30 November 2009

2009 Week 12 Recap

Eagles v. Redskins, Sunday, November 29, 2009

In attendance: Ex-Navy Cheesehead, Shoegal, Prototypical Eagles Fan, Chef Spouse

Menu: etouffee, guac, crudities, homemade pralines (courtesy of Shoegal), prosecco (courtesy of Prototypical Eagles Fan)

Stud of the Week: Jason Avant ALMOST won it again. Right when we needed someone - anyone - to give us a spark, he did. LeSean McCoy was definitely in the running, too, after that amazing effort on the 2 point conversion. But I had to go with Eldra Buckley, who scored his first career TD to bring us within tying distance midway through the 4th quarter. Good job, Eldra!

Once again, we found a way to win. OK, you can definitely argue that it never should have been close in the first place (although the Redskins seem to have found new life in the past few weeks), but doing well in the post-season requires being able to win close games. We've needed points - we've gotten points (that may be because we finally have some skill players on offense who actually have, you know, some skills). We've needed long drives to eat up the clock - we've gotten long drives to eat up the clock (hello, run game!). We've needed our nearly linebacker-less defense to make big stops - we've gotten big stops. We needed decent clock management - we actually got decent clock management (maybe you *can* teach an old dog new tricks).

So details: I didn't like the onside kick decision to start the game. Not only did it not work, but it made me nervous right off the bat that Andy was going to try to get too tricky. Thankfully, that was the last of that. And we were clicking offensively early on. Our defense was pretty sorry, though, particularly in the 3rd quarter, when they could not BUY their way off the field, and our offense pretty much fell asleep on the field. We were lucky the Skins came away with only 7 points in the 3rd. Too many missed tackles, too many times we didn't quite get to Campbell. And special teams was not brilliant either - Rocca had another bad punt, Macho couldn't get free, and we let the Skins start with good field position far too often. Except when it counted!

The Redskins, after depriving us of Brian Westbrook about a month ago, took out two more of our top four offensive players (Peanut and Brent Celek, with DMac rounding out the quartet) - I'm just glad we're done with them for the season, as they seem to be really, really bad for our health. Speaking of Celek, you know how he missed, like, three totally catchable balls in a row? About 5 minutes later, the camera panned to him on the sideline getting his hand taped up. Sprained thumb. To go with Peanut's concussion.

Based on that, I'm having a hard time taking the excessive weeping and wailing about Juqua Parker's hard sack of Jason Campbell at the end of the game all that seriously. The WaPo was all, "He was unconscious - he lost feeling in his arms - he was drumming his fingers on the ground." Hm - last time I checked, when you're unconscious, you're NOT MOVING. You know, like y'all did to Westy a month ago. The last time I lost feeling in my arms, I wasn't drumming my fingers on anything. Was it a hard take down? You bet. Flagable? Maybe. But you know what happened when we tried *gentle* take downs earlier in the game? THEY DIDN'T WORK. And Jason Campbell is not exactly Mr. Evasive.

Of course, I probably shouldn't give the WaPo too much credit - their sportswriters were also complaining about Campbell being Mr. Checkdown and not being able to function in the West Coast offense. Um, short check down passes are THE DEFINITION of the West Coast offense. Jeez!

So we're done with the Skins - and with November - and we're sitting at 7-4, one game behind the Cowboys. And we're going into December. When we play our best - and the Boys play their worst. Just hope we have enough bodies left to get us through.

Around the rest of the NFL...

Packers over Lions. Well, sure, but Matt Stafford is still a total stud. If the Lions can't get any better, though, The Powers That Be HAVE to stop subjecting us to them on Thanksgiving. It's just cruel - there are no other games on opposite, people!

Cowboys over Raiders. Oh sure, the Raiders can pull off the upset over us, but can they cooperate and do the same to Dallas? NoooOOOOooooo. Don't worry, though. December starts tomorrow.

Broncos over Giants. Just when you think the Broncos have had it, it turns out they haven't. We were watching the game in a bar in the French Quarter (Dear NFL: either get everyone to carry the NFL Network or stop putting games on there. Unless it's the Lions. That's OK.), and there was a Giants fan at the end of the bar. It was a New Orleans-style throw-down: "You guys Broncos fans?" "No, Eagles." "Damn, man - that's worse." "Enjoy your drink - and the game." "You, too." When you're in New Orleans, you're having too much fun to be mean, even to a Giants fan.

Falcons over Bucs. Talk about a costly victory - how long will Matt Ryan be out? The Falcons manged to pull off a last minute win without him, but it was against the Bucs. And Michael Turner aggravated his ankle sprain. Good news for us - bad news for the Falcons' playoff hopes.

Bills over Dolphins. OK, maybe the Fins *are* totally screwed without Ronnie Brown. Anyone know if the Bills have a new head coach yet? Of course, after this past week, they may decide they don't really need one for the moment. And it looks like TO decided to start playing like he might, maybe, give a damn again. What a freakin' drama queen.

Seahawks over Rams. Wilbon said it best today: never pick a team being led by Kyle Boller.

Jets over Panthers. Sanchez played a little better (the Jets only turned the ball over 3 times), Delhomme broke a finger (and the Panthers turned the ball over 4 times), but ultimately I don't think it will matter all that much, since I'll be shocked if either of these teams gets into the post-season. Delhomme is probably done, Sanchez probably just needs some more time to develop, but really, whatevs.

Bengals over Browns. And the Bengals sweep the division for the first time in...ever? Yes, I think ever. Good job, Bengals. You're wreaking havoc on my pre-season playoff picks, but you just can't be against a team that comes out of virtually nowhere and surprises everyone. And has OchoCinco. Who is hilarious on Twitter - seriously, you should follow him.

Colts over Texans. Oh Texans, I still have big love for you. Even though you keep letting me down. Also, you know Peyton must be thinking, "Marvin who?" about now.

Chargers over Chiefs. I would type, "well, sure," except the Chiefs did manage to beat the Steelers a week ago. Then again, they were, like, ALL the segments on tonight's Monday Night Countdown C'mon Man segment - it looked like the freakin' Keystone Cops out there. Was the football greased, or does the Chiefs center just have no idea what he's doing?

49ers over Jags. Can someone please explain the 49ers to me? No really - we play them in like 3 weeks and I'd really like to know. Actually, as I'm checking out their record, they may be a pretty decent team - they're 5-6, but they've lost to Vikings, Falcons, Texans, Colts, Titans, and the Packers, and the worst record in that group is 5-6. Hm. Should I be worried?

Vikings over Bears. I'll say it: Jay Cutler is not an NFL caliber quarterback. I'll also say it: Jared Allen is scary. I'll also say it: Brett Favre is never, ever going to go away, is he? It's like a Dorian Gray type thing, only Favre looks his age, so he's clearly not hiding some rapidly-aging portrait in his attic. Maybe *that's* what happened to Akili Smith...? Has anyone actually laid eyes on him, you know, recently?

Titans over Cardinals. Man, are the Titans getting hot at the right time! If they can keep this up, they should see the post-season. Meanwhile, you know who else is probably not an NFL caliber quarterback? Matt Leinart. High draft picks on quarterbacks don't always pan out. Jimmy Johnson (or maybe it was Mike Ditka?) said it last night: if you're looking to draft a QB, it usually makes more sense to shop at Walmart (Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Tony Romo) than at Tiffany (too many to name).

Ravens over Steelers. Oh man, is the shiz-nit flying in the Burgh - Hines Ward is basically calling Big Ben a baby for not playing after practicing all week and not giving the team time to adjust to Dennis Dixon - who, by the way, did great and DIDN'T get sacked. Maybe ol' Groceries problem isn't the o-line - maybe it's him not getting rid of the ball fast enough and not being able to move. And the once-feared Steelers D doesn't look nearly as terrifying without Polamalu. I don't think the Fat Lady is singing yet, but she's in the green room.

The Saints are currently up 17-7 over the Pats after blown coverage led to a HUGE TD to Devery Henderson. The camera just panned to the entire Pats defense huddled up with Belichick in the center. I think he was saying, "Did I mention I could trade you to THE LIONS?" We just left New Orleans Saturday, and hot damn, do I wish I was back there tonight.

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