down inside the one, but Westbrook was thrown down in the backfield for a three yard loss.
After the Cowboys stole the Monday night game I talked about these upcoming games and how a winning streak was in the Eagles immediate future. Instead they have dropped their second straight loss and are winless in the NFC Eastern Division. Even worse, the still have to face the Super Bowl champion Giants twice.
There are many places to throw the blame, lack of execution and lack of adjustment. When it seems that teams are making halftime changes it also seems that the Eagles are not. When a player goes into the wrong formation during the most important play of the game, and instead of calling timeout and starting over, they change the play that nets them a 3-yard loss. These are the kinds of frustration that can turn what should have been a great day into misery.
Both the Phillies and Eagles game ended at about the same time, and before the celebration began for the Phillies making it to the NLCS, there was a period of mourning for the Birds and what looks like another wasted season. As the Dodgers head east, the Eagles are in San Francisco this Sunday to play the 49ers.
It was also made known today that Brian Westbrook fractured two ribs during the game, and his status is uncertain.
When it rains, it pours.
© Copyright 2006. Jules Pilla
Not affiliated with the Philadelphiqa
Eagles or the NFL.