It seems to happen every year. The Eagles lose a game they were supposed to win and it seems to happen in the same way. This loss was eerily reminiscent of last year's tie in Cincinnati. A road game against an inferior non-conference opponent where the offense was totally out of sorts, the QB was terrible, and injuries seemed to stack up.
Call it a trap game, blame it on a west coast trip, say they overlooked Oakland... Whatever the excuse... it was ugly.
The lines were bad, Donovan McNabb was bad, Andy Reid was bad, & David Akers didn't do his job. We'll break all that down after the jump. For now, we'll just say that this was a pretty embarrassing loss but it's the kind of loss we've seen them bounce back from before. With the Giants losing, they didn't lose any ground in the division and there's still plenty of time to turn this around. That said, when you turn in that kind of performance against one of the truly bad teams in the NFL it's hard to be confident in them doing that. We'll see on national TV next Monday night.
More after the jump.
Let's look at the major factors here.
The Eagles were absolutely worked on both sides of the line. The offensive was dreadful. An early injury that forced out Jason Peters gave way to King Dunlap getting absolutely abused for the better part of 3 quarters. Donovan McNabb was sacked 6 times and under a heavy rush all day. The worst seemed to come on the many third longs the Eagles were forced into. Max Jean Gilles was benched at one point in the game, but his replacement Stacey Andrews didn't appear to stop the bleeding. Everyone better cross their fingers that Peters can play next week and that Herremans can come back strong. That line out there today was ugly and will be be ugly if they're forced to trot it out again.
The defense generally did it's job and the play of the at unit combined with the play of Jamarcus Russell was probably the only things that kept us in the game... but the fact was that they really struggled to stop the run. The Raiders racked up 116 yards on the ground and continually went back to Justin Fargas off tackle when they really needed a play.
They were also bailed out by the poor play of Russell a few times. His second pick was an absolutely dreadful pass, he missed a wide open Louis Murphy on a play in the second half that very well may have resulted in a TD. He missed Zach Miller wide open a number of times... Had he been able to make a few decent throws and be smarter with the ball the Eagles likely could have been blown out today.
48 called pass plays(incl 2 scrambles) and 12 called run plays(incl a -4 play to Vick). This was in a game that was within one score nearly the entire time. In a game where your QB was under siege thanks to a porous line and could barely hit an open WR when he did have time. What's worse, Brian Westbrook averaged over 8 yards a carry... Inexcusable.
Another thing I'm going to put on Andy Reid is the play of Jeremiah Trotter. I can't criticize Trotter for the way he played today. He gave everything he had and played the limits of his athleticism. He can't run any faster. He is who is... The fault is on Reid for putting him out there. I hate to say "I told you so" but when he was signed I said that I was afraid of exactly what happened today. The only TD of the game came on a play where Trotter was painfully too slow to catch up with a TE not known for his speed in Zach Miller. The quick dump to the back which sealed the game for Oakland came on a play we saw far too many times the last stint Trotter had here. Roll out the QB, isolate the back on Trotter and let him win a foot race to the first down marker. Trotter never had a shot. That's 100% on Reid.
McNabb was out of sorts today. There's absolutely no denying that. Clearly, his offensive line did him no favors and he was getting hit quite a bit today... but the fact is that he missed open WRs and made poor throws all day. There was at least 3 plays where Maclin had a DB beat deep and McNabb overthrew him. If balls weren't sailing long they were being thrown in the dirt. It was the quintessential bad McNabb game. He has one or two of these every year. He's always been able to bounce back, but that doesn't make it ok. Even with everything that went wrong today, he could have salvaged this win by hitting a few open receivers.
AKers was only 2 of 4 today. Missing two 40+ yard FGs that could have been the difference. The Eagles only lost by 4, so those 6 points would have won the game. He was terrible and unfortunately this isn't the first time his missed FGs have been the difference between a win and a loss.