13 November 2006

2006 Week 10 Recap

Week 10: Eagles v. Redskins, Sunday, November 12, 2006

In attendance: Ex-Navy Cheesehead. Chef Spouse. FINALLY Shoegal's back. And we won. Coincidence? I don't think so. She's now locked in the basement for the duration of the season. Not really. (Or is she? I'll never tell...)

Menu: Chef Spouse's approaching-the-Platonic-ideal-of guacamole, Shoegal's tasty international snacks (courtesy of her recent travels), and jambalaya (in honor of the Saints, for all the good that did).

Man, every game on the entire East Coast was one giant mud bowl (other than in the astro-turfed Meadowlands). What a mess! Why did so many teams opt for the white pants in the horrible weather? I'm guessing they're not even going to try to get them clean. "Hey - we're all gazillionaires! Just throw 'em out and buy more!"

Considering the conditions before the game, I was worried. The Redskins pound it out on the ground because Brunell doesn't have the arm to throw downfield (and Al Saunders doesn't trust him enough to let him try). We are known for sticking with our usual plan of "go for the huge play every single play" no matter what - we did it against the Jags in equally unfavorable conditions, and look how that turned out. I was glumly predicting that the cold, wet capacity crowd at the Linc could be in for a long afternoon. (Well, me too, but I was in my nice warm, dry living room.)

And then... groovy.gif

You know, I thought Santana Moss wasn't even playing. He's been struggling with injury recently, and I thought maybe with the dicey field and bad weather, the Skins had decided to sit him on a day when big pass plays were unlikely anyway. When he popped up, the only guy on the field in a clean uniform (including the zebras), with his first major reception of the game (if you can call 8 yards major, which if you were the Redskins yesterday, you had to) in the third quarter, I was shocked. Where was he all day? Have the Skins acquired so many pricy superstars, they just can't figure out what to do with them all? Dude, if you've misplaced Santana Frapping Moss, you have problems.

Speaking of problems, Clinton Portis might want to pack it in for the year before someone drops a piano on him. We're going to have to start calling him Clinton Roethlisberger soon if this keeps up.

Did Reggie Brown actually fumble? I don't know - that looked awfully perfect for an accident. Buck's in exactly the right spot and the ball lands right in his arms? Maybe we are getting lucky again, and if we are, WHEW! Just in time. But that was looking pretty intentional to me.

And did you see that final drive? As Chef Spouse pointed out, teams have been using the "pound it out on the ground, score or not" strategy against us pretty effectively. Looks like Big Red finally took a lesson.

So what made the difference yesterday? I think Westy's post-game interview says it all:

"Donovan is a phenomenal player, a player we can depend on a lot," Westbrook said. "He's able to do so many things, so a lot of times as an offense, we tend to sit back and wait for Donovan to make the play. Today we made it a point that everybody went out there to make a play. When Donte made the big play, I wanted to make a big play. I told Greg [Lewis] to go make a big play. I told Reggie [Brown] to make a big play. We all want to make big plays.

"We don't want to wait on somebody else, particularly Donovan. We want to make big plays for ourselves, make things happen and basically take things into our own hands and create our own luck."

I'm an Eagles fan, pessimistic by nature, so there are still things that worry me. Like AR & Company's tendency to get tricky in goal-line situations. I was jumping up and down in the kitchen screaming, "STOP TRYING TO GET FANCY AND JUST RUN IT IN!" early in the third, when we were on the 3, trying to pass, and ended up taking the FG. We're still not great against the run. We got lucky in that Portis got hurt, and the Skins can't seem to do anything right anyway at this point. We still drop more passes than any team in the NFL. We still rack up a disturbing number of penalties.

On the up side, we also have the best record in the NFL in the month of November for the Andy Reid era. If history is any indication, we will get hot late in the season and play well on the road, which bodes well for us - well enough that the Colts game on Thanksgiving weekend has been moved to prime time. And thanks to the Bears (thanks, Bears!), the Giants are only one game up on us now. Lots of season left to play, football fans.

Around the rest of the NFL...

OK, I was right about the Ravens beating the Titans and the Colts beating the Bills. But those were some unexpectedly close games. Maybe there is still time for the Steelers to get hot and win AFC North. The Ravens are looking less and less like a lock. They're 4 games up on the Steelers at this point, but stranger things have happened (like the Steelers improbable run through the bottom of the season and the playoffs last year). And the Colts got, for them, pretty much shut down. Colts! It's the Patriots that are supposed to squeak out wins in close games! That's not your job. You're supposed to blow out teams all season long and then develop a case of the vapors at your first glimpse of the post-season. Get it together!

The rest of the Colts schedule is kind of soft, but most of the pundits are predicting them to drop at least one, either next week to the Cowboys or the week after to us. I think it will be to us. We're getting good assists with our divisional standing from other teams, so I figure the Colts will oblige by taking care of the Cowboys for us so the Boys drop a game behind, then cooperatively lose to us the following week. What? It could happen!

In the continuing saga of "What the hell happened there?" games of the week: the Browns beat the Falcons (so Mike Vick the Accurate Passer was an aberration after all), the Dolphins took the Chiefs (and all of a sudden we're hearing that Trent Green might be healthy again. Coincidence?), the Jets beat the Pats (who may not cruise easily to another divisional win after all), and the Texans beat the Jags (why couldn't we have played THOSE Jags? And isn't it funny that Byron Leftwich may be getting over his potentially career-ending case of... uh, chronic halitosis in time to start playing again after all?).

The Chargers/Bengals game was wild. 90 points scored? Over 1000 total yards of offense? 49-41 isn't a football score - that's more like what you'd see from two middling high school basketball teams. Did both teams' D go to the wrong stadium? Guys, you were playing in Cincinnati this week, not California! Also, how is it that the Bengals have 3 guys on offense whose last name is Johnson (WR Ocho Cinco, RB Rudi, and FB Jeremi). Are they trying to corner the market or something?

The Packers beat the Vikings. The Bears are just so dominant that I can't get too excited about any of the other NFC North teams. Nobody else there is even above .500. It's like: "Are they still playing? Why?" You know you think the same thing, and I can prove it. Did you watch a single down of the 49ers/Lions game? Do you know who won (Lions)? Do you care? Did you even remember the Lions were playing the 49ers this week before I mentioned it?

The Broncos pulled off a win against the Raiders, although for a while there it looked like the Raiders were going to pull off the upset. Broncos-Chargers? Broncos-Chargers? Broncos-Chargers? Chargers. Interestingly, the AFC West is the only other division besides ours with 3 teams above .500.

Speaking of upsets, the Steelers beat the Saints, despite the efforts of Air Bush. Did you see that 10 yard jump/flip into the endzone? If Reggie gets tired of football, maybe he could try out for Cirque de Soleil.

The Cowboys surprised no one by beating the Cards. How many teams have promoted the new young QB over the old burned out guy this season? Answer: every single team who has one to play, but the Pack and the Skins. Who as of today have now gotten with the program and benched Brunell in favor of Jason Campbell. I know, I know: Who? Good looking black kid out of Auburn, who so far has spent his entire career standing around holding a clipboard.

The Seahawks beat the Rams while they're still missing key players. Looks like they're still the boss of the NFC West.

The Bears/Giants game was cuh-razy. The 108 yard play by Devin Hester pretty much summarizes the game in one. Was he waiting for blockers? Trying to fake out the Giants? Planning to take a knee until he saw something? Who knows? Whatever it was, it worked.

The Giants are now only one game up on us around the time we historically torch it up, and they're starting to look too damaged, particularly on D, to continue their 6-2 start to a 12-4 season. With Michael Strahan, Lavar Arrington, and Amani Toomer out for the season, Plaixco Burress week to week with a bad back, and Osi Umenyiora the same with a bad hip, it doesn't look good, particularly since they seem to want to take possession of the "can't finish games" championship trophy from us. Hey, guys, it's all yours. We'll even pay for the shipping.

And right now the Bucs are up 7-0 over perennial commentator-favorite Carolina as we near the end of the half. I always love to see Coach Chuckie lose, mostly because it's really fun to see his face get all red and the spittle fly, but I get so tired of everyone lovin' on the Panthers for no good reason (Playoffs? Sure. Super Bowl? Please....), that I almost want the Bucs to win. Notice I said almost.

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