Tuesday, November 16, 2004

#5 + T.O. 4EVER!!!!!

Well, that was scary impressive, wasn’t it?

Okay, Dallas isn’t very good, but they were at home and they were just a few plays from 5-3. But that is sort of where the Eagles are right now. When Philadelphia plays even fairly well, and I don’t think that was exactly their A-game last night, the Eagles are simply three-four scores better than anyone in their division. And obviously, Donovan’s 14-second run to glory will probably be played at my funeral. Can’t go wrong, obviously, going to First Down Freddie when the chips are down.

After endless week after week of a bizarre offensive ennui, the Eagles got back to caring last night- and bang! Donovan and the boys go for 49, on the road, in a division game. In a perfect, irony-free world, without judgments, TO and Donovan could get married. Philadelphia’s offensive excellence, when they try, sort of lulls you to their achievements; you forget how impressive scoring 49 on the road is in this league.

You find yourself being frustrated, perhaps thwarted, by the strangest things. For example, I was disappointed TO ran out of touchdown celebrations (three scores). The last seemed contrived- although I liked the “Star Dance Redux” and his mock argument with #5. Or I must admit I am not exactly sure just how healthy this offense approach is long term- you know, most NFL championships aren’t really won with a game plan that seemingly calls for every other play to be a successful fifty yard strike downfield. Yes, I realize the book is, if you get a receiver covered one-on-one down the field, you have to take the shot- but with TO on the field, that situation exists every time you have three wideouts on the field. So I guess we have to sit back and be amazed. Poor Fred Smoot- just how is he sleeping this week? TO is coming for ya Fred! TO!

By the way, what genius called for TO to be covered by a 'backer on his first touchdown grab? Pathetic.

The Eagles seemed to recover almost completely on defense, despite idiotic prophecies that the kind of “beating” Pittsburgh handed down cannot be come back from. To begin with, Dallas could not run it a lick- although that was admittedly part and parcel of playing from seemingly behind by about a thousand all night long. The Cowboys did have a few drives, but you cannot in the NFL ask your defense to bring zealous intensity when up 21-28 points all night long. I am not sure if the Eagles had only scored 24, that Dallas could have gotten to 13.

Aren’t the young corners maturing nicely and playing extremely well- just like the two guys they replaced, whose names escape me? John Clayon wrote this week Lito Sheppard is the co-best corner in the NFC- the link is at the bottom. Now that might be a bit much- but, coming off being NFL Player on the Month, Sheppard was bulletproof again last night and scored a 101- yard touchdown. Like Clayton says, Lito is a lock to go to the Pro Bowl. And Sheldon Brown has to be one of the season’s nice surprises league wide.

Now Washington is coming in here- probably the worst team in this weak division- and not by a little bit. That fink Gibbs is denying the loyal faithful the pleasure of Brunell’s company. I really, really wanted to see the “genius” HoF coach’s $10 million a year pride and joy run for his fool life in front of the nation’s favorite drunken mob. Poor Ramsey. He will not be able to run from the Freak. The Freak will get him and eat him. Perhaps Ramsey could do something that could get him benched for Sunday? It’d probably have to an actual murder or something damn serious- as apparently drinking, driving and almost killing someone aren’t enough to even get you fined in DC.

However, I do think the Redskins will try and close ranks around the young quarterback. Fortunately for the Eagles, this Washington team defines vapid and stupid, week after week, and I think they are going to get ripped. I guarantee one Redskins TD will be called back due to some sort of formation penalty.

This is sort of an oddly important game for both franchises. This is probably Washington’s last real chance to salvage anything practical from this season- particularly with three of the next four against Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Otherwise it is a grim march to, at best, five wins. If their defense plays well, Ramsey shows flashes of competence and Portis has a decent game- the building blocks are arguably there for Washington to improve to something next year- particularly in a weak division. If McNabb goes for four scores, TO for another three, the skins’ offense is again pathetic, and they get their doors blown off- then the skins’ season is over- with increasingly little prospect for getting competitive next year. You can’t project ten wins if your quarterbacks cannot play.

If the ‘skins cannot be competitive nest year, this two-year window Gibbs’ experiment is officially a disaster. There is no Gibbs 2006 plan here- it is 2005 or bust. Increasingly, it is hard to argue that Gibbs has done anything but a bad job so far: the quarterback situation is the worst in the NFC, zero young talent on offense, “whither Portis and Cole?”, a defense that is soft in big spots, and a team worse than last year. I thought when Spurrier left, there was talent here- but this team is disorganized and plays soft a lot. How can you be down seventeen, at home, in the biggest game of the year, to Cincinnati?? That reflects the head coach.

Accordingly, if the Eagles get them 35-10 or so, which I think is very possible, the wheels could come off real quick- and put this franchise off as an issue in NFC East through 2007.