It was not just a loss, but an embarrassment. Think about it, the Philadelphia Phillies scored more runs than the Philadelphia Eagles did points on Sunday. The Oakland Raiders, a franchise that has not won more than five games in a season since they made it to the Superbowl in 2002, defeated the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. You are not dreaming right now. The Eagles did lose to a team that has been outscored 96-16 in the last three games.
Thinking back, I can’t remember a poorer performance from the Eagles. There was nothing positive about the loss. Even the defense giving up 13 points is not even a true feat against the Oakland Raiders. The offense looked the worst it has in years and it was some of the poorest coaching by Andy Reid and company since joining the team. Now the fun (or not so fun) part: it’s report card time.
Quarterback: D –
Sunday was the poorest performance by Donovan McNabb that I can remember (even worse than the Ravens game last year when he was pulled). He only completed 48 percent of his passes, going 22 for 46. Last week, McNabb silenced any critics after his injury, completing 76.2 percent of his passes and three touchdowns. He couldn’t hit Andy Reid if he dressed up in pads and ran a pattern (what a sight that would be). The Eagles were 2-16 on third down conversions and averaged a mere 4.7 yards per pass.
Running back: C –
This grade has more to do with Andy Reid’s lack of running against the Raiders. The duo of Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy rushed only 11 times for 63 yards. How do the Eagles plan on winning a game by running the ball only 11 times? It just boggles my mind how Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg would not look to vary the offensive schemes. They need to take advantage of the talent of a healthy Brian Westbrook, who had runs of 25 and 9 yards in the opening drive of the second half.
Wide Receiver: C –
Only three different receivers had more than ten yards on Sunday and running back Brian Westbrook led the team with 9 receptions. The Eagles also had quite the case of “butter fingers,” dropping a lot of key passes throughout the game. Rookie wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was practically invisible against the Raiders (1 catch for 6 yards) after coming off of a record-setting performance against Tampa Bay last weekend. The young wide receivers need to improve on their route running to give Donovan McNabb more options.
Offensive Line: F
The first failing grade of the 2009 season goes to the team’s biggest question heading into the season—the offensive line. The offensive line somewhat resembled Philly Phour writer Alex Cohen’s knowledge of the Spanish language: non-existent. The injury bug hit the line hard in preseason, losing Shawn Andrews for the season and Todd Herremans continues to rehab from surgery on his foot. The bug entered the locker room on Sunday, taking out Jason Peters with a leg injury. The Raiders reminded Eagles fans of the Giants game from two seasons ago and King Dunlap looked like the Winston Justice of that game. The Eagles young offensive line was embarrassing, allowing six sacks (The Raiders were T-19th in sacks coming into the game) and 10 tackles for losses. Depth is clearly the problem for the line and the schedule only gets harder from here.
Defensive Line/Linebackers: D +
The Eagles did hold the Raiders to 3.3 yards per carry, but they also allowed 115 yards on the ground to the 25th ranked rushing offense. DE Darren Howard ended the game with just one tackle and the rest of the starting defensive line totaled just two sacks and 3 tackles for losses (Trent Cole alone had 1 sack and 2 TFL’s). Jeremiah Trotter looked out of shape and lost on the field on Sunday. His breakdown led to an 88-yard touchdown reception by TE Zach Miller early in the game. The Eagles continue to struggle with covering opposing tight ends, and it is only going to get worse down the road (Cooley twice, Witten twice, Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzales, Vernon Davis).
Defensive Backs: C –
The only reason this grade is in the C range is because of the two interceptions the secondary forced. Quintin Mikell and Asante Samuel both tallied interceptions in the first half against the Raiders. However, the secondary also allowed JeMarcus Russell to throw for 224 yards. Russell has not thrown for more than 128 yards since the opening week. Through the first five weeks, the Raiders threw for a combined 543 yards through the air, ranking them last in the National Football League. The Eagles successfully moved them to 31st in the league after Sunday’s poor performance.
Special Teams: D
The 35-year-old weakened body of David Akers was exposed on Sunday. Akers missed two crucial field goals (43, 47). One of the field goals was heading into the second half, which would have given the Eagles momentum knowing they had the ball first in the second. He has been pretty shaky since the 2004 season, when he was a Pro-Bowl caliber kicker in the NFL. The return game for the Eagles struggled and they need to find someone to return kickoffs.
It is never fun to write about losses, especially when those losses come to teams that have compared to as “scrimmage teams” by a conference rival. The Eagles just blew their last give-away game of the season and now face a tough road for the remaining weeks. Let’s hope they can rebound from this pee-wee football effort.