Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Eagles Win, And It's Incredibly Depressing

Drink every checkdown
So in the aftermath of today's Eagles - Jets game, the first win of the 2015 season, I took my dog for a long walk. It's a good way to unwind and just think, because it's a time without screens, without anyone else's analysis, without noise.

And when my dog squats and relieves himself, and I scoop up his leavings, it reminds me of what I've watched. Especially when he's eaten something he shouldn't.

What we had here was a 7-point win from a team that was +3 in turnovers. Who scored on a punt return touchdown, to boot. Against a team that was missing their top RB, and their WR2, and their WR3, with a borderline QB2.

The Eagles took the early lead, and had any number of opportunities to try different things. They pretty much ran the same plays they ran against Dallas. With a running game that has become wildly predictable, there's still no carries by the WRs, no delay draws, no multi-back formations where the defense has to cover both sides of the field, no read option where the QB keeps. Against a pass rush that just didn't get there for the Jets all day, QB Sam Bradford was the same inefficient checkdown machine that he's been for everything but the second half of the Atlanta game. His final numbers -- 14 for 28 for 118, with a touchdown -- are pretty much in line with the Dallas disaster, with the exception being that there was no garbage time to add ballast, and no gut-busting interceptions. (New York didn't make plays, basically.)

There's been no breakout for TE Zach Ertz. WR Nelson Agholor looks lost. WR Josh Huff, who showed physical gifts last year, is completely MIA. WR Riley Cooper and WR Miles Austin, two guys who you would not call dangerous on a football field if they were carrying flamethrowers, get targets. The only explosive offensive play is a wheel route to a RB. There's no RB3 to grind out a clock, which is officially worrisome because RB Ryan Mathews is fumble and injury prone, and you can't use up Darren Sproles with a million touches. Bradford, despite his plus arm, doesn't look like he has the grapes to challenge a defense for anything more than checkdowns, or that his alleged better weapons and coaching has taken him above the level he showed in St. Louis.

A good team doesn't win by 7 points when they are +3 in turnovers and score on STs. A good team doesn't score about a point a possession, or go 4 for 14 on third down. A good coach doesn't follow up an utter debacle of an offensive football game with pretty much the exact same goddamn game plan.

When I woke up this morning, I tried to feel optimistic about the game, because I knew I'd be watching it. Either they'd right the ship and get back in the race for the NFC lEast, or they'd lose and we'd be one step closer to getting Nero out of town.

Instead, they piloted a third course: a win that showed their ceiling with as much certainty as the losses before it, with growing evidence that the coach, the QB, and the talent is a total washout. Only with a worse draft pick than what a total washout could deliver, and maybe with just enough wins, and the dread Rising Action, to mean that this is all going to take longer to purge.

They won. They are a game out of the division lead. They play the Slurs in DC next week, and a win there might put them back at the top of the division. The defense played their second straight plus game. If they keep getting better all year, no one will care that they stunk on ice in September.

But honestly, can you look at this team so far this year, and this game today, and feel like they could ever win a playoff game? Or even just play a game that you would enjoy watching?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Since I live in KC, all I got to see was the last 3 minutes on Fox bonus coverage but I was worried and visualized a '64 Phillies-like collapse in the final seconds. We didn't win. NY LOST.

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