24 October 2005

2005 Week 7 Recap

Week 7: Eagles v. Chargers, Sunday, October 23. 2005

In the Eagles and Chargers versus the Officials, the Officials definitely lost. Given the blizzard of flags that flew, it's amazing the game's not still going on. The percentage of flags that had to be picked up on review hovered somewhere around 50, leading to the conclusion that at least a few of the refs need to lay off the caffeine or stuff their flags a little more securely into their pockets. C'mon, it wasn't THAT windy!

Once again, our offense could not get it together in the first quarter. Actually, it wasn't a great offensive game overall. Our formerly high-powered and high-scoring offense just can't seem to get clicking on all cylinders this year. Of course, if AR would stop talking about how he'd prefer to pass 100% of the time, it might help, since our complete lack of a running game lets defenses cheat their coverage. I can't believe I actually just wrote that Andy should share LESS information, but in this case, it's true. Also, 54 pass plays to 14 run on a week we were supposed to be running more? How is it possible to run less? Golf carts to and from the huddle? If this is all a plot to keep Westy's numbers low so he's not a hot property when he's a free agent next spring, so we can sign him to a long term deal more cheaply, we're cutting off our noses to spite our Super Bowl chances. And LJ, yes, I know that you took some monster hits, but once again, CATCHING the ball is only part of your job. You also need to hold onto it until you're on the ground. A little somethin-somethin on the run would be nice too, but let's focus on one thing at a time.

Fortunately, our defense was kicking a** and taking names. LaDainian Tomlinson was completely shut down, which NO team has managed to do this season. Eagles defenders ended his games-scoring-a-TD streak at 18 and almost managed to hold a back who regularly racks up over 100 yards per game to negative rushing yards. Jeremiah Trotter was all over the field. He was blitzing, he was blocking, he was shutting down the run lanes, breaking up big pass plays, and a few times almost picking Drew Brees off. If I didn't know better, I would've sworn they were actually playing two guys wearing number 54.

Once again, our D provided some critical points. Quintin Mikell managed to block a field goal, which almost NEVER happens, and then it took a lucky bounce right into Matt Ware's arms, who got some good blocking from the rest of the D and ran it back 65 yards for the go-ahead TD. This makes the third? fourth? week in a row our D has scored? We're in danger of turning into the Redskins at this rate, only without the coaching soap opera and the monomaniacal owner.

One area of our game that clearly did benefit from the bye week was our special teams. Although we're still unable to break the big runs on kick returns, we were at least able to break up any Chargers big runs on their returns. Now if we could just get a power back with some speed to break some big run backs for us, so we're not ALWAYS starting with lousy field position, and get Akers back at 100%, we'll be cookin'.

In the NFC North's battle of the pee-wees, the Vikings managed to be a little less pathetic than the Packers, pulling out a win with a 56 yard field goal as time ran out. It's entirely possible that the NFC North division winner will be at or under .500. Yikes. On a separate but related note, given the amount of 40 yard plus field goals this year, I think we're not too far from the time that they'll have to narrow the uprights. The kickers are just getting too good these days. Wonder what that would do to all the stats?

Are the Bengals a myth? Yes, I would say so, after the Steelers decisive 27-13 win. They're having a Cinderella season and will probably be contenders over the next few years, but for now, Blitzburgh still owns the AFC North. The Bengals might be ahead in the rankings, but come the postseason, if they're still in it, I don't see them getting past the Steel Curtain.

The Redskins trounced the hapless 49ers, who have at least realized that their season is over and are starting the top draft pick, Alex Smith, for the rest of the season. They have to - Rattay is GONE. I guess they figure that they're not going anywhere, so they might as well let the new kid cut his teeth on actual games and look towards the future. Perhaps the far, FAR future they way they played on Sunday. Scary. Hallowe'en's NEXT week.

On a happy note for 'Skins fans, LaVar Arrington actually got some playing time Sunday. They tagged him franchise only a year ago, and he's costing them a butt load of money, so even if he doesn't get along with Gibbs or Snyder or Tony Williams or whoever's the problem, the 'Skins have to figure out how to use him. Right now, he's just a drain on resources. And with their salary cap situation, they cannot afford that.

Around the rest of the NFC East, the Cowboys lost a tough one to the Seahawks, 10-13, dropping them to last in the division at 4-3. Bill Parcells, classy as always, shoved one of his coaching staff and cut the kicker who won the game against the Giants for them. Nice. The Seahawks are dominating a bad division, but Sunday's win demonstrates that Mike Holmgren might actually have something going on out there in Seattle.

The Giants squeaked out a 1 point win over the Broncos in a very exciting game. Broncos went out to an early lead, but then seemed to run out of steam after the half, when Eli Manning and the Giants came out and tore up, pulling off the tying TD and go-ahead extra point with 5 seconds left on the clock. The Broncos had the full lateral-lateral-lateral plan ready for the run back, but they only got to lateral-lateral before Giants strong safety James Butler slipped in and picked them off, ending a nail-biter in the Meadowlands. So will Jake Plummer cut his beard now? We'll find out next week, when the Eagles head to the Mile High city.

The Cowboys' loss to the Seahawks puts us, the Giants, and the 'Skins technically tied for first in the NFC East, but based on the arcane calculations of who's played who, we're second behind the Giants, who are, to be honest, having a hell of a year. Eli Manning's finally starting to look like he's related to Peyton - maybe not quite as good yet as brother, but certainly edging up into second cousin territory.

In the Jets/Falcons Monday night game, of course the Falcons won. Jets are still playing...wait for it...Vinny Testaverde. Who is almost 42 years old. And started his pro career when most of the guys he's playing with and against were in elementary school. Testaverde went out late in the game with a bum Achilles, leaving the Jets playing their FOURTH string QB. Herm Edwards did NOT look happy. The thing about the Falcons is Michael Vick RAN for 2 of their 3 of their TDs (the third was a defensive TD off a Testaverde fumble). He's exciting to watch, they win games, but you can't win championships with your QB providing that much of your offense. Also, he's a REALLY inaccurate passer - 3 interceptions last night. The Falcons are just lucky the decimated Jets offense couldn't capitalize on them.

Endzone celebrations: TO's maitre d' impersonation for his 100th career TD was fun. The Chargers Keenan McCardell aping it later was just stupid. Clinton Portis' Riverdance attempt was just sad, but his cartwheels were kind of funny, although he shouldn't give up football to start training for the Olympics. I think this is a trend whose Warhol-mandated 15 minutes have passed, though.

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