NEW ORLEANS — Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick looked and sounded like a beaten man Monday night.
He took an extra long shower after the 28-13 loss to New Orleans at the Superdome, perhaps to let some hot water soothe his aches and/or hope that it could wash away the disappointment of the Eagles’ fourth consecutive loss.
Vick completed 22-of-41 passes for 271 yards but spent most of his time on the Superdome’s faded green artificial turf.
The offensive line got off to a rough start and got even worse when right tackle Todd Herremans left the game in the first quarter with a strained ankle tendon.
A cast that included tackles King Dunlap and Demetress Bell, guard Dennis Kelly and center Dallas Reynolds — none of whom who was projected to be a starter before the season — allowed Vick to get sacked a season-high seven times and absorb countless other hits.
“It was very frustrating,” said left guard Evan Mathis, the only member of the offensive line who was also a starter last season.
There were some offensive bright spots. Running back LeSean McCoy rushed for 119 yards and rookie Bryce Brown added a 40-yard scamper. But they continued to fail to take advantage of scoring opportunities.
Four trips inside the Saints’ 10-yard line produced two field goals and two turnovers, including a Vick interception — his ninth of the season — that cornerback Patrick Robinson returned 99 yards for a touchdown.
As a result, the Eagles scored just 13 points against a Saints defense that entered the game ranked 30th in the league in points allowed and had given up at least 24 in each of their first seven games.
Defensively, the Eagles just didn’t put enough pressure on quarterback Drew Brees to knock him out of rhythm. Defensive end Brandon Graham was the lone standout with a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery. Outside linebacker Mychal Kendricks and safety David Sims — who was making his first start in place of injured Nate Allen — were among players who missed a slew of tackles.
“They ran through tackles,” Eagles defensive coordinator Todd Bowles said after the game.
“We were hitting them at the line of scrimmage and they were still running for 8, 10 yards. Tackling is all about want-to and know how. You gotta be able to tackle to play this game. That’s Pee Wee (Football) 101.”
Despite the four straight defeats, the Eagles are still in the race for a playoff berth. At 3-5, they are tied for second place in the NFC East with Dallas and Washington, 21/2 games behind the New York Giants, whom the Eagles have already beaten once. Only seven NFC teams have winning records.
But they have also given little evidence that they can make a run during the second half of their season, which begins next Sunday against the Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field.
“It’s been difficult at times, but we just have to stay the course,” Vick said after gingerly putting on a gray suit after the game. “We have to keep our heads high and keep at it. That comes with being a professional. We’ve just got to find a way to get some wins. The best teams are doing that right now.”
Offense: Scoring has been their main problem. They’ve been held to less than 20 points in six of their eight games. Reid said after the game Monday that he is sticking with Vick as his quarterback, despite his 14 turnovers. The offensive line has been riddled with injuries that have prevented Vick and McCoy from breaking loose.
Midseason MVP: None
Biggest surprise: Fullback Stanley Havili
Biggest disappointment: Tackle Demetress Bell
Defense: The pass rush hasn’t been there for most of the season. They had two sacks against the Saints but still only have 11 at the halfway point of the season after tying for the league lead with 50 a year ago. The lack of pressure also has hurt the secondary, which continues to have coverage problems. Reid’s decision to fire defensive coordinator Juan Castillo was a mistake. The unit has gotten worse under Todd Bowles the last two weeks.
Midseason MVP: Linebacker DeMeco Ryans
Biggest surprise: Defensive end Brandon Graham.
Biggest disappointment: Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, defensive end Jason Babin
Special teams: The coverage units and return games have not been good.
Place-kicker Alex Henery has been money this season, making 14-of-15 field goals and 13 in a row. Punter Mat McBriar has not been any better than Chas Henry. Returners Brandon Boykin and Damaris Johnson have been non-factors. They appeared to score their first touchdown against the Saints when Riley Cooper returned a kickoff 96 yards for a TD, but it was wiped out by Boykin’s illegal forward pass.
Midseason MVP: Henery
Biggest surprise: None
Biggest disappointment: Special-teams coordinator Bobby April
Coaching: Reid is halfway toward getting fired at the end of the season. He’s got to have a major turnaround if he wants to keep his job. Owner Jeffrey Lurie won’t tolerate another year of not making the playoffs.
Defensive coordinator Bowles has been much worse than Juan Castillo. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhin-weg has not gotten much out of his talent. April was probably lucky to keep his job after the open week.
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