By: Connor Thomas
In perhaps the most excruciating loss in a season that has had more than its fair share of excruciating losses, the Eagles squandered a 10-0 lead, and missed a couple of clear opportunities to down the New England Patriots this past Sunday, ultimately falling to Brady and Co. 17-10. As a result of about 4 dropped interceptions, numerous stalled offensive drives, and – stop me if you’ve heard this one before – a huge drop in a key spot from Nelson Agholor, the birds gave away what seemed to be a golden opportunity to establish themselves as a real threat to make their 3rd postseason push in as many seasons. What occurred instead was a heartbreaking loss that plunged the city into a state of despair, agony, and overall doubt of the quality of this football team. But now that the sting of the loss has had a full 24 hours to dull, it’s important that we see yesterday’s bout with one of the NFL’s best teams for what it really was.
Yes, the Eagles made plenty of mistakes, but with a wide receiver corps consisting of backups and underachievers, a running back group decimated by injuries, and against one of the more vaunted defenses in the NFL, Doug Peterson and Carson Wentz were able to build a 10 point lead from the jump, including a 95 yard touchdown drive that was arguably the most effective assault on New England’s defense this year. And the Eagles offense didn’t even come close to matching the defense’s performance yesterday. Jim Schwartz called easily his best game of the season as the Schwartz’s unit essentially neutralized Tom Brady, holding him to a pedestrian 216 yards with no touchdowns on 26 for 47 pass attempts. Turning one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time into a Mitchell Trubisky look alike for 4 quarters is no easy feat, especially considering the woes this Eagles’ secondary has experienced this year. And although the defensive line only got home one time – a 3rd quarter sack from a blitzing Nate Gerry – there was consistent dominance in the trenches, keeping the Patriots rushing attack to just 75 yards on the ground. Yes, at the end of the day we all saw the huge mistakes that cost the Eagles a very winnable football game, but there are certainly positives to be drawn from yesterday’s performance. With a remaining schedule that stands as the second easiest in the NFL, it’s not time to pull the plug on this season just yet.