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“The Dream Team” – A Season in Review

The moment that those infamous words, “Dream Team”, were spoken by newly signed backup quarterback Vince Young, we all knew that there would be something that would go wrong. That’s just how the Eagles are. When you think about it though, when you really look through this lineup that the 2011-2012 Eagles had, we should have been in the playoffs. Probably even Indy.

Young proclaims them the "Dream Team", setting up a win-it-all or bust scenario (PFZ).

2 months later, the season was under way and after the first game we saw how good the self-proclaimed “Dream Team” was going to be this year. It was a 31-13 beatdown of the St. Louis Rams. Mike Vick looked like the Mike Vick of old, throwing for over 175 yards, 2 touchdowns, and running for about 100 yards with his feet. Shady McCoy had great game averaging, 8 yards a carry with a touchdown. Even the much-maligned DeSean Jackson had over 100 yards receiving and a TD. Jason Babin had 2 sacks and the whole team had a total of 5. All us Philly fans started to think that this is it. This would be the season where we would go all the way and get that elusive ring. The Lombardi Trophy was coming to the City of Brotherly Love.

Next week rolls along, and the Dream Team made it’s way to Georgia to take on the Atlanta Falcons. Midway through the third quarter, the Falcons were pulling away. The score was 21-10 in favor of the home squad. From there, however, the Eagles blew up and scored three touchdowns after the Matt Ryan connection with Tony Gonzalez. Two of the touchdowns were short runs by LeSean McCoy and one was a 36-yard pass from Mike Vick to Jeremy Maclin. Unfortunately, during all this offense, Mike Vick was injured and the Eagles were forced to bring out their seldom-used backup, Mike Kafka.

The fourth quarter rolled around and the Eagles couldn’t get too much going, but the Falcons were doing everything right. Atlanta scored 14 unanswered points in that quarter and they came out with the victory. Yes, it was a tough loss but it was still a great all around statistical game for the Birds. Jeremy Maclin had a ridiculous 13 receptions for 171 yards and 2 touchdowns. LeSean McCoy ran for 95 yards and 2 touchdowns. On defense, both Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel had interceptions, and Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins combined for 3 sacks. The only really concerning part was Mike Vick’s injury which we learned after the game was a concussion.

Thankfully, Vick was back for next week’s game against the Giants. The Eagles had a lead, but a slim one, going into the fourth quarter and they allowed 15 points to the Giants there. Also, Mike Vick broke his hand so he had now sustained injuries in back-to-back weeks where the Eagles blew leads.

“Ok. So we’re one and two. There was no off season so the Eagles are just getting things together. They’ll tear teams up once things flow better. Remember, we’re implementing a new ‘wide-9’ defense so they need to get use to it. We’re fine.” Sound familiar?

Brown makes a bonehead play at the goal line, costing the Eagles the game (AP).

Next week, the 49ers came to town. Somehow, Mike Vick played with a broken hand. Yes, it wasn’t his throwing hand. But still, the quarterback takes a massive amount of hits in a game. Vick found a way to be successful though, throwing for a very impressive 416 yards. Once again we had a comfortable, leading 23-0 at one point in the second half. Guess what? The Eagles blew it again. The perfect example of failure was when backup RB Ronnie Brown tossed the ball to a 49ers player instead of being tackled, meaning that the Eagles lost the three points that would’ve won them the game.

Now people in Philadelphia were getting concerned. So far in four games, the Eagles have scored a grand total of seven points in the fourth quarter. They just simply could not finish a game.

The Eagles now faced the Bills, who found themselves having a great season at that point. Their success was linked to the running of Fred Jackson, who was shredding team’s run defenses week in and week out. The score was 31-14 Bills going into the fourth quarter, and the Eagles were only able to conjure up 10 points in the final frame, obviously not enough to win. Questions were being raised now and the fans were looking for a change following another tough loss.

Finally, after a four game skid, the Eagles came back and won against the very weak Redskins. Even though it was shaky, 2-4 was better than 1-5. The Eagles started to hope, especially after a 34-7 beatdown of the rival Dallas Cowboys the following week.

Jackson and Young bewail the Eagles derailment after losing to Seattle.

The rest of the season was full of heartbreak and poor, poor losses. The moment that every Philadelphia Eagles fan knew we were going nowhere was in the surprising 21-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. In that game Mike Vick sustained an injury that he would actually have to sit out for. The Eagles then went 1-1 with the man who dubbed this team it’s infamous name, Vince Young, including blowout loss to the Seahawks, one in which Young threw four interceptions. I still remember the shot of DeSean Jackson just completely zoned out on the sidelines. The team felt disorganized and were at their lowest point.

Now, after that loss, all Super Bowl, heck, even playoff hopes were lost. They were 4-8 at that point. Shockingly bad, considering the build up in the beginning of the season when the loyal Eagles fans all thought that we were the team to beat.

The Eagles came back to win two straight. All of the daily sports shows showed us a complicated series of events that would need to unfold in order for the Eagles to make it to the playoffs. I remember everybody on these shows saying that Eagles had a great chance to make it. But we knew. Oh yes, we knew. We’re dealing with Eagles here. Nothing ever goes right. So right after saying that the Eagles would make the playoffs because everything would work out the way it was supposed to, the Giants beat the Jets and that was it. The dream season was over. Even an 8-8 record couldn’t soothe our pangs of anger and frustration.

Horrific. Horrific is the word that I think fits well in describing the 2011-2012 Philadelphia Eagle season. Yes, we were 8-8 and I guess that isn’t horrific. But when you think of the overwhelming amount of talent on both sides of the ball, we should have been 13-3 or 12-4 at the very least. Hopefully we will see some changes in the team while keeping the same integrity this off-season or else the 2012-2013 Eagles team will be more of the same. Now with the Super Bowl champions in our division, it will be an ugly season unless Andy Reid’s staff can pick up the execution.

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Categories: Eagles, Editorial

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