“I like the grit of this football team. I like the toughness of this football team,” said Reid. ”They’re a competitive and tough bunch.”
That was the identity being cultivated through the better part of five games. Michael Vick engineered three game-winning drives; the defense successfully protected each lead. They stood toe-to-toe with the bully Ravens. Took down the Super Bowl champion Giants. A tough loss on the road to the Steelers? Given Pittsburgh’s level of desperation, acceptable.
The loss to the Lions puts everything into question. Detroit jabbed the Eagles in the nose, ripped the win from their loose grip, and pushed them to the ground for good measure.
“They wanted it more. They came out, made all the plays,” said Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. “I can’t say anything about it other than they wanted it more. We have to go out and fight. We had to win and once again, we blew it. Point blank, period.”
This year’s group appeared to have turned the page. The 2011 squad blew five fourth-quarter leads. This season, they were closing. But they have surrendered two leads late in as many weeks now, and the ghosts have been aroused.
“I said it last week, that if we keep playing these close games, the other team they get paid to make game-winning drives, too. We can’t continue to let teams hang around,” said Todd Herremans.
“This could be the type of game where it comes back to haunt you late in the year,” added LeSean McCoy. “You know how that sometimes affects you. Easy win…I won’t say easy win, but I felt like we had the game in control, I will say that. It’s like a sick feeling.”
Nnamdi Asomugha talked about how different the bye week will be now following the most painful loss of the season. With the team sitting at 3-3, he said the Eagles are now “behind the eight-ball.” They will have two weeks to stew over how they got there.
No one in the locker room wanted to say that this felt like last season, but it did. Talented unit, untimely letdowns. That will be the label on the 2012 squad for at least the next two weeks. It’s identical to the one they wore this time last year.
Herremans was asked about the offensive line play following the loss to Detroit. While he was speaking about his group in particular, the words can stretch across the entire team.
“It seems,” said Herremans, “like we have our breakdowns at the worst, most inopportune times.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
Sheil gives his instant observations from a head-scratching day at the Linc.
Vick was at a loss in the moments after the game.
Juan Castillo altered his approach in the closing minutes, and it backfired.
The defense was also stung by the loss of Fletcher Cox and Nate Allen down the stretch.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Brent Celek took responsibility for the loss. The veteran tight end had a pair of second-half miscues that hurt the Eagles’ chances. Via CSN Philly:
“This game, I take responsibility for it,” said Celek. “How we finished those two drives, both on me, the one I dropped and the one was a pass interference — whether it was or wasn’t, it was called. I’ve got to do better. I can’t put our team in that position. I’ve just got to do better. I’m disappointed in myself.”
Dan Graziano gives his take on the loss.
The patchwork offensive line is catching up with the Eagles. The Lions’ interior defensive line is very tough, and it made life difficult for backup center Dallas Reynolds and the Eagles’ guards. Quarterback Michael Vick was under pressure all day, and while he generally did a good job of avoiding the rush, he took two sacks in overtime that cost the Eagles field position and a chance to win the game after blowing the lead.
Phil Sheridan examines what this failure means for the Reid era.
After Sunday’s mind-searing loss against the Detroit Lions, the team is 3-3. That’s 37.5 percent of the season gone and the Eagles are .500 – the benchmark Lurie said would mean the end of the Reid Epoch.
So Reid has a bye week, then 10 games to prove that his 11-11 record over the past two seasons is a mirage of some kind. Ten games to prove the steady regression since 2008 is just a fluke. Ten games to transform Michael Vick into a championship quarterback.
Reid’s day-after press conference at noon. I’m sure it will be a delight. At 6, it’s Birds 24/7 on 97.5 the Fanatic.