GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Eagles had been on the right side of these kind of games so many times in the last year that, well, maybe we forgot how a game can turn in such a wrong direction as quickly as it did for Philadelphia on Sunday in a 53-20 loss at Lambeau Field to the Green Bay Packers.
Green Bay had its way in every way on Sunday, piling up 475 yards of offense, mauling the Eagles' offensive line on the way to three sacks and two interceptions of quarterback Mark Sanchez and even turning the tables on the dominating special teams, returning a punt 75 yards for a touchdown.
Along the way there was an interception thrown by Sanchez (one of two on the day) returned for a touchdown and a high snap from Jason Kelce that went through Sanchez's hands and was scooped up by Green Bay and returned for another touchdown.
It was that kind of afternoon. Everything went wrong as the Eagles dropped to 7-3 for the season.
"Unfortunately, it was one of those days when nothing we did went right," said right tackle Lane Johnson. "I'm not sure what else I can say. We lost in every way."
It was 30-6 at the half, and it was every bit as one-sided as that. Green Bay rolled up 172 total net yards in the first quarter alone on its way to a 17-0 lead. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers took advantage of single coverage by the Eagles' cornerbacks on the outside and completed 9 of 14 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown (to Jordy Nelson) in those opening 15 minutes, during which Green Bay's Micah Hyde returned a Donnie Jones punt 75 yards for a touchdown.
The second quarter wasn't any better. Green Bay scored touchdowns both times it had the football, both on 80-yard drives and Rodgers was unstoppable. The Eagles had no answers for his game. They blitzed and he threw the ball quickly. They rushed four players and Rodgers sat in the pocket to allow his receivers to get open down the field. Rodgers finished the first half with these obscene numbers: 18 completions in 25 attempts for 279 yards and two touchdowns. Nelson had four catches for 109 yards and the score, and set up another touchdown by drawing a pass interference penalty against Fletcher in the end zone.
Green Bay amassed a remarkable 314 total net yards in the first half, converting 5-of-6 third downs and gaining a whopping 18 first downs.
Rodgers finished 22-of-36 for 341 yards and three touchdowns as Green Bay dominated in all phases.
Defensive coordinator Bill Davis knew going in that Rodgers and the high-powered Green Bay offense would be a challenge. It was far more than that on a cold, wintry day on the almost frozen field.
"They beat us in every phase of our defense. We didn't get the pressure on the quarterback. He was in rhythm, had his timing, he was accurate with the deep ball, we couldn't get him off the field on third down," Davis said.
"Give the Green Bay Packers credit for what they did today. We had a horrible day today."
The Eagles are in Green Bay to take on QB Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in a critical NFC showdown ...
There wasn't much to brag about offensively, either. Two trips to the red zone produced just two field goals in the first half, ending a modest streak of seven consecutive conversions for touchdowns inside their opponents' 20-yard line since the win in Houston. Sanchez was sacked three times, once on each of the team's first three drives. When the Eagles got something going, they committed a penalty or allowed a sack or, in the instance of the first drive of the second half when the Eagles moved into Green Bay territory for the fourth time in the game, LeSean McCoy fumbled a Sanchez handoff and the Packers pounced on it. Julius Peppers intercepted Sanchez and ran 52 yards for a touchdown, and cornerback Casey Hayward picked up the poor Kelce snap and trotted 49 yards for Green Bay's final touchdown.
All in all it was truly a game from which to study and grow, and then to push to the side and prepare for Tennessee on Sunday.
"We don't ever want it to happen, but it did so we have to bounce back and we will," said McCoy, who rushed for 88 yards on 23 carries. "We'll stick together as a team and move on and get ready for next week."
The Eagles dropped to 7-3, tied for first in the NFC East with Dallas. It was "one of those days," something the Eagles hadn't experienced since early last season when they were hammered by Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Let's hope another year, or more, goes by before it happens again.
"We threw everything at Rodgers and it didn't work," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "We played single-high safety, split safety ... everything. It didn't work. We want our cornerbacks to get up and press at the line of scrimmage and disrupt the timing of the wide receivers, but today they had our number. Credit to them. This isn't a good taste, so we have to put in a lot of hard work and get back to business on Sunday."