The awful way the Eagles started the season mean that they dug such a hole that they couldn't afford slip ups. They couldn't afford to be that team we saw over the first five weeks. The problem is, they are the team we saw over the first five weeks. The Redskins are awful and as for the Cowboys? I dunno, I suppose that was just a perfect storm.
Because for the vast majority of this season we've seen the same thing. The offense turns the ball over in the red zone. The defense can't stop the run or the pass... Dumb penalties, mental mistakes and guys getting paid a lot of money as well as guys looking for a lot of money really not looking like they are worth it. Let's just go down the list of the problems tonight.
Red zone penalties on third down
Twice the Eagles had the Bears stopped on third down and twice they bailed them out with penalties. The first was a somewhat controversial roughing the passer call on Jason Babin where he was pushed into the QB. But that said, when you're going full bore after the passer well after he's thrown the ball, stuff like that happens. That call gets made every single time. The other was on Nnamdi Asomugha who just flat out lost Knox in one on one coverage and committed a pass interference penalty. It was somewhat similar to the back shoulder play to Dez Bryant last week, only this time around they actually threw the flag.
Awful corner play all around
The three pro bowlers were all terrible. We already highlighted the Nnamdi play, but the other two were even worse. Domonique Rodgers-Cromartie put so little effort in tackling tonight, he made Asante Samuel look like Brian Urlacher. And speaking of Samuel, where was he on that TD to Earl Bennett? Do you know, because he certainly didn't know where he was. Just awful coverage that made for an easy TD when Cutler was under pressure.
No run defense to speak of
Matt Forte was pretty awful with ball security tonight and his two fumbles led to 14 Eagles points, but when he did hold onto the ball he ran all over the Eagles D. He and Marion Barber combined for 164 yards on the ground. In both the run and the pass game, the Bears offensive line completely dominated the line of scrimmage.
Poor play from the wideouts
This was another thing we thought had been fixed, but again tonight we saw both Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson look really bad dropping balls. Maclin dropped a key third down throw on a play where no defender was anywhere near him. DeSean Jackson dropped another 3rd down throw on a pass that Vick led him perfectly. DeSean had smoked the corner over the middle and if he had caught it, he might still be running. He also dropped the final pass of the game. But the most unforgivable gaffe from Jackson tonight was of course the fumble on the punt return. The Eagles had just scored off that great Brian Rolle strip/TD return and then the defense stopped the Bears on the ensuing drive. All the momentum was going their way with the game tied.... and DeSean fumbles the punt inside the 10 to give the Bears first and goal. I don't know if he's pressing trying to earn a new contract or he's not playing hard enough because of the lack of a new deal... but DeSean picked the worst time to go backwards like he has. I can't see any way the Eagles are breaking the bank given the way he's played this year and frankly, a $13 million franchise tag doesn't seem likely either.
And just to round up the dejavu recap... LeSean McCoy was easily the best Eagle on the field. He tied a franchise record with his 8th straight game with a TD. He did it in style too with this ridiculous 33 yard run.
And so you're going to hear a lot of people writing the Eagles obituary this week and with good reason. The problem isn't that you can't make the playoffs after a starting with a record of 3-5. The problem is that you can't make the playoffs when you play like this most of the time.