02 January 2006

2005 Week 17 Recap

Eagles v. Redskins, Sunday, January 1, 2006

Let the beheadings begin!

Mike McMahon: dude, after two months starting, you should have gotten SOMEWHAT better. My crystal ball predicts flipping burgers in your immediate future.

Koy Detmer: you're supposed to be EXPERIENCED! How did you manage to fumble and throw two picks in, like, 5 minutes? Are you TRYING to kill us? I know Akers likes you as a holder, but is that really sufficient to keep you on the team?

Dexter Wynn: repeat after me: catch FIRST, THEN run. See, when you do it the other way, the punt bounces off your chest, and an opposing team member picks it up, giving them excellent field position.

Jevon Kearse: where the hell have you been? If that $60+ million we paid you is slowing you down, I will generously sacrifice myself and take some of it out of your pocket so you can DO YOUR JOB.

And, finally, TO: May a camel in heat romance your left shin for the month of July and may you be picked up by an arena football team.

In our last game of the season, we played pretty decent football for three quarters. And they were all in one game! Unfortunately, football games remain, as they have always been, FOUR quarters. Every time we did something good, it got taken away. 30 yard Ryan Moats run? Sorry, offsides penalty. Sheldon Brown pick? Nope, defensive holding. Great defensive stop provides good field position? Sorry, McMahon's too busy fumbling to take advantage. Another Reggie Brown TD? Uhn-uhn, illegal motion.

If you look at all the stats other than interceptions and unrecovered fumbles, we should have - hell, would have - won the game. But with our QBs throwing more passes to 'Skins than they did to Eagles (are they both red/green color blind?), there was just no way to overcome the mistakes, even though we led for most of the game.

On the up side, this was my first trip to the Linc. It's really nice. Of course, any stadium looks pretty damn good from the 30 yard line, 8 rows in. But the seats were nice, there were enough bathrooms, and the food concessions weren't terrible, other than being staffed by geriatrics who moved at about 1/4 speed. Going for a beer could cost you half a quarter.

So what am I asking the Easter Bunny for? (hey, I missed Santa by about 10 days)

A bigger running back, maybe Buckhalter if he can stay healthy for two consecutive games.

A good #2 QB. OK, anybody but Testaverde or Favre. Or the jokers we have right now.

Another good WR - Brown's still pretty green and Pinkston - assuming he comes back from his Achilles rupture - is too specialized. He's a field stretching niche player, not a multi-carry every game machine.

A stronger O line - D-Mac's not 23 any more, and he needs a little more protection.

D - we need something, but I'm not sure what. We didn't suffer many injuries there. Have other teams figured out Jim Johnson? Was everyone just tired from being on the field too long? We should've had a great D this year, and we didn't. AR and company need to figure out why not in the off season and adjust as necessary.

Around the rest of the NFL, the AFC seasons mostly sputtered out, with nearly all the playoff spots decided before the weekend. In a move that shocked no one, the Steelers beat the Lions to secure the final AFC wildcard spot. The Giants did take the NFC East, with a win over the 4-12 Raiders. Unbelievably, Dallas LOST to the Rams. We managed to beat the Rams with McMahon at the helm. Pathetic. Of course, by the time they played, there was no way for the Cowboys to make the playoffs, so I guess they just didn't care. Which is yet another reason why the Eagles are a better team. Even with our season in the crapper and 20+ players on the IR list, we still kept trying. Which is why the 'Boys are, and shall remain, putzes.

South came down to it, with the Bucs winning over the Saints to take the division and the Panthers TROUNCING the Falcons, who with Michael Vick healthy nearly all year really have no excuse, taking the other NFC wildcard.

And the Texans finally won something: the Bush bowl, with their loss to the 49ers. They will have first right of refusal on USC's star running back Reggie Bush. But why would anyone turn him down?

On the topic of rolling heads, here's a list to date of coaches who've been fired:

Steve Mariucci (Lions) - fired earlier this season, still no permanent replacement

Mike Martz (Rams) - sure, they finished at 6-10, but so did we. And they beat the Cowboys Sunday night. Martz was coaching a ROOKIE QB who graduated from HARVARD, for God's sake. And he has a heart condition (Martz, not the 23 year old Fitzpatrick). Give the man a break! How many top QBs can you name out of Harvard?

Mike Tice (Vikings) - OK, there was the Super Bowl ticket scalping incident last year. And the Sex Boat cruise. But the poor guy lost his top receiver to free agency (and the Raiders) and his starting QB to injury, and still managed to almost make the playoffs. They either should have fired him right after the Super Bowl scandal or given him another year. And speaking of the Raiders...

Norv Turner (Raiders) - even with Randy Moss, he couldn't turn things around. Norv, seems like just yesterday you were getting fired by the Redskins...

Mike Sherman (Packers) - guy's 57-39 overall and has led the Packers to three division titles in six seasons. He lost his entire running game to injury, leaving the team dependent on Favre's increasingly unreliable arm. Firing the head coach because your QB sucks seems unfair.

Dom Capers (Texans) - does this really surprise anyone? But if the Texans' dismal 2-14 season does lead to the acquisition of Reggie Bush, I really think he ought to be given some valuable parting gifts. Hey! Maybe EA Sports' Madden NFL 2006? I suspect that's the closest he'll be getting to a pro football team for a very long time.

Jim Haslett (Saints) - um, is there anyone who could have done a better job with a team with no place to play whose homes were, in many cases, under 20 feet of water for most of the month of September?

Coaches who've quit:

Vermeil (Chiefs) - DVerm, we're sorry to see you go, but at 69, you've earned your (third and presumably final) retirement. Jaws sends his love.

Coaches who might quit:

Herm Edwards (Jets) - wow, who knew that coaching Vinny Testaverde was this big a buzz kill?

Bill Parcells (Cowboys) - but only to avoid being fired, which seems possible. Jimmy Jones isn't very happy about losing to the 'Skins twice AND missing the playoffs. Again. The Tuna hasn't quite been able to get his coaching act together without Bill Belichick at his side.

AR - just kidding! I don't think he's THAT depressed about the way the season went. But Brad Childress will probably be a head coach somewhere else next year.

Finally, it's that time of year! My playoff predictions...

Wildcard weekend:
Buccaneers versus Redskins - Bucs
Panthers versus Giants - Panthers
Jaguars versus Patriots - Pats
Steelers versus Bengals - Bengals

Divisional Playoffs:
Buccaneers versus Bears - Bears (much as it pains me to say so, the Bucs are a good team this year, but I think they're too battered to take the Bears)
Panthers versus Seahawks - Seahawks (the Panthers are good, but the Seahawks are unstoppable this year)
Bengals versus Broncos - Broncos (but I wouldn't be shocked if the Bengals won)
Pats versus Colts - Colts (c'mon, Peyton finally managed to win in Foxboro!)

Conference Championships:
Bears versus Seahawks - Seahawks
Broncos (or Bengals) versus Colts - Colts

Super Bowl XL
Seahawks versus Colts - Colts

At least I'll be able to relax and enjoy the playoffs this year with nothing at stake. And those of you who will attend my annual Super Bowl Blowout, know that I'll be a lot more fun to be with this year.


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