The Philadelphia Eagles' dream-season-turned-nightmare continued on Thursday night with a humiliating loss to the Seattle Seahawks. With Michael Vick not even traveling with the team to Seattle and head coach Andy Reid seeming as ineffectual a sideline presence as he had when fans chanted for his ouster at the Linc during the team's recent loss to the Patriots, it would seem that the Eagles had hit rock bottom before kick off. But maybe there is still further to fall. Certainly, this woeful effort -- in stark contrast to the enthusiasm of the Seahawks -- was another step in the wrong direction.
The determination of the Seahawks was embodied by running back Marshawn Lynch, who powered his way to 148 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, the melancholic apathy of the Eagles was perhaps best represented by wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Of course, a case could also be made that the Philly malaise was best represented by all of those guys on the defense who didn't seem particularly interested in bringing down Lynch.
After the game, though, reporters made it clear that Jackson was their choice. Having descended upon his stall in the visitors' locker room, the media grilled Jackson on his effort, his sideline conversations and his warm-up routine. Much attention was paid to a one-sided conversation between Jackson and quarterback Vince Young, who threw four interceptions. At one point during the game broadcast, the NFL Network cameras showed Young talking to Jackson who was sitting on the bench. But Jackson, who expressed his desire for a new contract by holding out before the season, was staring ahead back onto the field and not saying anything back to the quarterback. The NFL Network broadcast team surmised -- quite reasonably but not necessarily accurately -- that Jackson was ignoring his teammate.
"If that's what they saw, that's what they saw," Jackson said. "I don't have to sit here and answer them questions. My teammates know what it is."
NFL Network's Alex Flanagan also reported that he had been sitting by himself and not talking to anyone for the majority of the game.
Jackson became noticeably frustrated about being asked about his myriad frustrations. "Frustrated with losing," he said, with his voice getting higher with emotion. "Frustrated with losing. Of course."
Later, a reporter asked perhaps a bating question about why he was warming up with a defensive lineman before the game instead of the other receivers. Jackson quickly shot the reporter down telling him that he's "asking questions that don't even mean nothing." Then Jackson, who was benched earlier in the season for oversleeping and missing a meeting, picked up his bags and abruptly ended the interview.
While Jackson was clearly irritated with the line of questioning, there is no doubt that his performance in the loss left a lot of people wanting answers. Was he trying? Is the contract situation a distraction? Is there an injury that we are unaware of? Whether he was injured, insubordinate or merely disinterested is up for debate, but it seems beyond dispute that he did not play up to his potential. In the first half, Young looked to throw the ball to Jackson on a deep route. Jackson was in single coverage, but he never even turned to look for the ball.
Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote in his column that when he asked an Eagles player whether Jackson was completely in the game, the teammate said, "No. He's [messing] around."