31 October 2006

2006 Week 8 Recap

Eagles versus Jaguars, Sunday, October 30, 2006

In attendance: Ex-Navy Cheesehead, Chef Spouse. It's official - our recent losses are all Shoegal's fault. Thank God she's back in the country!

Menu: first chili and cornbread of the season (first cold day). Also Chef Spouse's awesome homemade guac. Also large quantities of bourbon, starting early in the 3rd quarter. Oy gevalt.

"Trick or treat?" Definitely trick. goeagles99, I'd like to revise my position: the Eagles are just 53 guys who get together on Sundays to torture the pro football fans of eastern Pennsylvania.

I have another possibility that could explain both our miscues and the Steelers' otherwise inexplicable loss to the Raiders: the people of Pennsylvania have somehow angered the football gods. We must commence with the ceremonial sacrifice of a wideout to propitiate them as soon as possible. I hear Captain ME! is free on Tuesday. Is Tuesday good for everyone?

You-Two-Calm-Down-or-I'm-Turning-Off-the-TV Dad had the misfortune to be at the game, and the general response from the fans was, well, basically unrepeatable due to the filtering mechanism of this board.

It's too easy, but I'm going to say it anyway: Guys, bye week is this coming Sunday. I know "fall back" weekend gets everyone all confused, but can't y'all afford one of those big wall calendars for your fancy NovaCare training facility? Heck, I'll even spring for it personally if it will help you keep this stuff straight.

Sigh. I guess I do have to talk about the game itself at some point, don't I? OK...


Yeah, yeah, yeah, we take it one game at a time, every week's a new week, no game is more important than any other game. Whatever. This was, I'm sorry to have to point out to people who SHOULD HAVE KNOWN, a must-win. There was NO urgency at all, except very occasionally from D-Mac and Westy, and even that was not sustained for more than a few plays at a time. Have we decided, contrary to the evidence, that our O is so good we don't need to bother to show up until halftime, and we can still win the game? Because we can get behind and get back in the game, but we can't win. And if this team thinks otherwise, they're delusional.

We've had the most success when we're using D as O, attacking aggressively, creating turnovers, and then scoring off them, which we haven't done the past few weeks. Meanwhile, other teams have taken a page from Sean Payton's book and have been using their O as D - maybe they score, maybe they don't, but they definitely run nice long drives that keep us off the field. And our D seems powerless to stop them.

First Fred Taylor ran all over us. Then he got his bell rung, and Maurice Jones-Drew ran all over us. Then he needed a little breather, so David Garrard ran all over us. Who's next? One of the assistant coaches? At least we managed to get through a game with no fumbles. We didn't have any O or D to speak of, but at least we had no fumbles. I'm trying to find a bright side to look on, and I don't have much to work with here.

So was it the completely lackluster D? Did the O line fall apart? Was McNabb holding the ball too long? Were the receivers not able to get open? Did they drop too many passes...nah, too easy. Shouldn't this team be getting BETTER rather than WORSE as the season progress (or in our case, regresses)?

McNabb says he's going to fix it. How? Is he going to catch his own passes? Block for himself, so he doesn't get sacked? Start playing D? Over the past 8 years, the Eagles have asked him to win games virtually alone more than once. Looks like our luck is running out on that count.

To quote Rich Hofmann: "With their passing game neutered on a windswept afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles were unwilling to run and unable to stop the run. They are incapable of winning ugly. It is as if they don't know how." Actually, just read the whole article. It's excellent.

Where's the swagger? Remember "Watch this"? What happened to that coach, that team? Where's our heart? Hell, where's our SPINE? Guys, the Cowboys are supposed to be the softie glamour pusses, not us! Philly is a blue collar town! We're supposed to be bad asses! Where's our toughness?

(PS - Props to Chef Spouse's boy, David Akers. He was the ONLY player OR coach who did his job yesterday.)

Looking around the NFC, every division has at least two teams that look like potential playoff contenders at this point. NFC South has three. That means in order for us to make the playoffs, we're pretty much going to have to run the table for the rest of the season. Raise your hand if you think that's likely to happen at this point.

Around the rest of the NFL...

Boy, can I pick 'em! OK, no, I can't. I'd tally up my percentage over the course of the season, but Sunday's loss was enough of a downer, thank you very much.

So it turns out the Saints aren't unstoppable at home. We just can't stop them. Also, that decision by Brian Billick to fire offensive coordinator Jim Fassel? Looking like genius right about now.

The Chiefs did manage to beat the Seahawks, as I predicted (one of the few games I got right), thanks to big days from Damon Huard and Larry Johnson and small days from Seneca Wallace and the Seahawks running backs.

The Packers beat the Cardinals. Matt Leinart is probably wishing he'd taken more time to be with his newborn son. Like the rest of the season. Has Dennis Green started speaking in tongues yet? Brett Favre is showing some signs of life. But he should still retire already.

Mike Vick played like some other QB for the second week in a row in a tight Falcons victory over the Bengals. The whole Chad Johnson/DeAngelo Hall sideshow ended up being just that. Doesn't this mean that "Ocho Cinco" has to shave his Mohawk? And shouldn't someone tell him that it's supposed to be Ochenta Cinco?

The 49ers did not take my advice to forfeit. Am I talking to myself here? At least all their players appear to still be in possession of all their limbs, so that's a plus. Did the Bears wear the orange uniforms to dress up as pumpkins for Halloween? They may have to go on my top 10 list of ugliest uniforms, although the competition is fierce indeed.

The Titans beat the Texans. If a bad team falls in the forest and nobody cares, does it make a sound?

The Giants spanked the Bucs, as I expected them to. FYI, the Giants are now a game and a half up on us, in case you're keeping track.

The Chargers beat the Rams, thanks in large part to a hell of day out of LT - 183 yards and 3 TDs, tying legend Emmitt Smith as the second-fastest player to get to 90 career TDs right behind legend Jim Brown. Did I say "legend" enough? Get the picture? High scoring, exciting game, though. The Rams shouldn't be too down. The NFC West is still very much up for grabs, particularly with Shaun Alexander out for at least one more week and Matt Hasselback out for at least two.

The Colts and Broncos actually had a shoot-out, even though Jake Plummer is still only capable of 1 TD per game. Does he have a quota or something? That could be a problem come postseason. But the Broncos' powerful D wasn't powerful enough to stop the Colts. Who, now that they have Vinatieri, are likely to win all close games by 3 points, excepting, of course, the playoffs. You let Payton Manning on the field too often, he'll burn you. Until, of course, the playoffs.

The Browns beat the Jets. To quote Oz from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: "Hunh."

The Raiders beat the Steelers. I know I referenced that above, but I had to type it twice before I could believe it. All joking aside, seriously, Roethlisberger, you have apparently gotten on the bad side of someone - or something - really nasty. I suggest you take whatever steps are necessary to ameliorate that as soon as possible. Ouch. How do you lose to the Raiders? I guess I shouldn't say that too loud, or we'll figure out a way to do it, even though we're not scheduled to play them this year. Not a good Sunday for residents and ex-pats of the Keystone state.

And finally, the Cowboys, as I'm sure you all know by now, seem to have found an answer to their QB problems and pretty effectively demolished the Panthers. Stupid Panthers. It's never an entirely bad week as long as the Cowboys lose. Why couldn't y'all pull it together to give me at least that? Punks.

Poor Chef Spouse! One of his contracts experienced a major meltdown today, so I will be watching MNF alone while he suffers though an unexpected downtime. You know, somebody around here has to make the big bucks to keep me in expensive shoes (and it ain't gonna be me; I work for a nonprofit), but some days, it truly does suck to be him.

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