10 September 2012

Eagles at Browns, Sunday, September 9, 2012

That was ugly as sin, but 1-0 is a lot better than 0-1. Just ask Giants fans.

And actually, it wasn't universally a mess. But we'll get to that in a minute.

This week's stud honors are shared by two guys:: DRC and Kurt Coleman, each of whom came down with two picks. On a day when the offense needed the defense to carry them, the D delivered. Big time. OK, sure, it was against a team that decided that drafting a 28 year old rookie was a smart move, but still. Great job, Kurt and Dominique.

On to the bad:

Alex Henery missed another field goal. In a game when points were inexplicably hard to come by. I don't care if he can hit from 55 if he can't hit from 40 when it counts. I miss Akers.

Vick was a hot mess. Those four picks could easily have been more like eight if the Browns defenders had better hands. And they weren't flukey, tipped bad luck passes that could happen to anyone. He was trying to force balls to guys who were double or even triple covered, while dancing around like his shoes were on fire. I'm not going to go all "PUT FOLES IN!" Yet.

And on a day when his QB was struggling and his star running back was ripping an average of 5+ yards a run, why oh why didn't Andy Reid call more run plays? I know, I know - haven't I been paying attention for the past 14 years? I have, of course, but hope springs eternal.

There were some bright spots as well. LeSean McCoy, aside from that extremely rare fumble, had a solid day. So did DeSean Jackson. The entire defense did well. Can I just tell you how much happier I am with our linebacker situation this year? A LOT. Of course, it also helped that Trent Richardson was more interested in hitting guys than looking for the hole. Chas Henry boomed some huge punts on a day when the Birds needed every bit of help they could possibly get.

But the brightest spot of all: even in the midst of a rapidly-escalating debacle, they pulled out a win. How many games like this did the Eagles NOT win last year? Michael Vick had a terrible day, they were sloppy as hell with the penalties, they committed FIVE turnovers - last year, this would've been a loss. They found a way to win. It wasn't nice, it wasn't pretty, it's certainly not going to stand against any team but the Cleveland Browns, but when the game was on the line and they needed one good drive, they did it. It never should've had to come down to whether or not they could be clutch, but they were.

In the rest of the matchups:

Can we all just agree that the replacement officials were terrible? The worst call I saw personally was when they accidentally awarded the Seahawks an extra time out that almost changed the outcome of that game. But I didn't watch every single game, so who knows? Maybe there was worse. NFL, pay up. Please.

Cowboys over Giants: OK, was it that both offenses were that bad or that both defenses were that good? Actually, it was that both o-lines were pretty awful, but the Cowboys' o-line was less awful.

Bears over Colts: Not surprising. Maybe Emo-QB will finally have a reason to smile.

Lions over Rams: All Matthew Stafford does is win. Well, after almost getting beat by the Rams. Still, clutch drive there at the end.

Texans over Dolphins: Another unsurprising outcome. With one notable exception, it was a pretty bad bay for rookie QBs. The Eagles had a lot of turnovers, too, but at least they weren't on back-to-back possessions.

Falcons over Chiefs: One of at least five games this week (with the MNF late game still to start) where the winning team scored 40+ points. Anybody other than me remember the days when 10-6 or 7-3 were common scores? I know they've changed the rules to promote scoring because, as Chef Spouse observed yesterday, 40-32 is way more exciting to watch than 16-10.

Vikings over Jaguars: First game with the new OT rules. Huge shout out to Adrian Peterson for rehabbing a torn ACL faster than pretty much anyone in history.

Redskins over Saints: The Saints haven't lost at home in like a million years (actual time: I think 4 seasons). RGIII clearly had the best rookie start of the week. I'm thinking that whole "the NFL put Sean Payton in a time out" this season is going to be a problem for them.

Jets over Bills: I think Mark Sanchez heard me talking smack about him and decided to prove me wrong. I wonder if that works in reverse? You know, if I praise someone to the skies, they'll screw up royally just to spite me? Because if that's the case, Tony Romo just became my best friend.

Patriots over Titans: Well sure, although who would've figured the Pats would completely shut down Chris Johnson? Then again, Jake Locker's rough day did help them figure out pretty quickly that there was only one guy they had to worry about on the Titans' offense.

Cardinals over Seahawks: And Kevin Kolb had one of his flashes of competence! And the egregiously bad officiating didn't change the outcome of the game! Actually, it might have been better if it had, since that would've probably made the NFL cave.

49ers over Packers: I have to give a shout out to my boy David Akers for tying the NFL field goal record with a 63 yarder as time ran out at the half that clearly shocked even him. And it was in Green Bay, not Denver, so he wasn't getting any help from the location. The 49ers are looking like the complete package this year - smothering D, solid special teams, an outstanding running game, and a QB who has someone to throw at. And a Harbaugh at head coach. They could be trouble.

Buccaneers over Panthers: Huh. Of course, it's pretty hard to win a game when you only rush for 10 yards. Total. As a team. Cam's good and all, but help a QB out, man!

Broncos over Steelers: OK, maybe I was wrong. Maybe Peyton has fully recovered. I was right about this, though: the Steelers are aging out.

Ravens over Bengals: It's Bungles time again! I only caught the second half, and the Bengals couldn't do anything right. Given the final score, I'm guessing that was the story of the first half, too. Andy Dalton spent the whole second half on his ass staring at the sky, when he wasn't getting picked off or watching Ray Rice run all over his defense when Joe Flacco wasn't picking them apart. Bad weekend for Ohio.

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