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BY MIKE WOLVERTON SPORTS GUY You can’t say the Eagles deserved to win that game. You can certainly say they had chances to win. I thought the best chance was the short pass to DeSean Jackson on the opening play of the final drive. He’s magic, I really thought he might go all the way. And if Desmond Bishop hadn’t caught him by the shoestrings, he just might have taken it to the house instead of just 29 yards. Then four plays later it was all over.
Did the Eagles shoot themselves in the foot? Would anyone like to shoot David Akers in the foot? The normally reliable kicker left six points on the table in a five-point loss. Tight End Brett Celek barely wandered out of bounds on a late 2-point conversion attempt that would have left the Birds needing only a field goal on the final drive. The Eagles actually got most of the breaks in this game (the early punt that touched a Packer, the James Jones drop of a likely long touchdown pass at the end of the first half). But the truth is the Eagles were beaten by a team at least as good as themselves and probably better.
The defense was a question mark going into the season, and suffered crippling injuries all along the way (Ellis Hobbs, Nate Allen, Stewart Bradley, Brandon Graham). Most pundits and fans had the Birds rebuilding in 2010 while the Cowboys and Giants fought it out for the NFC East. The Igs and their fans should feel very proud about what this team accomplished.
So what’s next? The Eagles will likely sign Vick to a long-term deal this offseason. Let’s hope that he comes back in August with the same fire and chip on his shoulder that he played with this season. Getting that big contract affects the commitment of some players. Given Vick’s history, and the forlorn look on his face as he sat on the Eagles’ bench after the loss, you’d think he’d be able to avoid a letdown. It is management’s job to improve the weak areas that hampered this team, notably the offensive line and secondary. Then it’s everyone’s job to strap it up and get ready to go in August.
In the other Wildcard games, one dumbass coach (guess who?) finally cost his team a game with the timeout strategy I’ve always railed against. Down a point, the Colts’ Jim Caldwell called two timeouts (with 2:57 and 2:51 to play) to “save time” for Peyton Manning to drive them for the winning points. How does Caldwell know Manning needs all that time? Sure enough, Peyton drove the Colts down the field for the go-ahead score. How much time was left? Fifty-three seconds. Fifty-three seconds that Caldwell had saved for the Jets with his timeouts. Just enough time for the Jets to beat him. Good job. Coaches, save your timeouts until you are sure you need to use them. If Andy Reid learns one thing this off-season, lets hope this is it and he quits burning all his timeouts with four minutes left to play. Nothing left to say except LETS GO FLYERS!