15 September 2015

The Not-Quite-Ready for Primetime Players

Eagles 24, Falcons 26, Monday, September 14, 2015

Hm, that did not go quite as planned.

Stud of the week: Could it be anyone BUT Darren Sproles? No, it could not. Leading rusher - by a
LOT and over the two "stud" rushers the Eagles took in free agency - and #2 receiver. All he does is be awesome. Given all the changes in the off season, I no longer have a jersey from a current player. I think I know what I'm asking for from Santa for Christmas. (Or maybe Halloween. Santa totally gives Halloween gifts, right?) Sproles is so little I'll probably wear the same size he does, too. We can be besties!

I think the main story of this game is that the Eagles made a TON of changes in the off season and the team is still in the process of becoming - and playing as - a team. One would hope they'd gotten more of that covered in the preseason, but evidently not. Mind you, that's not an excuse, because the Falcons pretty much completely remade themselves in the offseason too, and well, they won.

It was a tale of good v. evil, and by "evil" I mean some of the shit the Eagles pulled, not the Dirty Birds.

Good Sam Bradford: The second half, where we saw that while he doesn't have a big arm, he does get the ball out fast and hit guys accurately, and when the Eagles really picked up the tempo, he got going and the Falcons were OBVIOUSLY gassed, and bad.

Evil Sam Bradford: The first half, where I found myself thinking "I know he's been rehabbing an ACL, but perhaps he should've played a bit more in the preseason" pretty consistently. I also think that starting his first game in nearly two years on Monday Night Football might have gotten into his head more than a little.

Good Malcolm Jenkins: Tackling Tevin Coleman for a loss on 3rd-and-1 with two minutes to go, forcing a Falcons punt and giving the Eagles one last chance to win it. Which they proceeded to blow, but that wasn't Malcolm's fault.

Evil Malcolm Jenkins: Dropping not one but TWO sure picks that literally hit him in the numbers. That will NOT do.

Good Jordan Matthews: Over 100 yards receiving, and some nice YAC.

Evil Joran Matthews: Missing a slightly high but totally catchable ball (Dude, you're SIX-THREE!), tipping it in the process so it was picked, and ending the game. He Tony Romoed - you know, head buried in hands on the ground - after. Yeah, you better Tony Romo, buddy.

Good DeMarco Murray: Two TDs! First receiving TD of his career! (How is that possible?)

Evil DeMarco Murray: NINE total yards rushing?!?!?!? NINE?!!??!? Do you know how much the Eagles paid for your former Cowboy ass? Pull it together!

Good Ryan Mathews: POWERING through for the (temporary) go-ahead TD while carrying approximately the ENTIRE Falcons D, half the coaching staff, a few fans, the mascot, and one random hot dog seller.

Evil Ryan Mathews: ONE additional rushing yard aside from the TD. ONE. Do you know how much the Eagles paid for your former Charger ass? You also must pull it together!

Good Kiko Alonso: OH MY GOD THAT MATT RYAN PICK IN THE ENDZONE WAS A THING OF BEAUTY.

Evil Kiko Alonso: Illegal contact penalty that wipes out a recovered Falcons fumble? Oh no, sweetie. No, no, no.

Good Byron Maxwell: Uuuuuuhhhh, I'm not really sure. He had a rough night.

Evil Byron Maxwell: Julio Jones OWNED your ass. Yeah, not every team has a Julio Jones (thank GOD), but most of them do have competent receivers. Just a reminder, you were supposed to be an *upgrade* of the secondary. As one of my fellow fans pointed out in a chat during the game last night: "I'd like to return Byron Maxwell. I think the one we got is defective."

Good Chip Kelly: When he shifted to tempo in the second half, the Eagles took over and were KILLING the Falcons D.

Evil Chip Kelly: DO NOT attempt the damn field goal. Before Parkey even missed it, I remarked to Chef Spouse: "This is how we lose the game."

And let's talk about that kick for a moment. Bad Cody Parkey, right? Nope. I don't blame him at all. He's been dealing with a groin injury this summer, and a 44 yard field goal is not automatic for anyone. So they're putzing around on the sideline, all "do we go for it?" "do we take the field goal attempt?" "duh, I dunno..." and then they finally decide "yes, we will take the field goal attempt" leaving poor Parkey about three seconds to run out on the field, get everyone set, get the ball snapped, and take the shot. Or, you know, you *could* take a timeout. You know, of the THREE you have remaining. Meanwhile, the Falcons D was TIRED out there, and the Eagles were moving the ball at will. Not a high percentage move from any angle.

tl;dr Chip's fault, not Cody's.

And his miss didn't lose the game, either. It would've only put the Eagles up by one with over two minutes left. The Falcons would have played out the rest of the game differently if they were trying to score rather than protecting a lead. I'm pretty sure Matt Ryan would've just kept targeting Julio Jones and burning Byron Maxwell, but that's all speculation at this point.

On to the Cowboys - who are without Dez for maybe two months, and thank God for small favors - and the home opener. Honoring Chuck Bednarik. DO NOT screw this up, fellas.

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