Bye bye birdies: Eagles lose with flying colors in the Wild Card

The unbelievable downfall of the Birds comes amid center Jason Kelce’s hints at retirement
Eagles center Jason Kelce leaves the field after the loss to the Bucs
Eagles center Jason Kelce leaves the field after the loss to the Bucs
Photo courtesy of WHYY (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Well, that’s all folks! The Philadelphia Eagles’ season comes to a halt with an embarrassing road loss in the Wild-card round to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

And in all honesty, calling this loss an embarrassment is an understatement. 

It seemed as if the offense was not on the same page from the jump, and for some reason, somehow, the Eagles defense seemed to have forgotten how to tackle. They either had no motivation to win the game, or they just so happened to play the worst game of football at the worst possible time. 

Ladies and gentlemen, the final score of this game was Buccaneers 32, Eagles 9. The last time the Philadelphia Eagles scored single digits in a game was in a regular season game on the road against the New York Giants on November 28, 2021. 

That is just one of the many mind-boggling records or statistics this game produced. 

This 23 point loss marks the second largest playoff loss in Eagles franchise history. It also marks the largest loss by a reigning conference champion since 2009 when the New England patriots lost by 19 to the Baltimore Ravens.  

Devastatingly losing their final regular season matchup on the road against the 5-11 New York Giants was definitely a gut punch; not only because of the way they played in the first half of that game, but because of the injuries they suffered in addition to the injuries they were already dealing with. 

Against the Giants, star quarterback Jalen Hurts and wide receiver A.J. Brown went down with injuries which jeapordized their availability for their playoff opener against the Buccaneers. 

Out of the two, Hurts was the only one to play after dislocating the middle finger of his throwing hand. Brown was unfortunately ruled out of Monday Night’s playoff game with a grade 1 knee strain.  

From my point of view, I saw the Eagles sitting Brown out of the game as a sign of waiving the white flag, and it did not make any sense to me. As if they have not lost six of their last seven games, and their team isn’t already facing an uphill battle as it is, they opted to sideline their best wide receiver, likely to reserve him for their next game which was not guaranteed. 

There should also be some skepticism around the making of the decision to sideline him, because there is reason to believe that the team did not consult him before ruling him out. I say that because the day before Brown was officially ruled out for Monday Night’s game, Brown deleted all Eagles related posts from his Instagram profile, and he also deactivated his Twitter (X) account. 

Brown has a history of incidents like this. When he was traded, it was due to his contract disputes with the Tennessee Titans. During the disputes with the front office, he took “Tennessee” out of his Twitter (X) biography and was traded to the Eagles soon thereafter.

Regardless, I would argue that the Eagles lost their identity in their blowout loss against the San Francisco 49ers, and since then, they struggled to regain that identity and it has been downhill ever since. Since playing the 49ers, the Eagles have gone 1-6, including Monday Night’s massacre. This is a huge deal considering the team started 10-1 prior to that matchup. 

In other news, with the Eagles season coming to a conclusion, their star center Jason Kelce has reportedly decided to hang it up after 13 seasons with the Eagles in the NFL. I say “reportedly” because he still has not publicly said it himself, but reports of him addressing the team and privately announcing his retirement came out shortly after the loss. 

On the Kelce brothers’ podcast “New Heights,” Jason addressed the retirement allegations head on. 

“I didn’t announce what I was doing on purpose, despite, I guess, what’s been leaked to the media.. but I think people can feel body language,” he said to brother Travis. 

“I just don’t think you’re in a position, after a game like that, to really, you know, make that decision. I just don’t,” he added, indicating that he hasn’t officially come to the conclusion of hanging it up for good. “I think there’s too much emotion in the moment… to really fully grasp that decision. When it’s time to officially announce what is happening in the future, it’ll be done in a way that’s definitive.”

So, just like Kelce’s future in the NFL, the future of the Philadelphia Eagles is uncertain at the moment. There’s been rumors flying around about a change at the head coaching position, which would ultimately mean moving away from current head coach Nick Sirianni. The media flirted with the idea of former Patriots coach Bill Belichick meeting with Howie Roseman, but as of a few days ago, Belichick has indicated that he’s heading to Atlanta.

On top of these lingering issues, the Eagles could also come into next season without one of (if not the greatest) center to ever play the game.

Overall, the Philadelphia Eagles have a very important and long offseason ahead of them, and there is no doubt that changes will be made one way or another — at least that’s what Philly fans are praying for.

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