Justin Boylan

Week 2 Eagles lose 48-22, ouch. 9-21-09

My Sunday afternoon was filled with highs and lows. Highs and lows that included the Eagles, suicide picks, and fantasy football (really, there is too much to worry about during football season. I don't know why I put myself through all of it). One moment I'm celebrating an Eagles touchdown, and the next I'm cursing the Vikings for trailing the Lions early in Detroit.

It is the first home game of the 2009 season and Kevin Kolb gets the start against Drew Brees and the Saints. Not a sentence that promotes confidence, but for the first 30 minutes of the game Kolb had you thinking, “Can we really win this game?” Brees came out of the gate firing, and before the pregame was over it was 7-0 Saints. Kolb did his best Brees impression on his first drive quickly finding DeSean Jackson for a touchdown. The rest of the quarter consisted of the wildcat formation (more on this later) and a Saints field goal.

I switch over to the NFL Network to get some scores and stats. The Vikings are losing 3-0 after the first quarter (my suicide pick, but I'm not too worried). The Tennessee Titans, my fantasy defense, are winning 14-7 (that game break during the Eagles game showing Andre Johnson's terrific touchdown catch, not my cup of tea this week). The highs and lows are mixed at this point.

In retrospect the second quarter was like a wonderful vacation. Brees threw an interception, Akers ties the game at 10, and neither team could really put anything together. At this point the Vikings are losing 10-0 to the Detroit Lions (my Uh Oh Meter is at about a 4 or 5). Also, the Titans gave up 17 second quarter points, basically the exact opposite of what my fantasy team needs right now. Getting back to the Eagles, with 50 seconds left in the first half, and Brees finds Marques Colston for another touchdown followed by another Akers field goal. Going into the half the score is 17-13 Saints, but something is lingering in the air, the calm before the storm. It's mostly all lows for me at this point.

The Eagles get the ball to start the second half, but Ellis Hobbs fumbles away the football and Brees quickly turns turnovers into touchdowns, 24-13. Alright, take two on the kickoff, got it. Kevin Kolb makes his big mistake of the game, he stares (for about five seconds) right where he wants to throw the ball and the Saints defense reads it like a book. Interception. What do you expect the Saints to do? This time Brees hands the ball off to Mike Bell, all of a sudden its 31-13. I find out now the Texans have also scored 31 points against my Titans defense (heartbroken by two different defenses this week). However, the Vikings have opened a 17-10 lead over the Lions. I'm mostly lows, but that gives me a tiny boost.

The rest of the Eagles game wasn't much different. Jason Avant did have a nice touchdown reception at the end of the third quarter, but the defense just couldn't keep the Saints from changing the scoreboard. Reggie Bush ran for a touchdown in the fourth, and Darren Sharper unnecessarily added a 97 yard interception return for a touchdown.

The final score, 48-22, ouch.

Looking back at this game there are plenty of places to throw some blame. The defense and special teams played a lackluster game, and our quarterback had to play throw for throw with a guy who has led the NFL in every passing category since 2006.

Let's start with the special teams; the Hobbs fumble wasn't the only thing that worked against the Eagles on Sunday. While Jackson did have over 100 yards receiving with a touchdown, his two punt returns netted just five yards. That includes the one where he backed up past the 10 yard-line to try to return it instead of just letting it bounce into the end zone for a touchback. Punter Sav Rocca was called on five times, his long was 61 yards while a couple of his punts went a little off the grid.

You don't need me to tell you the defense played lousy. They gave up five touchdowns and allowed the Saints 421 yards of total offense, one week after holding the Panthers to just 10 points (can you say inconsistent?). The defense looked tired and weak; the Saints did whatever they wanted on offense. Yes, Brees is most likely the best quarterback in the league and their offense is known to put up a lot of points, but come on, this leads me to the next point (well, not really a point, just more words).

If the defense played the exact same, and McNabb was healthy enough to get the start – do we win? I would say no. So Kolb throws two interceptions that turn into 14 points (even though the last one was meaningless because the game was already over), take those away and the Saints score 34. Last week against the Panthers McNabb put up two touchdowns and an interception. Yesterday, Kolb threw for 391 yards and two touchdowns. What I'm saying is Kolb did a surprisingly decent job. I don't know if McNabb would have done any better. I never really believed Kolb was the heir to the quarterback throne, but this week the list of people to blame doesn't start with him.

Lastly, Michael Vick is eligible to start playing next week, and since Andy Reid showed us all this week that he loves his new wildcat formation, shouldn't we expect to see Vick out there no matter who the starting quarterback is? The wildcat is like Owen Wilson, he's great in small parts like Meet the Parents, you think he's hilarious, but you don't really want to see a movie where he's the lead or you get You, Me and Dupree . The wildcat should be used sparingly. Or it should be used in the red zone where the Eagles went 1-5.

So my suicide pick survives, and my fantasy (thanks to -4 points from the Titans defense) and reality teams lose. Feeling a little on the low side. Next week the Eagles are home again against the Chiefs. Who knows who'll start that game, but I can't wait!

Now I remember why I put myself through all this, you gotta love football.




Justin Boylan



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