Without Jackson, Eagles fall to Cardinals 21-17 - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Without Jackson, Eagles fall to Cardinals 21-17

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Posted: Sunday, November 13, 2011 3:43 pm

(AP) — DeSean Jackson got a true home game for Philadelphia's latest wretched collapse.

Jackson was banished from the Linc because he missed a team meeting, leaving the Eagles without their biggest playmaker and, now, without much hope of making the playoffs.

"Lord willing, maybe we can end up 10-6," Michael Vick said.

The Eagles dropped to 3-6 after another fourth-quarter meltdown in a 21-17 loss to Arizona on Sunday, and are facing hard questions about the future of coach Andy Reid and other key personnel.

That's five blown fourth-quarter leads — four at home.

The Eagles have lost two straight games at home and show no signs of being able to turn around their season.

The players expected to carry the Eagles disappeared when needed most. No longer a flashy MVP candidate, Vick was 16 of 34 for 128 yards and threw two interceptions. His desperation deep pass on third-and-20 was intercepted by A.J. Jefferson to seal Arizona's win. LeSean McCoy rushed for 81 yards. More puzzling, nursing a lead in the second half, the Eagles abandoned the NFL's leading rusher in favor of the passing game.

"They kept bringing guys in the box. That's probably why we threw it as much as we did," McCoy said. "But I never judge the calls that are being made."

Reid is being judged — loudly and harshly by an impatient fan base that believes 13 seasons without a championship is enough. The coach had little to say about the latest loss.

"We've all got a piece of this starting with me and everybody else," he said.

He had no problem benching Jackson.

Jackson, a two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, isn't helping his contract cause. Jackson was inactive after he skipped a meeting Saturday.

It wasn't the first time Jackson has been late or missed a meeting, one person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. He has 29 catches for 503 yards and two touchdowns this season.

Jackson is in the final year of his rookie contract and held out for 11 days during training camp. He hasn't complained publicly about not getting a new deal. The deadline for teams to give players contract extensions and have money count toward this year's salary cap passed.

Jackson is Vick's favorite target and they have formed one of the most dynamic combinations in the league. Without Jackson, Vick admitted he had a hard time getting comfortable against the Cardinals. Jeremy Maclin, the other starting wide receiver, was in an out of the game with shoulder and hamstring injuries.

McCoy and Vick were among the Eagles who backed the punishment.

"It's something he has to live with," McCoy said. "I think he knows he's wrong for it and he's sorry."

The defending NFC East champions were expected to be Super Bowl contenders after a slew of big-name acquisitions in the offseason. Instead, they've struggled miserably and have lost seven of their past eight home games.

Asante Samuel returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown and McCoy had a 1-yard TD run to give the Eagles a 14-7 lead.

But the Cardinals answered.

John Skelton completed a 30-yard pass to LaRod Stephens-Howling on fourth-and-2 from the Cardinals 32 to keep the winning drive going. On third-and-10 from the Eagles 38, Larry Fitzgerald made a sensational, stretching catch to the 1.

Beanie Wells was stopped for no gain and lost 4 yards on the next run. But Skelton hit Early Doucet coming out of the backfield for a go-ahead TD to cap an 87-yard drive and give the Cardinals a 21-17 lead.

McCoy, who has a TD in all nine games this season, is at a loss to explain the miserable season.

"We're the Eagles," McCoy said. "We're not used to losing and this kind of feeling. It's hard to enjoy that."

Harder still to answer questions about Reid's future.

Never mind that he's the winningest coach in franchise history and his resume includes nine playoff appearances, six division titles and one conference championship in his first 12 seasons.

"We're still with him, he knows that," McCoy said. "It's hard to be asked, 'Are we staying with him?' He's not out there missing tackles, missing blocks, fumbling the ball. Not making the right reads and runs. That's the players."

Notes: McCoy has scored a TD in all nine games this season, the longest streak in team history. He became one of just four players since 1960 to score in each of the first nine games, joining Lenny Moore (1964), O.J. Simpson (1975) and George Rogers (1986). ... The Eagles had four sacks, including career firsts by CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and LB Jamar Chaney. DT Derek Landri also registered his first sack of the season, while DE Trent Cole had his fifth.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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