The Philadelphia Eagles had such high hopes heading into the 2010 NFL Playoffs. They had their first round match up set with the Green Bay Packers at Lincoln Financial Field. The Packers had beaten the Eagles in week 1 of the season but the team had gone through a total transformation since then with Michael Vick at quarterback, not Kevin Kolb.
With 10:49 left in the first quarter, the Eagles had their first scoring opportunity and a chance to draw first blood. A 41 yard field goal for Akers, usually a chip shot. Not this time, Akers missed wide right.
The game remained scoreless until there was 13 seconds left in the first quarter. The Packers struck first with a seven yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Tom Crabtree.
The next drive, the Eagles were stopped on third down again after a monster loss of 12 yards after Vick was sacked by Clay Matthews. The Eagles had to settle for a punt…again.
The Packers took the punt and ate up the clock with a seven minute touchdown drive. The drive ended with another Aaron Rodgers touchdown pass. This time James Jones hauled in the touchdown, Packers led 14-0.
The Eagles put together a nice drive that they couldn’t finish with a punch into the end zone. Settling for another field goal attempt, Akers had another chip shot of 29 yards. This time, David put it through the uprights making a small dent in the Packers lead.
Green Bay started the second half with the ball but the Eagles caught a break. On third and two Darryl Tapp busted through the line and sacked Aaron Rodgers who fumbled the ball. Juqua Parker came up with the recovery and the Eagles had another shot to put points on the board. It only took the Eagles two plays and six seconds until Michael Vick connected on a 24 yard touchdown pass to Jason Avant. The Eagles were in striking distance, only down 10-14.
James Starks broke out for 32 of the Packers’ 80 yards on the following drive. Green Bay ate up another six minutes of clock with their third touchdown drive. Aaron Rodgers connected for six, yet again. Brandon Jackson was on the opposite end of the pass this time. Eagles were down by eleven points again with just over 22 minutes of play left.
The Eagles and Packers exchanged punts and the Eagles next drive took them into the fourth quarter. David Akers was up again with another easy field goal attempt. Thirty-four yard was no problem, right? Apparently it was, Akers missed his second field goal of the day and the Eagles had a large task in front of them.
Michael Vick’s next chance to lead the Eagles down the field came with 8:50 left in the fourth. The Eagles made their way down the field with mixture of medium passes and short runs. On the 1 yard line with 4:08 left, the Eagles were faced with a 4th and 1. Andy Reid had no choice but to go for it and he did. Michael Vick took it up the middle for six. Andy decided to go with the two point conversion to make it a field goal game. Michael Vick hit a wide open Brent Celek in the back corner of the end zone and the Birds were within three! Not so fast, yellow flag on the field. Celek’s heel slipped out of bounds before he came back in to catch the ball, it is illegal to be the first to touch the ball after going out of bounds. But the Eagles would get another shot, this time from the seven yard line, after the five yard penalty. This time, the Packers came with pressure and Vick was unable to roll out to his left with AJ Hawk in his face. He hardly got the pass off and it didn’t reach LeSean McCoy who had plenty of room in front of him to possible take it in for two. Since this attempt failed, it was time to kick the ball off, down 5 with just over four minutes remaining.
The Birds made quick work of getting Aaron Rodgers and the Packers off the field. The Packers were forced to punt it with two minutes remaining. The Eagles made it within striking distance with two deep passes; a 28 yard completion to DeSean Jackson, and an 11 yard completion to Riley Cooper on a third and ten. A touchdown wins it. Vick and the Eagles had 44 seconds to take it 27 yards to paydirt. Vick took a shot deep down the left sideline, right at the goal line. Tramon Williams and Riley Cooper went up to get the ball. After a short scuffle, Tramon Williams emerged with the ball in hand. The Eagles season was over. Aaron Rodgers kneeled once and the clock ran out.
The Packers went on to beat the Falcons and the Bears to go to the Super Bowl. Aaron Rodgers won MVP honors and beat the Steelers 31-25.
Now, I want to take a look back. To what you ask? The missed field goals by David Akers. I blame Akers one hundred percent for this loss. Some may say you win as a team, you lose as a team, I completely agree but when the offense can’t punch it into the end zone, you have to be able to rely on your kicker to make two easy field goals. Well, a 41 yard field goal isn’t necessarily ‘easy’. Akers made ten field goals of over 40 yards through the 2010 season, including a pair of 46 yarders against the Titans. For Akers to miss a 41 yard field goal is inexcusable, for him to miss a 34 yarder, what the heck?! Even if Akers makes the easy 34 yard field goal, the Eagles run the ball one more time on the last drive with 44 seconds left, likely pick up at least 2 yards, setting up a 42 yard attempt to win it with time expiring. This means that Vick wouldn’t have to shoot for the end zone in desperation. This means that he doesn’t force the ball to Riley Cooper which ends up in an interception. If Akers makes this 42 yard field goal, do the Eagles make the same trip the Packers did? Is Michael Vick Super Bowl MVP? Again, I blame Akers completely for the Eagles loss. I do not hate Akers, but I think it is time for him to go. Apparently the Birds front office feels the same way I do. They addressed the kicker position in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Hasta Lavista David Akers, welcome to Philadelphia Alex Henery!
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