The Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) were to host the Green Bay Packers (10-6) in the Wildcard round of the NFC playoffs. The Eagles were able to win out the NFC East, as the Packers were able to get into the playoffs on a late season rally.
Both teams boast some of the most deadly and fast scoring offenses in the entire NFL, and two of the hottest QB’s in the entire NFL. It was planned to be an offensive showdown, and as the game progressed it turned into a defensive lockout.
Aaron Rodgers had an incredible game, and he did more than enough to win the Packers the game. Michael Vick did a great job, and was playing through an injury. Although throwing the game ending interception, he was trying to get a quick score and win the game.
There was more than enough moments where everyone was holding their breath, and it was a great game to watch. (Even better if you’re a Packers fan). The final score was, 21-16, Green Bay.
Here are 10 things that lost Philadelphia the game at home:
10. The Packers Quieted The Crowd
Throughout the entire game the Packers were faced with consistent third and medium length situations, and the Eagles defense failed to hold. Not only would the Eagles defense fail to hold on those third downs, but they would also give up the big play.
As soon as the crowd would get into the game, the Eagles defense would fail to stop and hold the Packers offense. Giving up big pass plays, and consistent runs against a rookie running back, and allowing the Packers to score.
The Eagles might as well have been playing on the road. The entire home field was just too busy shaking their heads in disappointment.
9. Missed David Akers Field Goals
I have never seen this from David Akers. This is not the type of kicker that he usually is. When he missed the first field goal from 41 yards and a sufficient amount of wind, I was surprised but not totally alarmed. Then he missed an easy 33 yard field goal, with the wind in his favor.
I’m having trouble accepting that Akers was able to miss two field goals in one game. Not just any game. A playoff game.
The Eagles would have had six more points on the board, and with the current score could have won the game.
This played a huge part in the Eagles losing this game.
8. James Starks
Who is James Starks?
This would be a rookie running back out of Buffalo that had more rushing yards on the Eagles defense than Chris Johnson, Frank Gore, and Arian Foster.
This is the same running back that totaled 123 yards on the Eagles defense. The same running back that was able to average 5.3 yards a carry on the tough Eagles rush defense. I was stunned at how easily Starks was able to run all over the Eagles defense. It was like he just had five yards before any player would even attempt to make a tackle on him.
Who needs Arron Rodgers when you suddenly find a ground attack that includes a player like Starks?
7. Lack of Offense
The Eagles have one of the best offenses in the entire NFL, which has been proven once Michael Vick is taking the snaps. The Packers have two big playmakers on their defense, and are above average at about every other position.
Philadelphia’s offense was non-exsistent.
Sure, there were plays where the Eagles had big gains and on one of the big plays it went for a touchdown. But mainly the Eagles offense was doing a great job of stalling and not getting the ball into the end zone.
The Eagles have struggled in the past with getting the ball into the end zone, and it showed in this game more than ever.
6. Lack of Pressure on Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers is one of the best QB’s in the NFL. He has a lightning fast release and a very high football IQ. There are really few ways to contain and hold off Rodgers from shredding defenses and winning games. The most effective and common method is getting pressure and getting sacks.
The Eagles were only able to get Rodgers on the ground two times the entire game.
This is the Eagles defensive line that has Trent Cole and Broderick Bunkley, who are pass rushing machines. Rodgers had more than enough time to throw the ball, and he almost never looked rushed or under pressure.
The Eagles defensive presence was just not there.
5. Poor Coverage in The Secondary
No one was comfortable with the Eagles current corner back situation. There was a huge gap on the side opposite of Asante Samuel. It was either Dimitri Patterson or Joselio Hanson.
Patterson was able to get the starting job. I wouldn’t say that all of the Eagles secondary problems should fall onto Patterson’s shoulders, but he did blow several coverages during the game. However, the main portion of blown assignments came from the Eagles young linebackers.
The Packers have a deadly passing attack and they had it on display in this game. Rodgers finished the game with 180 yards and three touchdowns.
4. Lack of Turnovers
The Philadelphia Eagles defense excels at causing turnovers. Besides one mistake on special teams, and a one fumble from Aaron Rodgers, the Eagles defense did nothing to get the ball back. There were no interceptions, even though Asante Samuel should have had one, maybe even two.
As the Packers fumbled the ball three times, the Eagles were only able to get the ball back once. When the ball was on the ground, the Eagles defenders didn’t jump quickly enough to get the ball, and looked unaware and unprepared.
If the Eagles could have even recovered one more of those fumbles, it could have been a totally different game.
3. Lack of Rushing Game
LeSean McCoy is one of the Eagles biggest threats on offense, and he has developed into an excellent rusher. The Eagles and Andy Reid have continued to neglect handing the ball off to him. Even though he has been nothing but excellent, Reid still chooses to pass the ball more than ever.
McCoy only 12 touches in the game. But he was able to rush for 46 yards. There is no reason that the Eagles should not have been handing the ball off more. It is easy to defend against an offense, especially like the Eagles, when it is going to be a pass on every down.
Not only did McCoy need more touches in this game, but he deserved it.
2. Failure to Protect Michael Vick and Allow Him Time to Throw
The Packers defense finished the game with three sacks on Michael Vick. That is not an alarming or an impressive number by any means, but they were sacking Vick. One of the most elusive and fast moving QB’s in the NFL, and they brought him down three times.
The sacks were not the biggest problem though, it was that every time that Vick dropped back to pass there was a defender in his face. Usually Vick would try to escape and find the open receiver, which resulted in several bad passes and almost no completions.
When Vick didn’t try and scramble, he would drop back and get thrown to the ground by a Packers defender on almost every snap as soon as he released the throw. Luckily the hits were not to his thigh or he would have been sidelined after the first drive.
The Eagles offensive line might as well still have been on the bench. Vick had no protection in this game.
1. Poor Coaching
I love Andy Reid. I think he is one of the best coaches the Eagles could have found, and he has had enormous success in Philadelphia. But he is just not a good postseason coach. He never has been and it is possible that he never will be.
Reid continued to be overly conservative and not take any chances. He relied on his defense when they were just not playing well. He asked his offense to do too much in not enough time. More than anything- He did not win the game.
From the opening drive, it did not seem like Reid was playing in an elimination playoff game, but more of a causal regular season game that had no meaning. His play calls were repetitive and did not lean on the side of aggressiveness.
Let’s chalk this one down as another postseason loss for Reid, and another season without a Super Bowl win.