The Philadelphia Eagles loss to New Orleans in the playoffs in 2006 had its roots during the regular season. Philadelphia should have been 13-3 rather than 10-6, with sloppy play and inattention to detail the major reasons. The three loses to the AFC teams were legitimate and the better team won. The NFC losses to the Giants, Saints, Buccaneers, were another matter. Philadelphia simply made too many offensive mistakes
Against the Giants leading 24 to 7 in the fourth quarter, the Eagles did not convert a third and one and then Brian Westbrook fumbled. The final insult was Trent Cole foolishly roughing a Giants’ receiver after the play was over and the pass incomplete. Though not pass interference, the Giants retained possession tacking on 15 yards.With Tampa Bay and New Orleans, it was not the field goals on the last play of each game that caused the problem. During the first half of both games, there were too many dropped passes that Donovan McNabb put right between the numbers as well as false start penalties.
This indicates a lack of mental concentration. Emlen Tunnell, in response to a reporter’s question, once told the reason for his success. Tunnell said the made his share of mistakes-holding, pass interference, fumbles, and giving ground on punt returns. But he never made a mental mistake, staying entirely focused for 60 minutes.
The Philadelphia Eagles did not play like Tunnell in these three duds. Just guessing, this may be a problem with a super star like Donovan McNabb on a team. The other players become lax expecting him to make a great play. I think it is better have an outfit like the Patriots with no superstar but everyone doing their own job.
The announcers said the Eagles’ defense grew tired. You might have expected that after 22 minutes of playing time in first half. Had the Eagles won those three games, the results would have been
-a week off with no Wild Card game, hence
-no injury to Lito Sheppard
-the home field advantage throughout the playoffs
The entire playoff picture would have been different.