Monday, December 22, 2008

The Links to Failure

What a horrible Sunday. The Eagles choked, and the Flyers lost in a shootout to the hated Devils. At least the Flyers picked up a point yesterday after winning 7-1 Saturday. In that game, the Capitals completely dominated the Flyers for two periods, but Antero Niittymaki played out of his God damn mind, stopping 25 shots in the first period and making 47 saves in all in 48 shots. The Flyers were opportunists, scoring in the first on a goal by Joffrey Lupul and then a pair in the 2nd by Jeff Carter, one of which was a shorthanded breakaway.

Carter is now officially a star, leading the NHL in goals with 25, and his line is on fire. Scott Hartnell chipped in with a hat trick in a game where the final score really was deceiving. Washington outplayed the Flyers for two whole periods but found themselves down 3-0 because Niitty was just in the zone. That game was fun all around. Huge hits, chippy play and fights. Donald Brashear beat the shit out of Riley Cote, but Josh Gratton returned the favor for the Flyers, pummeling Matt Bradley.

This team is fun to watch. Unlike the Eagles … as some of the links will show.

-Paul Domowitch is not happy with Andy and Marty:

Thumbs down

-- To Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg for the lopsided playcalling. So the Redskins put an extra man in the box much of the game. So what? That's no excuse for 46 passes and 16 runs. That's no excuse for giving the ball to Brian Westbrook just four times in the second half. Enough already.

-Great read by Rich Hoffman:

They botched it, spectacularly. Destiny was in their hands and then it was clanking off of DeSean Jackson's, or L.J. Smith's, or Asante Samuel's. "It's simple: Catch the ball," tackle Jon Runyan said, tersely, eloquently, finally.

The thing was theirs. The Tampa Bay Bucs handed it to them just before the Eagles took the field against the Redskins. They had fought and clawed their way from oblivion over the last few weeks and the bright shining light of the playoffs was finally in view. They were in control. All they needed was two more wins, starting yesterday with the reeling Redskins.

So much work. So much digging. But the Eagles had done it. It was theirs. All of the carping and all of the midseason recriminations were about to be buried. They were favored, they were the better team, the more complete team, the more versatile team, the more explosive team, the hotter team, the destined team.

It was theirs. And then it wasn't. Destiny, ha.

-Phil Sheridan takes Reid to task:

Last week, Washington's Jim Zorn said he felt like "the worst coach in America" after his team lost to the Cincinnati Bengals. Yesterday, Zorn beat Andy Reid, completing a sweep of the two-game series with the Eagles.

Does that make Reid the worst coach in America? Of course not. He's the winningest coach in Eagles history. You can't just discount that. To pin this loss on Reid, you'd have to take a close look at how this 10-3 abomination came to pass.

And pass and pass and pass and pass.

The focus will be on the final 12 seconds, that final oh-so-close completion to Reggie Brown. But it should be on the preceding 59 minutes, 48 seconds, when Reid's offense was bullied and intimidated into its most embarrassing performance in a season full of contenders for that honor.

The Eagles started a three-game winning streak by running the ball more than Reid prefers, taking pressure off the slumping Donovan McNabb and giving his offensive line a chance to dictate the action for a change.

Now with a playoff berth there for the taking, Reid got back to his familiar balanced approach: He called passes as well as throws.

Take away the two junk runs at the end of the first half and the Eagles called just 12 runs while attempting 48 passes (not counting two McNabb spikes). That's an 80/20 split, if you're interested in percentages. That's just stupid, if you're interested in adjective.

Fred Smoot, whose heads-up play kept Reggie Brown from scoring the tying touchdown as time ran out, was grateful. He looks over and sees Westbrook and that big offensive line and wonders why the Eagles don't run the ball more.

"To me, it shocks me," Smoot said. "Especially having a guy like 36 back there. My goodness. If I was a coach, I wouldn't have a game where he didn't touch the ball 25 times. I make sure I put the ball in his hands."

Damn. Can we get Fred Smoot as our coach?

-The Carter line is just ridiculous right now.

Oh, and if you didn't watch the Lakers-Heat game Friday night, you missed some incredible basketball by Dwyane Wade and Kobe.

In a tight contest, the two were going back and forth, just making ridiculous shots. And Wade did it on defense too, blocking Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol consecutively. Then, the Kobe rimmed a game-tying shot as time expired. It was thrilling.

BallHype: hype it up!


  1. That Lakers-Heat game was amazing (or at least the 4th quarter was b/c that's all I saw other than the highlights). Must-see TV will be any game of significance that the Lakers are involved in this season. May I direct everybody's attention to the second game of the Christmas day double-header...