Eagles go from the NFC penthouse to living in the doorway of an abandoned building

There are two things I try not to do on a regular basis: drink bourbon for breakfast and overreact to one NFL game.Why? Because both could lead to a slurring of words and deeds.So what to make of the Philadelphia Eagles’ 49-21 loss to the Broncos in Denver today?Well, let me pause for a moment to stoke the power of my prose, and I’ll tell you.Ready?Are you sure?For this is not for the quaint or faint of heart among Eagles fans.In fact, this is so important I should pump up the font on this blog at least six or more points and cast it in bold. Because the Birds are in a world of deep doo-doo.Well, not to trip over too many theatrical trappings, but it says here that the Eagles’ dramatic run as the elite team in the NFC is over.Granted, the final curtain has yet to drop. But the Eagles have blown too many gaskets on offense and defense this year to be even considered a lock to make the playoffs, let alone win the NFC East.Indeed, the Giants and the Cowboys seem splashed with more vitality in the NFC East than do our Birds.Heresy, you say? Perhaps. We shall see. But the foreshadowing is vivid in the narrative of the Eagles’ season. All their gears that once meshed like a fine Swiss watch suddenly are bent and mangled. Can Andy Reid play mad machinist and fix it all in time? I have my sincere doubts. Synchronization is not something you just wing. Sure, the Eagles could somehow wind up running the table and finally win their first Super Bowl. Which seems as likely as Julia Roberts inviting me over for dinner and drinks.You don’t have to be a rocket scientist or have your bust enshrined in Canton to realize that teams that get outscored 62-14 in the first quarter, 55-0 in the first quarter on the road, like the Eagles have this season aren’t exactly knocking on the front door of grand destiny. But as flawed as they are, the Eagles still can tease us by ushering their old-time magic into our souls. After all, Donovan McNabb did wake all of us with three straight TD tosses in the second half today.On one of them McNabb hit Terrell Owens on a short pass and Owens juked cornerback Champ Bailey out of his jock and thigh pads, then whooshed free for a 91-yard score. But it was a big tease. Mo Mentum rejoined the Broncos huddle and things pretty much went into the crapper after that for the Eagles.Any thoughts of an improbable miracle comeback were washed away in the swirling rain as some unknown wideout named Todd Devoe and water bug tailback Tatum Bell closed the show with some splashy heroics. Two overriding thoughts are running in tandem through my mind.First, the offense: The Eagles threw on 18 of their 25 first-half plays — including 10-of-12 to start — and one of those runs was a 2-yard scramble by McNabb. No wonder the Broncos’ pass rush was teeing off on them like Tiger Woods with their fire-in-the-theater nine-man front. Little wonder that McNabb missed his first 12 passes, one of them tipped for a pick. His passer rating at that juncture? Try 1.7 on for size. Of course, you’ll need an electron microscope to even see such a microscopic number. Second, the defense: The Eagles were gouged for nearly 600 yards of total offense by the Broncos. Jake Plummer threw for 309 yards and four touchdowns, Bell zipped for 107 yards and two TDs and Mike Anderson muscled for 126 yards and one TD. The Eagles’ D had more gaping holes than a Jack O’Lantern’s smile. Of course, that first half is the Halloween nightmare that should have transpired on Friday the 13th. I simply can’t expunge from my mind that spring-break party blowout the Broncos threw in the first half. Denver totally dominated Philly on both sides of the ball.It was not a half for subtleties and subtitles.To be blunt, the Broncos bit off the Eagles’ heads, helmets included, and sucked out their lungs in the first half.The Broncos played the first half as if they were dudes from another planet, and they definitely weren’t on a friendly mission. Beyond the 28-0 chasm they found themselves in, the Eagles were beyond atrocious. Their utter ineptitude was so shocking that it had to knock the mooring loose on a few dozen stars or so in the Milky Way Galaxy. Actually, today’s game fried my synapses. So I’ll leave it to Steve Patton to provide the nitty gritty of the details in Monday’s Reading Eagle.But to sum up matters, it’s a sad thing when you lose your grip, let alone your genius.And that, my friends, is the story of the Philadelphia Eagles, circa 2005.

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