Just when you thought things could not get uglier than the 13-13 tie the Philadelphia Eagles perpetrated in Week 11 against the Cincinnati Bengals, things got a whole lot uglier in a 36-7 road loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 12.
When the Eagles were down 22-7 in the third quarter, backup quarterback Kevin Kolb drove the team down the field with a good chance at drawing the deficit to a manageable 8 points. That was a touchdown and two-point play for a tie, as the TV commentators pointed out.
After Brian Westbrook secured a first down with about a four-yard run, the Eagles had the ball on the two-yard line. On first down, Kolb tried a quarterback sneak and got to about the two-foot line. The play that was called next, on second down, apparently by a sideline coach, either Marty Morningweg or Andy Reid, was a double play-action pass.
Now, granted, play action is supposed to freeze the linebackers and have them bite on the run. But if you don’t run the ball, or have little success of doing so, play-action is virtually useless. Nobody in the stadium believes you are going to run.
Kolb dropped back about seven yards, attempting to hit wide receiver Reggie Brown, when Ravens defender Ed Reed stepped in front of him and returned the intercepted ball 108 yards to put the Ravens up, following the extra point, 29-7.
Game, set, match.
Now most Eagles fans I have talked to and radio hosts I heard have given up on the season, even though the Eagles stand at 5-5-1. The Eagles were in a similar situation a few years ago, and lead by quarterback Jeff Garcia, made the playoffs. This year is different; they are in last place and all the team in front of them lead them by at least two games and all have beaten them once.
I tell non-Eagles fans, that I don’t care as much about the Eagles, since the Phillies won the 2008 World Series. They tell me they don’t understand what different sports have to do with each other, but most Philly fans understand.
With that in mind, and time to get my Eagles Touchdown Ice Cream one more time (although they don’t make it anymore), here are the 10 Worst Moments in Philadelphia Eagles history, according to this fan, since 1968.
Why, 1968? ‘Cause I am older than most of you, and if I don’t remember myself, I can remember other fans talking about it or my dad telling me about it. Sunday’s play does not even make the list.
10. ”For who? For what?” said Ricky Watters, following a 21-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 3, 1995. Watters had short armed, (aka alligator armed) a pass over the middle, sacrificing a short gain for not getting clobbered by the defensive player after catching the ball. “For who? For what?“ was the reason he gave for not catching the pass. As most Philly fans know, selfishness does not play well in this town.
9. The “Fog Bowl” in 1988. The Eagles lost to the Chicago Bears, 20-12, an NFC Division playoff game, that featured increasingly foggy conditions as the game progressed. The play that sticks in everyone’s mind was the sure touchdown pass by Randall Cunningham to Keith Jackson down the sidelines, which went through Jackson’s hands while the he was in full stride.
8. 1968: “Joe must go.” You think the din is loud to get rid of both quarterback Donovan McNabb and Head Coach Andy Reid?
This year, with the team in financial ruins and a 2-12 season under Head Coach Joe Kuharich the aforementioned chant was heard all season long in Franklin Field. Kuharich was fired after the season, while Jerry Williams was named head coach, and owner Jerry Wolman sold the team to trucking executive Leonard Tose.
Tose would turn out to be no picnic himself after a few years, but that is another story for another day.
7. 2000. In the second round of the NFL playoffs in 2000, the Eagles faced heated rival New York Giants. The game was essentially over after the Giants took the opening kickoff.
Ron Dixon took the ball at his own three-yard line and took the kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. The Eagles would go onto lose, 20-10, and I have never seen a game when an opening score took the wind out of the opposing team as Dixon’s return did on that day.
6. 2006. Bryan kicks the soul of the Eagles. With time expiring, Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Matt Bryant made an improbable 62-yard field goal to give the Bucs a 23-21 win during a regular season game. I was at work and me and another co-worker and Eagles fan felt if someone had delivered a swift kick to our guts.
5. 2002 NFC Championship. Ouch, this one hurts. The Eagles, who lost the St. Louis Rams the year before in the championship round, lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 27-10. The key play?
Down 20-10 with time growing short, McNabb was intercepted by Ronde Barber, who returned the interception for a pick six, traveling 95 yards to the Eagles' end zone with a disheartened McNabb trying to catch him, and the Eagles last grasp.
4. 1980 Super Bowl (played in early 1981). The Eagles seemed tight all Super Bowl week, as stories of the Oakland Raiders players roaming the streets of New Orleans circulated throughout the Philadelphia newspapers. Sure enough, Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski was picked off three times in a 27-10 super drubbing.
3. 2003 NFC championship game. I don’t remember much about this game, but I just know that the Eagles were heavily favored to defeat the Carolina Panthers in the Eagles' third straight NFC championship game. The Eagles lost, 14-3. The frustration would end the following year as the Eagles advanced to the Super Bowl, beating Atlanta in the NFC championship to advance to Super Bowl XXXIX.
2. Five on Five. Who doesn’t remember the last five minutes of the 2004 Super Bowl. McNabb, No. 5 in the playbook, faced the biggest five minutes of his career. The Eagles were down 24-14. McNabb used methodical means to drive 13 plays and 79 yards to close the Birds to three points.
However, by the time the Eagles got the ball back, McNabb was picked off with nine seconds remaining as the Patriots captured their third Super Bowl championship in four years. Some may pick this as their No. 1 disappointing loss.
1. Tommy, Tommy, Tommy. Placeholder Tommy Hutton bobbles the snap on a chip-shot Chris Bonoil field goal, as time wore out on a 21-20 Dallas Cowboys win on a Monday night game in 1997.
Who can forget Hutton scooping up the ball and trying to run it, unsuccessfully into the end zone. Who among us did not yell: “No, no.” The stage certainly wasn’t the biggest, but being slightly more than an extra point, an Eagles win never seemed so certain.
Whew! First off, I would like to credit the Eagles' Web site for most of the information gathered.
So don’t worry, Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb. You might be involved in the a few of the Eagles’ worst moments, and you certainly won’t be the last. Why do I write this story with weeks left in the season.
Because I have written off the Eagles' season, McNabb’s career with the Eagles, and possibly, Head Coach Andy Reid. Prove me wrong! I dare you. But I doubt it...