Philadelphia Eagles vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 2015 Week 11
Buccaneers 45 – Eagles 17
After their frustrating loss to the Miami Dolphins, most of the Philadelphia Eagles clung to the ‘we’re still right in this’ mantra in their post-game interviews. With the New York Giants on their bye week and Tony Romo returning to the Dallas Cowboys’ lineup, there were things happening above and below them in the standings that should have provided plenty of reason for the Eagles to bring their ‘A-Game’.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers came to town with top draft pick and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston working through the growing pains that come with being a rookie quarterback. His 10 touchdowns were countered by the nine interceptions he had thrown.
A second straight home loss to a team that was a considerable underdog seemed inconceivable.
For the second straight week the Eagles fumbled, lost, stripped and recovered the ball on the same play. Like the previous week, the officials seemed to get it wrong. But, it did allow for a mulligan this time. Mark Sanchez and his charges took advantage with a 7-play 86-yard drive that ended with Josh Huff catching a pass at the Tampa Bay 30 and racing across the field before finding a seam in the blocking and racing home with the game’s first score.
After trading failed drives, the Bucs faced a 3rd-and-6 at their own 29. Brandon Graham jumped Offsides and upgraded them to 3rd-and-1. Fullback Jorvorskie Lane drew attention in the middle of the line while Winston pitched left to Doug Martin, who raced 58 yards to the Eagles 8-yard-line. Two plays later …
You know what … you saw it. Or, at the very least, you‘ve seen the highlights by now. So, let’s not waste each other’s time.
Final: Buccaneers 45 – Eagles 17
Here at Bird Watching, we have tried to keep things informative and relatively dispassionate, to the extent that you probably don’t remember seeing the word ‘I’ too many times. It would take a pretty drastic event to change that approach. That being said …
This was calamitous, horrendous, sickening, embarrassing, inexcusable, ridiculous, depressing, laughable, disappointing … I could go on.
Winston became only the third rookie QB in NFL history to throw five TD’s in a game. The previously solid Eagles rush defense was gashed for 283 yards, 6.7 yards per rush. Twice they dropped possible interceptions on plays that were followed immediately by Tampa touchdowns. Trailing by two scores and in need of a stop to start the second half, they allowed a touchdown drive that swallowed nearly 10 minutes of game time … again, I could go on.
Patience has been bestowed upon Chip Kelly, by this franchise and this fan base. Plenty has already been said of his turning over of the roster. The issue that has been clear to me is that, in most cases, he has gained NO ON-FIELD ADVANTAGE from these transactions. The Culture/Scheme/Talent argument was waged throughout last season. So, I won’t belabor that here. The delicate balance of ‘In Chip we trust’ and ‘Chip must go’ tipped violently Sunday afternoon. If he has lost the city, the question becomes – has he lost the team?
This was not the effort of a team that believes they are ‘still in it’. Even with all of their ‘short memory’ rhetoric after this debacle, if you truly believe that there is a title within your grasp, THIS DOESN’T HAPPEN.
Individually, I could excoriate several players – Byron Maxwell, Kiko Alonso, the wide receiver corps, any of the players that are still committing idiotic penalties in Week 11 as though it were still August. But, this loss was a full team effort.
I have come to an understanding about Kelly’s offensive philosophy. If you have ever played Black Jack in a casino and decided to press your bets, you have lived the Kelly offense. Pressing your bets is not just letting it ride. But, it is adding to your original bet with each successive winning hand. The logic being that, if you win 8-10 straight hands at $10, you win $80-$100. But, if you add $5 to each successive hand as you go, you take the house for like $220-$315 in the same 8-10 hand span … which is awesome, as long as you are winning several hands in succession. When you can’t win more than one or two hands in a row, it is exhausting and fruitless. This is the up-tempo offense. Their two scoring drives on Sunday were pure poetry. Every other drive was pure torture. As long as everything is working and nothing knocks them off schedule, it works. But, between flags, injuries, play reviews, ends of quarters, etc …, something always gets in the way. When it does, we are left with the realization that THEY ARE ONLY RUNNING ABOUT 5 DIFFERENT PLAYS!!!!
This brings us to the other problem – while we have been patiently waiting for Kelly to put together the roster that he needs to enact his grand plan, every other team in the league is learning how to defend this system!!!
We now get to choose the abyss into which we stare. Do we cut ties with Kelly and try to find the coach who can piece together this leaderless pile of mismatched parts? Or, do we suck it up and let Kelly go get more of ‘his guys’ and let things develop for a few years? Either way, when you marry it to the yawning chasm of failure that is professional sports in this city right now, we’re looking at another half-a-decade or more before we make a real run at a title.
A 12:30pm kick-off in Detroit on Thursday. The Eagles have never lost on Thanksgiving. Never. In fact, they have, for the most part, won handily. But, apart from last year’s high water mark in Dallas, none of those wins involved anyone that will be dressed on Thursday. I’m not going to waste your time with any useless hype – ‘only one game out’, ‘must win’, ‘anything can happen’ – this team is on life support and Matt Stafford, MegaTron and company are in position to kick out the plug. The real worry in homes throughout the Delaware Valley is that, by 4pm Thursday, none of us are going to have any appetite. Instead, we’ll be suffering from the unquenchable agita that accompanies the demise of a season.