We are now entering the doldrums of the Philadelphia Eagles’ offseason. With all of the OTAs completed, nothing else is scheduled until rookies report for training camp in just over five weeks.
Therefore, I thought it might be a good time to look back on the 2011 season and reminisce about particular plays that made you say…WTF! (What The F@&#!)
Come on guys and gals, you know just as well as I do that there were times last year you found yourself reacting to a play with those three words. Heck, there were plenty of frustrating, kick the T.V. moments last year, particularly during the first half of the season.
If you didn’t find yourself getting angry at the way things were going, you might have to turn in your Philadelphia Eagles fan card.
I realize that there are those who go way overboard in their anger and spew venom anywhere and everywhere they can all over internet blogs and message boards. Then there are fans, like me, who get heated during the game but calm down and try to look at things rationally afterwards.
That’s not what this is about though. I’m merely looking back on these plays in more of a “I can laugh about it now” kind of way. However, when they happened, the first words out of my mouth were: W. T. F!
Remember these plays?
Steven Jackson’s 47-yard TD run on the very first play from scrimmage for the defense
How can we not start with this one? It was the first game of the year with our new, highly touted team. After our first offensive series netted a grand total of three yards and ended with a sack on third-down, we punted the ball away from deep in our own territory that gave the Rams great field position, starting at our 47 yard line.
Then, BOOM! On the very first play, Jackson runs through the line untouched for a 47-yard touchdown.
Terrible way to start the season, if you ask me. This happened exactly three minutes and 38 seconds into the 2011 season and was an omen of things to come.
Jeremy Maclin’s dropped pass on fourth-down against Atlanta
In Week 2, the Eagles were facing the Falcons and seemed to be on their way to a victory after taking a 31-21 third-quarter lead. However, the Falcons came back in the fourth to take a 35-31 lead with under five minutes to play.
Michael Vick sustained his first injury of the year, leading the way for a Mike Kafka appearance. Kafka and the Eagles took over on their own nine yard line and methodically drove down to the Atlanta 21 yard line.
With under two minutes to play, they were faced with a fourth and four from the 23 yard line. Kafka fired a perfect pass to Maclin over the middle that hit him directly in the bread-basket and would have netted an easy first down.
But no, Maclin just simply dropped it. This was a roller coaster kind of game, and at that point, I was on the edge of my seat hoping to see the Eagles pull it out in grand fashion with the backup QB.
I know that dropped passes are part of the game, but in big situations, players need to step up and deliver. Maclin may not have been up to par yet due to his illness, but damn, that was a killer drop.
Brandon Jacobs’ 40-yard TD catch and Victor Cruz’s 74-yard TD catch and run
This made it three for three, as in, three straight weeks with a big WTF moment during the game. As a matter of fact, Week 3 vs. the Giants had two of these plays that made me just want to sentence the defense to the firing squad!
The first one was the play that made everyone realize Casey Matthews wasn’t ready to be a starting linebacker. On this play, he was lined up on the weak side and was extremely slow to react to Brandon Jacobs taking off to the outside.
He was left wide open and it was an easy pitch-and-catch for a 40-yard touchdown. You don’t see Jacobs make many plays like that, but the Eagles made him look like Marshall Faulk on that play.
Then, on the very next possession for the Giants, Eli Manning hit Victor Cruz on a simple seven-yard out on third and two that went 74 yards for a score. What was so mind-numbing about it was the lame tackle attempts by Kurt Coleman and Nnamdi Asomugha.
Cruz made them look like the Bad News Bears on that play and that game is what catapulted Cruz’s status for the rest of the season. Who knew the Eagles could make a roster afterthought into a star player.
The Ronnie Brown play and Jeremy Maclin’s fumble against San Francisco
To continue on with our chronological order, Week 4 also offered two plays that left Eagles fans wanting to kick the cat.
If there was any play during the 2011 season that made every single Eagles fan say WTF, it was the Ronnie Brown halfback option fumble pass. Holding a 10-3 lead in the second quarter, the Eagles were knocking at the end zone door, primed to go up 17-3.
Then, something bizarre happened. Ronnie Brown took the hand-off from Vick and was in the process of being tackled when he decided to try and throw a pass. Who he was throwing to is anyone’s guess.
It was a horrible, boneheaded play that ultimately led to an attempted trade to Detroit for Jerome Harrison.
Towards the end of this gut-wrenching, frustrating game where we had to witness the 49ers overcome a 23-3 halftime lead, we still had one-last chance to pull the game out at the end.
Down by one point, the Eagles took over at their own 20 with three minutes to play. On second and five from San Fran’s 49 yard line, Maclin caught a short pass and began streaking down the sideline before being caught from behind and fumbling the ball at the 32.
Had he just held on to the ball, the Eagles would have already been in field goal range. I hate to call out Maclin twice on this list for a WTF moment, but that was another huge gaffe in a big moment of a game.
To see that play, click here.
Juqua Parker jumping offsides against Buffalo
In Week 5 there was yet another big WTF moment that left Eagles fans feeling exacerbated. This time, it was at the hands of defensive end Juqua Parker.
With one minute and 23 seconds left and the Eagles trailing 31-24, Buffalo lined up for a fourth and one play around mid-field in an obvious attempt to draw the defense offsides. Everyone in the stadium and at home knew that’s what they were doing.
But yet, Parker actually bit on the hard cadence and jumped offsides, giving Buffalo a first down and allowing them to run out the clock. A miserable end to a miserable four game losing streak.
To see this play, click here.
The Chas Henry lame pass on a fake punt
This play was such the anti-awesome! In Week 9 against the Bears, the Eagles were down 27-24 in the fourth quarter with plenty of time left. However, they decided to try and catch the Bears with a little bit of trickery.
It actually would have worked if Henry didn’t have the arm strength of a five year-old. Colt Anderson was wide open and a pitch and catch about as easy as two 10 year-olds do in the backyard was all that needed to happen.
But alas, Henry’s pass fell way short and the Eagles turned the ball over on downs. This put Chicago in great field position and led to a field goal that put them up by six instead of three.
To see this play, click here. (You may need a video player on your computer to view it)
Marshawn Lynch’s TD run
Remember the dreadful Thursday night game against Seattle? I can’t blame you if you blocked it from memory. However, I can’t seem to forget the play where it seemed the entire defense just forgot how to tackle.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie giving up on a tackle
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a video for this one. However, who can forget the play where DRC appeared to completely give up on a tackle against Chicago Bears receiver Earl Bennett?
DRC went for the ball and when he missed, he just seemed to give up on the play and Bennett went on for a first down. It was a sad-sack play that epitomized the defense’s play for much of last season.
That play led to a heated exchange on the sideline between he and Juan Castillo. After the game, DRC claimed that he thought he knocked the ball down and the play was over.
Unfortunately, he was wrong and that was definitely a WTF moment for me.
So, how was that for a stroll down misery..err, I mean, memory lane? Like I said, I can basically laugh about these plays now, but in the heat of the moment, I was pretty upset.
There were also many good plays in 2011 and I’ll be listing some in my next article. I’ll be calling those “WTG” plays, as in, “way to go!” As a matter of fact, once the 2012 season starts, I’ll be running a weekly theme for WTF and WTG moments for each game.
I’m sure there are several other WTF plays last season that stick in your mind, what are some that you remember? Let me share in your bad memories!