Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Wasn't All That Encouraged

The media is agog at the admittedly entertaining shoot-out the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys played last night. But honestly, I wasn’t all that encouraged.

First of all, the defense could not stop anyone. And Brian Dawkins was flat-out bad. You can’t play safety in the League if you cannot run with tight ends. He was chasing a lot of guys last night- and the Cowboys hit numerous big plays over the middle: how about that awful field goal drive to end the first half that gave the Cowboys not three free points, but made it a one score game again?

Paul Domowitch doesn’t want to pin the loss on McNabb. I don’t either. But still, how good was McNabb really? Again, very little offense, and nothing sustained, in the red zone. 281 yards passing in 37 attempts isn’t very good- and take out the "pretend" TD strike to DeSean Jackson – and McNabb is real close to pretty mediocre: 220-ish yards in 36 attempts, a fourth quarter turnover that defined brutal and game-changing. A veteran player simply cannot put the ball on the ground there. Throw in some sacks… I dunno- I thought the quarterback was a “C+” player last night.

Pus, the Eagles got a zillion breaks last night vis-à-vis scoring the football last night. They scored four touchdowns: one on defense, one on a nifty bubbly screen to Westbrook, and two were the referee put the ball on the one-yard line and gave’em four cracks to bust it in. They kicked a lot of field goals. Philadelphia was very effective moving the ball between the twenties for long stretches- but not so good in the red zone. Again. And it won’t get better- because Westbrook is the only player with any capacity to hurt opposing defenses in tight quarters. You wonder how many gift touchdowns the Eagles would have need to actually win this game? Four? Five?

And Philadelphia also couldn’t run it a lick or rush the passer.

Ultimately, the game was probably a free one. Unless you have the Eagles winning an insane 13-14 games, you are probably carrying this outing as a “loss”. But honestly, I saw nothing that moved me off my ten win forecast. They had a ton of fortune to stay with a team that was better than them- but not enough to win. And Westbrook, coupled with a merely good McNabb, is not enough to score touchdowns against quality defenses.