01 December 2008

2008 Week 13 Recap, Mythbusters Edition

Eagles versus Cardinals, Thursday, November 27, 2008

In attendance: Just me & Chef Spouse, who came down with a cold on his trip to Pittsburgh, so on Thursday morning, we made the game-time decision to stay home and confine the germs to our particular twig on the family tree. (Shoegal joined us on Sunday for a little football, a little bourbon, and a little noshing of the leftovers.)

Menu: It was Thanksgiving, yo. Turkey, all the trimmings, pumpkin pie. I keep a well-stocked larder. And I wasn't going to let my poor ailing baby down.

Stud of the Game: B-West of course. 4 TDs in one game? LOVE! Running a very close second, Big5. Who showed, for only the 9 millionth time, what a class act he is.

Myth: Donovan McNabb is done. Finished. Over. He might as well not even play the rest of the season. He'll probably never play anywhere again. He's a nice guy - maybe he should look into broadcasting. Starting December 4.

Busted: 27/39 for 260 yards, 4 TDs, no picks, and 24 yards rushing.

Why do the Eagles torture me so? Just when I was ready to give up on them, they come through with a complete game and raise my hopes. Again. I know, it's probably just so they can dash them. Again. But damn it! I was ready to treat the wreck of our season with quiet dignity and grace. Why do they do this to me?

So once again, we've whupped up on a hapless NFC West team, bringing our record to a perfect 4-0 on the season. Going into the game, I should've remembered that 7-4 in the NFC West is like 3-8, at best, in any other division.

Myth: West teams don't play well when they come east because of the travel. Or the time zome changes. Or recycled plane air. Or the weather. Or all the outdoor stadiums. Or the mean fans. Or solar flares. Or changes in barometric pressure. Or they don't get their wake up calls. Or alien abduction.

Busted: West teams don'tplay well when they come east because the WEST TEAMS (in both conferences) SUCK. NFC West? A combined 15-33. AFC West? A combined 16-32. And in each division, only ONE TEAM is over .500. Dear sportscasters: Ocham's razor. Look it up.

But the thing is, we've managed to whup up on some hapful teams, too. Remember the Steelers game back in week 3? Or what about the Falcons just a month ago?

But as has been the case for the last several years, our lack of consistency just kills us. We didn't really do anything terribly flashy Thursday night. There were a very few "wow" catches (Kevin Curtis and Hank Baskett, I'm looking at you), but generally speaking receivers just caught the balls they should've caught. The offensive line provided a little pass protection and opened up some holes. We ran the ball. We converted third downs (and who is this kid Kyle Eckel, and where has he been for the past 12 weeks?). Our defense finished tackles. And grabbed 3 picks. And forced 2 fumbles. And consistently pressured Kurt Warner, even though we didn't register any sacks. The guys pulled it together and played a complete game. Why they can't do this every week I do not know.

We were THE talk of the NFL this past week (at least until Plaxico Burress decided to blow a hole in his leg and potentially his career with an illegally concealed gun), and the general consensus was: you don't bench your 10 year veteran franchise QB just because he has two down games (or, to be more precise, 1.5 down games). Tony never would've done that to Peyton. Bill never would've done that to Tom. Bill and Mike never would've done that to Ben. Tom never would've done that to Eli. [insert name of all the various head coaches here] would've never done that to Brett. And yet Andy does that to Don, and without even talking to him about it. Jackass move.

So did AR's benching of McNabb not have anything to do with McNabb? Did he do it to try to shake up the rest of the team? For the past 10 years, too often, the Eagles players (with a few notable exceptions) seem to feel like if they muff their assignments on a play or two (or ten or an entire half), it doesn't matter, because Big5 will figure out a way to win the game anyway. Was it more about finding out what the rest of the team has (if anything) and trying to get them to step up than anything Don did?

I don't know, but I think the rest of the season will provide some clues.

In the meantime, let me leave you with what may be the wackiest post-game interview I've ever witnessed. I'm so thankful my office was closed Friday so I could stay up to see it without worrying about not being able to get up the next morning...

Around the rest of the NFL....

Titans over Lions. Myth: after that loss to the Jets, the Titans are done for. Busted: the Lions are done for.

Cowboys over Seahawks. Myth: the NFC West is Roger Goodell's idea of a cool practical joke. Busted: no, it's an actual NFL division. No, really!

49ers over Bills. Myth: the Bills will make the playoffs. Busted: well, neither will the 49ers. But the Bills should still be ashamed of themselves, not least of which because they ruined the perfect 0 win record of west teams coming east this year. Damn you, Bills!

Ravens over Bengals. Myth: rookie QB and rookie head coach equals disaster. Busted: the Ravens will see you in the playoffs, homes.

Colts over Browns. Myth: Peyton's done for after his first real injury (I bought that one). Busted: the old dog still knows a few tricks. Also, the Browns are now officially out of QBs. Help us, Obi Wan Testaverde. You're our only hope (since the Lions beat us to Daunte Culpepper).

Dolphins over Rams. Myth: the Dolphins only beat good teams. Busted: well, after this week, we can definitely lay that one to rest.

Giants over Redskins. Myth: it's all about emotion. Busted: not when you're facing the 11-1 Giants, it's not. But, in all seriousness, the pre-game tributes to Sean Taylor were very moving. In far less seriousness, how big a douchebag is Plaxico Burress? I'm going with BIG. REALLY REALLY BIG. GINORMOUS.

Buccaneers over Saints. Myth: you can be season MVP even if your team doesn't make the playoffs. Busted: OK, actually, that's probably true. Sorry Drew Brees. Now if y'all could scare yourselves up some defense, you'd be unstoppable.

Panthers over Packers. Myth: the Packers are unbeatable in Lambeau in cold weather. Busted: tell that to Jake Delhomme.

Falcons over Chargers. Myth: Norv Turner is a valid choice for head coach. Busted: Marty's Chargers in 2006? 14-2. Norv's Chargers in 2007? 11-5. So far this year? 4-8. And yet people keep hiring him...

Broncos over Jets. Myth: the Jets are the best team in the AFC (hey, I didn't say it, but pretty much all the sportscasting world did after they beat the Titans last week). Busted: they lost. Badly. At home. To a team that's 7-5. In the AFC West.

Chiefs over Raiders. Myth: anyone cares about this game, or either of these teams. Busted: I haven't checked, but I'm guessing this was blacked out. Possibly even on the DirectTV Sunday Ticket. The NFL had to pay companies to advertise during this game.

Steelers over Patriots. Myth: Matt Cassel's just as good, if not better, than Tom Brady. Busted: how many times did he turn the ball over today? I lost count at a bazillion. Also, the Patriots' fans just might be bigger idiots than all the Eagles fans who've been hating on my boo Don for the past 10 years.

Vikings over Bears. Myth: the Vikings aren't that good, and Gus Frerotte's the poor man's Vinny Testaverde. Busted: well, the Vikings may not be that good. They're leading a division that's middling at 7-5. But Frerotte's not looking too bad, particularly compared to Kyle Orton last night. But Adrian Peterson and Devin Hester are two of the most exciting and explosive players in football, and that's NOT a myth.

Jaguars/Texans. Myth: the outcome of this game matters to anyone who doesn't live in Texas. Busted: trick question! Some inhabitants of Florida probably care, too. But I don't and am unlikely to stay up to see the end of the game. Jaguars, I wish I knew how to quit picking you to win AFC South.


Unknown said...

I think the Cardinals belong in a category all their own. They have had no success (0-4 this season) traveling East, but they are supposedly a good team with an MVP-candidate QB.

The loss to the Eagles was something I expected because the Cardinals are, well, the Cardinals, until they somehow prove otherwise.

I'll give them a pass to some degree this time around because it was a short week, they had to travel, and they had just played the Giants.

But they're in a bad division (as you've said) and that's basically the only reason they'll make the playoffs - and upon doing so, they will likely make an exit as soon as they play a road game.

As far as the Jets are concerned, the weather was nasty, and I must again wonder whether our Boy Brett was bothered by the conditions. If the Jets get a playoff game at home, watch for an early exit - unless they figure out how to run the ball in short yardage situations (they averaged 7.5 yds/rush Sunday but kept throwing on 3rd and short).

Anonymous said...

RE: constantly throwing on 3rd & short, all I have to say is: "When did Eric Mangini become Andy Reid?"