If you had told the average Philadelphia Eagles fan on Thanksgiving that their team would be out of playoff contention a month later, you would probably have been laughed out of their eyesight. If not the country.
But as many Eagles fans have painfully learned, nothing in the NFL is settled until it’s settled. Where did it go wrong for the Eagles? This is the burning question on the minds of many fans and observers.
The Eagles looked promising after laying the Dallas Cowboys low with a 33-10 win in the Cowboys’ own stadium.
But perhaps that win was their own undoing.
You see, the Philadelphia Eagles were in a pretty dominant position at that point. Only the Cowboys challenged them in their own division, and they now were a win ahead. They also didn’t feel the threat of Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions as keenly at that point.
The Eagles also enjoyed two back-to-back home games. It’s not like Philadelphia and its fans are meek at home. Those factors came together to create a perfect hubris storm. In short, the Eagles got comfortable with their supposed fortune at the worst possible time during the season.
Then the Seahawks happened. Remember them? Still fighting tooth and nail for a playoff spot and their own division?
The Seahawks gave no respect to the home team, and before the Eagles knew what was happening, they’d been knocked off their perch with an unexpected 24-14 loss. Panic hadn’t set in just yet, although it should have.
Because the Dallas Cowboys, a team that had an answer for the humiliation suffered less than two weeks prior, was set to visit the still reeling Philadelphia Eagles.
With their home field advantage shattered so thoroughly by the Seahawks, and the Cowboys perhaps more than a little upset at how they were treated in their own stadium by the Eagles, this resulted in Philadelphia looking up and finding itself down three touchdowns.
One does not simply march into Eagles territory and smack them about at home. Except, that’s exactly what happened to the Eagles a couple of weeks ago.
I will say that the Eagles at least realized how embarrassing this potential blow-out looked and took control of the game. Unfortunately, Dallas decided that it had no intention of surrendering the narrative that is the 2014 NFC East season.
This led to a pair of late touchdowns that saw the Dallas Cowboys make a well-timed comeback.
Following the 38-27 loss to their long-time rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles were in serious trouble.
Their grip on the NFC East had loosened substantially and the rise of other playoff contenders in the same period meant that the Eagles needed a flawless finish to squeak in as a wildcard.
— Post Sports (@PostSports) December 21, 2014
Enter the Washington Redskins AKA another long-standing vicious rival with nothing to lose (as they have been out of playoff contention for a while) and everything to gain (by being the foot that tripped up the previously promising Eagles).
The game was a close one (made closer by not one but two missed field goals by the Eagles’ kicker). So close in fact that it was tied in the closing two minutes of the game. Although the Eagles expected to head into overtime and perhaps get a win, a late interception thrown by Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez gave the Redskins the ball back.
The last several seconds of the game saw the Redskins score a 26-yard field goal, ending the game 27-24.
— Getty Images Sport (@GettySport) December 21, 2014
In other words, before the Dallas Cowboys clinched the division thanks to a surprisingly dominant win over the Indianapolis Colts, the Philadelphia Eagles had torpedoed their own season.
Three back to back losses late in regular season would perhaps have only done the Eagles any good if they were a part of the NFC South.
— Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) December 22, 2014
Unfortunately for the Eagles and their fans, there’s nothing left to do but try to save face with a victory over the also already-eliminated New York Giants.
In other words, the once promising Eagles will have to close out the 2014 NFL regular season with a game of little consequence.
What do you think contributed to the horrific end to the Eagles’ season?
[Image Credit: Philadelphia Eagles Official Twitter]