Originally posted on Eagles Eye  |  Last updated 11/27/12
It was remarkably quiet at the Linc last night...almost serene. Maybe the brisk temperature (36 F.) kept Iggles fans' frustrations in check. Or maybe the folks who did show up for the game ( 70% capacity) were just being respectful. After all, they were witnessing the death of the Andy Reid era in Philly. The only good thing about the eery funeral parlor atmosphere at the Linc was we as viewers at home could hear everything---and I mean everything---being said, shouted, or groaned within range of the directional mike on the field. That part of the game I found mesmerizing. Silver linings in the Eagles' loss? A few--- Bryce Brown is for real...we have found a viable big back, it appears, and chalk one up for Reid and his scouting staff for that find....I thought Nick Foles improved a lot over his debut last week, but that was mostly because of a dumbed-down game plan from which he audibled nicely. There is still a huge problem with his field vision and floating his timing passes into double and triple coverage. And he's got to work more on protecting his receivers---still too many check-down passes that lead his guys into crushing dead-end hits.         Birds' defense contained Carolina's traditional run game---they just could not get containment on Cam Newton scrambling out of the pocket.         Cam Newton did his Superman dive for the score above...hard to watch!       Beat again with late arrival of safety...         Bryce Brown had a very nice 2-TD night indeed...except for 2 fumbles late. This is the Eagles' first seven-game losing streak since 1994, and they are no longer capable of finishing with a better record than last year's 8-8 mark that team owner Jeffrey Lurie termed unacceptable before this season began. The Eagles' pass defense continued its recent struggles early in the game, allowing two easy Cam Newton touchdown passes in the first quarter. And while the coverage seemed to tighten up a bit after that, it would have been difficult for it not to improve, and Carolina receivers didn't have too much trouble getting open when they had to. Newton finished the game 18-for-28 for 306 yards and two touchdown passes. He also rushed 54 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. And over the past five games, since Juan Castillo was fired as defensive coordinator and replaced by Todd Bowles, opposing quarterbacks are 94-for-125 (75.2 percent) for 1,207 yards, 13 touchdown passes and no interceptions against the Eagles. Rookie Nick Foles, who made his second straight start at quarterback due to Michael Vick's concussion, was able to put the Eagles in a position to come back and take a 15-14 lead after the opening 0-14 deficit.. He threw a nice deep ball that drew a key 51-yard pass interference call in the third quarter to set up Brown's second touchdown run, but for the most part he was handing the ball off and throwing screen passes. There were at least three passes he threw in the first half that looked like poor downfield decisions that were nearly intercepted, and it seems clear that the Eagles are not yet asking Foles to do very much. Brown, the seventh-round rookie running back who'd been siphoning some of LeSean McCoy carries, returning kicks and getting looks at the goal line in the first 10 games of the season, stepped into the starter's role with McCoy out due to a concussion. He had a statistical "first start" for the ages. His 65-yard touchdown run in the second quarter announced his presence and fired up a skeptical home crowd, and he finished with 178 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. He also fumbled twice in the second half, which damaged the Eagles' momentum and helped the Panthers take the lead in the fourth quarter, so it was far from a spotless night. But as a runner, when he had the ball in his hands, Brown looks speedy and shifty and capable of handling more of a workload than he'd been given previously. Meanwhile, Cam Newton, who hadn't played up to his sensational rookie season, showed no signs of a sophomore slump against Philadelphia's porous pass defense. He had a passer rating of 125. "I think my best game is still yet to come," said the shy Newton after the game.  Foles was 16-of-21 for 119 yards. Bryce Brown said it well: "The most important thing for me was for us to get the win, and that didn't happen tonight," Brown said. "I felt like a lot of that had to do with my two turnovers. It really, really cost us." Carolina (3-8) went ahead 24-22 early in the fourth quarter on Graham Gano's 23-yard field goal. Then the Panthers finally stopped Brown when it mattered most, stuffing him on a fourth-and-1 to take over on downs at their 40. Newton led them downfield, running in from the 2 to make it 30-22. Gano, signed last week, missed the extra point. But Brandon Boykin fumbled after a 44-yard kickoff return, and the Panthers recovered and held the ball the final 4:29. "It's been a long time in coming," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. "Lots of people contributed and made plays. Real proud of what we did and the things we did to give ourselves a chance to win." "We took some plays off his [Newton's] plate and really tried to balance it out and spread it among other players, and he has really responded very well to those things," Rivera said. "I think we had to interpret it as giving him a breath once in a while. These last few weeks, he's played like the guy we believe he could become." Newton had a 24-yard TD toss over the middle to a wide-open Gary Barnidge for a 7-3 lead. He connected with Brandon LaFell on a 43-yard pass to make it 14-3 later in the first quarter. LaFell was wide open on the play, taking advantage of another breakdown in coverage in the Eagles secondary. Newton led a 95-yard drive to open the third quarter, finishing it off with a 1-yard leap to give the Panthers a 21-15 lead. Newton hit Louis Murphy for a 55-yard gain on a second-and-11 from Carolina's 16. A 51-yard pass interference call on Haruki Nakamura on Foles' deep pass to Jeremy Maclin put Philadelphia at the Panthers' 5.  Brown then ran in for the go-ahead score. Brown broke loose early in the second quarter to get Philadelphia within 14-12. Brown started up the middle, cut outside and outran the defense down the right sideline for the seventh-longest TD run by a Philadelphia rookie. The Eagles inexplicably tried a 2-point conversion and failed. "Bryce did what we thought he could do," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "He's a talented kid. It's a shame he had the two fumbles. He was on a roll. Those things cost you. He'll learn from it. He's got a great future." Alex Henery's 45-yard field goal gave them a 15-14 lead. Henery kicked a 41-yarder to cut it to 14-6 in the second quarter. It was his 18th straight field goal, setting a team record. According to Dan Graziano of ESPN.com, "Fans known for their hostile behavior have become apathetic toward their beloved Eagles. The Linc was about one-third empty for pregame introductions, and plenty of seats remained empty at the start. There were boos early when the Eagles fell behind, but they lacked the usual luster." Yes, we noticed...even the fans are now going through the motions---words which Steve Young used to describe the Eagles' play against the Panthers. Team Stat Comparison   CAR   PHI   1st Downs 24 18 Passing 1st downs 12 4 Rushing 1st downs 10 12 1st downs from Penalties 2 2 3rd down efficiency 6-12 2-8 4th down efficiency 0-0 0-1 Total Plays 65 48 Total Yards 398 311 Yards per play 6.1 6.5 Total Drives 12 10 Passing 289 107 Comp - Att 18-28 16-21 Yards per pass 10.3 5.1 Interceptions thrown 0 0 Sacks - Yards Lost 2-17 1-12 Rushing 109 204 Rushing Attempts 35 26 Yards per rush 3.1 7.8 Red Zone (Made-Att) 2-4 1-2 Penalties 6-101 5-30 Turnovers 0 3 Fumbles lost 0 3 Interceptions thrown 0 0 Defensive / Special Teams TDs 0 0 Possession 35:12 24:48  
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