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Blame Reid, McNabb for Eagles Embarrassment to Raiders

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There are a number of reasons why and how the Eagles lost what just might be considered the worst regular-season loss in the Andy Reid/Donovan McNabb Era Sunday in Oakland to a really bad Raiders team.

You can start with the fact the Eagles were unprepared, and after sleepwalking their way through a ridiculously easy part of the schedule, thought the Raiders would roll over the way Kansas City and Tampa Bay did before them.

This game was on the road, however, and you just never know on the road. Check last year’s game in Cincinnati.

What’s worse than losing to the Raiders, 13-9, and that’s bad enough, is the fact that a lot of the Eagles deficiencies were exposed by Oakland and Tom Cable, of all people.

There used to be a time when Reid would never lose to a bad coach. Jon Gruden would beat him on a regular basis, same with Bill Bellichick and Bill Parcells now and again. But the bad coaches – Dave Campo, Steve Spurrier, etc. Reid would feast off like it was Thanksgiving.

Now he’s 0-for-his-last-2 against Washington’s soon-to-be former head coach Jim Zorn and 0-for-1 against the Cable guy. That’s not good. Nor was Reid’s game plan against the Raiders.

All right I’ve come to accept the fact that Reid’s team are always going to be pass first, and I’ve even come around to agree that to win in this NFL you have to be able to throw the ball and throw it well. The Eagles did the first part Sunday.

They also abandoned a running game that wasn’t bad. Despite the fact they never trailed by more than a touchdown at any point of the game, the Eagles ran the ball just 14 times, 11 times by their running backs – Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy.

Westbrook carried twice on the first series of the second half and gained 34 yards. He carried two more times the rest of the game and again I can’t stress this enough despite the fact it was always a one-score game.

Then there’s the Eagles quarterback, Donovan McNabb, he of the failed come backs.

Remember when McNabb used to bring the Eagles back to win in the fourth quarter? If you do, you have a good memory. It just doesn’t happen any more, not even against the Raiders.

And don’t give me last year’s NFC Championship Game and blame the defense. McNabb got the ball back with a chance to win, and lost.

Just like he did against Oakland, Sunday.

Down 13-9, McNabb got the ball at his 20 with 3:42 to play, which was plenty of time. He moved the team into Oakland territory at the 49 on a short pass to Westbrook for eight yards, an 11-yard run by Westbrook (how about that?) and a 12-yard pass to Desean Jackson.

Then as field-goal range was in sight, McNabb went blind.

He overthrew Jackson deep on first down. He threw low and behind Jason Avant on second down. He scrambled for six yards on third down. And he misfired again to Jackson on fourth down.

Game over.

Yes, McNabb was the beneficiary of six dropped passes and six sacks as the entire offense played poorly. Still with the game in the balance and the ball in his hands, he once again did not come through even against a Raiders defense, not that goods to begin with and playing without its best player cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.

Defensively, the Eagles played well enough to win. The late Jim Johnson always used 17 as the number of points he wanted to be under defensively. The Eagles held the Raiders to 13, which should have added up to a win.

But the Raiders were able to control the ball and the clock too much, especially late in the game. Oakland had seven possessions in the second half, and only one resulted in a three-and-out. This is Oakland, which was averaging less than 200 yards of offense through its first five games., rolling for 325 yards.

And the lone touchdown of the game – an 86-yard play from quarterback JaMarcus Russell to Zack Miller – was embarrassing.

The Raiders found over-the-hill middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter and threw at him. Miller was a step or two behind Trotter and then ran away from him, as the once proud defender, who can no longer play, lunged and missed. Miller then got a nice block and went the rest of the way untouched.

Oakland never trailed from there in what just might be the worst loss for the Eagles in over a decde.

 

photo: www.blog.lehighvalleylive.com