The Eagles simply didn't come to play on Tuesday night, and as a result, they let a chance to push for a first-round bye slip through their hands. As NFC East champions, the Eagles are now locked into the #3 seed in the NFC and will host a wildcard game two weekends from now.
But that's not what was on the mind of head coach Andy Reid after his team's dismal 24-14 home loss to a Minnesota Vikings team that had little to play for.
"Absolutely pathetic job of my part of getting my football team ready to play," Reid said following the game. We didn't coach well. We didn't play well. It was a complete tail-whipping right there."
Reid, as is typical, put the onus on himself and said that the 48-hour delay because of Sunday's immense snow had nothing to do with the flat level of play from his football team. And there's no denying that they were flat on Tuesday night. The Eagles committed a season-high 12 penalties, had several substitution problems throughout the night, committed costly turnovers and allowed quarterback Michael Vick to be sacked a season-high six times.
And yet, with just over 10 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the Eagles cut the Vikings' lead to three points and looked like they might be making another fourth quarter spurt. But David Akers, voted to his fifth Pro Bowl earlier in the day, kicked the ensuing kickoff out of bounds and the defense surrendered a back-breaking touchdown that would mark the game's final points.
"It was every phase of the game," Reid said. "We've got our all-pro kicker that kicks it out of bounds. We've got good players and good coaching there that didn't coach it well enough. We didn't do well enough on defense, didn't coach it well enough, didn't play well enough."
Defensively, the Eagles allowed 17 points to a Vikings offense led by rookie quarterback Joe Webb. Making his first NFL start, Webb was 17-of-26 for 195 yards and a quarterback rating of 87.8, adding 31 yards rushing.
"He did a nice job," Reid said. "Mobile. Made some nice throws. Looked like he controlled the offense well."
On the other side of the ball, Vick looked off. He lost two fumbles and time and time again missed open receivers - and he would have had more than one interception if not for some drops by the Vikings defensive backs. The biggest mistake of the game came when Vick fumbled the ball after getting sacked by Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield at the tail end of the first half. Winfield would return the fumble for a touchdown, tying the game 7-7.
In his injury update, Reid said that Vick suffered a quad contusion, but that it was no excuse for the Pro Bowl quarterback.
"You have to play," Reid said. "All positions this time of the year, you're going to have nicks and bruises and you have to play."
The biggest injury casualty was defensive tackle Jeff Owens, who suffered a ruptured patellar tendon in his first career game. He will have an MRI tomorrow. Defensive tackle Trevor Laws incurred a shoulder sprain, but he returned to the game.
With a short five-day turnaround ahead of the regular season finale against the Dallas Cowboys next Sunday and the team's playoff status iron-clad, there's a question as to whether Reid will choose to rest some of his banged-up players.
"If that's what it calls for then I'll be ready," said backup quarterback Kevin Kolb. "That's part of my job and I would look forward to the opportunity of trying to get us in the playoffs in the best shape and to get back on track after this one."
But while he said it's too early to make that decision, Reid hinted that his team still has a lot to prove next Sunday afternoon. When asked if he'll rest some key players, Reid simply responded, "We're not good enough to do that."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 12:49 a.m., December 29