Written By Jason Voorhees
As I took the time to reflect on the Eagles Divisional Round playoff loss to the Saints...a few glaring issues came to mind. The first idea that popped up was how well the Eagles started out the game in one of the toughest and loudest road stadiums to play in, the New Orleans Superdome. Playing a road playoff game in the NFL is hard in itself; and when you factor in the record noise crowd levels that are produced in the Superdome, it becomes one of the most hostile environments to execute your plays. The Eagles did an admirable job of navigating the beginning of the game and weathering the storm. By the way that they started the game, one would have thought that the Eagles were the home team and not the Saints.
However; its not how you begin a game in the NFL, its how you finish and unfortunately the Eagles finished out on the loosing side in 2018. There were many reasons why the Philadelphia Eagles lost this game and we could spend an entire offseason debating those reasons one by one. Furthermore, there wasn't one play that decided the game. Nonetheless, there were six key moments or plays that I can think of...that if any one of those six plays turned out differently...the Eagles win that game. That's why they call it a game of inches and the NFL is a war of attrition. We will highlight these six key plays/moments that could have changed the outcome of the game.
Before the list of plays it is important to note that the Eagles loosing Brandon Brooks (All-Pro Right Guard) early in the first quarter could also be the first reason on the list as A) The Eagles did not run the ball effectively after he left and B) The Saints were able to put way more pressure on Foles the rest of the game causing him to rush many of his passes causing him to be unseasonably inaccurate. Also another key realization that came to mind watching this game that was very evident during his absence...Fletcher Cox is not only the best player on the Eagles roster, but he is also the most important player on the field in any game when it comes to making plays. Here is the list of plays:
BREAKING NEWS...The 2018 Philadelphia Eagles will not be repeat Super Bowl Champs. However; this does not mean that the season was a failure or even a disappointment in my mind because of one major reason...the amount of key injuries sustained vs. the amount of adversity faced vs. the insurmountable odds that were overcome vs. the war of attrition. Ok...well this is more than one reason but nonetheless this is the legacy of this team. The 2017 version of the team overcame many injuries but this team was DECIMATED and I do mean decimated. The Saints game was a microcosm of the Eagles entire season (at one point they were missing Fletcher Cox, Rasul Douglas, Brandon Graham, Michael Bennett, Nigel Bradham, Corey Graham, and Alshon Jeffery.) Wow...its like the game within a game. Or in this case...the game within a season.
Here is a list of Eagles players that were on Injured Reserve:
So for the Eagles to begin the season 4-6 and then come all the way back to make the playoffs was a huge success in my mind. The team overcame insurmountable odds to finish where they did after almost every expert to a "T" counted them out. No one expected this Eagles team to finish with a 9-7 record, let alone make the playoffs. And yet we sit here Tuesday afternoon, almost having saw this team upset the New Orleans Saints in NOLA and go to the NFC Championship Game. Yes folks...they were that close to accomplishing what many thought was impossible. And I will go one step further...I firmly believe that had the Eagles won this game that we would be hoisting our second Lombardi Trophy again in February.
So close...but yet so far away. A season of promise. Almost saw another Nick Foles miracle. We saw plenty of Foles magic on display. Where do we go from here? Many questions to answer. What players do we resign? Is Nick Foles staying or is he going? Many questions to ponder as we enter an offseason with more questions than answers. However; one things for sure...the 2018 Philadelphia Eagles season was a season of promise and we have every reason to be proud of this team that battled and clawed and fought their way to the divisional round of the NFC playoffs.
This team that won a wildcard game on the road in Chicago against arguably the best defense all season. A team that won 5 of its last six games to finish 9-7, winning 4 of those 5 on the road. Amazing Finish BIRDS! I see a bright future ahead and many more years of success. Well, that's my season ending review. I hope that you enjoyed it. There will be plenty of time for what ifs and where do we goes but for now its just enjoy what just happened and ponder how good this team could have been if not for all of the injuries. Until next time...this is Jason Voorhees reporting For Philly Rock Radio. Cheers!
About Jason Voorhees
Jason resides in Norristown, PA and writes about all things sports and heavy metal music.