Clipped Wings

By Matt Nyman

In August the Philadelphia Eagles went on a spending spree, in hopes of finally bringing a Super Bowl to the city of brotherly love. The Eagles’ most notable signings were Nnamdi Asomugha, Cullen Jenkins, Jason Babin, Vince Young, and Ronnie Brown.

Vince Young said during a press conference that the Eagles are like a “dream team.” Four weeks into the season, the birds are anything but —they are a nightmare— and no one thought the Eagles would be 1-3 a quarter through the season.

Since the Eagles’ 31-13 win on opening day at St. Louis, the birds have lost three in a row. In week 2, they led Atlanta 31-21 in the fourth quarter— only to lose 35-31. The following week the Eagles led the Giants 16-14 in the fourth quarter and again the Eagles’ defense gave up the lead as the Giants won 29-16 to spoil the Eagles’ home opener.
Last week was inexcusable. The San Francisco 49ers entered the game with the 32nd ranked offense in the NFL. The 49ers had not gained 200 yards of total offense all season— until they ripped through the Eagles’ defense. In the second half, Philadelphia led 23-3—the game was surely in hand— but the 49ers did not quit.
Alex Smith, that’s right Alex Smith, the much maligned San Francisco quarterback led the 49ers on two straight scoring drives to cut the deficit to six points. Frank Gore scored from 12 yards out with three minutes to play to put the 49ers on top 24-23, —a 20 point lead seemingly gone in a blink of an eye.
Michael Vick did all he could to bring the birds back. With 2:06 to play, the Eagles were nearly in field goal range, but Jeremy Maclin fumbled and the 49ers recovered. The Eagles’ fans starting chanting “Let’s Go Phillies” repeatedly.

During the Eagles’ three game losing streak, they have led in every game going into the fourth quarter. However, they have been out scored 36-0 in the fourth quarter during the three game skid. The Eagles have lost five straight games at home and dating back to last season, Philly has lost six out of their last seven games.

The high priced free agents have not faired well— except for Babin and Jenkins. Babin leads the league in sacks with seven and Jenkins has four sacks on the season. Nnamdi Asomugha has not adjusted to the Eagles’ defense yet. The Eagles’ rush defense is ranked 30th —giving up 139.5 yards per game. Poor tackling continues to be an issue and the linebackers are constantly out of position.
Offensively, the Eagles have been inconsistent. The offensive line has had trouble protecting Vick. Turnovers have come at inopportune times and the red zone has been a major problem. The Eagles are only 8-for-21 in the red zone this season, which is towards the bottom of the league.

At 1-3, the Eagles have to start winning games. First they need to play a full four quarters and not give leads away. Since the merger in 1970, only the 2001 Patriots started 1-3 and reached the Super Bowl. The supposed “dream team” has to wake up from this nightmare before it’s too late.