In attendance: I was all by myself in Chicago, but Chef Spouse reports that Shoegal joined him back in DC
Menu: I got a room service burger. Chef Spouse made fajitas and guacamole, which appears to have lost its magical powers in the offseason.
Stud of the Week: Mike Vick. Damn, I don't remember him looking that good back in Atlanta. And with K2 out for, well, we don't really know how long at this point, could we see a QB controversy brewing? Probably not - Big Red has said definitively that K2 is the future. But Vick looked terrific - his wheels are back, he was accurate, he made good short and long passes and good decisions, and he took what the defense gave him. I know a lot of people are pissed he didn't run it in mid-way through the fourth quarter when we took the 3 points instead, leaving us down by 7, but he was about 12 yards out and while there were no Packers DIRECTLY in front of him, there were several nearby between him and the end zone. Other than that (and I do think he made the right decision in attempting the pass, because the run was all or nothing at that point, and it had little chance of succeeding), he played a great game, jumpstarting our moribund offense and nearly bringing us back from an ass-whuppin' that was a lot more one-sided than the 17 point (at its widest) differential reflected. Did you know that Vick is now one of only 3 QBs with over 4000 rush yards? The other two are Steve Young and our own Randall Scramble.
Other than that, there wasn't a lot of good. Both teams start game day with a 45 man roster, and by the end of the first half, I was pretty sure one or both teams was going to run out of players.
At the beginning of the game, I was thinking: "I'm really surprised Jamal Jackson is back! It seems awfully fast after a torn ACL and, although he's clearly a better center than the other options (Cole and McGlynn), he and K2 have had NO time together." Did you miss that he was even there? That's because, basically by the time I finished thinking that thought, he was out (maybe for the season - again) with a torn triceps.
Packers rookie Clay Matthews had a great day, if by "great day" you mean "physically incapacitated every single Eagle he came within 10 feet of."
K2? Out with a concussion for who knows how long.
Stewart Bradley? Same. Now, he did fall down after getting up because he tripped on his own feet, but he seriously got his clock cleaned, which you could tell by looking at his eyes.
I already mentioned our center.
And then there's Leonard Weaver. That was literally a sickening collision. Knees are not supposed to bend like that. He had to pretty much be carried off the field, and it looked like he was crying. Think he's out for the season? Yeah, me too. During the game Adam Schefter tweeted that the Eagles were thinking it was probably a torn ACL (it is). I quote @BleedingGreen:
My eyes reported that when it happened.The Eagles sideline was starting to look like the train station scene in Gone with the Wind, only less cheerful.
I remember at one point, Clay Matthews had drilled Mike Vick and the Idiot Twins were blathering on about God knows what on TV and Vick's holding his left arm and they're not addressing it and I about flipped out. Because I saw Mike Kafka at training camp, and trust me, we do not want him to be our only option.
On to the game itself. K2, until he went down, looked like a rookie. He's still keying on particular receivers and not going through his reads. I hope he's able to fix that. Also, son, you're not Big5. Don't throw off your back foot. I also didn't like the constant screwing around with taking him out and putting Vick in, because it seemed to me that he never got a chance to get comfortable. Just leave him alone and let him run the offense for chrissakes!
David Akers continues to be money. He was good from 45, and he's pretty much the only guy on the team over 30 at this point. Something to think about. Of course, he is a kicker, and they tend to have long careers, but still.
I expected penalties from this bunch of young'uns. But more penalty yards in the first half than total yards? Only 7 total yards of offense? NO catches for Peanut? NO catches for Celek?
And then we started the second half without K2. At least it made AR and/or Mornhinweg quit screwing around and just play a QB. But we still couldn't seem to do anything right. Vick started with a solid run and a great pass - and then Charles Woodson knocked the ball loose as Eldra Buckley fights for more yards, and the Packers waltzed on down the field for another score, taking the score to 20-3.
After that, our offense starting to making things happen, but the defense fell apart. We got in the end zone - FINALLY - and then the Packer got a great run back on the kickoff and then 4 plays later, SCORED AGAIN. Were they just gassed in the second half, are the Packers that good (possibly), or can they just not cover anyone (I sure as hell hope that's not it)?
I definitely didn't like the draw call on our last chance to put together a drive on the 4th and 1. Vick's a great outside runner, but he's not big or powerful enough for the draw play. And the Packers clearly knew it was coming.
And, as usual, our clock management was a mess. In other news, gravity is still in effect.
I suspect Vick will start again against the Lions next week, given the concussion situation, and after that, we'll have to see. But again, Andy's 100% that Kolb's the future, so let's hope he can get over his beginner jitters soon.
Around the rest of the NFL...
(I'm operating at a bit of a handicap here, since I'm on a business trip and it's seriously curtailing my SportsCenter and NFL Network viewing time. I'll do my best, and I promise to return to full-on snark next week.)
Saints over Vikings: Not exactly the dazzling offensive fireworks we were all expecting, but a good game, and a good start to a Saints season that will hopefully see at least an NFC South repeat. Brett Favre looked RUSTY RUSTY RUSTY. Shouldn't have spent the entire offseason in Mississippi, Gramps.
Bucs over Browns: For a while there (OK, the first half) it looked like the Browns might actually win one. Nope.
Dolphins over Bills: The game was closer than I expected. Dolphins, if you're going to win the division, you need to start playing like the season actually, you know, STARTED.
Pats over Bengals: Hm. So the TO/Ochocinco combo didn't produce rainbow, unicorns, and puppies for everyone. Imagine that.
Texans over Colts: I actually got to watch the second half of this game. Jeff Saturday is one of the few centers known by name in the NFL. He was out Sunday with an injury. How much do you think Peyton missed him? What's more than "a lot"? Midway through the game, I wrote: "If the Texans lose, the play of the game was Pierre Garcon saving the Glover Quin almost-pick mid way through the 4th. Not too sure about that call, but it led to the Colts' TD, cutting the Texans' lead to 10." But the Texans pulled it out anyway. I'm telling you, this is their year to at least GET TO the playoffs.
Jaguars over Broncos: I have literally no comment on this other than, "Hm."
Steelers over Falcons: I admit it - I'm surprised. It's too early to tell, but I was expecting the Steelers to struggle due to their offseason messes and the Falcons to be really strong this year. Both of those could still happen, but not this week.
Titans over Raiders: WAY over. So far over, I think Chris Johnson was showered and sipping an umbrella drink in the owner's box by the start of the second half. Jason Campbell also got sacked 4 times. Maybe it's him.
Giants over Panthers: I still don't think they're going to be very good this year, but then again, neither will the Panthers.
Bears over Texans: I'm not so sure about the Calvin Johnson TD that was called back with 24 seconds left. He clearly had control. I call BS. I get that it's The Rule, but it's one of the rules that makes no sense.
Cardinals over Rams: Who's even under center in Arizona? Guess it doesn't matter if you still have Fitz and Tim Hightower.
Seahawks over 49ers: Is it too late to change my pick for NFC West?
Redskins over Cowboys: I sure as hell hope you watched the game because it was SUPER exciting. I am SO glad to be wrong about this one. I am SO glad DMac was able to start the season with a win over the Cowboys after the ignominious way last season ended. Both teams made plenty of dumb mistakes, but I have to say that the Cowboys were embarrassingly sloppy. I thought Trent Williams did quite a good job. I think Miles Austin is a punk. I think the Cowboys play dirty. And I think it must be great to be in DC today.
Off to watch the MNF double header with some vendors at a sports bar...no doubt trouble of the best kind awaits....