It was a moment uncharacteristic of Leonard Weaver, but the overall sloppiness from the Eagles yesterday was not atypical for a young and talented team that can sometimes be as undisciplined as Lincoln Financial Field fans with a stadium full of snow.
The mental errors, turnovers, burned time-outs, and assorted penalties may be easy to overlook in light of the Eagles' 27-13 win over the 49ers. But in the playoffs - the Eagles clinched a berth - those blunders will become magnified.
"I don't think you've seen our best football yet," Eagles linebacker Jeremiah Trotter said. "We're still trying to put it together every week. We want to keep getting better as we go into the playoffs."
Weaver's mental mistake might have cost the Eagles a touchdown just before the half.
Quarterback Donovan McNabb and receiver Jason Avant hooked up for 21-yard pass that moved the ball to the San Francisco 8-yard line with just seconds remaining. Out of time-outs, the offense scrambled to line up so McNabb could spike the ball with perhaps one chance at the end zone. But Weaver, completely unaware, was jawing with linebacker Ahmad Brooks in the backfield.
"It was a play where I was unfocused," Weaver said. "I thought we had a time-out, but that wasn't the case. [Brooks] was kind of saying some things to me."
McNabb waved frantically at Weaver but failed to get his attention. Receiver Reggie Brown then bolted over to Weaver, grabbed him, and turned him around. Weaver dropped into a stance about seven yards behind McNabb, but he could have lined up anywhere in the backfield as long as he was set.
McNabb spiked the ball with four seconds remaining, and the Eagles salvaged three points from David Akers' field goal. Still, they could have had a 24-3 halftime lead.
"It was very uncharacteristic," Weaver said. "I owe the team an apology, as well as the fans. Even though the fans were talking trash to me, I still owe you guys. I'm sorry."
When Weaver ran off the field, Reid barked at the fullback.
"He has to ignore that the best he can," Reid said, "and get himself back in there and ready to go."
Weaver told Reid that Brooks was mouthing off.
"He was like, 'It doesn't matter,' " Weaver said. "And he's right. It doesn't matter what anybody says to you on that field."
McNabb had one of his poorer outings of the season. He tossed two interceptions, one that led to a San Francisco touchdown, and he could have been picked off on a few other occasions.
"There were throws that I definitely would want back," said McNabb, who still threw for 306 yards on 21 of 36 passing.
McNabb was part of confusing moment - for the Eagles, that is - when Reid had to burn a time-out in the first quarter. Michael Vick was in on a short third down, and McNabb went to the sideline. After Vick was stopped short, Reid decided to go for it - even though the Eagles were on their own 29 - but McNabb was nowhere to be found. When he finally ran onto the field, only 10 seconds remained on the play clock.
The Eagles were not victimized by penalties as they have been almost all season, but there were still four flags that amounted to 69 yards given to the 49ers. The Eagles were the second-most penalized team in the league, behind the Green Bay Packers, coming into the game.
The defense's tackling was significantly better than in last week's game in New York. Still, Asante Samuel was good for his weekly missed tackle. The cornerback failed to wrap up the 49ers' Josh Morgan, who turned a short reception into a 22-yard gain. Samuel did also have an interception and a fumble recovery.
Ultimately, the Eagles overcame their faults. It has been that type of season.
"We've got a lot tuning up to do," Avant said. "We made some mistakes out there today. We've just got to be in better position."