- Associated Press - Monday, October 3, 2011

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - This Dream Team is a nightmare.

A popular pick to reach the Super Bowl after a free-agent spending spree brought several big-name players to Philadelphia, the Eagles (1-3) are last in the NFC East with a quarter of the season already over.

The Eagles’ latest loss was their worst one yet. They wasted a 20-point lead in a 24-23 home loss to San Francisco on Sunday, and now have blown fourth-quarter leads in three straight games.

Coach Andy Reid doesn’t seem to have an answer, except pointing the blame at himself. He’s done that following nearly every loss during his 13 seasons in Philadelphia.

“I’m in the business of finding the problem and solving the problem,” Reid said Monday. “I know we have good enough players and coaches to do it. I’ve seen enough glimpses of what this thing can be when it’s operating right and it’s important that we get it there.”

Playcalling has certainly been questionable. For whatever reason, the Eagles can’t score inside the red zone. They are particularly inept inside the 5. They’ve handed off to the fullback, tried quarterback sneaks and done everything but give the ball to their best runner, LeSean McCoy.

On a third-and-1 from the 49ers 1 in the second quarter, Ronnie Brown fumbled on a run-pass option. Brown, who ran the wildcat offense in Miami, got stuffed at the line of scrimmage. So, he turned around and inexplicably tried to throw the ball. It was recovered by San Francisco.

With Michael Vick and McCoy in the backfield and super wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin on the team, it’s unknown why the Eagles would try a gadget play from the 1.

“I didn’t do a very good job on that one,” Reid said. “Maybe I should’ve called a different play there.”

No matter the calls, players still have to execute and they’ve clearly been unable to do so. Fundamentals are also a problem. The Eagles were driving for a go-ahead score when Maclin failed to protect the ball and fumbled with just over two minutes left, allowing the 49ers to run out the clock.

“We all had high expectations and we still do,” Vick said. “Don’t get me wrong. It’s still a long season and we just have to dig deep. We’ve got to dig deep. There’s really nothing else to be said. It’s self-explanatory. It’s right there for everybody to see what is taking place, how it’s been done, what hasn’t been done and what needs to be done. I think that’s just the bottom line.”

Still, despite the red-zone struggles and two missed field goals by rookie kicker Alex Henery, the offense did enough to win. Vick threw for a career-best 412 yards and the Eagles racked up 513 total yards.

The major issue again was the defense.

Teams are having their way against the Eagles, especially in the second half. Philadelphia has been outscored 36-0 in the fourth quarter in the last three games.

Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo has come under heavy criticism for his schemes and the perception that he can’t make necessary in-game adjustments. Reid’s decision to move Castillo from his longtime spot as the offensive line coach to the defense sure looks like a huge blunder.

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