Sunday was setting up as a good day for the Philadelphia Eagles.
The team was coming off its Bye, and hadn’t lost in such games under head coach Andy Reid since the 1990s. The Eagles had fired embattled defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, and new coordinator Todd Bowles was set to bring a more aggressive attack to a unit that was having trouble putting pressure on the quarterback. And even though Philly’s opponent was the undefeated Atlanta Falcons, it was a much-publicized fact that Atlanta didn’t play well away from home.
Well, so much for that.
Fast forward to mid-afternoon Sunday, and the hope for the game – maybe the season even? – had faded quickly. Not only had the Eagles lost 30-17, they were manhandled by the much better Falcons team. Atlanta led 24-7 at halftime, thanks to three touchdown passes from local kid Matt Ryan, and the Falcons never looked back.
On the day, the Falcons outgained the Eagles 392 total yards to 270. The Eagles’ defense allowed 5.8 yards per play.
Quarterback Michael Vick protected the football, for once, throwing no interceptions, not fumbling once and completing 60 percent of his passes. But, ultimately, he had another poor game, missing open passes and throwing for only 191 yards on 21 completions. It certainly wasn’t all Vick’s fault. The offensive line allowed 3 more sacks and running back LeSean McCoy rushed for only 45 yards on 16 carries.
What Sunday’s game did was prove one thing: The Eagles are not an elite-level team. Whether they can even become one is in serious question, too.
At 3-4, Philly needs to turn things around quickly if they have hopes for the playoffs. They sit in second place in the NFC East division, but are 2.5 games behind the New York Giants (6-2) for the lead. It’s a little too early to peek at the standings each week, but it should be noted that the Eagles are already 1.5 games out of a Wild Card spot behind the 5-3 Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers.
The Eagles will have a long week of preparation before playing on Monday Night Football at the New Orleans Saints. Despite the Saints poor 2-5 record, the Superdome is a very hostile environment, and New Orleans’ electric passing attack should challenge the Eagles next week. The question will be, can Vick and the Eagles’ offense keep up?