Sheldon Brown is looking for answers, just like everybody else. Why are the Eagles 5-7? Why are they struggling so much at home? Why can't they win a close game? Why can't they do
to help their playoff chances, when everyone else in the NFC wild-card hunt is willing to do so?
Why, why, why.
"I still believe we've got playoff players in this locker room," Brown said about 30 minutes after the Eagles lost to Seattle, 28-24, their fourth loss at home and fourth by less than a touchdown.
"Why we don't have the record to show that? Honestly, I can't give you an answer to that, because I don't know what's going on. We have a great nucleus of players that have won, so how can we say we don't know how to win? Can I say we're not making enough plays to win? Probably. That's been the case. I have no idea why we're not doing that."
Brown's day yesterday was reflective of the Eagles' overall performances of late. He had some terrific plays, and some horrible ones. He was up. He was down. And in the end, the lingering feeling was that of disappointment, not exhilaration.
On the second play of the third quarter, with the Eagles trailing by 21-17, Brown stripped Seattle receiver Bobby Engram after Engram caught a 7-yard pass from Matt Hasselbeck. Trent Cole recovered the fumble to give the Eagles the ball at the Seahawks' 40-yard line.
Four plays later, Brian Westbrook ran for a 29-yard touchdown to give the Eagles their first lead, 24-21.
But a few minutes later, Brown helped give the points back. He was helping Lito Sheppard, who tweaked his knee and was obviously struggling, in the secondary when Maurice Morris ran into the open field. Brown closed on the approaching Morris, but Morris froze him with a fake, then ran into the end zone for a crushing 45-yard touchdown that with 9 minutes, 22 seconds left in the third quarter became the game-winning score.
"I'm trying to cheat anyways to help Lito with the receiver, and all of a sudden this running back comes through that I'm, like, a million yards away from on a wet surface," Brown said. "It's a tough surface. He made the play, I didn't. I guess crap happens."
Two possessions later, Brown gave the Eagles' sputtering offense another chance, outjumping Deion Branch for a Hasselbeck pass at the Eagles' 22. Brown pointed, then ran down the field and gave the first-down signal. William Thomas met him with a hug on the sideline, and Jim Johnson tapped his helmet as a ball boy took the ball and put it away for safekeeping.
It was Brown's third interception of the season and first since picking off Chad Pennington of the New York Jets on Oct. 14. It also became a hollow victory after the Eagles' offense moved just 20 yards before the Seahawks picked off A.J. Feeley for the third time.
"If you turn the ball over, obviously that's not good," Brown said. "Then, when you create turnovers, if you can't capitalize on it, what's the use of creating the turnover? . . . It's tough. But what are you going to do?"
Now, the only thing the Eagles can do is go back to work Wednesday and prepare for the New York Giants. They are just 2-4 at home this season, and now two games below .500. Brown doesn't get it.
Andy Reid's message to the team after the game was this: Stay together.
"We already know that," Brown said. "We're going to stay together. Why am I going to talk about another guy, or talk about a coach? That don't make sense. What's that going to prove, that I'm a coward? We're going to see who you want in the foxhole with you. And that's coming from me."