Thursday, December 2, 2010

Eagles - Texans Diary: Bet The Over

KR Jorrick Calvin goes the distance, but TE Clay Harbor is flagged, so that's just your run of the mill 90-yard penalty to start things. Oh well. So QB Mike Vick just takes a simple 30-yard deep center ball to WR DeSean Jackson, and we're well on our way while the fireworks smoke is still in the air. Quick odd rollout and contained pass to WR Jason Avant is almost wiped by a flag, and now we've got the first opportunity to hear just how awful the NFLN announcers are. Vick to RB Shady McCoy for 16 on a screen where the back makes two guys miss. RB Chad Hall gets a carry for no good reason. LT Winston Justice takes a false start. From the gun, Vick gets it to WR Jeremy Maclin for a short gain, setting up third and nine. With the figgie on the line, Vick from the gun gets it to TE Brent Celek for 20, and that's a continued good sign of resurgence from 2009's reception leader. Nice safe pocket there, too. The QB scampers for four, and man alive, the Texans do not look like they can tackle at all. Vick to Maclin for 11 as Joe Theismann talks about how Green isn't any good in the red zone; whoops. Vick throws it away on an odd play. Hall nearly gets in on a Wildcat, and then McCoy scores on a throw from Vick... or at least that's what I presume happens, becuase that's what's reported online. I don't get to see the play live as the Shooter Eldest decides this is the perfect moment to kick the power cord out of the wall. K David Akers converts the extra point as I consider what the proper term for kidicide is (spawnicide? daughtericide?), and that's a mighty fine opening touchdown drive, a signature moment from the Vick Birds, and the QB is perfect so far tonight. 7-0 after 7 minutes. (Just saw the touchdown; wow, was that ever easy.)

The feed comes back as the Texans move into Eagle territory with QB Matt Schaub finding FB Vonta Leach at the last instant; I missed a WR Andre Johnson catch and CB Dmitri Patterson face mask. RB Arian Foster gets laid out on a screen after a false start, and it's 2nd and 17 in a hurry. From the gun, Foster gets a few on a draw, and if Green can limit the damage to a figgie, I take that all night. 3rd and 14 from the gun shows great work from the secondary, and Schaub finally rolls left and misses TE Joel Dressens. Real nice work from a patchwork secondary that's missing CB Asante Samuel. K Neil Rackers hits from 48, because long figgies always work against my team, and it's 7-3 Green after 10 minutes of game time. The 60-point over is well within reach.

Colvin gets a 32-yard return, and the Texans special teams looks no better than their defense. Millen and Theismann redefine comedy as things that aren't funny, and Celek erases DE Mario Williams as McCoy gets easy yards and a first. The next play is an awkward shotgun handoff that goes to the ground, and it's luckily recovered; disturbing trend from the QB. Vick turns on the jets for seven yards, embarrassing the defense. On third and four, it's an easy out to DJ, who spins and gets an extra dozen yards, and Peters pancaked a guy to boot. Tasty! McCoy makes two guys miss for a gain of two. An end around to DJ is well played, with S Bernard Pollard delaying the wideout enough to force a loss. On third and 8, Vick takes ten on a center scramble, and that's just fun, really. Vick tries for Celek, but the ball never gets to the man, and the QB takes a hit. McCoy on a center gallop, and the RB just looks like he's shot from a cannon there. The quarter ends with a first and goal, and the offense not quite at Redskin Killing Level, but close. Eagles 7, Texans 3, and the man now has a 141 rating in the first quarter for the year. Yeesh.

From the gun, Vick settles for McCoy in the flat for a few. Center give to McCoy, and that's nearly as easy as the first one; wow. The offensive line is just men against boys right now; disinterested boys. Akers for the PAT, and it's 14-3 in 15.5 minutes, with the Eagles holding it for 12.5 minutes. Fun.

As Theismann illuminates us all on the difference between three and seven, ex-star and current scrub KR Steve Slaton takes it back 21 yards. I'm never going to be able to look at this guy without thinking about how badly he broke my heart in fantasy. Die, Steve Slaton, Die. Foster for nine on a big hole, and I'm really hoping the Texans aren't patient enough to keep doing that. Relatively easy second down conversion as the back goes left. Schaub on a long and slow rollout throws it away as Johnson lets it go, rather than touch it after going out of bounds, Schaub can't connect with Dressens, who was wide open, but the ball was behind the man. Third and long is a big deal, and Schaub from the gun gets his pass tipped by blitzing S Quentin Mikell. P Matt Turk hits a duck that gets a Texans bounce for 35 ugly yards of net, and we go to third-rate commerce.

Johnson goes to the locker room, and it's beginning to look a lot like Greeen. Vick rolls and finds Maclin for a cotton candy easy crossing route; 34 yards, and Vick already has 147 yards through the air. Reid takes a timeout just to prove he can still derail things, and to give NFLN more time to praise Vick. From the gun, the QB takes a sack from Pollard; somewhat tentative there, but at least the ball wasn't fumbled. Vick finds Maclin for 12 as the line does the work, and this is getting clinical. RB Jerome Harrison loses to the left as Pollard makes another play. From the gun on second, Maclin takes his eyes off a screen; not so good. Another long third down, not that this offense seems to care about such things, and Reid burns another timeout from a formation issue. Sigh. Third and 11 from the gun sees Vick make two guys miss, and a face mask penalty is missed, because Vick takes hits no other QB does. K David Akers sneaks it in, and it's 17-3 after 20 minutes of play. Slaton doesn't run out the next kick.

Foster for little, as DE Trent Cole is manly, then a few more, as Johnson stays in the locker room. On third and 8, Cole jumps and Schaub connects for the first, and Johnson returns to the sidelines. Foster is met with violence by MLB Stewart Bradley, but it happens five yards downfield. The back comes again for seven, and the Texans' offensive line is starting to show a pulse. Johnson in, and Scahub finds him for an easy floater where the secondary fails badly; any competent QB gets seven there, but Johnson has to settle for 42 yards. Foster for four, and then Schaub has all day to find WR Jacoby Jones. Looks like we'll have a game, and that game will be pinball. 80 yard Texans drive makes it 17-10 with 5:38 left in the second.

Colvin wth another good return. Vick leads McCoy nicely, and the RB makes another guy miss for nine yards. Hall converts the short second down. Vick to McCoy again for positive yards, and these throws look simple, but are very accurate. On second and 2, the QB nearly makes me eat my heart with a telegraphed out that's nearly taken for six; gahhh. Third and two from midfield is another throw to McCoy, and the RB can't convert. What could have been a blowout is really looking not so much, and Theismann, correctly, tears into the playcalling. P Sav Rocca gets it to the 15, where Jones calls for the fair catch.

The Texans flinch to start the drive; useful. Schaub can't connect with WR Kevin Walter, but the refs bail the road team out with a roughing the passer call where Cole got low. Patterson stuffs Foster after the line gets penetration, and the big back is only 10 for 27 so far tonight. Johnson takes a short screen, and that's the two minute warning. Had Green not blown their timeouts, I'd have dreams of a stop and drive; as is, I'm just hoping to be ahead when the half ends.

Third and 9 sees Schaub from the gun, and it's an easy ball to Dreesens. Such a joy to see the TE gash the defense, year after year.... and Schaub throws an unconscionably pick to DT Trevor Laws, who keeps his feet and collects an utter gift. Foster forces a fumble, but reserve CB Trevor Lindley falls on it, and it's a first down for Green in the red zone. Immense play.

From the gun and looking for a kill shot, Vick misses Maclin in the end zone. The QB somehow escapes a jailbreak blitz from a LB, and that's unreal. The Texans call timeout to try to get their eyes back in their heads, and that's a seven yard gain. Third and three from the 11 is Vick from the gun, and he finds Maclin on a short button for the first down. Big play. Vick tries WR Jason Avant, but the WR lets it get to his chest and bounces off; ugh. McCoy from a shotgun sweep gets it close, and the final timeout of the half comes with 27 seconds left. From the gun on third, Vick hits Celek, who can't hold on, and for heaven's sake... I'm starting to lose faith in all kinds of people here. Seven dropped touchdown passes in the last two games, according to NFLN. Akers connects, and it's 20-10 Green.

Slaton is stopped at the 25 with 15 seconds left; an offsides gets it to the 30. Houston with two timeouts and some options. Schaub to Dreesens, who avoid the tackle and gets it to midfield with 8 seconds left. Sigh. Schaub from the gun rolls right, takes too much time to throw it away, and goes down hard as DE Darryl Tapp influences the QB down to a whipping motion. Ouch. Backup QB Dan Orlovsky has to find a helmet as the Texans lose their last timeout. Foster runs for empty yards, and that's the half.

I get back to the third quater after four minutes of action; the drive clock shows the Texans have had it all that time. On a third and 8 in figgie range, Schaub misses reserve RB Derrick Ward, but an offsides to Laws gives them another shot. Third and three is Schaub to reserve TE James Casey, and that was silly easy again; a blitz doesn't get there. From the 15, Foster wiggles for a couple. The worst red zone defense in decades, says NFLN, and to prove the point, Foster takes a center pass, steamrolls S Nate Allen, and scores. Yeesh. Rackers hits the PAT, and it's Eagles 20, Texans 17. The home team ain't winning this game without 35 points, folks.

Colvin to the 25 on a short kick. All on the offense now, and Vick burns for 12 and slides. Celek on a slogging screen for seven yards. Vick is hurried by Pollard and nearly connects with DJ, who wants a flag that doesn't come; I guess it's OK to go low on a QB if the QB can run. On third and two, Vick tries Maclin on a deep ball, and it's his second pick of the year and an arm punt. Underthrown ball, and given how the defense is playing, we're not far from the road team taking the lead.

Schaub on a well-executed rollout, but it's late to Johnson, who is blanketed by Mikell, who might have gotten away with one there. Foster through a big hole to the right for 9, and they should do that all day. On third and one, the Texans are 15 for 15, and after a give to Foster, it's 16 for 16. Foster again for four, then Schaub from the gun misses Dreesens on a blitz; that should have gone for 40 yards or more. Third and six from the gun sees Schaub connect with WR David Anderson, who takes a hit but holds on for the first. From the 45, DT Mike Patterson gets to the QB for a loss of seven, and Foster falls trying to set up the outlet. The give to Foster gets nothing, and that's an odd call. Huge third down for the home team here, and Schaub throws a back shoulder ball to Johnson, who gets away with a push for an instant five yards of separation and a back-breaking first down. 31 yards, ouch.

Ward for ten around the left side as the defense is showing signs of quit, and the Texans are getting the benefit of no calls. Another huge long drive for the Texans; Ward gets three on a Patterson hit. Schaub escapes pressure to Foster, and the flag is on LB Moises Fokou to boot. This defense is just terrible; these teams are mirror images of each other, but the Texans have a power running game. Foster for more, then again for the score, and that's the first road lead of the game. Just awful defense; just predictable on every level. Rackers PAT, and it's Texans 24, Eagles 20.

Backup TE Clay Harbor takes a bouncing kick back to the 40, which helps, I guess, but it's hard to feel real good about anything when a second quarter blowout turns into a fully blown lead. McCoy for five on first, then Celek for nine, and that's the end of the third quarter.

From the 46, Vick on a "designed run", which seems designed to get him to get two yards and pain. On second, Vick has all day and a wide-open DJ, and that's 35 yards of easy; wow. From just outside the 10, it;s McCoy on a screen to just before the stripe. DJ limps off as the measurement shows inches to go, inside the one. A power formation QB sneak works, and that's a three minute touchdown drive to retake the lead. Akers with the PAT, and it's Eagles 27, Texans 24. Hope you took the over.

Slaton to the 23 as Green doesn't have the courage to try the onside kick. Eagle Fan tries to get loud despite their dread. Schaub gets Walter some pain in the flat for three, then Johnson, who is just owning Patterson. A false start pushes them back, not that five yards for the offense is a problem tonight. Schaub throws away from Tapp pressure to set up 2nd and 15. Offsides on DT Broderick Bunkley; the defense is showing a lot of interest in a cheat move. Schaub to Dreesen for three as NFLN pules for a flag on Sims. Third and seven is more hope than confidence; Schaub from the gun has time, but then skips it to Walter; unforced error. Turk's punt to DJ is fair caught at the 28, and if the offense can simply score touchdowns on every remaining possesion, Green can win this. Any other way seems less likely.

McCoy for three, and it was almost more. Clock running, not that it matters. Screen to McCoy for 39, and oh man, are the Texans bad at covering these; the RB doesn't even have a guy to make miss for a long, long while. Harrison bounces a run to the right for another first down as Pollard got lost. First down at the 15 is a shotgun give to Harrison, who goes for six more. On second, a false start; not helpful, and the ninth flag of the night on Green. From the gun, Vick avoids pressure and a slap to the head, and T King Dunlop, in for the injured Winston Justice, gets the holding call. Going backwards at the wrong time here. Second and 19 to Celek doesn't connect; the TE wants a call but doesn't deserve it, and Pollard is down. Third and 19 from the 24 is from the gun, and Celek makes a great effort to get it close; possible replay challenge here that the Eagles might even win for once, not that Andy seems to have any idea on what to do with the flag. Finally the big load does it, somehow before a delay of game flag is called, and we'll have a challenge. Yeesh.

The review is Kind of Important, Really, and Green actually gets the call. Glad I was sitting down for that, really. Immense play by Celek, and Reid is now 2 for 5 on challenges; I was certain he was 0 for 30. McCoy gets nothing as Pollard returns; we're under five minutes to go now. Have to get the TD... and Vick connects with FB Owen Schmitt to do just that. With 4:18 left, Akers makes it 34-24.

Another Not Onside Kick, and Slaton bobbles it, then gets to the 25. Schaub to Dreesen for 15 in the hurry up. A blitz forces a toss out of the pocket, but Foster is tagged for a hold; he's pretty bad at it, really. Schaub misses Casey, who joins the chorus of men singing for flags. Mikell jumps a route but drops the ball, and it's 3rd and 20 all of a sudden. A screen to Foster gets six, but that's also flag #11 for offsides; gahhh. From the gun, Schaub connects with Walter for a chunk, setting up fourth and five. The chance to put the game away... and the Texans call time with 3:24 left to talk it over. From the gun, the Eagles bring heat, Schaub goes deep to Walter, no flag bails the road team ou, and the QB throws a hissy fit. That shoud be the ball game.

As NFLN pules for bailout calls for a touch to the helmet that doesn't exists -- god, Theismann is horrible -- Green calls two runs to eat up the last Texans timeouts. Texans coach Gary Kubiak joins in the Wahh Parade, and the Birds try to throw for the first; incomplete. I'm thinking that Reid didn't want to cover the 9 point spread. So the Texans get it back at their 11 with 2:57 left, and it's still a game. Woof.

Schaub to Johnson for 40 yards down the gut. Unreal. But on the next play, Schaub sleeps on Nate Allen's blitz, and the rookie S strips the ball, leading to a Tapp recovery. If you want the tape on why the Texans QB isn't really a star, this game tape will do nicely.

Vick trips on first, leading to the two minute warning. McCoy for a few, then loses on a toss on one of the few plays that Mario Williams made tonight. Rocca punts it at 32 seconds left, and Jones gets wiped out at his own 11. Scahaub to Johnson for 10 more meaningless yards, and the last play of the game sees Jones dropped after 10 before he can lateral. That's your ball game; Eagles 34, Texans 24, and wonder of wonders, a cover. See you in nine days for SNF against Dallas.

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