By Andrew Porter
I’ve always said, I’d rather my team lose a big game in a blow out than lose at the buzzer, or in the final seconds. Final second losses sting the most because all you can think about afterwards is, “what if this”, “what if that.” You replay those moments over and over again.
The Eagles won 10 games and the NFC East under a first-year head coach in Chip Kelly, a first-year starting quarterback (sort of) in Nick Foles, and a completely brand new defensive system. They hosted a playoff game as a three-seed against a proven winner. This loss stings, a lot, but we have to keep it in perspective.
- Those critical of the 185 rushing yards the Eagles defense allowed need to realize the game plan was to take away the Saints passing attack and limit their big plays, and their points.
- They did that, holding Drew Brees to 250 yards passing, one touchdown, and forced two interceptions and holding the Saints to 26 points.
- The linebackers, Connor Barwin, DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, and Trent Cole all played extremely well last night, and all season for that matter, something to be encouraged about going forward.
- Good linebackers are something we haven’t been accustomed to in Philadelphia.
- What if…Alex Henery made that field goal in the second quarter?
- What if…Riley Cooper caught that pass on third down in the third quarter, where all that was ahead of him was green grass?
- What if…Cary Williams didn’t commit a bone-headed horse-collar tackle on Darren Sproles, during the kick return that preceded the game winning Saints drive?
- Those are three “what if’s” that could have changed the outcome of the game…
- …but there’s no need to try to “blame” this loss on any one person
- The Eagles played well. It was a hard fought game.
- First year coach/QB combo vs. a HOF, Super Bowl winning head coach/QB combo.
- The Saints won the game…the Eagles didn’t lose it.
- If you’re not encouraged to be an Eagles fan right now, you’re out of your mind.
- LeSean McCoy is a 25-year old star running back.
- Nick Foles is a 24-year old potentially, I’ll say, star quarterback.
- Chip Kelly is a first-year head coach, who clearly will have success in the NFL.
- The defense finished it’s first season under Billy Davis’ 3-4 system
- There are a lot of young talented players on defense, like Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton, Bennie Logan, Vinny Curry, Brandon Graham, Brandon Boykin, and Mychal Kendricks that will continue to grow.
- The Eagles have a ton of cap space to boot, seemingly some of which will be used to improve the secondary this off-season
- The NFC East stinks
- The Cowboys have an aging quarterback in Tony Romo, an awful coach in Jason Garrett, and an owner in Jerry Jones, who no one is clamoring to work for.
- The Giants have an aging quarterback in Eli Manning and are on the decline as well.
- The Redskins…well, the Redskins don’t know what they have. They are in a little bit of disarray.
- Everything lines up for the Eagles to be a team that can win a lot of games over the next few years, potentially earning themselves a number one seed in the NFC in the near future, forcing NFC opponents to have to come through Philadelphia to win a Super Bowl.
- Look, that loss stings. It was tough to swallow last night.
- The Eagles could have won that game.
- I don’t even feel like watching another NFL playoff game.
- But we have a lot to be encouraged and excited about as Eagles fans.
- Ten wins, an NFC East division title, a home playoff game against Payton, Brees, and the Saints under a first-year coach, first-year starting QB, and a new defensive system…
- …if you asked me to describe this season of new, exhilarating, fun, record-breaking football, I’d call it a win.
Andrew Porter is the Audio Roadshow Coordinator for SportsRadio WIP, editor and writer for The School Philly, and a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly. You can follow him on Twitter @And_Porter.