Steve Olenski
Oct 1st 2007

Game 4- Giants 16 Eagles 3

It's not supposed to happen this way. It's not supposed to be the team that's down 7,8,9 games with 2-3 weeks to play who ultimately wins the division. And it's certainly not supposed to be the Phillies, a Philadelphia sports team of all things, that has a seat when the music stops.

But don't bother checking your calendars. This is NOT 1964. It's 2007 and I think the 6 ½-with-12-to-play demons were exorcised yesterday.

Before I delve further into the Phillies, props have to go out to the one person who steadfastly refused to jump ship even in the face of a 4-11 start and other points in the season when people came and went off the bandwagon like passengers on a train.

his person was without a doubt the single-biggest “fan” that I knew and to him go all the spoils. That person is the very own MQ, my Eagles sidekick for all these years. MQ was the Beacon of Believe, the Bastion of Optimism & the Keeper of the Phillies Flame, the entire season.

While some, yours truly chief among them, railed against Uncle Charlie, MQ staunchly defended him. While others openly questioned if this team had enough mettle to get over that playoff speed bump, MQ was being keeping the faith. So my hat's off to you MQ. Your eternal optimism is something we should all aspire to emulate.

At least until next year.

As for the Mets, well that was just the cherry on the sundae, wasn't it? The fact that it was the New York stinking Mets. Make no mistake about it this collapse will go down in the annals of baseball right there alongside the '64 Phils. And just remember there's always two sides to every story. Yes the Mets collapsed and lost their lead in shocking fashion BUT the Phillies still needed to win all the games they did to take full advantage of the collapse. If the Phils play .500 ball, the Mets still win the division despite their epic collapse. I think it's important to remember that the Mets lost AND the Phillies took it away at the same time. And I cannot think of a more deserving weasel than Billy Wagner to suffer and endure the sheer free fall by the Mets the last 2 weeks of the season, can you?

So hats off to the Fightins. Based off last night's debacle, it's obvious the Eagles could learn a thing or two about playing with emotion, drive and desire. In trying to think of the most apt way to describe the Eagles, a song came into my head. No, not the classic “It's A Heartache” by Bonnie Tyler, although that would be quite apropos.

It was actually “Infatuation” by Rod Stewart and one lyric in particular and no it has nothing to do with Andy Reid and a buffet. The line is “Jekyll and Hyde the way I behave, feel like I'm running on an empty gauge.”

Has there ever been such an unpredictable and inconsistent team? I think we all knew that they were not as bad as the first two weeks and not as good as last week, right? But to come back the following week and to display such a sheer and undeniable lack of urgency and emotion… I just cannot figure this team out. Complete lack of discipline & focus as witnessed by the 10 penalties in the First Half. You don't think it was that arrogance thing rearing its ugly head again, do you? Nah…. And please spare me the “we were without 5 starters nonsense.”

Form here, we're gonna go rapid fire this week because, well… because I can.

•  Man that was uncanny wasn't it? I of course am referring to the Rich Little-esque Allen Iverson impression performed by Al Michaels. Altogether now. “Don't quit your night job, Al.”

•  Did you know Jon Runyan will have four dishwashers in his new home that he is building? FOUR! That's a lot of china there big Jon. How many dirty dishes and glasses can you have that you need 4 dishwashers?

•  Yes that was Jevon Kearse actually making some plays during the game, there was no need to adjust your set.

•  Will James. I don't really think I need to add anything here, do I? I think his play pretty much speaks for itself. And if that “play” could in fact speak, it'd probably be saying things like “I suck. I can't cover anyone. I can't believe they're actually paying me.” You know, things along those lines.

•  Winston Justice. You know, I was all set to go with a catchy headline, something like “Justice of the Please” as in “Please spare us from watching this guy!” But you know it's simply not all his fault. You would think that after Osi Umenyiora's FIFTH SACK that Andy Reid would think to give ol' Winston some help. But there it was, the biggest play of the game, late Fourth Quarter, Fourth & 18 from the Giants 24 and the outcome still in question and there was Osi earning more Frequent Sack Miles by yet again besting Winston in a one on one matchup. One staple (of many) of Andy Reid's tenure in Philly has been his endless lamenting after a loss the fact that he needs to get his players in better positions to be successful. Let me tell you something, if he could not see that after FIVE SACKS Winston Justice needed help, i.e. put in a better position to be successful, then he is either blind or stupid. And I don't think he's either. I think it was that arrogance of ‘I know what I'm doing' and ‘I'll show you.” Remember this is a Second Round draft pick (Justice) we're talking about. This is not some free agent. How would it look, in Andy Reid's eyes, if one of HIS players that HE drafted, could not do the job that he was drafted to do?

•  And speaking of “putting his players in better positions,” why would you possibly run a Third Down play — a long Third Down play mind you, with a 2 running back set and Donovan under center? And NOT employ the shotgun? You knew full well that Donovan was getting precious little time to set and throw so why would you ask him to take a 3-4 step drop when you knew he didn't have the time to do it in the first place?

•  The Eagles record under Andy Reid heading into the Bye Week is pathetic, I believe it's 3-6. Why is their record so poor? Do you think it has anything to do with them looking past their opponent with their eyes on the Bye? Do you think it has anything to do with their Head Coach doing the same? Just a thought.

The Bottom Line is this is a long season but we are now One Quarter of the way through and the Eagles are 3 games behind the Cowboys. Fortunately for the Eagles, the NFC is a very weak conference and they are still very much in the playoff hunt.

But they have a lot to fix between now and the playoffs if they are to get that far.

‘Til next time.

As always, time's yours, food's mine.

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© Copyright 2006. Jules Pilla

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