In attendance: Shoegal, Chef Spouse - small group, thank goodness, since we didn't get home from a week in Seattle until after 10 pm Saturday night
Menu: 'cue from Inspire. Sadly, it was not. Inspired. Also sadly, the really good 'cue place in our neighborhood, Kenny's, isn't open on Sundays. And Steelers Transplant still lives in Tampa, which means we don't get his amazing 'cue either. No 'cue - what's a gal to do?
Stud of the week: Kurt Coleman, I'm looking at you! Kurt had a huge day, particularly given the fact that he wasn't even a starter until, I think, this week, replacing the truly awful Jarrad Page. Kurt hauled in three of Sexy Rexy's four picks, batted down some additional passes, and was in on about a million tackles. Way to ensure that starting position STAYS yours. Gotta give a shout-out to Brent Celek, too. Nice circus catch, buddy.
First, I have to get one thing off my chest:
WHY CAN'T THE EAGLES PLAY FOUR FREAKIN' QUARTERS OF COMPLETE FOOTBALL ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BALL?
A win's a win, and the Eagles desperately needed this one, but the fact that the offense scored all their points before the half and almost let the Redskins and their backup (new starting?) QB John Beck back in does not make me happy.
You know how, for the past four weeks, it's felt like the Eagles couldn't catch a break no matter what? Every batted pass resulted in a pick, guys who normally protect the rock gave it up, if the first level of the D missed a tackle there was NO ONE to clean it up, even the kicker was missing short field goals?
I guess someone paid a curandera to come smudge the locker room with sage or something, because damn, did the team's luck turn.
Of course, it also helped that Rex Grossman remembered that he's, well, Rex Grossman. You aren't going to turn the ball over that much and still win. Trust me - after the last four weeks, I know. Oh God, do I know.
Other things that helped:
The defense showed up ready to ball. I called the Skins to win this game in part because I wasn't seeing much in the way of results from all the defensive tweaking. I figured the team needed the two weeks of the upcoming bye in order to, oh, I don't know, scrap the entire defensive coaching staff and scheme and start over. Silly me. I still don't think Juan Castillo is going to work out long term as the DC, but at least the players seem to have remembered how to tackle and get to the ball and stop drives in the red zone and get the hell off the field on 3rd down. Maybe they were all threatened with being traded to the Rams. Whatever it was, it worked.
Shady McCoy had another huge game. Mike Shanahan's right: he IS the best back in the NFL.
Brent Celek remembered how to play football (see above).
Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant remembered how to HOLD ON TO THE BALL.
To quote Bleeding Green Nation, Nnamdi Asomugha channeled Sheldon Brown, laid the wood we're used to seeing from a midnight green #24, and broke Chris Cooley's hand in the process. Not that I'm ever happy about injuries, but Cooley does run his mouth. A lot. A LOT.
The coaches actually planned the game relatively well. Yes, we all know Andy Reid is addicted to the big play. But this week, he must've been wearing some kind of patch or chewing some special gum, because he and Marty dialed up running plays and short drops with quick passes to keep Mike Vick from getting killed. And thank goodness, because Vince Young did not impress with his two plays from scrimmage. (Oh, and by the way? Andy was right to challenge that spot at the end of the game, and the zebras were BLIND in calling Shady short. BLIND.) And they didn't get cute in the red zone, and look what happened: two TDs and two field goals.
Mike Vick didn't have a huge day, and you know what? That's fine by me. Last year's MNF show aside, if he throws for a jillion yards, it generally means that the Eagles are in BIG trouble.
A lot of the DC sports press today has been all about, "if only a few plays had gone the other way..." Yeah, tell me about it. In case you haven't noticed, the Eagles weren't blown out once in those four losses. So I feel you, Redskins fans, I do, but I'm glad YOU'RE the ones wailing about "if only!" this Monday.
In the end, the guys finally played like they cared. And, at least yesterday, that was enough.
Around the rest of the NFL...
Falcons over Panthers: Did you see Cam Newton bust out the Deion Sanders TD dance? Funny stuff. What's not funny is being 1-5 (so glad the Eagles are not in that camp today).
Bengals over Colts: How many ways are there to say, "The Colts suck without Peyton Manning"? Because I'd got 11 more weeks to go and I'm already running low on alternatives.
49ers over the Lions: OK, the Lions are for real, as I've been pointing out for the last five weeks. Apparently, the 49ers are, too. I've heard the 49ers are also really, really grateful for David Akers. You're welcome, and you can send the gifts of high-end small batch and single barrel bourbons to me. I'll be sure Howie Roseman gets them, I swear. Also, throw down between the coaches? LOVE!
Packers over Rams: Well, sure. Sam Bradford is hurt and AJ Feeley's their new starting QB. Spags, Feeley - it's like old home week.
Giants over Bills: Really, Bills? Really? After last week, you couldn't take care of the Giants for us? Thanks for nothing. My only hope is that none of the NFC East teams can play at all consistently this year, and the Giants ALWAYS fall apart in December.
Steelers over Jaguars: I'm pretty sure the Steelers should be really worried that they only beat the Jags by 4. They should also be really worried that Troy Polamalu might have a concussion.
Ravens over Texans: The Ravens are also for real. You know, just in case you weren't sure.
Raiders over Browns: Poor Jason Campbell just can't catch a break. He finally gets a little stability and starts winning some games, and the next thing you know: broken collarbone, Heal up quick, Jason. The West is wide open. Also, nice win on the day the team was honoring Al Davis. Who was a nut job, make no mistake, but also highly influential, both for the Raiders and the entire NFL.
Patriots over Cowboys: Pop quiz: you give the ball back to Tom Brady, Pats down by 3, with just over two minutes left. What do YOU think is going to happen, dumb ass? Sloppy game on both sides, but how does that game turn out any other way than it did? Seriously?
Buccaneers over Saints: The worst injury of the day was to Sean Payton, who took a major hit to the knee from one of his own players on the sidelines and couldn't even finish coaching the game (I think he had surgery today). Well, that and the injury to the Saints' pride in losing to the Bucs.
Bears over Vikings: First of all, say it with me, "Do NOT kick to Devin Hester. EVER." Jeez, people, get with the program! And McNabb got benched for Christian Ponder. Given the fact that his receivers dropped EVERYTHING, including passes that hit them between the numbers and on the hands, and the fact that the Vikings' O-line is TERRIBLE, I don't think that ass-whuppin' was Big 5's fault. I also think this might be the end of the line for him. NFL Network calling?