First off, I want to say that I'm not crushed by this loss. The Saints are a legit team and it's very, very hard in the NFL to go on the road and beat good teams.
I also want to say that I give full credit to the Saints for playing a good game. They won this game. I was really put off by the classless Dallas fans last week(and that idiot Novacek) that acted as if they "gave the game away" and the Eagles didn't play well enough to win. The Saints did play well enough to win. I'm going to rant and blame the loss on some things and probably claim that the Eagles should have won.... but in the end credit goes to the Saints. The lift they get from that crowd at home is incredible. It's going to be a tall order for anyone to beat them there this year.
Now, onto the complaining!!
Another slow start defensively. This has been a problem in a lot of games so far this year. However, it has been covered up by big defensive plays late and great offensive play. Today was a day where the slow start by the defense left them in a tough spot. McNabb and co did well to climb out of that early 10-0 deficit and take the lead back in the 4th quarter, but you can't expect your offense to bail you out all the time. It reminded me of the Giants game. The defense let up an early score that came to bite them late in a tight game. This defense can be pretty good and they've shown that at times, but they need to put together a full defensive effort.
Drops. This has been another problem this year that has been covered up by success. It was drops that cost them the Giants game and it's a big reason they came up short in this game. Namely, Hank Baskett. He had a great last week, but came up very short this week. This was the first week where the team really felt the loss of a veteran like Stallworth. Baskett, especially in the first half, was dropping well thrown balls short and long. He cost them multiple first downs and at least one that likely would have been a score. I will say that that two huge culprits this season as far as drops are concerned, Reggie Brown & LJ Smith, both played well today. Reggie, I thought was especially good with 2 TDs, some tough first down catches, and that one spectacular run after the catch for a TD.
Now, to the fun part... Let's point fingers. To me, there were 2 clear plays that cost the Eagles this game.
#1 - The Moats muffed punt. Paying no attention to where he was on the field, Ryan Moats ran into Dexter Wynn who was waiting to fair catch the ball. As Wynn was falling down after being hit by Moats, the ball hit his leg and was recovered by the Saints. A few plays later right before the half ended they got a TD. That was 7 points absolutely given away thanks to a stupid, boneheaded, idiotic play by Moats. He may very well have been pushed into Wynn, but he should not have been in a position where that could have happened.
#2 - The 2nd Joe Horn TD. On a simple route that Horn had already run with no success early in the game, Lewis bit hard on an inside fake and left Horn wide open for an easy TD. Lito Sheppard had Horn covered but his responsibility ended after 5 yards. Frankly, I can not see how any coach that's smart and wants to win can continue to put Michael Lewis out there in passing situations. In just about every single game this year(aside form maybe the Packers game) Lewis has been solely responsible for blowing coverage or interfering on a play that led to a TD or a big gain. I just don't how Andy and JJ can continue justifying putting him out there? I can understand having him in on run downs because he does support the run as good as any safety in football, but he is so detrimental in pass coverage he should not be in the game in a passing situation. Putting Lewis out there in pass coverage is like lining up Trotter at safety. The man is a great run stopper, he has no business playing safety. Neither does Lewis at this point. I didn't particularly notice, but some people I was watching the game with said he was benched after that. If it's true, thank god.
So what do we do? I know Johnson likes to play Dawkins as a linebacker on passing downs and have Considine back at free safety. Maybe the solution is the have Lewis up at the line, with Dawkins and Considine back? Maybe just have Dawkins and Considine back? Maybe it's to have a guy like Joselio Hanson back there when Hood comes back? Do we sign Troy Vincent and let him play back there? Whatever it is, something must be done. This is a critical situation right now. There is absolutely nothing to be gained by continuing to send out Lewis in spots where you know or even think the other team is going to pass.
I also want to introduce a new poll for this week called The Mamula, or worst Eagle of the week. The Mamula will be handed out after every Eagles loss. The Game Ball will be voted on after Eagles wins.