If 2011 was the year of the Eagles finding a way to lose, perhaps 2012 will be the year of the Eagles finding a way to win?
Stud of the week: Despite the fact that he caused one of Vick's picks by whiffing on a tough but not unmakeable catch, I have to go with Brent Celek, who had an otherwise outstanding game, with 8 catches for 157 yards. Also, hurdling Ed Reed is personal highlight reel material. And he had the stones to pop back up and do his first down signal after taking a huge hit from Bernard Pollard that should've drawn a defenseless receiver penalty.
Gotta love DJax taking a huge hit from Ed Reed and shrugging it off. And Vick taking big hits all day and shrugging them off, too. Well, OK, I don't love Vick taking huge hits. But looking at Joe Flacco whining for a flag after every single Ravens offensive play, it made me proud to see the Eagles just get up and keep playing hard without crying to the zebras all day long.
Which was a good thing, because *again* with the turnovers (although fewer this week, so at this rate, we'll be down to none by the time they face the Lions in the middle of October) and dumb penalties (although not as many dumb penalties as I saw in other games, Redskins I'm looking at you, just saying).
Also, this was looking seriously like another body bag game, only this time the Eagles were on the wrong side of it. Andy almost ran out of offensive linemen. It may be apochryphal, but I read somewhere that Big Red joked that his next move was to start with the biggest, oldest defensive lineman (Jason Babin, FYI) and go from there. Personally, I think Howard Mudd might've been a better choice. He seems pretty tough, and at least he knows the plays and formations, right?
But the real story again was Juan Castillo's defense. They even, after a tough start, managed to shut down Ray Rice. RAY RICE. I apologize for all the terrible things I may or may not have said about Juan Castillo. What? There's no proof, right? Oh wait.
Anyway, at the end, the Eagles needed a touchdown and a big stop, and they got both. For the second week in a row. Clutch and clutch, and against a team many people (myself included) think will make a deep playoff run this year. No "but it was just THE BROWNS, fer chrissake!" this week.
(Speaking of, Brandon Weeden's numbers this week? 26 of 37 for 322 yards and two TDs. Trent Richardson? 19 carries for 109 yards and a TD. Maybe slowing those two down last week was a bigger accomplishment than we all thought.)
In the rest of the matchups....
The NFL HAS to get the regular officials back, stat. The scabs are not able to control these games, with the result that a bunch of the players are acting like two year olds who missed their nap and then had their favorite toy snatched. No, not crying. Punching the kid who stole the toy in the head. Because that's how toddlers roll. Pure Id.
Packers over Bears: Speaking of acting out, it was the return of Emo Quarterback. Or Jay Cutler went off his meds. I'm not sure. Aaron Rodgers didn't have a great night, but the Packers defense was so good, it didn't really matter in the end. 10-23 makes it look a lot closer than it was.
Bills over Chiefs: Now THAT's what you call a rebound. NFL.com called the Bills "bumbling" last week. Yep. Not so much this week. Then again, Chiefs.
Panthers over Saints: Told you so. Losing your head coach is a big f-ing deal. In case you were unclear.
Bengals over Browns: Yeah, that whole recitation of Browns solid offensive stats above? Didn't really help them all that much in the end.
Colts over Vikings: The Colts led all game, the Vikings staged a furious come back, but in the end, it wasn't enough, and the Colts took it on a last-second Vinatieri field goal, with which he redeemed last week.
Texans over Jaguars: The Texans, who are looking VERY solid this year, put away a weaker divisional opponent easily. As they should. No drama.
Dolphins over Raiders: I'm starting to think I may have been wrong about the Raiders being a better team this year. Hmmm.....
Cardinals over Patriots: HOLY SHIT. Normally, giving the ball back to Tom Brady down by 2 and with a minute left is the kiss of death. Not this week. But missing a 42 yard field goal at home WAS the kiss of death for the Pats.
Giants over Buccaneers: So Chef Spouse and I are at the beach this weekend and were watching the 1 pm games at a sports bar. Down the bar from us was a group of Giants fans who were FREAKING out for the entire first half. They left during halftime, and I assured them there was no reason to be concerned. I was right. No way were the G-men dropping two in a row at home.
Seahawks over Cowboys: Also HOLY SHIT. I was watching the Skins in the 4 pm timeslot with the Cowboys game running on the computer, so the screen was a little smaller than I'm used to and might be influencing this, but they just looked totally flat in all three phases. That big win over the Giants was JUST ONE GAME is all I'm saying.
Rams over Redskins: Did I mention HOLY SHIT? Because, you know... Also, the whole game was a mess. Also the officiating was particularly egregious in this game, and it resulted in players acting out. Particularly Josh Morgan, who quite literally cost the team the game. OK, I know - it's possible they would've tied it up and gone to OT and lost. But that was some punk-ass BS.
Steelers over Jets: Much less close game than I anticipated. It's tough to beat the Steelers at home and all, but the Jets looked like a completely different team than last week.
Chargers over Titans: Well, yes.
49ers over Lions: The Niners have beat two very good teams convincingly. The entire NFC should be worried.