In attendance: Big weekend! The 'rents were in town, and we had a good crew over the course of the day - in addition to Chef Spouse, Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom, me, and You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad, Shoegal, Ex-Navy Cheesehead, Tall Drink of Water Cousin, Wingman and Mr. Wingman all spent at least part of the day hanging out and watching the games.
Menu: Life-Long Eagles Fan Mom made AWESOME brisket and beans, Shoegal brought a yummy broccoli casserole to go along side, Ex-Navy Cheesehead brought a bunch of pies and some really cute football sugar cookies, and we had all the usual pre-meal snacks, including Chef Spouse's patented guacamole. It was delish. Which is a good thing, because the game was a big stinking pile of crap.
Stud of the week: I was going to say Ellis Hobbes for returning the opening kick off the second half for a TD, only it was negated by a holding call that none of our crew nor Al and Cris could see, even with replaying on our nice big HD TV multiple times. And then I was thinking maybe Sheldon Brown for the pick and great 54 yard run back, but that was negated by a low block penalty on Moise Fokou. And he got burned by Miles Austin for what turned out to be the winning TD. Then I was going to pick David Akers, but that's way too easy, even though he did make a pointless 52 yarder when Andy should have gone for it, because it was clear, at least to me, that with only about 4 minutes left in the game and no timeouts, this was our last offensive possession. Or I was going to choose McNabb for the plow ahead QB sneak on 4th-and-1 to keep our critical first drive of the fourth quarter going just after Dallas had tied it up, but the zebras inexplicably spotted the ball about 2 yards short of where it should've been and refused to fix it, even after Andy burned our final timeout and his final challenge trying to get them to correct an obvious mistake. So I picked safety Sean Jones, who in just his second start with the Eagles had 4 solo tackles, 1 assist, and a pick. Good game, man! Sorry it didn't work out better for us all.
I feel like I've pretty much already recapped the game. We weren't terrible, we weren't great. But it's damn hard to overcome two picks, although one was clearly Maclin's fault and one was about 50/50 Maclin and McNabb. But on that second pick, Maclin draws a 15 yard face mask to add insult to injury.
Another weird one? Asante Samuel draws a taunting penalty WHILE HE'S GIVING A MARION BARBER HAND UP. Explain that to me, please?
And speaking of weird, what about some of those coaching decisions? We put Mike Vick in for a play, presumably so that McNabb and Reid can chat some things over without taking a time out. Then McNabb goes back in and we have to call a time out. Then we go to McCoy on 3-2, he doesn't get it because he has to come back for the ball and his field awareness is not great. Andy challenges and loses, then we decide to go for it on 4-1 to try to draw the Cowboys offsides, we DO draw them offsides, but Jamal Jackson doesn't snap the ball, and we get called for a false start.
I do understand the challenge on the McNabb sneak, because that was the WORST spot ever, but the officiating crew was calling so much inexplicable shit that Big Red should've realized that God himself (aka Vince Lombardi) could've come down from heaven and told them they had it wrong and they wouldn't have moved it. And the officiating was bad both ways, but the zebras seemed to have a particular propensity for making bad calls that killed any momentum we started getting any time we got it.
And I really don't get that last field goal, either. And why are we starting games so pass-happy? We either score in 3 plays or we go 3-and-out. How about a nice slow first offensive drive for once?
In the end, it just felt like one of those nights where nothing was going to go right. McNabb had some off passes, but Brent Celek, Mr. Clutch, and Jason Avant, Mr. Third Down, both dropped more than one pass that was right to them, AND when our young receiving corps had problems, it felt like EVERY SINGLE deflection went right to a Cowboy defender. We had plenty of "almost got there" on D.
But we couldn't win a close divisional game at home for the lead in the division. That does not bode well for the rest of the season, including the playoffs that I'm still confident we'll reach. Wilbon had it in 1 in Sunday's WaPo: the Eagles are the hardest good team to figure out. Which is, as per usual, giving us all fits. But I do totally agree with these guys: let's not panic. We're still #2 in the division and we're only 1 game back with half the season still to go. Were the season to end today, we'd take one of the wildcard spots. And Reid and McNabb are still the winningest coach/QB we've ever had (and even with his two picks last night, McNabb still has the best TD to INT ratio in the HISTORY OF THE NFL). Some days you're the windshield, some days, you're the bug. It was our day to be the bug.
Just to refresh your memory:
Andy Reid - 61.8%
Wade Phillips - 58.8%
Tom Coughlin - 55.3%
Jim Zorn - 43.5%
Career QB rating
Donovan McNabb - 86.2
Tony Romo - 94.9
Eli Manning - 77.6
Jason Campbell - 81.4
Around the rest of the NFL...
Falcons over Redskins. Well, yes. Know what was ridonkulous? DeAngelo Hall on SportsCenter trying to play off that he was just trying to break up the sideline fight and 50 year old, no-pads-wearing Falcons coach Mike Smith was the one who came after him. OK, MeAngelo. The Redskins offense actually looked non-rancid for a while there. But I think it's too little, too late, both for their season and for their beleaguered head coach and starting QB. And they're about to go into a BRUTAL part of their schedule - Broncos, Cowboys, us, Saints, Raiders (which should be a win since everyone but us beats them), Giants, Cowboys, Chargers. Ouch. 3-13 is not out of the picture.
Cardinals over Bears. I TOLD you so! Kurt "Silver Fox" Warner and Larry "Best Buns in Football" Fitzgerald will not be denied. Seriously - have you checked out Fitz's rear view? Yummy!
Bengals over Ravens. I ALSO told you so. It's official - I'm no longer renting the Bengals. I'm buying. The difference between Ocho Cinco and TO is that, while they're both totally arrogant, 85 has a sense of humor about it. Which is why I love him and think his antics are hilarious. I probably wouldn't be so forgiving if he played for the Eagles, but then again, how many TDs would we be talking in one season here?
Colts over Texans. Damn. I was sure this was the one for the Texans. As, in fact, it almost was. Not that you want to bet on being able to beat Peyton Manning in OT, but I was sure it was going there. Think they made Kris Brown walk home? Also: WE're pass happy? Peyton threw, what, 4,967,352 times in the first half? (actual number: 40. Which is still a little unbalanced. And I say this after 11 seasons with Andy Reid.)
Jaguars over Chiefs. You know what's weird? The Jags only won by 3. Poor Maurice Jones-Drew really needs to get himself traded to a decent team before he burns his whole career with those bozos. Matt Cassel's not looking so magical without the rest of the Patriots, is he? Speaking of the Patriots...
Pats over Dolphins. Damn. I was sure the Dolphins could win this one. Obviously, my omniscience quotient is at an all-time low. I caught some of Tom Brady's post-game press conference. Anyone who's read my blog for any length of time knows I think he's an idiot. I may have over-estimated him. It's a good thing he's pretty and can throw a football.
Bucs over Packers. Wow. THIS was the upset of the week. The Bucs get their first win, and the Pack drop two really tough losses in a row. And Aaron Rodgers is getting sacked seven ways from Sunday. Their O line has to figure things out or they're not gonna have a QB in a few weeks. He's about to look like, to quote Keith Olbermann, a bag full of mashed up Aaron Rodgers.
Saints over Panthers. Can the Saints come from behind? Yes, apparently they can. Bet Sean Payton's glad to get that monkey off his back. Can the Saints be stopped? I don't know man - it's not looking like it. It's the best start in the history of the franchise. Geaux Saints!
Seahawks over Lions. Whatever. Isn't there a mercy rule that could let both these teams out of having to play the second half of the season? Stafford: 5 picks? Really? And yet the Seahawks were down by 17at one point? Bad playing worse. Ugh.
Chargers over Giants. Now THAT was an exciting game. Particularly since the Chargers pulled it out, with about 20 seconds left. You know, more teams get burned playing prevent defense at the end of the game. Why do coaches keep thinking it's going to work? Prevent, prevent, prevent, but the team on offense (in this case, the Chargers) eats up the field and the clock in equal sized chunks, leaving the team on defense (in this case, the Giants) NO time to score when they get the ball back. Honestly, it may be more effective to let the other team have the big play and score fast so that you still have some time left. Has anyone done the math on this?
Titans over 49ers. Maybe I'm wrong - maybe Vince Young is the answer. He was the answer this week anyway. Also, the 49ers coughed it up 4 times and the Titans scored off every single one. The 49ers were looking pretty good, but maybe I was blinded by Frank Gore.
And so far, Broncos/Steelers has been turning out about how I expected - big defensive battle. Gruden's about to bust a gut. They need to make him have a few beers before the telecast or something.