After Reid fired Juan Castillo, not just the team, but the entire country knew that the Eagles were on notice. Having blown two fourth quarter leads to earn a .500 record, this game against the Atlanta Falcons had the potential to define the Eagles season. No Eagles fan could ask for better circumstances.
The Eagles were 13-0 coming off of the bye under Andy Reid, the game was at home, the Falcons knew nothing about Todd Bowles, and the Eagles have been a team that can explode offensively. This looked like the perfect opportunity to play a fairly soft 6-0 team and smack them in the mouth.
That wasn't the case.
With the Eagles losing in such a miserable, embarrassing fashion to the tune of 30-17, Hurricane Sandy could not have provided a better backdrop. This team is a mess and they have provided nothing to show otherwise.
The problem is that the 2012 Eagles have no identity whatsoever. Over the course of Reid's tenure there has always been a strength of the team that opponents knew they needed to counter: tough defense, the screen game, the deep ball...nothing comes to mind when describing this team, especially after the shameful performance that took place on Sunday.
Reid has created a clueless frankenstein that's falling apart at the seams. That's why there's no better way to describe this game than a signature loss. The epitome of two years of complete ineptitude. The likely end of the Andy Reid era.
The Eagles needed a new game plan if they wanted to win, instead they marched the same sad product onto the field with a new paint job and the wheels inevitably fell off. Here's what I'm talking about:
1. Reid constantly ignores his best player in LeSean McCoy and did so again on Sunday. Despite Atlanta coming into the week with the 10th worst run defense in the league, McCoy had 16 carries in the game. Not surprisingly, the Eagles scored touchdowns on both possessions in which McCoy was regularly involved. He scored both of them. The other seven drives which didn't use McCoy netted three points.
For the game, Shady had one carry in the first quarter, eight in the second, none in the third, and seven in the fourth. That's simply terrible.
2. Reid did not only have poor clock management, he disregarded the clock. With the Eagles down 30-10 in the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Eagles ran a touchdown drive that took 7:39 off the clock. 5:24 remained when the Eagles saw the ball again. As a result, Atlanta keyed in on the pass. Those three final drives resulted in 13, -8, and 18 yards for zero points.
Poor timeout usage, a lost challenge, no urgency whatsoever. It was a truly classic Reid outing.
3. Reid hasn't has a stable defense since the death of Jim Johnson. Sean McDermott was a failure, Castillo was overmatched, and Bowles was miserable in his debut. Three touchdowns were allowed on the first three possessions. The secondary, Bowles' specialty, looked confused and blew far too many coverages. Looking back on the game, the only upside for the defensive unit was that they netted their first sack in four weeks. It was a fittingly ugly one.
Even if Bowles can get it together for the rest of the season, it might be too late. Owner Jeffrey Lurie said before the season that if this team goes 8-8, it wouldn't be good enough. As of now, the Eagles have been playing below average football and their record rightfully reflects that. The Birds have now lost their last three games, have no confidence, and play the Saints on Monday night in what could be Vick's last gasp.
Hang on to your hats, folks. The sky is falling in Philadelphia and Reid is likely to fall with it.