That was hard to watch. This entire season, even when things seemed to be going well, has been hard to watch.
The Eagles walked into the Superdome and maintained some semblance of control for most of the first period. Then almost on cue, Michael Vick hurled a red-zone interception, which the Saints returned 99 yards for a touchdown. New Orleans never looked back, finishing the Birds -- and likely their season -- by a score of 28-13.
As has been the case all year, missed opportunities crushed the Eagles. Vick's interception, which was just out of the Brent Celek's reach and deflected off the tight end's fingertips, was one of five trips to the red zone for Philadelphia. None of them resulted in a touchdown, and two ended in turnovers.
Meanwhile, the defense managed to hold Drew Brees and the Saints' offense to 21 points, but they weren't necessarily as effective as the scoreboard suggests.
Todd Bowles' unit forced two punts out of seven meaningful possessions, and had another possession end with a Brandon Graham strip sack. However, the Eagles allowed 139 yards on 24 rushing attempts (5.8 YPC), and Brees was able to connect on 21 of 27 pass attempts (77.8%). New Orleans also missed on a 53-yard field goal attempt.
For the second week in a row, the Eagles' defense was far from good, but once again the offense was a bigger issue. A battered offensive line was unable to handle the Saints' blitzes, especially once Todd Herremans was knocked out with an injury. Remarkably, LeSean McCoy and company ran the ball well -- 29 carries for 221 yards -- but without a consistent passing attack, the one-dimensional offense couldn't find the end zone. DeSean Jackson scored Philly's only touchdown on a 77-yard catch and run.
Amazingly enough, special teams nearly helped the Eagles claw back into the game. Chris Polk forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff following DJacc's TD, which resulted in a field goal. Then on a kick return late in the third quarter, Brandon Boykin threw the ball across the field to Riley Cooper, who raced 94 yards for a score, only to have the play called back because it was a forward pass.
When that's what it takes to win though, obviously there are far bigger problems. That's why the Eagles are 3-5, and that's why we're talking about this season being over, and Andy Reid being on the way out. More to come on a huge loss, but one that ultimately was not a very big surprise.