Philadelphia Eagles' Performance Causes Fans To Question Heart, Pulse

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Philadelphia Eagles' Performance Causes Fans To Question Heart, Pulse
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It has become an all too typical pattern.

A big game, and a flat performance.
Either the team, their all-time winningest coach, or the "Hall of Fame" quarterback came up small in another big spot...
...or the organization collectively decided to not even attempt to get a first round bye and a home game, and conceded the loss with a Vanilla Game plan so they "did not show the Cowboys" too much for next week.

Considering that team owner Jeffrey Laurie withheld money owed to the city that would have kept libraries open for a few years, it is hard to imagine he would ever allow anyone in his organization to concede anything that would keep him from lining his pockets with proceeds from another home game.

The logical conclusion can only be this:

Once again on the big stage, in a big game, on national television, the Philadelphia Eagles gave a performance that left their fanbase asking, "Do they even care?"

A year after not knowing the overtime rules, and in a year where he did not know how many timeouts he had, Donovan McNabb once again nonchalantly strolled to the line with plenty of time on the play clock and directed traffic and moved players around. He lifted his leg for the snap and the whistle blew.  

His confusion was obvious. 

Though McNabb had a constant eye on the play clock, which had plenty of time left on it, he failed to notice that the game clock that was ticking down to close out the first quarter. Hardly a mistake you would expect out of an 11-year vet who some people consider a Hall of Famer.

He overthrew a wide-open DeSean Jackson down the middle of the field in the second quarter and he threw behind a wide-open Jeremy Maclin twice, one of which could have easily gone for a TD, according the Joe Buck and Troy Aikmen.

After driving his team into the red zone on a must-score drive, McNabb fumbled the shotgun snap. The fumble was not because of miscommunication between a QB and a new center or because the cadence was off, both which would be understandable.

It was a result of the ball not coming straight back to his belt buckle. Instead, it came towards his left thigh pad, a mere six inches to his left, and he dropped it, unable to recover. Maybe now McNabb understands how his receivers have felt as he has consistently has thrown at their feet three to four times a game for the better part of the last 11 years.

McNabb's second fumble was an all too familiar sight: unable to feel the rush, he attempted to throw the ball in traffic, and, as he took the ball back, it was hit out of his hand. You would expect an 11-year vet to feel the rush, especially with his mobility, and it was not as if he had to scramble.

A surprised Troy Aikmen simply stated after the play, "He looked like he had room in front of him to move up and help his tackles out, and he did not."

Once again, Andy Ried's team came out flat, with no urgency. They blitzed 13 percent of the time in the first half, down from their >50 percent average. It was a flashback to the game in Oakland, when Reid got outcoached by a guy who was the afterthought choice of the most dysfunctional franchise in the NFL and was being investigated for felony assault.

A win that day would have rendered this game meaningless, with the division and No. 2 seed completely locked up, and they could have actually taken the day off. Even though this game actually had major playoff implications, the team took the day off anyway, and poor clock management continues to be a common theme in the Reid/McNabb era. 

 

At the end of the half with a timeout in their back pocket, Philadelphia allowed the clock to fall from :47 to :28 without running a play, and then called a timeout.  

On the final play of the half, Westbrook was tackled with :13 left and was unable to get out of bounds. McNabb did not lead speed his troops to the line; he strolled up and, as he approached the area of the new line of scrimmage, seemed to realize that Westbrook had not gotten out of bounds and that the clock was running. Rather then attempt to snap the ball and spike it, he unhooked his chinstrap and looked away frustrated.

On the sideline, there was no emotion, no anger, and no frustration. 

They did not care, plain and simple. Or at least it seemed that way, and perception, after all, is reality. 

It is with performances like this that a city and fanbase with collective high blood pressure and an accelerated heart rate questions the presence of a mere pulse in their quarterback, their coach, and the rest of the organization.

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