Monday Night Shocker

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Eagles came out and played a decent game of football against the rival Cowboys. Only thing is the play calling, along with the eratic play of McNabb, cost the birds yet another game in the division.

It is a good thing I stayed up to watch the entire game Monday night because if I woke up and heard the Eagles lost the game I wouldn't have believed it. If you went to bed then you missed the Eagles blow a 30-7 lead with just under four minutes to play in the game. While not converting a first down was a problem, so was the defense, who played well all game (only one big 56 yard play helped Dallas score), gave up a touchdown on four plays in under 50 seconds. Ok, so the Eagles get it back and run the ball, use some time and maybe even force Dallas to use a timeout or two. Almost. Once again McNabb threw a rookie interception at the end of the game, this one to Roy Williams, who later said he couldn't believe the ball was coming his way, who also ran it all the way for the game winning touchdown. And then the Eagles had to rely on a 60 yard field goal try by David Akers, which fell miserably short.

So where did this game go wrong? You have a few options...

A. With the ball and a little over 40 seconds in the first half with timeouts to spare, the Eagles ran the ball and ran the clock out going into halftime. Looking back you must try to move the ball and get a field goal attempt!
B. Just the opposite of #1. In the second half they opt for a pass when they should have been running the clock out! Running the ball late in the game does one of three things for you.

  1. You run the clock out as much as possible, leaving the opposing offense wiht as little time as possible. This is especially crucial after you watch the Cowboys score a touchdown on you in under a minute.
  2. You possibly force your opponent to start using timeouts, thus making it more difficult for them on offense.
  3. Running the ball decreases the chances of your quarterback, who is having a very poor stretch, of throwing an interception by 100%.
This was the third straight loss for the Eagles. In each of the three games a crucial drive for the offense stalled when McNabb threw a very poor pass. At this stage of his career he needs to have the ability to see guys who are standing virtually right in front of him. Lately he has not been doing that.

Who in the world does Reno Mahe have pictures of?

Some positives? Well, Westbrook was returning punts at one point. Funny how he does things to help the team after signing a contract.

I'm not counting the Eagles out of the playoffs just yet. One thing is for sure though, they have a rough road ahead of them. They won't win the division (Congrats Giants or Cowboys), but the NFC still stinks and the Eagles can make the wild card. If they lose another two games though McNabb should sit the resst of the season and get his surgery and the organization should figure out how to spend that $13 million of cap space in the offseason to find a wide receiver, an offensive lineman, and possbly some help on the defense. The team is not getting any younger and times like this make you worry about the future.

On a brighter note, my Penn State Nittany Lions are poised for a Big Ten championship with a win over Michigan State this coming weekend. I won't lie, this game concerns me. PSU is still a little inexperienced at national exposure, although they have handled it well this year. And I'm not ready to throw out the possibility of a national championship. I think it is POSSIBLE for them to be playing for it all in the Rose Bowl, where I admit they would very likely lose to USC or Texas. Stranger things have happened and USC and Texas each have two games left before bowl season. Twice as many games as PSU means twice as many chances for a loss. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

If not the Rose Bowl I'll hope for a Penn State - Notre Dame Fiesta Bowl. Much more attrcative than a PSU-Miami Orange Bowl. Many more great storylines and tradition with that Fiesta Bowl matchup, not to mention a great way to get fans excited for the upcoming two year home and home series between Notre Dame and Penn State.


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