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Eagles' Nick Sirianni on job status after late-season collapse, playoff exit: 'I'm thinking about the guys'

The Eagles' meltdown is officially complete.

One year after falling short in Super Bowl LVII and seven weeks after reigning over the rest of the NFL with a 10-1 record, Philadelphia was obliterated, 32-9, by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night during Super Wild Card Weekend to end its season with an ugly whimper.

It was a shocking, uninspired fall for which Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni will likely bear the brunt of the blame -- but when asked during his postgame news conference if he's concerned about his job status, Sirianni chose to focus on what the loss meant for his players rather than what it means for his future.

"I'm not thinking about that," he said. "I'm thinking about the guys. Again, there's a lot of guys in that locker room, all the guys in that locker room, every single one of them that put their heart and soul into this. I'm not worried about me."

He added he does not yet have an end-of-season meeting scheduled with owner Jeffrey Lurie.

"Again, like I said, I'm not there yet," Sirianni told reporters. "I don't know exactly quite yet, wasn't expecting it to end tonight. It did. I'll put together a schedule here on the plane ride home and then tomorrow."

In Monday's loss, Philly surrendered 426 total yards to the Bucs to mark a third straight game giving up 400-plus yards. The defense, the biggest weakness for the Eagles in a season that exposed flaws aplenty, gave up four consecutive scoring drives out of the gate and then two touchdown possessions of 62 and 83 yards late to lose any chance at victory.

Sirianni's seventh-ranked scoring offense fared little better. Outside of a field goal and touchdown in the second quarter, Jalen Hurts and Co. found no success against Tampa Bay.

Without A.J. Brown, who was missing with a knee injury, Philadelphia's passing game fell into disarray -- even as Hurts threw for 250 yards while playing from behind wire to wire.

The Eagles actually lost 10 yards across their three third-quarter drives, the last of which ended in a safety that Tampa Bay followed up with a 56-yard Trey Palmer touchdown catch just two snaps later.

Even the rare bright spots brought reminders of how far Philly had fallen.

After a score to cut the score to 16-9 with 3:10 remaining before halftime, the Eagles gambled for two following an offsides call on the ensuing extra point.

The play call, of course, was the Eagles' unstoppable tush push sneak.

Only the Buccaneers did stop it. The defensive line ate it up and turned Hurts away -- an apt representation of Philadelphia's downfall.

This season, an encore to a 14-3 campaign that ended in a narrow 38-35 loss to the Chiefs in the Super Bowl, started off with every indication of running things all the way back to the game's biggest stage.

Then everything that previously worked for the Eagles simply didn't anymore.

"Obviously, we were in a big slide," Sirianni said. "Anytime that's the case, I always look at myself first, and I didn't do a good enough job. And obviously we lost five of the last six and lost today. It was almost like you couldn't get out of the rut; we couldn't get out of the rut we were in. And that's all of us. We all have to look ourselves in the mirror and accept that and just find answers, find solutions. But obviously, you know, when you start 10-1, and then you get into what happened for us, obviously, the expectations were high. Expectations were even higher when we started off 10-1. And we fell into a skid. So, I'll look at everything. I'll look at, obviously, the play-calling. I'll look at the scheme, I'll look at practices, I'll look at everything that we're doing." 

Such a calamitous end was nowhere in sight until the latter part of the season.

Sitting at 10-1 on Nov. 26 midway through a meat grinder of a stretch, the Eagles had yet to play a complete game.

But they were winning, and they had just dispatched four future playoff teams -- the Dolphins, Cowboys, Chiefs and Bills -- amid a five-game winning streak.

Then came a 42-19 loss to the 49ers in Week 13, an anomaly until the Eagles lost, 33-13, to Dallas the following game.

Sirianni made the decision to switch defensive play-callers from defensive coordinator Sean Desai to senior defensive assistant Matt Patricia after that, but it only resulted in a third straight loss, which came after a 92-yard last-second drive by the Seahawks' backup quarterback, Drew Lock.

The move from Desai was transparently panic-driven, a domino effect from the Eagles losing both offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon following the 2022 season. Five previous Super Bowl participants went through a two-coordinator loss. None reached the Super Bowl the following year, and now neither have the Eagles, who slid from eighth in defensive scoring under Gannon to 30th.

They did scratch by the Giants in Week 16 with an eight-point win, but then continued to spiral by blowing a 15-point lead to the Cardinals in the penultimate week of the regular season and looking hapless in a 17-point loss in a rematch against New York.

There was little more than the now-apparent ancient history of last year's Super Bowl run and the recent history of becoming the league's first 10-win team to suggest the Eagles would rebound just because the playoffs started.

They surely didn't, and now they'll have all offseason to try to find the answers that evaded them the last couple months regarding what went wrong.

Whether they come back in 2024 without Sirianni, with another new set of coordinators, as he was asked about following the game, or with few sweeping changes remains to be seen.

"That's a little premature to talk through that," Sirianni said when asked about making potential changes. "Everybody in that locker room is hurting right now. Coaches, players, staff, everybody in that locker room's hurting. And my job right now is to be there for them, be there for the guys. We'll get into all that. I'm not there yet. We're hurting right now. It's tough to go out the way we did."

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