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PHILADELPHIA — They were two words on a sponsor’s banner draped behind the Philadelphia Eagles‘ postgame podium: Imagine. Change.
After 14 seasons, one Super Bowl appearance, and, now a dreadful losing streak, the countdown to the end of Reid’s tenure is hitting high gear in Philadelphia. Owner Jeffrey Lurie already has said that an 8-8 record would be “unacceptable” this year.
The Eagles would have to finish 5-0 just to get there after Cam Newton threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more to lead the Carolina Panthers to a 30-22 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night.
Newton, who hadn’t played up to his sensational rookie season, showed no signs of a sophomore slump against Philadelphia’s porous pass defense. He finished 18 of 28 for 306 yards and had a passer rating of 125 in a matchup of teams with the worst records in the NFC.
Newton was only the latest player to shine against an Eagles (3-8) team about all out of hope. The Eagles haven’t won since beating the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants to go 3-1, a skid that has put Reid’s job in real jeopardy. Unless Lurie has an implausible change of heart, Reid’s run is about over, an inglorious end for the coach who led the Eagles to five conference championship games.
“I’m not worried about all of the other things,” Reid said. “I’m worried about winning football games and making sure I get my players coached up to where we do a better job with that.”
As Philadelphia’s seventh straight loss came to a close, some fed-up fans held up a banner that read, “Jeff This Is On You.”
“I feel bad for Andy because he’s in a horrible situation in a town that is critical, and rightly so,” tight end Brent Celek said. “If I was the fans, I’d be mad, too. I don’t see Andy as the problem. I see it as us.”
Their latest problem was an inability to solve Newton.
Newton, the No, 1 overall pick in 2011, lived up to the hype by throwing for 4,051 yards with 21 TD passes and 14 TDs on the ground in his first year. He entered this game with only nine TD passes and four TDs rushing, a major disappointment for Panthers fans.
But Newton outshined rookie seventh-round pick Nick Foles in his Monday night debut.
Newton had a 24-yard TD toss over the middle to a wide-open Gary Barnidge for a 7-3 lead. He connected with Brandon LaFell on a 43-yard pass to make it 14-3 later in the first quarter. LaFell was wide open on the play, taking advantage of another breakdown in coverage in the secondary.
By John R. Bolton
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