Monday, October 09, 2006

A Character Win

Needless to say, a huge win yesterday - 38 points is a lot to score against a Defense like the Cowboys have. And I don't think I've ever been to a more exciting sporting event, and I've never felt such positive energy from a Philly crowd. As a sidebar, I saw the fewest opponent jerseys ever at a game - either the Boys' fans were flying under the radar or the Birds' fans bought up all of the tix for T.O.'s homecoming (also, I think opposing fans have been well-warned about wearing opposing jerseys; not that it's the right way to be, but there will always be drunk belligerent Philly locals ready to pound you, whether we win or lose) any case, I was thankful to have been there - I think I'll even keep the ticket stub to remember this one.

Len Pasquerelli summarized the game nicely in the linked article - check it out ( I love Lennie because he give the Birds props on a regular basis. There were a lot of positives from this one:

* McNabb continued to show that he's having an MVP season. For the first season ever, I do not even have one piece of constructive criticism right now. He is doing everything right - his 3rd 300 yard game this season, 11 TD passes, only 1 INT, a couple rushing TDs, making smart throws and avoiding the rush....he's come into his own. When Stallworth returns, IT'S ON!

* Our Secondary stepped up on all fronts. Other than that poor decision by M.Lewis on 4th down in the last minute of the game, the DBs covered well and bullied the talented Cowboys WRs. Glenn and T.O. were pretty ineffective. And Lito was the player of the game - 2 INTs, a 100 yard return for a TD (to seal the game), and multiple blocked passes, all with a recovering high ankle sprain - can you imagine him missing this game? Joselio even stepped up and covered T.O. very well when Sheldon went out with an injury.

* The blitz package was money - once Bledsoe gets touched, he tends to crumble and that was the case yesterday...oddly, that's the opposite of McNabb who seems to throw better when he's being pressured. Darwin and Trent Cole were HUGE. 7 team sacks. Our D-line is sick this year, making swiss cheese out of almost every O-Line.

* Big Red adjusted at half time! The Boys were killing us with the run (J Jones had 100 yards rushing, most in the first half) and the second half we shut that down for the most part.

* Offensively, our O-line was superb in protecting McNabb for the pass, although the run game was a little weak - more on that later. The coaches did a good job picking out a weak point in the Cowboys' D - the rookie #25 Pat Watkins, who got toasted on Hank Baskett's 87-yard TD (Hank's 1st of the season in fact) and Watkins was weak with his pass coverage overall. We don't have the most talented WR corps in the league, but these guys have been playing hard and McNabb is using every last bit of talent they have. Glew stepped up and made some nice plays again.

As usual, there were some things that we didn't do well and need to improve if we're going to have a shot against playoff caliber teams:

1) The 2-Minute Offense & Defense: Our 2-minute, doesn't exist right now. I have yet to see a well thought-out game plan for moving the chains with a couple minutes on the clock. We always seem to take our time, even when we go no-huddle - it took 20 seconds for McNabb to get off no-huddle plays. Then, we run up the middle and kill the clock. I also was a little disappointed at the end of the game when we had a couple of 4th downs where we could have wrapped things up...instead we went to a dime package (i.e. the "prevent defense" which prevents you from winning) and they put zero pressure on Bledsoe and allowed him to make some throws. I think we should've just stuck with our game plan, blitzing an extra LB and having a centerfielder back there to ensure nothing deep. Maybe I'm over-simplifying but come on..stuff it on 4th down!

2) Our Hands: Man, there were a LOT of dropped passes yesterday. LJ had that nice 60 yard play, but wow, he had 2 or 3 key drops, including a TD (plus that horrible attempt at a tackle on McNabb's fumble). I'm sorry, I don't care how hard McNabb is throwing - if it hits both of your hands or hits your chest, you need to catch it, every time. That's what you do for a living, and nothing else.

3) Our Running Game: If we're going to compete against the best, we need to have a running game that can kill some clock and give our D a rest. The time of possession for almost every game is in favor of the opposition. Dallas was sustaining 12 play drives while we'd be on and off the field in 4 plays. A quick-strike offense is exciting and sexy, but you can't play a team like the Bears for instance and think that's going to fly. The Boys had 16 POSSESSIONS yesterday - an average team has about 10-12 per game. Our D is simply going to be spent by the end of the game at this pace. I assume the coaches understand this and it will be addressed. The Boys have a nice run D, so that could have been part of the problem.

Terrell Owens postlogue: Did you think I forgot about him? Yeh, I almost did...That's how irrelevant he was yesterday. But isn't it crazy how this talented WR is just on his way to becoming a sad tale? Reminds me of Michael Jackson in the late '80s. It was great seeing him shut down yesterday and watching him whine to his QB and anyone who would listen. I imagine Parcells will let that continue for about another day or two before squashing him. At the same time, I kind of feel bad for him - he could've had a great end to his career here in Philly and probably could've run for mayor after he retired. What a waste.


Blogger Dave Popstar said...

As critical as I am of the Birds' performance, it really was a great finish -- when Lito scored, I felt like I was in the middle of a 40 person jumping hug. I also remember Paulomon falling off the seat he was standing on, but not even thinking to brace his fall because his arms were fixed high in the air in celebration. It really was an amazing experience. And our victory was made even sweeter by the bad taste left in our mouth from the first half. (But still, I gladly could do without any of that first half bitterness).

10/09/2006 10:50 PM  

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