Monday, September 22, 2008

Game 3 Thoughts

how fragile is winning and losing in the nfl these days?

the patriots go from undefeated/"greatest team ever" status to getting blown out by the dolphins -- after losing one player.

the eagles go from perennial contender to a mediocre, middle of the pack kind of team during a 3 year period where their QB was dealing with various injuries.

the colts look worse than they have in years, seemingly because their QB spent the offseason dealing with an infection in his knee.

it's certainly not like it was in the 80's -- when joe gibbs treated QB like a mix and match game --- it's a QB driven league now and having a healthy QB is critical to winning.

well, the season almost ended for us on consecutive plays (last play of the 1st quarter and first play of the 2nd quarter) when mcnabb and westbrook were injured. fortunately, the mcnabb appears to be a bruised sternum (like the one he got in atlanta to start the 2005 season and kick off his 4 year injury sabbatical). unfortunately, his injury was serious enough to take him out of action for part of the game and definitely seemed to hamper his throws in the 2nd half. hopefully it's not something that lingers and affects him all season.

we don't know the severity of westbrook's injury, but i think it could be a positive thing if the eagles don't try to rush him back. the birds are past the toughest part of their schedule already and have the easiest schedule in the nfl from this point forward. i'd like to see them be ultra-conservative with westbrook and keep him out until he is completely healthy. the eagles can get themselves into the playoffs without westbrook, but we absolutely, positively need him to be healthy for the playoffs.

some thoughts about the game:

- the defense was unbelieveable today. i've seen plenty of steelers games (having lived in pgh for 8 years), but have never seen a pittsburgh o-line manhandled like they were today (and despite the loss of alan faneca, this is supposed to be a good one). the defensive line dominated the run game and jj sent the defense into full-time attack mode. wow. by the end of the game, i was feeling a little bad for ben roethlisberger. it reminded me of the aikman 12 sack game and could have easily eclipsed 12 sacks with a less mobile QB as the target.

- how about the ball skills of asante samuel? we haven't had a cornerback who could make a play like that on the dead run since probably eric allen.

- i hate it when westbrook submarines into a pile. as often as not, he takes out the legs of one of his own linemen (and is exactly the kind of play on which shawn andrews broke his leg during his rookie season).

- great start to the game by mcnabb, unbelievably sharp. converting 3rd and longs, making lots of stick throws and a couple of long touch throws, making good decisions. threw a bad interception when he got hit by timmons as he was throwing that gave the steelers 3 points at the end of the first half.

- yikes is tony hunt having a rough time in the pros. he looks shaky and unsure of himself.

- stewart bradley took one hellacious block on a roethlisberger scramble to the right. reminded me of the keith byars/pepper johnson block

- newsflash -- lj smith stinks. one thing i noticed was that it seemed like hank baskett ran many of the routes you'd typically see a TE run for much of the game.

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22 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

KUDOS to McNabb. He probably should've sat out with that injury (I feared collar bone or separated shoulder) and the guy toughed it out. I have been all over him for last week, but he WON this game today just by having a set of stones, stepping back in that huddle, making no bad 2nd half decisions, and leading his team. Kolb was surely going to lose that game because you cannot fathom the Steelers rush until they are beating you up like those sharks do to the seals off the coast of South Africa on Shark week. To step back in at 75% vs. that defense was ballsy and necessary.

HUGE win. Season saving in many regards because of the mental ramifications. You come off of a tough loss in big D vs. what I think is the best team in the AFC (O,D, and special teams combined) and you punch them in the mouth vs. taking a beating. You make a statement to the league with that win and now you can play loose in Chicago vs. playing desperate for a win. Reid gets off his 0-14 schnide vs. AFC playoff teams, JJ dials up a super game plan, and the D gets some swagger back. I cannot single out any one guy because the whole D was awesome, but Dawk really had a huge game. That leap, slap, fumble recovery may be one of his all time plays.

Another super D this week. That is problematic because no B Wes means they can tee off on a less than 100% Don and that scares me. He goes down, and season over. O line has to make it their mission to protect him and keep him clean next week. Buck and Booker can maintain a run game for a week or two with 36, but McNabb has to be protected because this team cannot win any meaningful games with Kolb. D also has to keep it up vs a terrible Chicago O and just pummel Orton.

On a side note, I hope the Miami-Pats game begins a trend where teams want payback for Belicheck popping a 50 in their face last year. I hope they go 2-14 and get abused by everyone.

Bumble

9:20 AM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

I was thinking during the game how lucky the Eagles are to have Buck. He doesn't have nearly the flash of 36, but he's very solid. Gives you decent play between the tackles and can do the screen passes very effectively too as seen by the 20 yard TD catch. Just think of all the trials and tribulations he's gone through and is still going.

That was a huge f%^$ you game plan by JJ and play by Dawk. Took all that criticism and really fueled them this week. Need to continue it though.

When was the last time we've had a run D like this? Holding Parker to 20 yards on 13 carries?!?! More than anything else, that drove all those sacks yesterday.

10:50 AM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

Oh and they need to cut down on all the dumb penalties. Gave PIT 3 first downs in penalties, which was one reason why this game was much closer than it should have been.

11:22 AM EDT  
Blogger Steve72 said...

the patriots go from undefeated/"greatest team ever" status to getting blown out by the dolphins -- after losing one player.


....And not being able to tape their opponents anymore.

11:33 AM EDT  
Blogger Behan01 said...

The Timmons hit that caused the interception was because of a poor protection scheme. Booker was one on one with Timmons, and Timmons ran through him right to McNabb. Don had no chance on that play.

McNabb got two standing o's: when they announced he passed Jaworski for TDs, and when he came out of the locker room in the second half. For all the complaining from a certain vocal minority, Philly loves 5.

Loved how JJ adjusted how he used Dawk this week, Dawk much more attacking the QB and in the box. It helps when Mikell (not Considine) is deep.

- Behan

12:17 PM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

36 is "day-to-day" and walking around without a boot though with a limp. Whew. Anyone else of the opinion that they should just shut him down for the week regardless? 14 points probably wins this weekend vs. da Bears. Or is this not like a bad hammy that could keep flaring up?

1:39 PM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

DJ Gallo:

9. There's an NFLshop.com commercial that shows someone's den decked out in Pittsburgh Steelers paraphernalia from floor to ceiling. The camera pans the room, then finally pauses on a traditional lamp with the text: "What's with the lamp?" The commercial is a bit of a cheap shot. Do you want to know what happened to the lamp, NFL Shop? Do you? The Steelers' offensive line was house-sitting for a fan and was asked to protect that lamp. Despite their best efforts, a whole wave of burglars broke in and stole it the second the owner left. But I'm glad you find robbery and home invasion so funny, NFL.

1:48 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still hoping for a definition of "wedge haircut."

Ed Wade

10:33 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great start. Thank goodness for Jackson!

Captain

8:39 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see a loss because the O line sucks tonight. Someone forgot to tell them they had a game. Thomas and Runyan looking slow, too much pressure, no Weestbrook=no run and no pass blocking=Donny on his keister.

The Bears clearly have Reid' scheme figured out in the first half, let's see some halftime adjustments to slow that crazy blitz.

Bumble

9:37 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

terrible.........

captain

9:59 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1-1/2 minutes left in the first half and your QB throws three passes of 3 yards, causing you to punt back to the deadly Devin Hester without making Chicago take a time out. Why? Either McNabb made terrible decisions or Reid made terrible play calls, but again, the 2:00 and under problem surfaces.

Bumble

Bumble

10:12 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

1-1/2 minutes left in the first half and your QB throws three passes of 3 yards, causing you to punt back to the deadly Devin Hester without making Chicago take a time out. Why? Either McNabb made terrible decisions or Reid made terrible play calls, but again, the 2:00 and under problem surfaces.

this is how i saw that series:

- overall conservative play calls until you get a first down because you're pinned deep and cannot afford a 3 and out without running clock -- the right strategy

- a short pass on first down

- a drop by brown that should have been a first down

- bears probably had good defense on the downfield patterns and mcnabb takes the checkdown.

i'm not sure how you can blame mcnabb or reid there. reid is a good playcaller overall, i doubt it's different just because it's in the last 2 minutes.

imo, the drop was the thing to focus on, not the play calling or mcnabb's decision-making, which has been great tonight.

10:26 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TMG-stop. You are a smarter football man than that. You run the clock out, make them burn their time out, and get to the locker room if your intent is to be conservative. You cannot be throwing 5 yard patterns if you have any intent of putting points on the board from 80 yards away with 1.5 minutes left. Indefensible. Bad series by coach and QB there if they were trying to put points on the board. Really no two ways about it.

This game is pissing me off. It has not been very well called offensively, but most likely it looks worse than it is. It looks like Don is having a so-so game because he is forcing too many balls into tight spots. Reality is he has no options. His WR don't make big plays-Avant has to catch that TD there. Too many drops causing him to try to do it all. This game is unfortunately a microcosm of how to beat the Birds

1. Overwhelm them up front as they have no FB and only 1 RB who can block.

2. Take their run and make their WR beat you. they can't.

3. Akers is horrible. The guy cannot make a kick longer than 30 yards. Cut him.

4. Booker sucks. Cannot block, cannot catch, doesn't run the right routes-looks like Parcells foisted a turd on us.

This is frustrating because thie Bears team is so-so at best. Lose to them and it puts pressure squarely on next week as a must win vs. a very hot team. Not good.

Bumble

10:52 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where did that 6 seconds go ??

11:01 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why no intentional grounding there ??

captain

11:13 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

outplayed, outcoached, outexecuted in every aspect of the game. 4 turnovers ?? Yet we're losing ! I'm done !!

Captain

11:32 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

TMG-stop. You are a smarter football man than that. You run the clock out, make them burn their time out, and get to the locker room if your intent is to be conservative. You cannot be throwing 5 yard patterns if you have any intent of putting points on the board from 80 yards away with 1.5 minutes left. Indefensible. Bad series by coach and QB there if they were trying to put points on the board. Really no two ways about it.

why are there only two choices in your mind -- run the clock out or throw it downfield?

if reggie brown makes the catch on second down, then the eagles have a first and then they have some room behind them and start throwing it further downfield.

do you seriously believe the reid called that play on third down to go to the check down receiver? the play would obviously have been called to get at least a first down.

i can't tell what mcnabb saw when looked downfield, but i suspect he saw a lot of doubled receivers. so are you saying you would rather have seen mcnabb force a ball into double coverage and risk a pick when the birds were backed into their own end?

focus on the drop.

11:49 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You cannot score with 4 plays from the 3, you are the definition of an average team. Inexcuseable! No high school team fails to score from there. And the horrendous play calling continues in the red zone. That 4th down...how do you go backwards 5 yards to go forward 1 foot and not bother to block a stunting DE at all?

So many issues, but that is the definition of terrible loss. I pin this on Reid as they did zippo, nada, nothing to be creative and generate points. Where was the motion? Where were the formations to get the Bears out of the blitzes? Where was the running game with Buck all game that they did in their last drive?That is the kind of blemish that haunts you all year long. This division is so stacked that you need to make hay every time you play out of it as they'll be lucky to go 2-4 inter division. You get 4 turnovers but score 6 points off of them. They just had no offensive game plan at all. Jackson is your only deep weapon and you throw no deep balls to him afetr the first quarter. I just don't get what they're trying to do. They play good defenses and they cannot score.

This team looks like the 2000 Ravens the last 2 weeks and that cannot be. McNabb is betetr than Trent Dilfer, god dammit do something to open things up for the guy vs this BS dink and dunk for 4 yards a clip. Good teams will let you have that all day.

Atrocious loss!

Bumble

11:53 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TMG-you are at your 20. There isn't time to be throwing 4 yard patterns. Close up shop, go into half time, make adjustments (as Johnson clearly did and Morningwheg did not). I disagree-you don't focus on the drop because because that isn't a pattern you throw. Even if he catches it, you're still 70 yards away with a minute left. There are only 2 choices there-run the 10-20 yard sideline patterns, getting out of bounds and stopping the clock as you quickly move upfield or admit you don't have that club in your bag, run the ball, take a knee, whatever and go into the locker room to regroup. What they opted to do was not an option. In no Bizarro world was what they were doing a viable option. For several very sound reasons. First you run out of time before you can ever get in scoring position, second you're dropping the ball and stopping the clock and giving the ball back to an offense that had shredded you, and third, you punt to the most dangerous special teams weapon in the league. They dodged a bullet not giving up more points before half when they were coming back out and kicking off.

So there are 2 choices and 2 choices only. Go to halftime down 21-14 or throw longer sideline patterns to move upfield. 4 yard patterns in the center of the field are not an option.

But this is all moot because Reggie Brown sucks and should never be seeing the football anyway. He should be watching games from a corner tavern in another city.

Bumble

12:01 AM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

There are only 2 choices there-run the 10-20 yard sideline patterns, getting out of bounds and stopping the clock as you quickly move upfield or admit you don't have that club in your bag, run the ball, take a knee,

that's simply not true when you have two timeouts (which the eagles did). don't you think the bears made certain they were covering the 10-20 yard out patterns? do you think it's possible that reid actually called plays for 10-20 yard outs but there were bears covering the routes?

12:38 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I won't give Reid that much credit that he called such plays. You need to be creative before the half and instead they run their normal version of Worst Coast which is dink and dunk for 5 yards. Yuck!

Even with 2 timouts, they'd need to move at 10 yards a clip to get in field goal range. Or why not let Don run no huddle-he is very good at it. Remember the horrendous Giants loss at home 2 years ago when he ran no huddle for an entire quarter and just destroyed them? They of course inexplicably stopped and lost and never did it again, but Don is good at that. I don't understand why they were huddling and throwing dinks and dunks vs. saying "OK Don, do something with the ball, your playbook". Don can do that.

Bumble

9:01 PM EDT  

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