Monday, November 17, 2008

A Comeback, a Washout, Two Wins … and a Tie

If you want to be all technical about things, this weekend all the teams I root for went undefeated. Seriously. Check it out.

The Sixers made a miraculous comeback Friday, coming all the way back from 26 points down to eke out a 94-92 win in Indiana. Thaddeus Young continued his impressive early season play, leading the way with 25 points and 10 rebounds, and the Sixers had two others to finish with double-doubles—Andre Iguodala (10 points, 10 boards) and Elton Brand (14 points, 15 rebounds).

After not falling asleep until after 1 a.m. to watch Allen Iverson and the Pistons give the Lakers their first loss of the year, I awoke at 5:30 a.m. to drive out to Penn State. Why? I have no idea.

Upon arriving in State College, the rains were coming down, and they didn't stop the entire game. It was a miserable washout, and at halftime, Penn State was winning just 10-7 against Indiana. I repeat, Penn State was only up 3 points at halftime to Indiana. Sure, they rolled in the second half, but that game was just dumb.

It was a complete waste of time.

Luckily, I made it back to watch the Flyers game, and the Flyers looked damn good against the Canadians. Scottie Upshall had a nice deflection to put the Flyers on the board first, and Jeff Carter made it 2-0 with an unstoppable wrister on a breakaway.

The Flyers played great defense the rest of the way, with two players particularly impressive to me: Lasse Kukkonen, who John Stevens seems to hate but I think is a damn fine defenseman, and Glen Metropolit, who I think has been awful this year but really did play well Saturday.

Oh yeah, and I was checking in on the Sixers, who had no trouble trouncing the Thunder, again led by Young who scored a game-high 23 points on 10 of 15 shooting, and Sammy Dalembert added 16 rebounds.

So heading into yesterday's Eagles game, the weekend was shaping up nicely. Surely the Eagles would beat the lowly 1-8 Bengals, fix this rushing problem against the 25th-ranked rush defense and give everyone false hopes of actually making a serious push to the playoffs, right? Right?

Turns out, not so much. The Eagles were awful. Donovan McNabb was awful. Andy Reid was awful. And I have to say, I've been one of Donovan McNabb's biggest supporters. I think the guy has had a very good career and has been completely unappreciated overall.

Having said that, enough is enough. It's time for him to go. Yesterday, he threw three interceptions and lost a fumble against a below average defense. He's been getting progressively worse each and every game, and he didn't even know the overtime rules. Time to go.

The best thing this team can do is cut ties with its quarterback, head coach and really, the entire coaching staff. Bring in some fresh blood, start anew and try to rebuild the franchise. Because clearly, this is not working. I mean, a tie? Against the Bengals? Pathetic. Just pathetic. I have nothing left to say about this game.

Go check out what Les Bowen and Domo had to say.

Luckily, however, yesterday wasn't a complete waste. The Flyers continued their recent surge of good play, topping the Thrashers last night. Unfortunately for me, I was at a family party, so I missed the entire first two periods and the beginning of the third. Apparently I missed a lot: the Flyers building a 2-0 lead in the first thanks to goals by Gagne and Knuble, the Thrashers and Flyers exchanging goals in the second, and Atlanta making it a one-goal game just 35 seconds into the final period.

But that's where I came in. The Flyers were giving up some dangerous chances, leaving players wide open, but a combination of Antero Niittymaki and missing the net kept the Flyers ahead. Until a tired Flyers group that had just played the night before couldn't get the puck out of the zone. Tired players just couldn't move their legs fast enough, and with less than 8 minutes to play, Atlanta scored on a great play by Ilya Kovalchuk that led to a Slava Kozlov goal.

I thought for sure the Flyers were headed for overtime and possibly another shootout loss, but the Flyers showed a ton of resilience. Just 1:40 after Kozlov tied the game, Joffrey Lupul, who just a week ago was in Stevens' doghouse, somehow found the energy to charge up the ice, cut inside and fire a shot past Johan Hedberg to regain the lead and eventually win the game.

Simon Gagne was the first star of the game, scoring a goal and dishing out two assists. Boy is it good to have him back.

Thank goodness the Flyers seem to getting everything back together and Sixers finally look like they're beginning to gel. Accompany that with Penn State's success and the Phillies winning the World Series, and it's nice to have all these distractions from this dreadful Eagles team.

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