21 November 2011
2011 Week 11 Recap
Stud of the week: As hard as it is to go with the guy who threw THREE picks (thank God the Giants couldn't seem to capitalize), I have to give it to Vince Young, since he also engineered a nearly 9 minute drive in which he converted I think four third downs that ended when he tossed what turned out to be the winning TD to Riley Cooper (who also had a really good day, despite the fact that he hadn't caught a pass yet this year prior to last night). Shout-out to Jason Babin, too, for the strip sack of Eli Manning that ended their last scoring chance last night.
So I was watching the game alone, with Chef Spouse in Pittsburgh after an afternoon spent talking business with a bunch of smart association peeps and keeping one eye on the games. And I was honestly kind of half watching it because I was expecting to be disappointed/pissed off and really didn't want to not be able to sleep last night.
So here's what I remember:
The Giants couldn't do shit offensively. Their o-line was made of #FIAL - couldn't open holes for the run game, couldn't protect Eli. The Eagles defensive front, on the other hand, was made of "WE WILL F YOU UP!" Where have those guys been for the past 3 months?
The Giants receivers were also made of #FIAL. I was constantly astonished at their inability to catch ANYTHING. Not every pass was perfect, but it wasn't Eli's fault he was 18 for 35 last night.
The Eagles o-line, on the other hand, did a great job. Vince Young stayed clean. I had a conversation about this with...someone the other day. There is the issue that the Eagles' o-line is young and they've been being shuffled around all season and whatnot. But it's a lot harder to protect a QB who's running all over the place than it is to keep a clean pocket for a guy who's inclined to stay in it. And/or the line's finally coming together.
Down both Vick and Maclin, it seemed to me like Marty and Andy slimmed down the offensive playbook a bit for the game. Yeah, dumping the trick plays and 60 yard bombs for the rest of the season might be a good way to go.
DJax will not be an Eagle next year. You heard it here first. The FO might franchise tag him so they can trade him, or they might just let him walk. But the idiot who hands a 50 yard gain back in exchange for some childish showboating not only isn't going to get Fitz money, he isn't worth it.
LeSean McCoy, on the other hand, is. I'm bummed that he didn't get a TD last night, so the streak ends at nine games, but I think he's gotten to 1000 yards maybe the fastest of any RB in Eagles history? Well, at least recent history.
And the guys FINALLY didn't GIVE AWAY a lead in the fourth quarter. I cannot get over how magic that final drive was. Every time the team was looking at third down, I kept thinking: "Here we go. They won't convert, they'll punt, and the Giants will waltz down the field to score the winning TD, leaving us 53 seconds or something ridiculous to try to tie. Which, of course, we won't." Except when I was thinking: "Here we go. They won't convert, they'll kick the field goal, and the Giants will waltz down the field to score the winning TD, leaving us 53 seconds or something ridiculous to try to win. Which, of course, we won't." You know, later in the drive. I didn't believe in a nine minute drive leading to the winning TD until it happened. And I saw the replay. Twice.
This team is just maddening this year. We see flashes of competence all the time, and flashes of brilliance more than occasionally. Unfortunately, those flashes generally end up doused by whole stretches of complete boneheadedness. I know no teams seem to be playing consistently this year (well, other than the Packers and the 49ers), but this is ridiculous. Just when I'd given up on this season, they'll pull me back in. But last night, to quote Berman, they played as a team. And they won.
Oh, and you know that whole thing about a QB controversy being the only catastrophe the Eagles had so far managed to avoid I mentioned in the picks? Yeah, looks like Vince Young might be starting against the Pats next week. If he reels off another win, boom, QB controversy. Mark my words.
Around the rest of the NFL...
I did better with my picks this week. Well, at least a little.
Broncos over Jets: "All he does is win games." Tim Tebow, that is. Who seems to be able to play like garbage for 45+ minutes and then figure out how to win in the last quarter. I don't know - maybe all those Broncos fans who paid for the billboards and whatnot were right. Are we seeing a reversion to a less QB-centric type of football? Too early to tell, but Tebow's won 4 out of the last 5.
Ravens over Bengals: I was so sure the Bengals would pull off the upset win. Next year my ginger friend Andy Dalton becomes a factor. Trust.
Browns over Jaguars: Despite the fact that the Browns' kicker missed ANOTHER totally makeable field goal, the Browns hung on for a win. Yes, the Jags are THAT bad.
Lions over Panthers: The first half? All Panthers. The second half? All Lions, including scoring the final 14 points of the game in about 20 seconds. Also, apparently, both defenses actually went to Bank of America stadium by accident.
Packers over Buccaneers: Well, sure, although it was a lot closer than I thought it would be. Do you think the Pack will go undefeated? Aaron Rodgers looks pretty unstoppable, but their D is a little suspect. The Lions are all about the shoot-out. That Thanksgiving day game is looking pretty interesting.
Dolphins over Bills: Was it only two months ago that the Bills beat the Patriots? They peaked too early, and they've had so many injuries, I think they had to get the oil changed on the cart.
Raiders over Vikings: And with Adrian Peterson injured, things just keep getting worse for the Vikings. Meanwhile, Hue Jackson is attempting to read the zebras the riot act. I didn't see the game, so I can't offer my own opinion as to whether or not the gazillion personal foul penalties the Raiders drew were justified or not. In the Raiders' defense, the officials are, at least sometimes, calling games really tight. For the prosecution, though, this is the Raiders we're talking about.
Cowboys over Redskins: Even though the Cowboys and the Redskins are very much headed in opposite directions at this point in the season, this was a great game. With the Cowboys having won the last 6 out of 7, Dallas week here in DC isn't what it once was, but the Redskins brought their A game and gave the 'Boys a run for their money.
49ers over Cardinals: Well, yes. Is there any chance the 49ers don't win the NFC West? Nope. Ex-Navy Cheesehead knew - Jim Harbaugh would turn that team around.
Seahawks over Rams: Not sure why I thought the Rams would win this, other than the fact that they beat the Browns last week. Which probably shouldn't be considered indicative of, well, anything.
Falcons over Titans: Again, well, yes.
Bears over Chargers: The Bears might've won their last game this year, with Jay Cutler out for the rest of the season with the broken thumb. Well, maybe not - looking ahead, they have the Raiders, the Chiefs, the Broncos, the Seahawks, the Packers and the Vikings. Even with Caleb Hanie under center, they should be able to knock off three of those teams. Ah, but which three?
And right now we're watching the Chiefs at the Patriots. Apparently, SportsBlogNation's Chiefs bloggers saw that I picked the Pats and was not terribly sanguine about Tyler Palko's chances tonight, and they WERE NOT HAPPY. Ooooo-kay.