Eagles Notebook: Pass-interference penalties send cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha to bench
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - If it had happened at Lincoln Financial Field, there would have been cheers. But most of the MetLife Stadium fans didn't notice when cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was pulled off the field in favor of Curtis Marsh about a minute and a half into the fourth quarter, after Asomugha was called for his second pass-interference penalty of t
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - If it had happened at Lincoln Financial Field, there would have been cheers.
But most of the MetLife Stadium fans didn't notice when cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was pulled off the field in favor of Curtis Marsh about a minute and a half into the fourth quarter, after Asomugha was called for his second pass-interference penalty of the game. Asomugha, 31, a four-time All-Pro selection with the Oakland Raiders, has looked dazed and confused for much of his two seasons with the Eagles, since signing a 5-year, $60 million free-agent contract in August 2011.
The Asomugha signing, which seemed a stunning coup at the time, turned into a Pyrrhic victory, following the course so many well-intentioned moves have taken over these past 2 years.
"The whole game I was kind of just off, and I couldn't really get out of that," Asomugha said after the Eagles' 42-7 season-ending loss, in which No. 24 might have served as the poster child for an underachieving, bitterly disappointing team. "There was a play with a double move when I had another penalty, my second of the game. So then [defensive coordinator Todd Bowles] brought me to the sideline, he was asking what happened, what went wrong. I was explaining it to him, telling him the play. He said, 'Well, all right, take a series, and then you'll go back in.' So they went down and I think they scored on that series [making it 42-7], and he just said, 'Everybody's out, all the No. 2s are going in.' So that was it."
Asomugha said, "I always want to finish," so being taken out was not a relief. "Giving me a series, telling me to figure out what's going on - no. Something like that should've happened," given the way he was playing.
Asomugha has become a focus of fan anger. At times he has looked good in man coverage, which was all he ever played in Oakland, when Asomugha was considered the top corner in the league. Zone coverages have been a mystery for Asomugha and for the entire secondary, and Asomugha, who was seldom targeted in Oakland, has shown woeful ball skills.
He gave up a touchdown Sunday on a play when he seemed to have good position on Giants wideout Rueben Randle, but didn't react to the ball, which hung up enough for him to make a play.
Asomugha called it "a touchdown the guy should have never caught, because I was in good position for it, I just had to locate the ball."
Asomugha's first interference penalty, in the end zone, set up a Giants touchdown.
Asomugha said this was not the first time he has ever been yanked. "Usually it's a few plays," he said.
Asked if he expects to be back with the Eagles, he said: "I hope so."
He said he didn't think what happened Sunday was a harbinger of his departure.
Asomugha said the season became "a nightmare-type situation" for the Eagles. "It's just a sad way to go out," he said. "This game and this entire season, you just want to forget about the whole year."
Eli Manning threw five touchdown passes for the first time in his career. This was the most lopsided game in the Eagles-Giants series since a 62-10 Giants victory on Nov. 26, 1972. The Giants had lost eight of their previous nine meetings with the Eagles, including a playoff game. The Eagles hadn't lost at the Giants since Sept. 30, 2007.
Linebacker Casey Matthews left the game with a concussion, linebacker Ryan Rau with a high ankle sprain . . . The Eagles were minus-1 in takeaway margin, the 15th game this season when they failed to win the turnover battle. They finished minus-24 . . . Defensive tackle Antonio Dixon, playing days after being signed, was active and seemed to be drawing double-teams, playing on a line with Cedric Thornton, Phillip Hunt and Trent Cole. Hunt had the Eagles' only sack of Eli Manning, Hunt's only sack this season.