Monday, December 14, 2009

Wild Wild Win

Huge win for the Eagles last night, hanging on for a 45-38 victory over the Giants. They're now in first-place in the NFC East, and only need one more win to lock up a playoff spot. Most likely they'll end up as the #3 or #4 seed, since Minnesota would have to lose two more games (@Car, @Chi, NYG) and the Eagles would have to win out to get a first-round bye. A few observations from the game:

  • It's a worrisome trend to see receivers continue to get behind Eagles' corners on double moves every week. Clearly, opposing coordinators have figured out that they like to read the QB and jump routes. You can get away with that against bad QBs and receivers with stone hands, but against Drew Brees, Brett Favre, and Kurt Warner in the playoffs? I shudder to think.
  • Speaking of the defense, I'm prepared to give them a pass for last night's game. The tackling was atrocious and unacceptable, but it sure looked like both sides were struggling with the cold, wet, slippery conditions. It's always harder to play defense in those conditions because you're reacting. Since the tackling is usually very good (Asante Samuel aside), let's see what happens next week before we get too panicky.
  • Loved the big plays, of course, but that 91-yard drive in the fourth quarter was truly a championship drive. Six rushes, six passes, 7 minutes off the clock. Balance works, Andy. Glad to see you've rediscovered this 'secret', I'll try to enjoy it now before you forget to run the ball again next season.
  • Where was Akeem Jordan? He was active for the game, but I didn't see him make a play all night. Did he even get on the field?
  • A blocked extra point? Come on. Something went terribly wrong with that blocking scheme, as Max Jean-Gilles was holding on for dear life against two defensive lineman. Someone's got to help him out there.

In addition to the win, the Eagles have the Cowboys to thank for their first-place position. Remember just two weeks ago, when football writers were handing the division to the Cowboys, seemingly oblivious to historical trends? Well, the Eagles are 2-0 in December and the Cowboys are 0-2, and I, at least, am not surprised.
I will give credit where it's due, however, and say that the Cowboys losses this season are not the product of a bumbling, turnover-prone QB and a scared coach, but instead are simply close losses to good teams (a desperate division rival on the road, and the Chargers on an 8-game winning streak.) If you even casually looked over the 'Boys schedule, it was pretty obvious they built a lot of wins against lousy teams and would have to work harder to beat the quality opponents lined up for them in December. With upcoming games @NO, @Was, and Phi, it's entirely conceivable they could go 1-4 or even 0-5 to finish the season without 'collapsing.'
Up next for the Eagles are the 49ers, travelling across the country on a short week (they play tonight.) This sets up well for the Eagles, and should definitely give the defense a chance to redeem themselves against an inexperienced QB.


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