Justin Boylan...Game 10 Eagles beat te Bears 24-20... 11-23-09
I don't do much on Sundays. I spend my Sundays on my coach, watching football. It might sound like I'm being lazy, but I don't care. I take honoring the Sabbath to a whole new level, no work getting done here (okay, every couple weeks I do my laundry during halftime, but that's it). My alarm is set for around noon (incase I had a long Saturday night and my body wants to sleep in), I finalize my weekly picks, and I dive into about 8 to 10 hours of hard-hitting, bone-crunching, professional football. It's just me and my remote. (I live at school in the city, and we only get the regional games. This week it was two games at one o'clock and one game at four. That might not sound like a lot of flipping around, but trust me, I'm good with that remote. I don't miss anything.)
On Sundays like yesterday, my living room becomes more like a waiting room. I sit around, keep myself occupied (with the other games), and wait for the Eagles' game that's on its way in the evening. It's exciting, but also irritating. I know the game is coming, but seven hours of waiting can cause you to ask yourself some important questions. Should I have picked against the Eagles (-2), in hopes of reverse-jinxing them? Is Jay Cutler as overrated as I think he is? I thought the Eagles were going to beat the Chargers last week and they lost, is that a sign? What on Earth am I going to do for dinner? These questions need answers, and there's only one way to get them. We do nothing, and watch.
The Eagles entered Chicago riding a two-game (should have won but found a way to screw it up) losing streak. The Bears were also on a two-game skid, and like that movie with Jack Nicholson, it's as good as it gets (wait, that's not right, or is it? I think I meant something's got to give. Yeah, the movie with Jack and Diane Keaton, Something's Gotta Give . Isn't it strange that Nicholson has multiple movies that fill that blank?). The Eagles started the game with the ball and before I could even prepare myself to watch 3 rd and short situations, its 3 rd and 1. Michael Vick in at quarterback, and he takes it up the middle for 34 yards and a sure conversion on 3 rd down (I said it before and I'll say it again, if Vick is truly going to contribute its going to be in short yardage plays. The Eagles set up a QB power for him and he sprinted right through the hole, no tricks, just a first down. With Vick in the shotgun a defense has to cut its losses and focus on either him or the playmakers around him. The defense can recover, but not in time to save a 3 rd and 1. The problems with picking up short yardage are real, and Vick can help). Donovan McNabb threw two incompletions inside the 10-yard line and the Eagles strike first with a field goal (here we go again, more red zone issues). On their next possession the Eagles proved that theory wrong, for the time being, with a red zone touchdown. McNabb hit Jason Avant on a wide receiver screen that Avant took 13 yards for the score, 10-0 Eagles after one.
The Bears began the second quarter with the ball on the Eagles 27-yard line. On a 2 nd and 2, Jay Cutler missed a wide-open Greg Olsen that would have been good for a touchdown (one fantasy football tangent, my match up once again depended on the Eagles game. However, this time I was able to root for both the Eagles and my fantasy team, that's the ultimate experience. My team finished the day with a nine point lead, and the only player left for my opponent was Greg Olsen. Basically, if Olsen scores I lose. Come on Eagles, shut him down!!!). On 3 rd and 2, Cutler missed a wide-open Devin Hester that would have been good for a touchdown. Two misfires and the Bears settle for a field goal. After an Eagles punt, the Bears are forced to kick another field goal when Cutler throws an incomplete to Olsen (yes!) in the end zone. The Eagles offense struggled in the second quarter, McNabb threw an interception on one drive and DeSean Jackson fumbled on another. Lucky for the Eagles the second quarter was the Robbie Gould show, he kicked a third field goal before halftime to make it 10-9.
FYI: Cutler is overrated. He missed throws all over the field all night. He has got a big arm, but it's as if he doesn't know how to use it. He wants to make the big plays but a lot of times he and his receivers aren't on the same page (how do you overthrow Devin Hester?). I was sick of hearing about the Cutler-Denver drama before the season, sick of him begging for a trade. When he was on the Broncos I always favored Philip Rivers during their little rivalry, Rivers usually had the upper hand. Now he is on a Chicago team that needed a quarterback after going 9-7 with Kyle Orton. They trade for Jay Cutler and are 4-6, not to mention he leads the league with 18 interceptions. I don't know what McNabb was saying into his ear after the game, but if it were me, I would have told him he was overrated. (Also FYI: I'm not fan at all.) Halftime's over.
The third quarter featured a lot of kicking early. Four out of the first five possessions ended in punts, and the other was a fourth Chicago field goal for the 12-10 lead. McNabb responded in two plays, first to Jeremy Maclin for 16 yards, then to Jackson for 48 yards and the touchdown. (I know Westbrook is out and it's serious, but is anyone else excited about this threesome of young position players? LeSean McCoy at running back, and Jackson and Maclin out wide, these three are kids. I'm talking early 20s, and throw in tight end Brent Celek, we are talking about a core of young guys that have a chance to develop and be very successful down the road. Almost reminds me of a certain baseball team that kind of did the same thing.) The Bears quickly answered. Cutler hit a target in the form of Kellen Davis for the 15-yard touchdown (or was that Olsen, number 82? No. Whose number 87? Wow, close one), add the two-point conversion and we got ourselves a game in the fourth quarter.
Down 20-17, that young running back I'm so thrilled about fumbled giving the Bears a chance to extend their lead. Cutler threw a long incomplete on 3 rd and 5, setting up a fifth field goal try for Gould. This time the Eagles special teams got to it, more specifically Antonio Dixon blocked the attempt giving the Eagles momentum and, more importantly, the ball. The game-winning touchdown drive consisted of McNabb hooking up with Maclin and Jackson for 10-yard completions, a 3 rd and 1 where McNabb fell forward (and got the right spot) for the first down, and McCoy made up for the fumble with a 10-yard scamper into the end zone.
Cutler's last chance and he threw an overdue interception intended for Olsen (he finished with six catches for 42 yards, good for 4 fantasy points. I was sweating that one out all night. Cutler looked for Olsen a couple of times near the end zone but the Eagles defense held up).
Eagles break their fall and win, 24-20.
It was a surprisingly good game, given the two teams' struggles in previous weeks. McNabb completed 23 passes for 244 yards, and McCoy ran the ball 20 times for 99 yards. Balance. Ah, balance. Between McCoy and Vick the Eagles should be able to move the ball on the ground, and they did. This might sound farfetched but a running game actually can help the air attack. When the Eagles used play action against the Bears McNabb was 9-10 with 115 yards and two touchdowns. No play action? Not so good, 14-22 with no touchdowns and an interception. This isn't groundbreaking insight; the run can set up the pass (Reid usually likes to pass to set up more passes). More? Alright, my Dad texted me this stat after the game, “When they run 30 or more runs, they are 43-5 under Andy Reid.” That's good enough for me.
The Eagles are back home next week for a rematch with the Washington Redskins, a season series they should sweep. A short week without football as we have reached Thanksgiving already. Three games and turkey, I have a feeling I'll be doing nothing a little earlier than expected this week.
© Copyright 2008. Jules Pilla
Not affiliated with the Philadelphiqa
Eagles or the NFL.