26 October 2015

As Expected

Philadelphia Eagles, 16, Carolina Panthers 27, Sunday, October 25, 2015

We all knew the Birds were likely to lose, so the fact that they did is not terribly shocking. What will be somewhat shocking is this post. Generally, when the Eagles lose, I go off on everyone - the players, the coaches, the announcers, the equipment manager, the bus driver, the guy in section 303 selling beer - everyone. Not this week. The Panthers are an undefeated team that looks like the real deal this year, and they were playing at home. Their linebackers are outstanding, their run game is outstanding, and Cam Newton is coming into his own as a starting QB (which I'm happy to see - I've always liked him). The fact that the Eagles were in it the whole game and battled hard is, I think, extremely promising, particularly in the weak NFC East. Not everything was great - and we'll get to that in a minute - but I feel more hopeful about this team than I have in weeks.

Stud of the week: Malcolm Jenkins. Actually, I could make an argument for Nolan Carroll, Byron Maxwell (!!!), or Jordan Hicks, too. But Jenkins continues to shine week after week, and to be a leader on the D. His gorgeous, improbable pick last night is only the latest in the great plays he's made this season. Any more Saints want to come to Philly? Because so far, they've all been winners.

I probably have to give a shout-out to the offensive line, too. Not that they played lights out - they didn't - but there are virtually no original parts there and they did OK. Well, other than original starter Jason Kelce who seems to have lost his mind this year. What's with all the penalties, bae? But when Jason Peters went down and Dennis Kelly came in and everyone got shuffled around, I was all: "there goes Sam Bradford's leg - and the rest of him." And that turned out NOT to be the case. He got planted a few times, but it wasn't dire, and the Birds continued to have at least some success running the ball. Way to go, backups!

The defense continues to be a bright spot, too, with rookie Jordan Hicks playing WAY above expectations, Connor Barwin spying Cam and mostly keeping him from running (well, other than the TD - sigh), and three picks. Which, sadly, weren't enough. And you would normally think they would be.


Well, let me just quote:

Catch the f'in football, indeed.

Look, beating up on Sam Bradford is fun, no doubt, and it strikes me that he may not be in Philly again next year (hope he didn't buy a house), but he played decently last night, under a fair amount of pressure.


Everyone had drops: Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, DeMarco Murray, Zach Ertz, Darren Sproles (!!!!), Miles Austin. Drops on keeping drives going. Drops in the end zone. Drops on the final drive. DROPS DROPS DROPS DROPS DROPS.

Again, this sums it up:

And this could really be ANY of the Eagles' receivers. Look, Sam is far from a perfect QB. But that means that SOMEONE has to step up and MAKE A GODDAMN PLAY.  Particularly when HE HITS YOU IN THE HANDS. Jesus.

Well, as Tommy pointed out, nobody died. And it's the bye, when everyone - RECEIVERS, I'M LOOKING AT YOU - can think about what they've done wrong and how they can improve. And the sucktacular NFC East is still eminently winnable.

So enjoy the bye week - that's for the fans, Birds, you all need to put some work in - and let's come back ready to BEAT DALLAS.

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