PHILADELPHIA - Yesterday’s game at Lincoln Financial Field was one the Eagles had to have if they wanted even a prayer of reaching the playoffs, and just seven minutes in they had exactly what they hoped for - a 10-0 lead.
But the Patriots went on to outscore them, 38-10, the rest of the way. How did that happen?
“If I had the answer to that I would have shared it with my teammates,’’ said Eagles defensive end Jason Babin. “They’re a really a good team, they had really good execution. They went no-huddle and did a good job. That’s what makes Tom Brady a good quarterback, that’s what makes Peyton Manning so good. They do a really good job getting rid of the ball.’’
Brady got rid of the ball for 361 yards and three touchdowns. The Patriots also ran the ball for more than 100 yards.
Still, with the Eagles in a must-win situation, being dominated for all but a few minutes was puzzling.
Eagles coach Andy Reid pointed to 10 penalties for 60 yards and turnovers. But with only one interception thrown by Vince Young, the turnovers he referred to were in the nature of dropped passes by receivers.
Young (26 of 48, 400 yards) did throw for one TD, but DeSean Jackson dropped two potential TD passes - one on fourth and goal from the 4, another in the end zone on a bomb from midfield. Young also failed to get his team into the end zone on a first and 10 at the New England 11, ending the series with an incomplete pass on fourth and 1.
Meanwhile, the Patriots waltzed up and down the field like they were in a Mummers Parade.
“They had the run game working, they had the passing game working, they were working on all cylinders,’’ cornerback Asante Samuel said. “We couldn’t figure nothin’ out. I don’t understand. We have a really good team, a lot of good athletes, a lot of good playmakers. This is probably one of the most embarrassing losses I’ve dealt with.’’
As the Eagles’ deficit increased so did the frustration of the Philadelphia fans, who chanted “Fire Andy’’ and “Over-rated.’’
“I didn’t hear it,’’ Reid said of the chants. “But the way we played, I understand it.’’
In a quiet Philadelphia locker room, defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, who played for the Super Bowl champion Packers last season, proffered his own theory on why the game went from 10-0 to 38-13.
“Maybe we relaxed a little bit, maybe we thought it was going to be easy,’’ he said. “I don’t know. We came out playing well, and after that it turned fast and we weren’t able to get it back.’’
Asked if the Eagles’ season is all but done, Jenkins replied, “If we want any hope, we have to approach every week like it’s the playoffs now. Heck, if we’re even going to have a winning season we have to approach every game like it’s the playoffs. There’s nothing else to it.’’
That was the case yesterday. And now, thanks to the Patriots, there may not be anything else.