Forget for a minute that Alex Henery missed two field goals (see story). Forget that Jeremy Maclin fumbled in the final minutes. Forget that the defenseas Brian Dawkins would sayhas no dawg in it (see story).
Focus for a second on the fact that the Eagles committed yet another goal-line gaffe. It cost them the game last week andthe above blunders asidewas a key part of this weeks 24-23 loss to the Niners (see story).
Second quarter, first-and-goal at the four.
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Philadelphia sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
Michael Vick threw incomplete to Brent Celek. Then LeSean McCoy was tackled just inside the one.
So on third-and-goal, the Eagles trieda trick play? Talk about having to put your players in better positions.
Ronnie Brown took the handoff and immediately was engulfed by linebacker Parys Haralson, who wasnt blocked. So with Haralson in his face and teammate Kyle DeVan at his feet, Brown had nowhere to go. The play should have resulted in a loss.
But Brown made it worse.
While going down, he tried to throw the ball awaybut instead he gave it away. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman recovered the fumble, and the Eagles walked away with zip.
It was a pass-run option, Brown said. It doesnt matter what the play is called if its not executed the way its supposed to be. The guy got in the backfield. He made a play, and I didnt make a good decision with the ball. I was thinking, from my end, to possibly throw the ball away, because I felt like I had already lost yards, because he was in the backfield. So I figure if I throw it away, its still fourth down, but were still close enough to the goal line to where we could go for it or kick the field goal. Its gotta be a better decision on my part.
Maybe if DeVan isnt on the ground, he blocks Haralson, and Brown doesnt make a desperate decision. But defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francoislisted at 295 poundsshoved the 302-pound Evan Mathis into DeVan.
I got tripped up trying to pull down the line of scrimmage, DeVan said. We worked on the play all week, and its just an unfortunate play. Weve just got to clean it up. Weve got to put more points on the board. We put up a lot of big offensive numbers, but at the end of the day when you lose, it doesnt really matter.
The Eagles had two goal-to-go situations and scored only one TD. In seven red-zone chancesfive more than the 49ers hadthe Eagles scored just two touchdowns. So did the Niners, but in four fewer opportunities.
San Francisco entered the game having allowed only two touchdowns in seven red-zone opportunities, tied with Carolina for lowest percentage (28.6) in the league.
You get down there in the red zone and youre just so anxious and you want it so bad, Vick said. Its just discipline. Being disciplined and the collective effort of everybody being on the same page.
And everybody developing an attitude. Or better yet, developing some dawg.
Its a reality check, DeSean Jackson said. We have to go out there and be tougher and not let people stop us. Right now people are stopping us. You just have to go out there and gut-check ourselvesdo things the right way and continue to work hard and stay humble. But regardless of what anybody says, or how they feel about our team, we know what we need to do, so well get it right.
The Eagles piled up 513 yards of total offense. Vick threw for a career-high 416 yards and ran for 75. Jackson had 171 yards receiving. To no avail.
Vick became the first player in league history to throw for at least 400 and rush for at least 75 and lose the game.
We had a lot of yards, but we didnt punch it in, and we were just 2 for 7 in the red zone, head coach Andy Reid said.
The bottom line is that I have to put the players in the right position to make plays, and then we have to make the plays.
LeSean McCoy can make plays. But Reidheres something newforgot to run the ball. McCoy rushed nine times for 18 yards. Asked about why he didnt run McCoy out of two tight-end sets as he had previously, Reid responded:
We did what we did. You saw what we had in mind. We did what we had in mind. We just needed to score more touchdowns.
At least Reid shared the blame.
You cant sit on leads, he said. Thats what I did with our team here, and we lost the game.
E-mail Andy Schwartz at firstname.lastname@example.org