29 September 2008

2008 Week 4 Recap

Eagles at Bears, Sunday, September 28, 2008

In attendance: Shoegal, Chef Spouse, Ex-Navy Cheesehead, and Steelers Transplant

Menu: Chef Spouse's magic guacamole (that seems to have a lost a little of its magical powers), a boatload of Yuengling (thanks to Shoegal), my homemade brownies, and Steelers Transplant's famous slow-smoked, authentically Texan bbq (ribs, pulled pork, homemade sauces, awesome beans, and potato salad). And Ex-Navy Cheesehead brought crudites, because someone has to make sure we get some veg!

Stud of the Week: Omar Gaither, who picked off Kyle Orton in the endzone, keeping the game at least in reach, mid-way through the 3rd. I also have to give a game ball to Buck, for reasons I'll elaborate below.

3:32 to go, down by 4, we need to come up with a big stop, and fast, in order to get the ball back in time to have ANY chance of winning this thing, 2 timeouts left (plus the 2 minute warning)...Wait! I know this tune! It's called: The Philadelphia Eagles Shuffle. As in, we'll be shuffling off the field in defeat in about 15 minutes thanks to our inability to get a defensive stop when we REALLY need one and thanks to our (complete lack of a) two-minute drill.

Of course, that wouldn't have been necessary had we managed to punch it in on 4th-and-inches a few seconds earlier. Here's the thing: it looked to me, at least from the aerial view they showed ONCE, like the ball broke the plane. And the zebra who was on the action side of the play LOOKED TO THE ZEBRA WHOSE VIEW WAS BLOCKED BY THE PILE FOR THE CALL. Isn't the second chapter in Coaching the NFL for Dummies entitled: If You Go For It On 4th And Inches And You Don't Get It, Challenge The Spot? (followed by chapter 3, "Unless Something Really Obvious Happens, Like Your Running Back Gets Dropped In The Backfield," and chapter 4, "And Even Then, You Might Want To Challenge Anyway, Because You Never Know What They Might See On Replay"?) Why did Big Red not challenge? WHY?

Scrapple was calling for the QB sneak on that play, and I'm feelin' him, I really am, but I think the Eagles are trying to, you know, actually get DMac through an entire season for the first time since...2003? It's been awhile. QB sneak? Not part of that game plan.

Who knew Kyle Orton was the answer all this time?

So what else did we learn last night?

Yes, West36 really is THAT critical.

Buck can totally step it up when asked, which probably means we should RUN THE FOOTBALL MORE. He may not be BWest, but he's pretty damn good. And a stud. He got NAILED in the lower back stopping the TD on the McNabb/Jackson miscue early in the 3rd, went to the locker room, and CAME BACK. That's hard core.

The defense needs to show up for the ENTIRE game. If we weren't down by 7 at the half...sure, the offense wasn't able to do much with all the takeaways in the second half, but against Chicago, that's to be expected. They've never won games on the strength of their amazing offense. Dear Defense: Yes, it's important to be fresh at the end of the game. That does not mean you should take off the the entire first half. That is all.

DeSean's great, but he's also a ROOKIE. Which means he's going to make some mistakes, like the muffed punt and running the wrong route, from time to time (no, JMad, McNabb did not throw an errant pass there. EVERYONE, including people in China who don't even WATCH American rules football, knows that Peanut ran the wrong route. Are you an idiot?). And he'll have flashes of brilliance, like most of the rest of his play so far this year. He's going to have to learn to shrug off the mistakes, though, and keep going. And hopefully he will, because he's ridonkulously talented.

Akers is not the kicker he once was. Is it age? Kicker weirdness? Never really getting over that hammie injury in 2005? Cutting Koy broke his heart? I do not know, but I do know that the young kickers these days are reliable at 50 yards. On the up side, he's still a badass. How many other kickers do YOU know who will save the TD by hitting Devin Hester so hard their helmets fly off?

Bad field conditions don't help. How many of our guys ended up on their asses for no particular reason? My friend, Fellow Eagles Maniac, and I were madly texting throughout the game. She observed that our guys were obviously wearing the wrong cleats. So it didn't occur to them to change shoes at the half?

Neither does bad officiating. I realize I may not be 100% up on all the subtlties of NFL rule changes, but doesn't a personal foul for roughing the kicker still trump some bogus 5 yard illegal formation penalty? How did Orton avoid intentional grounding in the 3rd quarter when he was in the pocket and rifled the ball at the feet of his linemen well behind the line of scrimmage? And I'm sorry, but in a game like this one, with two hard-charging defenses, when both offenses have trouble moving the ball, "little" missed calls like that can have a BIG effect.

Ultimately, though, I do think IgglesBlog has it in one: it's not time to panic. Yet.

It's not like we lost to, oh, I don't know, THE CHIEFS or anything.

Speaking of, around the rest of the NFL....

Chiefs over Broncos. "Broncos are headed for the Super Bowl!" Um, no.

Redskins over Cowboys. REDSKINS OVER COWBOYS! It's never a 100% bad day when the Cowboys lose. Also, the Skins are hardcore in the 4th quarter. Which worries me for next week. Also, do you hear that? It's the sound of Captain ME! selling out his team. You know what's amazing? It took over 2 years. Yes, I've been waiting for this since the 2006 offseason. Somehow, I think fragile little Tonyboy is not going to handle this well. HA! Lets see Jerry Jones try to buy his way out of this one.

Bills over Rams. And Scott Linehan is gone. Big shock. Not really. The Rams' fans (or what remains of them anyway) have been calling for this since, um, last season. And they're WAY more forgiving than Phily fans, who call for AR's head after every loss. Also, the Bills are looking like The Team in the AFC East, now that the mighty Pats have fallen. Which makes me happy every day.

Chargers over Raiders. Speaking of another coach who's likely to be out of a job any minute now. The amazing thing is that the Raiders were actually leading at the half. Yeah, Kiffin's out. If not today, then soon.

Titans over Vikings. No one is in a hurry to see Vince Young back. I'm guessing he can take his sweet time rehabbing his knee and his ego.

Bucs over Packers. Hmmm. Maybe the Buccaneers are the real thing. Maybe the Packers really did need Vicodin Boy (OK, maybe not). ARodg got hurt and the Bucs are hanging tough this year. NFC South is looking, well, almost as good as NFC East. Almost.

Jets over Cards. Speaking of Vicodin Boy, everyone's all, "More TDs than Broadway Joe! OOOOO!!!" Um, the Jets let the CARDINALS score 35 POINTS. Not that impressive, despite the win.

Saints over 49ers. Well, duh.

Jags over Texans. Barely. AFC South is a tough division, too. Right now, it's the Titans' to lose, but we are only a month into the season. On a serious note, our thoughts go out to Richard Collier and his family at this very difficult time.

Browns over Bengals. THE SUCK! IT BURNS!

Panthers over Falcons. OK, Matt Ryan can look at hot at home against pushover teams. The Panthers, on the other hand, are the real deal. Told ya!

Well, dinner's ready (risotto and broccoli), and the Steelers/Ravens game is about to start. I love football season!


Barbara said...

I believe (but am not sure) that the new rules say that if both teams incur a penalty they offset, regardless of severity. Last night (Steelers Ravens), one team had a false start followed by personal fouls on both teams. All offset, although I really believe the false start penalty should have been applied, with the two PFs offsetting.

Anonymous said...

Hm - I believe you, although that doesn't really seem to make sense. So if one team commits 5 penalties and the other commits 1 on the same play, they offset? A 5 yard false start is equivalent to a helmet to helmet hit? I know the NFL is not fond of allowing judgment calls, but this seems silly.