Monday night season openers are the worst.
The Eagles-Falcons game on Monday felt like the game that would never come.
You go through three weeks of the preseason in which the starting quarterback played four series, you see some of the defense, and then you have to watch a fourth preseason game with two quarterbacks who didn’t even make the team. Then, you have to wait over a week, spend an entire Sunday watching other teams, just to get to Monday.
This city has been longing for football. Philadelphia has three other franchises who can’t even win. We need a winner.
So 260 days and change since the Eagles last played a meaningful football game, their week one Monday night opener came and went with a 26-24 loss to the Falcons. And following their season opening loss, I used three words that I used all too much last season: very, very disappointed.
Not angry. Not mad. Disappointed.
The reason why I was disappointed was for the same reason I used the same three words after the Eagles lost three straight in December last year to Seattle, Dallas, and Washington, eliminating them from playoff contention: they were simply out-coached.
They were not prepared. They were out-executed. They played the worst first half a team could have played — a first half in which their play brought back many horror stories to older Eagles fans, including my dad, to the last season of the Ray Rhodes’ era in Philly — and yet, they were still in a position to win the football game in the second half.
If I were given the key to the Eagles’ kingdom, I would change the E-A-G-L-E-S chant to R-E-L-A-X for the first few days that followed Monday night’s loss. That’s exactly what all of the Eagles fans out there who are losing their minds need to do: take a deep breath, and move onto Sunday at home against the Cowboys.
There is no beating around the bush, the first half was atrocious. The offensive line got zero protection on Bradford, who looked like a first-half 2014 Nick Foles with how much he got beat up and knocked down. The defense was on their heels for the entire first half, minus an exceptional one-handed interception in the end zone by Kiko Alonso.
However, what irritated me the most was how Chip Kelly abandoned the run so quickly in the first half. It was almost Andy Reid-esque. At one point in the first half, the Eagles had a pass:run ratio of 24:5. That’s not going to get the job done.
But the first half was the first half, and the second half was the team we had all hoped to see after the preseason. Moving the ball efficiently, quickly, and sharply. The offensive line getting protection, allowing Bradford to release the ball quickly and find open receivers. The Eagles offense in the second half, especially the entire third quarter, was almost machine-like.
That is why I am of the mindset that the second half Eagles from Monday night are the Eagles we will become accustomed to seeing this season.
The day-after-the-loss-effect was awful for me on Tuesday. The day-after-the-day-after on Wednesday was almost just as bad. But I do know the Eagles will be fine and will be soaring high again — and that all starts this Sunday.
Monday night openers are the worst. The best part, though, is that we don’t have to wait a full week to watch the Eagles play again.