This was a must game.
With the New York Giants losing Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles had the opportunity to close the gap. By beating the New Orleans Saints Monday night, the Birds could have climbed back in the NFC East race, a game behind the G-Men in the loss column.
Could have. Should have.
In an up-an-down game, the Eagles showed some bright spots, but also enough mishaps to fall to the Saints 28-13.
You can't really blame Quarterback Michael Vick for this one.
Vick once again got little offensive line protection and the defense sagged for most of the first half before rallying to produce a turnover and some key plays. He was sacked seven times, the most in his career.
There were some highlights:
- Shady McCoy found his feet again, rushing for over 100 yards.
- Bryce Brown had his best carry of the season, bursting for 40 yards.
- Brandon Graham stripped QB Drew Brees of the football and recovered a fumble.
- The Birds special teams caused a fumble on a kickoff.
- DeSean Jackson caught a pass and sprinted for a 77-yard score.
While a trick play was called back because it was a forward pass, what was really cool was watching rookie Brandon Boykin toss a ball to wideout Riley Cooper -- lying on the ground in the end zone -- who dashed down the sideline for a touchdown.
The Birds put together two turnovers that MNF analyst Jon Gruden said "looked like a Rocky script."
But Philly was just punched too much as Brees tossed several touchdown passes that looked too easy in the Big Easy.
The Birds had four First-and-Goals and only got a few field goals.
Just too many sacks, too many penalities, too many dropped passes, too many turnovers.
It's really heartbreaking being an Eagles fan as the team falls to 3-5.
Every NFC East team lost this week. The Birds had a chance to soar and had their wings clipped once again.
The Eagles used to roll to victory in November. This team used to do a lot of things.
But maybe those days are now all in the past.