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Eagles collapse against Dolphins: The Morning After

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Good morning all (and I use that term loosely),

 

Steve O was away this past weekend attending to top secret matters, so yours truly will be stepping in.

 

In all honesty, Steve should be glad he missed that debacle of a football game yesterday afternoon. The Philadelphia Eagles and the entire Delaware Valley should be disgusted with Chip and Co. right now.

 

Fresh off a thrilling overtime win against the Cowboys last Sunday night, the team proceeds to literally give a 13-point lead away to a pitiful Miami Dolphins team playing on the road for the third consecutive week. That is absolutely unacceptable, and a lot of people are to blame for this mess. Slop a la mode it its sheer finest.

TMA

 

Let’s get to getting…….

 

A STRONG START?

 

Chip’s boys had been outscored 40-10 in the first quarter this year. But even though Miami struck first with a field goal, you had to be encouraged by the Birds’ first two drives, which included Sam Bradford connecting with Brent Celek (perceived by many as the forgotten man in Chip Kelly’s offensive scheme) for several passes, including one 60-yard gain. When Josh Huff’s impressive end zone catch saved the day, things (much like the beginning of this season) seemed to look promising for the Eagles.

 

The next thing you knew, the Birds forced a safety (the third consecutive week the Dolphins have allowed one), scored another touchdown, and were sitting pretty with a 16-3 lead. The 16 points scored by the team surpassed the total number of points they scored in the first quarter all season.

 

Alright! Looking good, Birds! Contending NFL teams are supposed to beat up on the inferior teams. Let’s keep this going!

 

(record skips………)

 

As we all know, however, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. And that was as good as it got for the Eagles. The team then found themselves on Miami’s 12-yard line and ready to put the game away, until a Bradford sack, dropped pass by Huff, and a low yardage play to Ryan Mathews (who later suffered a concussion) set up…………..

 

 

THE KICKING TEAM

 

It’s always easy to put the blame on the kicking team when a team come up short, but whether the snap was low or not, it is absolutely, positively 100% unacceptable for the Eagles’ kicker (remember, out of respect for Steve O, we don’t mention the names of ANY Eagles’ kickers on TMA) to boot a 32-yard field goal attempt. I understand the team’s starting kicker is sidelined for the season, but even he was looking more and more like a flash in the pan (despite his injury). Moreover, the Birds’ punter then had a punt blocked for the second time this year. It’s not Don Shula’s Dolphins, folks, but by the looks of it, you would think it was. I might be stating the obvious here, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Miami doesn’t win this game if the Birds scored a touchdown on that drive.

 

 

EXIT BRADFORD: ENTER THE WALKING INTERCEPTION

 

It was only a matter of time before Bradford would leave a game this year with an injury. Well my friends, that time has come. It was later ruled that Bradford suffered a concussion, as well as an AC joint sprain in his non-throwing shoulder. While he isn’t exactly putting up Montana-like numbers for this Eagles team, Bradford seems to have found somewhat of a groove over the last two weeks. So much for that.

 

Enter Eagles backup QB Mark Sanchez: The Eagles’ turnover machine. Sanchez, was, well….Sanchez. We’re all familiar with his play last season. One minute, he’s looking like he’s controlling the offense at a steady pace, then he throws an untimely interception to cost his team the game, which is exactly what he did. The fact that Miles Austin didn’t even bother to attempt to catch/break up the play didn’t help, but take the following into consideration:

 

Chances are, the Eagles’ coaching staff (including Sanchez) watched the Super Bowl last February, and observed Pete Carroll’s play calling, which essentially cost the Seahawks the Super Bowl. When you’re THAT close, and it’s late in the game, and your acting quarterback is a turnover waiting to happen……………... keep the ball on the ground!  You were on the 9-yard line. Would the Eagles’ kicker have made a field goal if the team failed to score in the end zone? The way things are going with this team, I have no idea (and yes, I’m serious about that), but that’s beside the point.

 


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PENALTIES, PENALTIES AND MORE AND MORE PENALTIES

 

Penalties have killed this Eagles team all season, and Sunday was no exception. Between two holding penalties (the third one was negated) and a bad snap, Jason Kelce’s struggles continue to be a detriment to this team. Overall, Kelce has committed seven penalties this year, and the Eagles are 24th in the NFL in team penalties per game. Yes, Kelce has been working with a variety of offensive linemen, but nonetheless, discipline is clearly an issue with this team, and that starts with Chip Kelly. After a strong showing against the Cowboys last week, the O-line took a tremendous step back in this game. Kelce isn’t all to blame. As great as Fletcher Cox has been playing, his offsides penalty just prior to Miami’s go-ahead touchdown was crucial. Moreover, did any of the Eagles bother to break up Jarvis Landry’s catch after Connor Barwin deflected it?

 

 

MILES AWAY

 

Chip Kelly can cover for him all he wants, but man oh man, where exactly was Miles Austin’s head during this game? Not only did Austin drop a touchdown pass, he had no idea where to line up on the last drive of the game (which was noted by the announcers), he was wide open and didn’t bother to look when Sanchez passed him the ball during the same drive, and made absolutely no attempt to break up Sanchez’s interception. Kelly said afterwards at his press conference that Austin was doing the right things. Well, to paraphrase the late, great singer Luther Ingram: If Miles Austin is doing right, I want to be wrong. Very wrong.  


 

 

 

NOTABLESPhoto: www.dancemorristown.com

 

-Is it too much of a stretch to say that DeMarco Murray might be better off playing somewhere else next season? Whether it’s the inconsistent offensive line, or his running style, Murray seems like a fish out of water here in Philadelphia. A late game dropped pass didn’t help matters, either.  And did you see Murray and Sanchez completely out of sync? Murray's footwork won't exactly remind anybody of Fred Astaire. I know Sanchez doesn’t take many reps with the first team during the week, but maybe he should. That was extremely cringeable.

 

-Why aren’t you taking a knee with 17 seconds left in the half?

 

-I didn’t think it was possible, but in Bradford, the Eagles have a quarterback that has virtually matched Donovan McNabb’s inaccuracy.

 

-The Eagles averaged 2.3 yards per rush against the second-worst run defense in the NFL.

 

-How do you expect to win win the NFL when you (the Eagles) only convert around 30% of your third down attempts?

 

-Why, and I mean why, is Riley Cooper still on this team? It’s arguably my biggest pet peeve with Chip Kelly, and those are growing exponentially by the game. Cooper getting called for that illegal shift wiped out Sanchez’s would-be touchdown pass to Zach Ertz.

 

-This marks the third game this year that the Eagles have blown a fourth-quarter lead and lost the game. The first was the season opener against the Falcons, and the second was in Week 4 against the Redskins.

 

A FINAL THOUGHT:

 

Of course, this is just game, and compared to the brutal attacks on Paris last weekend, none of this matters in the long run from a life or death standpoint. In the realm of sports, however, it’s not a stretch to say this is the worst loss of the Chip Kelly era. Overall, the Eagles play well for stretches, followed by horrible stretches. This is a pattern throughout the season that just isn’t going away.

 

Miami is a team in disarray, having lost five of their last seven games. They fired their head coach after a 1-3 start after going 8-8 last year. The fact that the Eagles allowed this game to get away is disgraceful. It doesn’t matter if Tom Brady finally beat Eli Manning and the Giants for the first time in 12 years and the division is technically still within reach. If the Eagles somehow, someway end up winning the NFC East, they should be embarrassed. Throughout Kelly’s first three seasons coaching the Eagles, it seems that there’s no signs of this team growing together and getting better as an overall unit. For the very first time, I believe that he is in way over his head, and that he seriously might be better off going back to college.

 

With that, I'm signing off.

 

'Til next time

 

Always remember, time's yours. Food is Steve’s. 

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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Fred Astaire photo: www.dancemorristown.com