Michael Vick's Philadelphia Eagles came out of the bye week pumping their chests, convinced that they were ready to turn around their 3-3 season and set themselves up to win the first Super Bowl of the many that quarterback Michael Vick promised in the off-season when he called this Eagles squad a "dynasty."
Over the summer, running back LeSean McCoy echoed his quarterback's sentiments and even went so far as to claim the first two seasons under Vick (where the Eagles were eliminated in the first round of the 2011 playoffs and then followed that up with an 8-8 season) were also part of "the dynasty."
DeSean Jackson expected the Eagles to soar coming out of the bye week.
Andy Reid never lost a game coming out of the bye week. I don't know if you heard that or not; it was only hammered into the collective sports viewing consciousness of the Delaware Valley for 13 consecutive days after the Eagles dropped to 3-3 after losing to the woeful Detroit Lions.
The Eagles entered the bye with the 12th ranked defense and a 31st-ranked offense, which led the league in turnovers.
Andy Reid decided that the best way to fix this mess of a team was to fire the defensive coordinator, Juan Castillo, who Reid promoted to the position against all conventional wisdom a season-and-a-half ago, and leave the struggling starting quarterback, Michael Vick, and mediocre offensive coordinator, Marty Mornhinweg, right where they were.
Well, in the first game since the bye—and Castillo's firing—the defense somehow got worse.
They got torched by an Atlanta offense led by local-product Matt Ryan, who seemed to be able to score at will.
In fact they scored touchdowns on their first three possessions and didn't have to punt until there was five minutes, 35 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles offense, on the other hand, was just as pathetic as it has been all season.
This offense has more weapons now than at possibly any given point in the past three decades, yet week after week they look mediocre at best, horrid at worst.
Vick did not fumble the ball or throw an interception Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. That in and of itself is cause for celebration for the Eagles and their quarterback, but he didn't do much good either.
After Atlanta scored on their first drive, the Eagles offense needed to make a statement. They went three and out.
All game, Atlanta was content to give the Eagles everything underneath and Vick and the Eagles put one impressive drive together that led to their first touchdown—mainly by having Vick hand the ball off or complete easy, short passes to wide-open receivers.
The Eagles never really got anything going on offense and never went for any big plays, getting only what the Falcons would let them have.
This is what happens when you have a quarterback that the team cannot trust.
Vick can't protect the ball, can't read a defense and can't pick up a blitz, and Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg know this. So, the Eagles offense is what it is. Capable of dinking and dunking but not much else for fear the quarterback makes a dumb decision and puts the ball on the carpet or hits a defender squarely in the hands with an errant pass.
In the offseason—the same offseason that Michael Vick claimed the Eagles were a dynasty despite never winning a playoff game with him as their quarterback—the NFL Network ranked Vick as the 70th best player in the league.
Vick is a proud and very delusional person and immediately called the radio station 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia, where Vick's personal mouthpiece and glorified PR-man Mike Missanelli works, and he told the radio host he felt it was "a joke" that he was only ranked 70th-best in the league.
Seven games into the season that 70th-best ranking looks downright generous.
Vick is done in Philadelphia, and he pretty much knows it. His postgame comments were those of a defeated man. They were also those of a man who refused to accept the blame for his part in this fiasco of a season. He wanted to point out to everyone that the defense and the special teams are also not pulling their weight.
Andy Reid for his part called the game an embarrassment. The effort was not there. The well documented undefeated-coming-out-of-the-bye-week streak is dead. Reid scapegoated his good friend and long-time loyal Eagles' employee Juan Castillo, and it blew up in his face.
Todd Bowles may wind up being the greatest Eagles defensive coordinator of all time. He may also wind up being worse than Juan Castillo and Sean McDermott, his two predecessors. It's too soon to tell.
What's not too soon to tell is that Andy Reid has lost this team.
Their effort on both sides of the ball against the Falcons was pathetic.
The defense apparently wanted Castillo gone and Bowles to take over. They rewarded Andy Reid's decision by being embarrassed of the Falcons' offense.
Nnamdi Asomugha placed the Eagles' defeat squarely on Juan Castillo after the loss to the Lions. Asomugha went out on Sunday against the Falcons with as much, if not more, to prove than anyone on the Eagles defense. He was torched by Julio Jones on a 63-yard touchdown reception.
The Eagles' front four on defense was awful again, but they finally got not one but two sacks. Of course, the first one was when Matt Ryan pretty much ran into the back of his offensive lineman and fell to the ground. The second one came late in the fourth quarter with the game all but decided when Matt Ryan laid on the ground in an effort to protect the ball and run out the clock.
The Eagles' two loud-mouth defensive ends, Jason Babin and Trent Cole—who apparently spent Friday setting up a hunting tree stand—did nothing again.
Cole got his name on the score sheet by getting into it with Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez and drawing a personal foul in garbage time, but other than that he was a non-entity on the field.
Jason Babin's contribution was earning a holding penalty that extended Atlanta's first drive of the game and led to their first touchdown.
The Eagles go into New Orleans next Monday leaking a great deal of oil.
Their coach, having fired one on his minions already and consistently refusing to bench his mediocre quarterback, is running out of options.
This is one funny-looking dynasty.
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