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Justin Boylan

Justin Boylan...Game 6 Eagles beat the Skins 27-17... 10-26-09

How exciting is Monday Night Football? I'm giddy just thinking about it. Last week the Eagles embarrassed anyone ever associated with Kelly green by putting on an atrocious performance in Oakland, but the boys are back on the East Coast and there was no way they would play that poorly again. This just in: the Redskins are terrible. Yes, the Raiders are terrible too, but if there is a bad team within the division, the Eagles have got to take it to them.

I turned the game on a few minutes before kickoff and saw the DeSean Jackson “this kid is a playmaking superstar” segment. My excitement level is rising. The entire MNF crew picked the Eagles (if this was next week against the Giants and all the “experts” picked the Eagles I would be worried, but tonight, E-A-G-L-E-S). This is the only Monday Night Football game the Eagles have this season, so without further adieu.

Bum bum bum bum, (do do, do do) bum bum bum bum. Bum, bum bum bum bum bum bum... Bum Bum Bum Bum Bum...bum bum bum bum bum, do do, do do. That sounded like the song right?

The Eagles got the ball to start the game, and wasted no time lighting up the scoreboard. After converting a 3 rd and 2, the Eagles ran an end around with Jackson that ended around 67 yards later in the end zone, 7-0 early. A couple punts by both teams, and the Redskins have the ball starting inside their 10-yard line. (Rewind, on the Eagles second possession Brian Westbrook had a 5 yard run that ended in an inadvertent knee to the head. He left the game with a concussion and hopefully he will be ready to go sooner, rather than later. In completely unrelated news, one of the match-ups in my fantasy football league depended on Monday night's game. Team A was losing by one point, but had Westbrook and Redskins tight end Chris Cooley still to play, while Team B had no players left. Sounds like an easy win for Team A, but both of those players left the game with injuries. Westbrook had one fantasy point and Cooley had two, an easy win turned nail-biter as Team A won by just two.) When the Eagles traded for Will Witherspoon, many were confused, “Why would we want a player from the Rams, they stink!!” Well, Witherspoon made his mark on the game early intercepting Jason Campbell and returning it 9 yards for a touchdown, 14-0 after one quarter (if you get a chance to see that highlight again, check out Asante Samuel running behind Witherspoon. When it happened live all I could imagine was Samuel shouting at Witherspoon, “I got you! Right here, right here! Pitch that!”, and after Witherspoon crossed the goal line, “Aw man, alright nice play!” The man loves to score).

The second quarter started with more Witherspoon. As Campbell was looking to throw on a 1 st and 10, the new guy sacked and stripped Campbell causing the second turnover in under two and half minutes of football. Michael Vick made two appearances in the second quarter, one was a run for negative yards, and the other was a 5 yard completion to Brent Celek after the fumble. Eagles have to kick a field goal, 17-0; this game is going to get ugly. But wait, the Redskins put together a nice drive against the Eagles defense which led to a Jason Campbell touchdown pass to wide open Devin Thomas, 17-7. After another Akers field goal and a punt by the Skins, Donovan McNabb makes the big throw everyone was anticipating in Oakland, a 57 yard bomb to Jackson for his second touchdown of the night (boy was MNF right on with that “playmaker” segment before the game). The Redskins grab a field goal right before the half and its 27-10 Eagles, they could have and should have been up by more, but so far they're covering the spread.

Let's see if I can summarize the third quarter in less than five words: punt, punt, punt, punt, and punt. Damn, that's six. The Eagles could not get anything going in the third quarter. The big plays are nice, but it's a little scary when the offense can't put together a long, solid scoring drive (maybe I'm the only one scared).

The Eagles couldn't add any points in the fourth either. More punts which forced the defense to spend an eternity on the football field during that last quarter. Campbell added another touchdown after the two minute warning, a 2 yard completion to Fred Davis (I missed that score because during the two minute warning commercial break I began flipping through the channels, and got stuck on the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien . I am a huge Conan fan and I loved him at 12:30 I watched it just about every night. But now, an hour earlier, is it working? It's crazy to think that NBC shows four of the same thing in a row, moving to 11:30 might have been the worst thing to happen to poor Conan. He's going up against Letterman, and the man he has replaced, hasn't really been replaced because he is on at 10. It's such a weird situation and a discussion for another day). I turned back in time for McNabb to take a knee; Eagles win in Washington, 27-17.

The Redskins are a mess. Head coach Jim Zorn was stripped of his play calling duties, and every time something went wrong on the field Zorn's face was priceless. He had the same look as the fans in the stadium, “What the heck. What kind of play call was that.” I even thought I saw the cord to his headset just dangling by his side. In all seriousness, at some point it goes beyond play calling and the players have to make plays. Dropped passes, poor blocking, and miscommunication on the field doesn't constitute as making plays. The Redskins are a mess (did I already say that?).

This game isn't exactly one where you can truly measure your team, but what else can we do? The defense played much better than last week, the blitzes were getting to Campbell and the disguises confused him. The Eagles recorded six sacks and forced four turnovers (one on special teams). Of course, the Redskins offensive line isn't packed with Pro Bowlers, but anytime you can wreak havoc on your opponent it's a good sign moving forward.

On the offensive side there are a lot of ups and downs. Sav Rocca punted the ball eight times; you never want to see your punter eight times against a bad team. The offense scored two touchdowns on big plays, but they also settled for field goals off turnovers. Yes, this offense is built for the homerun plays (like the Phillies. Prediction: Phils repeat in six games), but when you are in close games in the fourth quarter you have to be able to move the ball effectively and put together game-winning drives. LeSean McCoy had a nice game filling in for Westbrook, getting 14 carries and catching 5 passes, this is a multi-running back league and the Eagles might have found another head.

The problem still lies on 3 rd down, where the Eagles went 4-15. One of those four conversions was a 3 rd and 1 in the fourth quarter courtesy of Vick rushing for 9 yards.

Next Sunday the Eagles play the Giants and the Phillies play the Yankees. On a scale from 1 to 10, how much do you hate New York sports teams? 12? 13?

 

 

Justin Boylan

 

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