There was really just one thing that got Philadelphia Eagles fans through the disastrous 2011 season, and that was the knowledge that things were going to definitely change following the end of the year.
There was really no way head coach Andy Reid could be justified in keeping his job. His Eagles had started the season with four losses in their first five games, and had stumbled out to a 4-8 record.
Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo’s on-job training had seemingly cost the Eagles multiple games, and his inability to properly use star players such as Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was unacceptable.
Yes, everything was surely going to change after 2011.
And that’s when the Eagles got hot. Red hot.
First, they beat the Miami Dolphins 26-10. This was a Miami team that had won four of its past five games and was considered by many to be the hottest team in the National Football League. The Eagles scored 24 points in the second quarter and collected nine sacks in the game, including three each by Trent Cole and Jason Babin.
Then the Eagles crushed the New York Jets 45-19. The victory was especially sweet because it came against a Jets team fighting for their playoff lives, and really, who doesn’t like beating Rex Ryan in a big game? The Eagles took a 28-0 lead midway through the second quarter and coasted to an easy 26-point victory, their eighth all-time victory against the Jets in eight total games.
Next the Eagles took on the Dallas Cowboys in a game that should have had playoff implications but instead meant very little. That was because Dallas needed to beat the Giants the next week to win the division, and what they did in week 16 was literally irrelevant. Regardless, the Eagles knocked Tony Romo out of the game, and came within seven seconds of the first shutout in the Andy Reid era. The 20-7 victory was the Eagles’ third in a row by at least 13 points.
The season finale, at home against the Washington Redskins, turned into an easy 34-10 victory for the Eagles. The game was close for three quarters but the Eagles scored 21 fourth quarter points to clinch a non-losing season and second place in the division.
As a result of the four victories, Reid kept his job. And incredibly, so did Juan Castillo.
The four victories made the Eagles the first team in NFL history to win the final four games by double-digit points, yet still fail to make the playoffs. It meany that yet again the Eagles were finding a way to set records for how good they were despite still being bad.
Heading into the postseason, a lot of experts, as well as players from the Eagles, commented that the Eagles would have been a dangerous team to face in the postseason. Hearing that made me sick, to be honest.
If this team was good enough, it would have made the postseason. Bottom line.