31 October 2011

2011 Week 8 Recap

Eagles v. Cowboys, Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween! Of course, this week's recap will be the annual trick-or-treat edition, as I write in my witch costume jumping up to answer the doorbell while waiting for MNF to start.

In attendance: Just Shoegal, Chef Spouse and me - SNF games are tough on people who have to go to work in the morning.

Menu: homemade butternut squash ravioli with butter sage sauce, salad, yummy treats from Shoegal

Stud: Shady McCoy, of course, who pretty much OWNS this category this year. I've already asked Santa to bring me his jersey for Christmas. Could he be any more awesome? I don't think so. To recap: 185 yards on the ground on 30 carries and two TDs, plus another 15 yards through the air. The second coming of BWest? You know it.

Since we're all thinking it, I'll go ahead and say it: "Where the HELL have these guys been for the past 6 weeks?" I'm glad they finally decided to show up, but seriously, I was expecting them in week 2, not week 8. Better late than never.

OK, sure, a bunch of new guys on the field and pretty much an entirely new coaching staff are going to take come time to gel. Seven weeks, to be precise.

Are the Eagles becoming a team that can run the ball and shut teams down on defense? Because that would be an interesting switch to the Andy Reid playbook. The thing I loved most last night was seeing the long drives sustained by nice runs and short passes over the middle. Dictionary west coast offense. Those were some BIG holes the offensive line was creating. Andy Reid could have run through those holes himself. Hell, he probably could've driven the team bus through them. What made it even sweeter is that the Cowboys came in with one of the top ranked run defenses in the league.

Clearly Rob Ryan game planned to take away DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, and in that, he was pretty successful. Maclin and DJax had 3 catches each, for 54 and 31 yards respectively. The thing is, if you're going to put all your guys on those two, that leaves Jason "Hands" Avant, Brent Celek and Clay Harbor to run free in the middle of the field. Now throwing across the middle is not the easiest thing for the relatively short (at 6 feet on the nose) Mike Vick. Then again, the o-line gave him such a nice clean pocket all night long, he could drop back as far as he needed to.

And on D, it seems like I may owe Juan Castillo an apology. It wasn't showy - it wasn't like there were a zillion picks and sacks (1 and 4) - but the Cowboys were just totally out of sorts all night long. They only had 12 first downs, and, if I recall correctly, only THREE in the entire first half. The Eagles D was getting off the field and only made one mistake all night long (Kurt Coleman got a little over excited), allowing the only Cowboys' score, in scut time (aka "the entire 4th quarter").

Oh, and did I mention? No turnovers. THAT was a treat. Big time.

THIS is what we were expecting 6 weeks ago. Hopefully, the guys can keep it up. Because the team that played LAST night looks pretty damn unstoppable.

Around the rest of the league:

Ravens over Cardinals: The Cardinals jumped out to a treat of an early lead, but the Ravens had a trick for them, to the tune of 24 (?) unanswered points, to win the game.

Vikings over Panthers: Cam Newton sure is a treat (on the eyes, too), but those tricky Vikings forced two fumbles, got a great day out of Adrian Peterson, and, ultimately, got a treat of a field goal out of the aptly-named Ryan Longwell to sneak a 3 point win.

Texans over Jags: No tricks here, only another treat of a day from Arian Foster.

Giants over Dolphins: The Dolphins almost tricked the Giants into a trap game, but ultimately, the Giants pulled out a win. No treats here - sooner or later (probably sooner) Tony Sparano is going to be fired.

Rams over Saints: Raise your hand if you picked this one. (crickets) The Rams treated their fans to a fantastic end to a fantastic week. Not only did the Rams get their first win, it was over the mighty Saints not some sad-sack team like the Colts. It's a great week to be a sports fan in the S-T-L.

Titans over Colts: I wonder if the Colts are being tricky to Suck for Luck? It's a treat to see the AFC South up for grabs this year.

Bills over Redskins: OMG, someone needs to talk Redskins fans down off the ledge. The Bills are a treat this year, as was Ryan Fitzpatrick's contract extension, and they sure tricked Mike and Kyle Shanahan, shut out for the first time EVER. Guess "The System" isn't looking so tricky these days, is it, Shanny?

Lions over Broncos: Told you the Lions would pull it back together! Tim Tebow might not be quite the treat Broncos think he is, but the Lions D had a treat or two of their own ready to go, registering seven sacks.

Steelers over Pats: The Steelers, who looked pretty soft early on, seem to be returning to their usual tricky form. It was a real treat to watch them frustrate Tom Brady all afternoon. And that tricky Troy Polamalu managed a real treat of a play in punching the Brady fumble into the endzone for a safety.

Bengals over Seahawks: Andy Dalton looks a treat in Cincy, and the Seahawks...well, people in Seattle should wish this is a trick. Congratulations to Marvin Lewis, now the winningest coach in Bengals history

49ers over Browns:  Was Alex Smith just tricking us all this time, or did he just need Jim Harbaugh to treat us to some good play? Of course, Frank Gore's treat of 134 yards and a TD didn't hurt.


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