19 September 2011

2011 Week 2 Recap

Eagles at Falcons, Sunday, September 18, 2011

In attendance: Chef Spouse, Shoegal, and her new beau Oscar

Menu: grilled cheese and cream of tomato soup. Fall seems to have arrived in DC.

Stud of the week: how could it be anyone other than my boy Trent Cole? 5 tackles, an assist, and a sack. And he spent the whole damn game in the Falcons backfield. He's a beast!

I also have to give a major shout out to Mike Kafka. When Vick went down on what was just a truly unfortunate play - no cheap shot or anything, just bad luck - Kafka was in a tough spot. I actually yelled: "Our season has become Kafka-esque!" And while the coaches had to simplify the playbook down to about 1 page, still, Kafka, had the team in position to win the game if it wasn't for Jeremy Maclin's inexplicable 4th down drop. Gotta make that catch, son. Also, Vince Young? Man up with that hammy or move on, yo. We need a REAL backup, not someone who's limin' on the sideline when the shit's going down.

What a frustrating game! The secondary shut down the Falcons' receivers - with the exception of Tony Gonzales, for whom they had NO answer. The lineman blew it up into the Falcons' backfield most of the night - Matty Ice must've been having nightmares about Trent Cole, Cullen Jenkins and Jason Babin all last night - but the linebackers got repeatedly manhandled as Michael Turner ran wild, particularly in the 4th quarter.

The offense put up 400+ yards, but also committed 3 turnovers. Jeremy Maclin had a great game, even coming back from a ridiculous cheap shot by asshole Falcon Dunta Robinson, but then he also had that inexplicable 4th-and-4 drop. Andy had one great challenge, and a TOTAL whiff on the non-interception by Kelvin Hayden where intended receiver "Hands" Avant begged him to throw the red hanky.

And the red zone defense was terrible - the Falcons were 5 for 5 in the red zone. C'mon man! That is NOT a potential playoff team.

Nor is having ONE great quarter. Scoring 21 unanswered points to take the lead is fantastic - but not if you can't hold it. I know, I know - Vick concussion, Kafka, drops, etc. Let's be honest: the defense looked gassed at the end, and the Falcons turned the Eagles' typical game plan against them - get a lead and run, run, run once the D gets tired.

Why is it always the same? Amazing talent, lack of consistent focus. Sigh.

And let's talk about Dunta Robinson for a minute. I don't know if this is typical behavior, but I do know in the Eagles' last two games against the Falcons, Dunta Robinson has clearly been headhunting whichever Eagles offensive player is having the best game. NFC South fans: is this normal? Regardless, he's a dirty, cheap player who should've been expelled from the game and suspended afterwards.

Around the rest of the NFL...I got killed in my picks this week.

Lions over Chiefs: Team of destiny! What did I tell you? And Matthew Stafford has made it through TWO games without getting injured! That might be more than we can say about Todd Haley, who may have to enter the witness protection program.

Bills over Raiders: OK, they've beat the Chiefs and the Raiders, so it's not like they've taken out the Pats and the Jets (who are both, sadly for the Bills, in their division), but the Bills are 2-0. That may be the biggest surprise of the first two weeks.

Titans over Ravens: Are we sure that was the same team that destroyed the Steelers last week? Like, did the actual Ravens accidentally go to the wrong stadium? And that was some completely other team in their jerseys? Because that was bizarre.

Jets over Jags: Well, yes. I'm amazed the Jags successfully executed a field goal. And given how bad the Colts look, they might not even be the worst team in their division this year. Speaking of...

Browns over Colts: Think you feel bad today after the Eagles' loss last night? Check out Stampede Blue - those folks are suicidal. I'm guessing Peyton Manning will go on IR within the next week or two, and then Jim Caldwell, Chris Polian and Tom Telesco can start looking for a replacement for Kerry Collins.

Redskins over Cardinals: Great game, too! As a colleague who's a Redskins fan pointed out to me, eventually Rex Grossman will remember that he's, well, Rex Grossman. But for now, the Redskins look vastly improved in 2011. Maybe Mike Shanahan does still have a few tricks in his bag.

Bucs over Vikings: As I'd predicted, Big5 did have a better game this week, but it still wasn't enough. I have a bad feeling about this.

Packers over Panthers: It's official. Cam Newton is the real deal. I know, I know, the Panthers are 0-2. But these two losses aren't like ANY of their losses last year. There's hope in Carolina today. Mark my words - they'll be a contender in that division within the next few years.

Saints over Bears: The Saints are almost as hard to beat at home as the Falcons. And Jay Cutler apparently woke up Sunday morning and remembered that he's Jay Cutler. The 6 sacks the Saints recorded didn't hurt, either. Well, in the metaphorical sense - I'm sure Jay felt like ass today.

Steelers over Seahawks: Yeah...Tavaris Jackson...yeah...From the NFL.com recap, the Seahawks didn't have a SINGLE offensive snap in Steelers' territory until the 4th quarter. Yikes.

Cowboys over 49ers: I tend to think Tony Romo is over-rated and that blowing it under pressure is FAR more his style than coming up clutch, but I have to give him credit for coming back yesterday afternoon with a punctured lung. Then again, it might be that looking over his shoulder and seeing a solid backup in Jon Kitna has him worried about losing his starting job. Also, WTF was up with all the Cowboys fans in Candlestick Park? This isn't Phillies versus Nats in DC, y'all!

Pats over Chargers: The Pats are looking scary-good this year, at least so far. And that really galls me.

Broncos over Bengals: And Kyle Orton is spared another week. You have heard about the billboard thing, right? That's gotta hurt.

Texans over Dolphins: Yeah, baby! I knew it would be their year eventually - all it took was Peyton going out.

On MNF, the Rams just turned a pick and a great offensive series into...a field goal. Not a good sign. Then again, Eli's making that face a lot this evening - you know the one I mean. So it might not be over for the Rams. (Written too soon as the Rams muff a punt return - and a week of great football, even with an Eagles loss, prepares to go out with a whimper.)


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