A loss on the road against a very good opponent in a hostile environment is something that most Eagles fans would have accepted. But in last Sunday’s game in Arizona, the Cardinals basically placed a big, fat “W” in their end zone, walked to their sideline and told the Eagles “Take it…it’s yours”. And the Birds tripped over their own two feet while trying to grab the W…
Even though the Eagles amassed over 500 yards on offense, it was the extra foot that they could not gain on their second to last drive which made all the difference in the game. Add to that another safety gaffe by Nate Allen, who had played better over the last few weeks but was fooled by Cardinals receiver John Brown as he sped past him like a speeding locomotive. Rumor has it that Allen could be heard singing the Geto Boys song “My Minds Playing Tricks on Me” on the way back to the sideline.
And what do we make of the quarterback? A position that was one of strength suddenly has become an enigma as we near the halfway point of the season.
Over the last two weeks, Foles has looked amazing at times, but has also thrown two interceptions in each game as well. No one expected the quarterback to repeat his Superman like two-interception performance of 2013. But too often this year, Foles has failed to run into the phone booth and change into his superhero alter ego, instead looking quite ordinary and somewhat awkward as his mortal Clark Kent self. Perhaps Nick’s excuse is that there are no longer any phone booths to actually change into…
Along with the quarterback, an offense that was running on all cylinders suddenly turns into the “Jersey Shore” offense when it enters the red zone, as if coming to a screeching halt on Rt. 42 during Friday rush hours in the summer. On Sunday, the Birds entered the red zone (within 20 yards of the end zone) three times on Sunday, only to go without a touchdown.
Turnovers also continue to plague this team, as they are -7 in turnover differential after Sunday’s loss, ranking them 29th out of 32 teams, and one of only two to have a winning record with a negative give/take ratio (the Chiefs being the other at -2). But through it all, they have still managed a 5-2 record and remain in the hunt for the NFC East title.
How do they do it? By hanging around till the end and somehow managing to pull out the win. This team could easily be 7-0 with two close losses to San Francisco and Arizona, but they could just as easily have been 2-5 if not for close wins against the Colts, Redskins, and Rams, the last in which taking their foot off the pedal almost came back to haunt them.
This week, the Birds head to the lone star state to face the Houston Texans and their defensive stud, J.J Watt. The Texans don’t scare anyone with Ryan Fitzpatrick as their quarterback, but Watt should prove to be a handful for the Eagles offensive line. The Texans do have a good coach in former Penn State coach Bill O’Brien, but not enough pieces to do any real damage in the AFC South, which is once again owned by the Indianapolis Colts.
Birds win 23-14 and get back on the winning track.
Amit’s Top 5 Power Rankings:
Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week (all times in EST and on Sunday unless noted otherwise):
Cardinals at Cowboys 1:00 PM FOX
Chargers at Dolphins 1:00 PM CBS
Broncos at Patriots 4:25 PM CBS (Game of the Week)
Ravens at Steelers 8:30 PM NBC