Eagles booed off field after 30-17 loss to Falcons
Andy Reid stood at the podium, looked straight into cameras airing his live postgame press conference, and told fed-up Philadelphia Eagles fans, ''This is fixable.''
This is an Eagles team that gained 5 yards in the first quarter and didn't force a punt until the end of the fourth. A team left for dead by halftime in front of a disgruntled fan base - well, what was left of the thinning die-hards - that booed them off the field when the clock hit zero.
Rain-soaked fans fled for the exits well before the Atlanta Falcons put the finishing touches on a 30-17 win over the Eagles on Sunday.
The Eagles lost for the first time since Todd Bowles replaced embattled Juan Castillo as defensive coordinator, a sign that personnel, as much as play-calling, is at fault.
''You don't go from the outhouse to the penthouse in one week,'' Bowles said. ''Right now, we're in the damn outhouse.''
In a disparate purge, Reid dumped his loyal coordinator.
His next move, perhaps, could be changing his quarterback. Reid softened his usual staunch defense of Michael Vick and said every Eagle after this ''embarrassing performance'' was being evaluated. Vick was a pedestrian 21 of 35 for 191 yards and a touchdown, and failed to beat his former team in his second start against the Falcons since returning to the NFL in 2009.
''Whatever decision Coach makes, I support it,'' Vick said. ''The thing I know is, I'm giving it everything I've got out there when I step on the field. Deep down, as long as I know I'm doing that, giving it everything, that's all I can ask out of myself.''
Eagles fans are asking for more. Reid demands it.
Yes, Vick deserves blame for the Eagles' 3-4 start, but the issues go way beyond him. The defense was a disaster from the start, allowing a 16-play, 80-yard scoring drive aided by a holding penalty and punctuated with botched coverage on Matt Ryan's 15-yard TD pass to a wide open Drew Davis.
Ryan threw touchdown passes on Atlanta's first three possessions and the Falcons (7-0) would score on their first six.
The Eagles could blame this lopsided loss on a new defensive coordinator. Heck, they can probably still pin the defeat on the old one.
''We ran the same things,'' Bowles said.
Castillo's defense allowed 18.5 points per game, excluding two TD returns against the offense. Bowles' D allowed 21 points in the first 24 minutes and couldn't make a stop until the fourth quarter. One fan held a sign that read, ''Fire Castillo Again?''
The faint ''Fire Andy!'' chants from the upper deck show exactly who Eagles fans believe deserves the brunt of the blame for the biggest debacle in a season slipping away. Those fans who gutted out the elements weren't alone as ((hash))Fire Andy was trending on Twitter late in the fourth quarter.
Reid said the Eagles don't need a new voice - meaning, a new head coach.
''No, I'm going to keep doing that,'' he said.
By the time the Falcons built a 21-7 lead, Ryan completed 12 of 13 passes for 157 yards and three touchdowns. Ryan finished 22 of 29 for 262 yards and three TDs for his first win against his hometown team in three tries.
''We like to have a lot of fun,'' Falcons coach Mike Smith said. ''We have a very mature group. We have a bunch of guys who are mentors. We're good at focusing on the task at hand. We're on point when we kick off and guys have done a good job focusing all season.''
Under Reid, the Eagles were 13-0 after a week off since 1999. That record was washed out not long after the Falcons led 24-7 into the half.
The Eagles used to be a lot of things under Reid: NFC East champions, NFC title game finalists and regular Super Bowl contenders.
Those days are distant memories with this 3-4 record coming a year after the Eagles missed the playoffs with an 8-8 mark. Owner Jeffrey Lurie made it clear in training camp that Reid isn't guaranteed to return next season for his 15th year unless the Eagles win now.
After all he's done for the franchise, Reid will likely last the season. Vick, though, is running out of time to salvage his job. Nick Foles is on the clock with nine games left in the season.
''Obviously, he's thinking about making a change at the quarterback position,'' Vick said. ''The thing I do know, and I'll go watch the film and I'll evaluate myself, is that I'm giving us every opportunity to win.''
That was impossible to tell on Sunday.
NOTES: The Falcons won in Philadelphia for the first time since Oct. 30, 1988. They were 0-6 with two playoff losses. ... The Eagles got their first sack in four games since Week 3. ... Eagles rookie Dennis Kelly took his first snap in the NFL, starting for the injured Danny Watkins (ankle) at RG.
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