The single biggest reason why the Eagles lost to the Arizona Cardinals in Sunday’s game occurred almost more than 30 hours before kickoff.
To be precise, it happened at 7:31 a.m, when Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson overslept for his mandatory special teams meeting. As a result, head coach Andy Reid benched Jackson for the game against the Cardinals.
Jackson’s benching could not have possibly hurt the Eagles any more.
Without Jackson, the Eagles had absolutely no deep threat and no receivers to make big plays. It got worse when Jeremy Maclin got knocked out of the game with a hamstring injury. He briefly returned but had to leave the game again, finishing with two catches for six yards.
Slot receiver Jason Avant started in place of Jackson. I fully expected a huge game from Avant, but the Eagles’ sixth-year receiver turned in one of the most miserable performances by an Eagles player this season. He caught just a single pass for two yards.
Second-year Riley Cooper contributed with a drop and an offsides penalty. He failed to record a single catch.
Oh, and free agent acquisition Steve Smith, a Pro Bowler in 2009, caught five passes for 47 yards. But he committed two of the worst plays of the game. He fumbled a punt, which was luckily recovered by the Eagles.
And he caught a pass on 3rd and 20 late in the game, but literally stopped running before the first down marker and ended up diving to the ground a yard short of collecting a much-needed first down. But hey, at least he avoided the hit. That was one of the most pathetic plays of the entire season.
On the final drive, Vick had to attempt to lead the Eagles down the field without Jackson or Maclin, his top two receivers. He could not do it. Knowing Vick, he wouldn’t have been able to do it even if he had his receivers, but that’s not the point.
I fully support Reid’s decision to bench Jackson. After all, this is Reid’s team and he needed to show who is boss. Jackson has been a major pain all season and benching him for a game was a wise decision.
But it did cost the Eagles the game, and ultimately, the season.