The Young Gunz Dream is Over: Packers 21, Eagles 16...

The Young Gunz Dream is Over: Packers 21, Eagles 16...

Eagles

The Young Gunz Dream is Over: Packers 21, Eagles 16...

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Man…I’m just bummed out… I thought very confidently about the Eagles’ chances to win this game.  Even when the Birds were down 14-3 at the half, it looked like they had solved the mystery keys to the game and were ready to roll…

Green Bay DB Tramon Williams intercepts Mike Vick’s final-minute end-zone pass to Riley Cooper to end the season for the Eagles…

And then Vick and Cooper came up short in the final minute…Cooper, the rookie who was Tim Tebow’s roommate in college… Cooper, who I thought should have made a play back to the ball…and whom may have been interfered with prior to the interception…but no rookie is going to get that call in prime-time playoff action.

Congrats to Green Bay.  They stayed the course. Aaron Rodgers had a very efficient and intelligent outing.  Rodgers did nothing very spectacularly, but he managed the game plan to satisfactory results and lives to play another day.  James Starks, a 6th-round pick out of Buffalo, came out of nowhere to provide the Pack with the necessary ground game (123 yards) to give Rodgers the platform he needed to put up 21 points.

I am left only with an empty feeling. That’s because, if you hold the Packers to 21 points on a day that’s not even your best outing, and at home, you expect to win the game.

Especially with a “healthy” Mike Vick at the helm…

Truth be told, the Packers didn’t exactly beat Vick down with linebacker or corner blitzes… the Eagles O-line and  blocking backs did a pretty good job of giving Vick time and keeping him clean against the likes of Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson.  Yes, there were a couple of instances where RT Winston Justice was getting bull-rushed or side-swiped…but that was because Sir Winston’s sprained knee is still not to the point of recovery where he can push off from it…so King Dunlap was brought in to remedy the situation at right tackle.

No, you can’t pin this loss on defensive pressure on Vick.

The Eagles were given plenty of chances to come back in this one.  They just couldn’t dial up that one big offensive play where the ESPN SportsCenter guys go “boo-yah”, and which students of the Michael Vick Experience have become used to… and they couldn’t get two measly field goals out of a beleaguered David Akers which would have saved the day.

Oh, the headlines will say, “Packers Run Over Eagles”…but don’t believe it for a second.

This one was way closer than you’d think.

Sure, rookie RB James Starks got the nod to start today and had 23 rushes for 123 yards.  Brandon Jackson had only 10 yards rushing, but had 27 receiving yards and a TD.

The Pack receiving corps had two TD’s, one by TE Tom Crabtree and another by WR James Jones.   Aaron Rodgers was 18-27 for 180 yards and 3 TD’s.

But the game was left wide open for the Eagles to take it, right up until the final minute of play.

Something just wasn’t clicking at the right time for the Eagles.  I think I’ve seen games like this before, where a team is playing well but just not scoring.  But you don’t expect that script in a storybook season… and I’m guilty of thinking this was a storybook season for the Eagles… Young Gunz, Boy Dogz, and Mike Vick…the whole plot is now dashed upon the rocks of NFL reality.  It could have kept on happening until a Super Bowl…but it didn’t.

The Eagles were not dominated by the Pack.  Far from it… but the Packers advance, and we Eagles fans are left to ponder the meaning of existence…

Goodness knows, our coverage special teams played great last night, our secondary defense was more than adequate…I thought the linebackers did a good, if not great, job of containing tight ends and check-down receivers… Sure, Akers was off, but I have no doubt if it came down to a game-winner he would have hit it…

Avant had a nice game with a bunch of possession receptions… DJax contributed 47 yards on 2 receptions despite a strained knee… Maclin missed a couple of key grabs, but can’t be blamed for anything other than stalling a few drives… LeSean McCoy was keyed upon the whole game, but committed no major miscues, and was certainly an adequate blitz-pickup pass-blocker for Vick…

I just never sat through an Eagles game like this where I was certain they would pull it off in the end.  It was almost like the Birds had this thing timed down to perfection, where Green Bay would be left with nothing on the clock as the Eagles scored the winning points.

It didn’t happen. So now I have to gather myself… I can truly say, after the shock of trading McNabb wore off, I have never enjoyed an Eagles season as much as this one.  The energy, the youth and the optimism of having 13 rookies on the roster really got to me.  I really got into it.  And after their winning the NFC East Division title,  I was mystically hooked on the idea that this might be the year…

Turns out, one and done… I take some solace from the words of Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott: “Listen, at the end of the day, we lost in the playoffs. Like I said, there are a lot of teams sitting at home that would have loved to have a chance to play in the playoffs. That said, we can get a lot better. We’re going to learn from our mistakes, starting with me, I’m going to learn from my mistakes and be a man about things and look to come out and have a great off-season and come back next year stronger than ever.”

That’s the bottom line. Either we think we’re on the verge of something very good, or we give up. I look around the league, I see what is considered good now, and what stinks. I believe I’ll hang with the Eagles just a little while longer.  Even though this 2010-11 team could have gone much further (see Seattle as evidence), I believe they’re on a progressive growth curve.  Maybe this close playoff loss to the Packers somehow makes the Eagles better in 2011-12 (and I’m assuming a CBA gets done)… That’s all I’ve got to go on right now. 

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