Are you serious?
So it’s been roughly 50 hours since the game ended, but I still am having a tough time believing the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots. Did the Eagles deserve to win Sunday? Absolutely. Should they have won? No f’n way!
Call it a “hangover” game if you wish. Tough loss in Denver the previous week, end of undefeated season, blah, blah, blah. Call it overlooking an inferior opponent. Call it “well, every good team has a stinker every year” sort of thing. Call it whatever. You know what I call it?
One of the worst coached games in the Belichick/Brady era.
Ok, that’s not much of a revelation, I admit. But this one is all on the coaches. The Pats had no business losing to the Iggles. In Foxborough, no less. Their last two games consisted of getting blasted by the Lions and Buccaneers. Two teams that are ummmm, mediocre at best. Sure, the Eagles have a shot to win that putrid division called the NFC East. But they are still terrible.
Some people may want to blame the injuries. Gronk, Edelman, Hightower…all out. Collins back after missing several weeks and not necessarily in game shape. Amendola missing a game and coming back, maybe he isn’t full speed either. All that. I say no way. The team the Pats put on the field was plenty good enough to beat this outfit.
So, back to the coaches. I’m not exactly sure what the game plan was here. Seems to me this was a game where they could do the bare minimum if they had to and still walk away with a win. “Bare minimum” would likely mean running the ball a little more…or even a lot more. Add in the fact that the offensive line has struggled protecting Brady in recent weeks, that seems like more of a reason to run it. I’m no LeGarrette Blount guy. And I don’t love Brandon Bolden or James White toting the ball too much either. But it just seemed like the right thing to do.
And they seemed to run it fairly well as they built the 14-0 lead. Then the rugby kick happened.
In hindsight, this doesn’t actually bother me as much as it did when it actually transpired. Again, this game should have been a cakewalk any way you slice it. So if they onside kick it and don’t recover, what’s the harm? Some would say that this is the team to try stuff like that against. Because it shouldn’t hurt you in the end. So it didn’t work and then the Eagles ended up scoring. So what?
The real downfall started with the decision-making on the last drive of the first half. Conservative again, just like against the Broncos. Not typical Patriots-like behavior, but based on the circumstances, maybe not the worst move. Except…once Bolden had a few carries that gained some yards…they seemed to change their mind. Big mistake, as we all know. Incompletions, clock stoppages, forcing the Pats to attempt a punt…and you know that all turned out.
The next curious call came midway through the 3rd quarter when White got to the Philly 1 on a reception and then the Pats ran up to the line to try to catch the Eagles off guard…or offside. This stunt has worked many times in the past. But again, based on the circumstances, maybe a different path should have been chosen? The negative run and incompletion that followed were bad enough. But of course the interception return TD was killer. Just not sure why they had to rush that one…in this circumstance. Easy second guess I suppose.
The punt return TD was of course not bad coaching (I think?), but just bad execution. But I wonder if the next interception was bad coaching? The trick play to Brady was nice and all. But maybe instead of going deep the very next play and trying to force one in there, maybe a run was in order? I don’t know…just my immediate thought right after the trick play anyway. Brady ain’t exactly used to running 40 yards downfield after all. Maybe a chance to “catch his breath” on the next play would’ve been a better course of action.
One more coaching mishap I would say was once the Pats cut it to 35-28 with 3 minutes left, another onside kick was ordered. With Nate Ebner kicking again, to boot (pun intended). Why not kick away? Sure they ended up lucking out when the 3rd string running back fumbled. But still…
Just a lot of bad decisions at bad times. Was it overconfidence? Pure arrogance? Maybe. But Belichick rarely, if ever, turns in a bad coaching performance…after Thanksgiving too, for that matter. He’s usually got everything running smoothly by the time December rolls around. Not this year.
People are also lauding the defense for only giving up 14 points as well. But the defense also gave up crucial third down plays, with a penalty or two sprinkled in as well. Against an average QB with average WR’s and backup RB’s. Many runs to the edge that gained significant yards as well. So I am not exactly as excited about their performance as the public seems to be.
In any event, with all that being said, I am not following some of the crowd by saying that the season outlook is now gloomy. Sure, this loss was atrocious and sure, they are now technically the #3 seed, without a bye. But it’s hard for me to believe that the coaching will be anywhere near this bad the rest of the way. And that they will lose 3 in a row. I’m hoping that this is a wake-up call and they come out flying against the Texans Sunday night.
People are pointing to the Patriots ties in the Houston organization and saying, “well, they know the Patriots’ tendencies…” And the Pats don’t know theirs? People are afraid of a guy like Vince Wilfork “circling this game on his calendar”. Wilfork? Really? He served the Pats’ well for years, no doubt. But he is on the back nine…back three maybe…and I have a hard time believing he will be much of a factor. The Houston D overall is apparently fairly decent and we all know about JJ Watt. But take out DeAndre Hopkins and I am not sure there is much O to talk about.
I’m confident that the Patriots put the Eagles game behind them quickly and take care of business going forward. At least through the next 4 games. Get the bye and hopefully home field. But then again, what else did you expect me to say?!
Posted on December 9, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged AFC East, Bill Belichick, Danny Amendola, DeAndre Hopkins, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, James White, JJ Watt, New England Patriots, NFL, Philadelphia Eagles, Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.