There had been some reasons for optimism. Right?
At 3-4, you could convince yourself that the Philadelphia Eagles had shot themselves in the foot a couple of times and that they really were a team that you had to worry about as an opponent.
A couple of quality wins against the Lions (who now look strangely “real”) and last week's solid win against the Vikings (who put the also-formerly-formidable Chargers in their place yesterday in record setting fashion) suggested that there was something there.
And the losses – a 3-point loss to the now 7-1 Packers because of a late muffed punt and a heartbreaking breakdown against the Bears at home — those could convince you that instead of 3-4, they really might be 5-2 had a couple of things gone their way or been just a little bit better.
Until last night.
The despised Dallas Cowboys rode into Lincoln Financial Field and drubbed the Eagles so bad it wasn’t even funny. Tony Romo and Terrel Owens looked like Montana & Rice all night – almost effortlessly moving down the field. As hard as it is to say, they look like the “best-in-class” for the NFC East this year.
The crowd – initially hyped and ready to rock – was quickly quieted as on the Eagles’ first play Donovan McNabb fumbled the ball away which quickly lead to a Dallas score. The vehemence ready to be directed at Terrell Owens quickly got shifted to the home team, but after a dreadful INT that gutted the Eagles’ chances to tie the game before half, you got the sense that all the energy had spent itself and all that was left was a numb realization about just how mediocre this team really is.
What a strange world it is when Cowboys owner Jerry Jones sums it up succinctly: “This has always been our toughest road challenge because the fans are so passionate here," he said. “To have a game like this was surprising.”
And it doesn’t get any easier. I have a hunch that I’ll be buying Grandma-P another lunch after next week’s game with the Redskins, and I can’t even think of the annihilation that will take place in New England three weeks from now when the Eagles travel to Foxboro for another nationally televised massacre. The only winnable games may be against Miami and Buffalo, so something like 5-11 or 4-12 might be a real possibility.
As a fan that’s enjoyed a pretty rich run for several seasons (even last year’s improbable Jeff Garcia-led playoff run), being out of it by mid-season is pretty strange.