Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ten Points about Eagles-Redskins

No play by play this week; I was taking care of the Shooter Kids, which made that level of detail work impossible. So here are the ten long-form thoughts about a plainly ridiculous game...

1) If the Eagles can keep QB Michael Vick healthy, and if the line can keep giving him a chance to make plays... well, what is supposed to be a rebuilding year could be an awful lot more than that. Some of the plays that he made in this game were just absurd on every level, and while you also need to give credit to the Eagle wideouts, the explosiveness that was shown here was just something out of a video game. I've been watching football for 35 years; I've never seen any offense, let alone one in this laundry, that did what they did tonight. The only thing that kept the Eagles from triple digits was the club wanting to take time off the clock, and coach Andy Reid's basic sense of human decency. He was that good.

2) Nothing the Skins could have done tonight would have made a difference, but it's still noteworthy that coach Mike Shanahan did very little to make things difficult on the road team tonight. In the first quarter with the game running away, the play calling was uninspired and unthreatening. With his defense in tatters, he never called a trick play on special teams, never went for it on fourth down, never adjusted his defense to just rush two and try something different. Instead, he took his beating, off a bye week, like the old and tired loser that he is. Oh, and he's also now locked into QB Donovan McNabb when he probably doesn't want him. Good luck with all of that, Mike.

3) CB Dmitri Patterson had a few ugly moments in this one, but he also had a third quarter TAInt and more positive plays than negative, and showed a nice recovery from mistakes. He's going to be the primary target for the opposition every week, but after last week's solid effort against Peyton Manning and tonight, we can safely say that we've seen the last meaningful role for CB Ellis Hobbs. And not a moment too soon.

4) I'm as big of an apologist for McNabb that's ever walked. Tonight, he was terrible on third down -- the Skins were 0 for 10 on third down, and McNabb ranks something like 38th out of 39 qualifying QBs on third-down efficiency. And while he still throws some of the best deep balls in the league, and certainly wasn't the biggest reason why his team got toasted, that deep ball looks an awful lot like the last piece to go at the end of days. Let's just say that Redskins Fan can't be too happy about owner Daniel Synder giving him a contract extension, and a big chunk of guaranteed money, right about now...

5) It's a small point, but the trade of RB Mike Bell to the Browns for RB James Harrison looks like grade-A thievery. Harrison's burst is just a plus, he rarely goes down on first contact, and while he might never be much in the passing game or a terribly large part of the attack, he's just a good football player. Bell, not so much.

6) In the third quarter on a broken play, Vick was caught and slammed by safety LaRon Landry. It might have been the best play of the night that the defense made against him. And it gained two yards. That was the kind of night it was for the home defense.

7) There's bad, there's miserable, and there's getting your spine ripped out on national television, in the rain, as tens of thousands of Enemy Fan laughs at your pain, the same way they did during baseball season. If this wasn't the most miserable night to be Redskin Fan, I'm not sure what is. (Then again, after this many years of Daniel Snyder, I'm thinking they are used to it.)

8) Another game, another experience where the opposing team's #1 WR could join the witness protection program. CB Asante Samuel is a routine commuter to the Pro Bowl, and given that the other side is manned by a fifth year guy that 's making the first starts of his NFL career, I'd go hard after him as well. But the point needs to be made, especially when the puling begins about how Samuel shies away from contact. He's really, really good, and for more than gambling to make big plays.

9) When your franchise thinks that a 39-year-old speed WR is worth a roster spot, that's an indictment of your franchise and the way they make decisions. The Skins employ WR Joey Galloway. Nuff 'said.

10) On the final touchdown to WR Jason Avant (and Avant had a very nice game tonight, too, and that's a big deal, given that TE Brent Celek is the most overrated guy at his position this side of Jeremy Shockey, since his next catch in traffic this year might be his first), Vick had 8 seconds to throw, and looked for all the world like a maestro orchaestrating the other 21 men on the field. Like a marionette, he made DE Albert Haynesworth jump into the air to block a pass that never came, then fall down and quit. That, more than anything else, is the visual takeaway I'll keep from this game: a QB, playing at a level that very few have ever reached, making the other team look silly. Amazing on every level. See you next week.

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