Eagles vs. Packers: Philadelphia Exposed in Painful Playoff Loss To Green Bay

WesAnalyst IJanuary 10, 2011

That one hurt.
That one hurt.Nick Laham/Getty Images

The glaring weaknesses were there throughout the entire season.

Somehow the Eagles were able to cover up their flaws, win the NFC East and host a first-round playoff game.

Maybe they did it because Andy Reid had a fantastic year as the head coach, or perhaps Michael Vick's MVP-caliber season covered up the blemishes.

If we want to be honest, though, the Eagles' success was more a result of a terrible NFC.

Game after game the Eagles were able to play opponents who were only able to expose one or two deficiencies at a time.

Late Sunday afternoon, the Green Bay Packers showed everyone the holes in this Eagles team with a 21-16 win in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs.

It started on the first play of the game and ended with Vick's final pass.

Most people assumed the Eagles would open up the game with a pass play. The Packers obviously thought about this and sent linebacker Desmond Bishop off the edge. The Eagles had no answer for it and Vick went down for a nine-yard loss.

The porous offensive line went on to allow two more sacks. The Eagles should certainly be able to survive three sacks in a game. But it wasn't the sack total that doomed them. It was the constant pressure applied by the Packers defense and the stupid penalties that made it painfully obvious how bad the offensive line was this season.

The O-line was terrible against the blitz, the 3-4, 4-3 or any other front thrown their way.

Wouldn't it be nice if the Eagles defense could generate that kind of pressure?

It would require some talent and a defensive coordinator with a good game plan.

Yes, the Eagles were riddled with injuries defensively. But honestly, what injured player would have made a difference yesterday?

Stewart Bradley would have been pushed around and been a step behind every play.

Nate Allen would have made the secondary look respectable. But you can't expect him to make up for what lacked in the defensive backfield by himself.

Ellis Hobbs was burned earlier in the year by Greg Jennings, so fans should have no reason to think anything would be different.

Brandon Graham was a non-factor prior to his injury, and no one can possibly think he was going to provide any type of a much-needed pass rush yesterday.

With a collection of average players, Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott made them look like one of the worst defenses in the NFL.

Aren't coaches supposed to find a way to put their players in a position to succeed?

Look at what the Packers did with rookie running back James Starks. The coaches were able to develop a game plan conducive to helping Starks flourish in the biggest game of his career.

It's a shame Reid couldn't find a way to get LeSean McCoy more than 16 touches in what should have been the opportunity to showcase one of the most underrated running backs in the NFL.

In typical Reid fashion, the Eagles refused to run the ball with their backs in short-yardage situations on a consistent basis. When they did hand the ball off, they did it out the "Pistol" formation.

Instead of going under center and allowing the running back to get momentum moving forward, the running back's first step is sideways while the defense is getting a push directly to the back. If Vick decides to keep the ball, his first move comes from about five yards deep in the backfield while standing flat-footed.

The demons of the Eagles' short-yardage woes forced them to use four downs and a timeout to score a touchdown when they had 1st-and-goal from the 3-yard line.

The timeout would have come in handy on the Eagles' final drive.

Maybe Reid could have called a timeout after the Eagles picked up a first down at the Packers' 11 with under a minute remaining in the game.

It would have given Reid a chance to calm Vick down and remind him not to take a risk.

On the next play Vick took a shot at the end zone and was intercepted by Tramon Williams.

Vick looked more like Donovan McNabb than an MVP candidate. If we want to be fair, we have to say Vick choked. He found himself in a position to be clutch and he didn't come through.

No one should get crazy and ask for the Eagles to move in a different direction at quarterback. But the final play makes you wonder if it is more important to have a mobile quarterback that can make something out of nothing or if the Eagles need to find a quarterback that can read defenses, identify the open receiver and get him the ball.

All of the faults resulted in a painful loss.

The sting from the loss should not stem from the fact the Eagles are eliminated from the playoffs. It should be based on the Eagles having more than enough flaws to deal with in the offseason.


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