They say there's no such thing as an ugly win (and by they, I mean my father). Well, they are wrong, because wins like the Eagles' 27-24 mockery of a game qualify as ugly, no matter the outcome. And that win yesterday was far from pretty. I think Spencer summed it up best:
List of scores of games that were so fucking awful, you had to be the biggest masochist in the world:
• Miami 14, Buffalo 31
• Seattle 27, St. Louis 17
• Washington 24, Philly 27
• KC 14, SD 43
• Jacksonville 3, SF 20
I can only assume he meant biggest masochist in the world to have watched them. Well, I'm a dedicated, life-long Eagles fan — so yeah, definitely a masochist.
This game was so incredibly painful to watch from the very moment it began. As in right from the opening kickoff. Immediately, Andy Reid and the Eagles wasted no time giving fans another case of indigestion they thought they had gotten rid of on Friday. Against the Washington Redskins — a team that had not scored an offensive touchdown in the first half in the past three games, a team that was coming off a six-point performance against the Cowboys, a team that has the fourth worst scoring offense, better than only the Rams, Browns and Raiders, a team that is struggling mightily to put it mildly on offense — the Eagles decided to start the game by attempting an onside kick. They did not recover it. No, instead the ball hit off of Joe Mays before it went 10 yards, then Quinton Ganther of the Skins not only recovered the onside attempt, but returned it 25 yards. The penalty for illegal touching tacked on another five, and the Redskins were handed the ball at the Philadelphia 19 for the very first drive.
Unsurprisingly, the Skins scored on four plays to go up 7-0. Because they only had to go 19 yards. Of all the teams in the league to try to catch off-guard with an onside kick on the opening kickoff, doing it against the Redskins makes the least sense. Washington has not been able to put together long drives all season, so the smart thing to do, no, the right thing to do is to kick it deep and make the Redskins have to put together a long 70- to 80-yard drive to score. Chances are that with their anemic offense, they wouldn't, and the Eagles wouldn't be in a hole. Instead, genius Andy Reid decided it would be a good idea give a struggling offense a shot in the arm by giving it the ball in great field position on the very first drive. It was a ludicrous decision by a ludicrous man.
Even more insane was the commentary by everyone's favorite dynamic duo Moose and Goose. Immediately when David Akers struck the ball, my dad and I looked at each other and said, "What the hell are they doing?" You know why? Because that onside kick was one of the dumbest calls considering the opponent ever. In the history of football. Scratch that, in the history of sports. In my opinion, it blew Belichick-gate against the Colts out of the water. There is no defending that onside kick against that team. None. But that didn't stop Daryl Johnston from proclaiming it a great call, a call that caught the Redskins by surprise, a call that was the right one and there but simply not executed. Hey, Moose … wrong, wroNG, WRONG! Washington wasn't caught off-guard, even if most of the up men were pedaling back, because they recovered the god damn kick. If they were so surprised, there wouldn't have been anyone there to recover it. And seeing as Ganther never even moved and the ball went right to him so perfectly that he could return it 25 yards, I'd say it made the call that much worse. Perhaps some of the Skins were surprised, but not the one who the ball was kicked toward. And if it was such a great call, how would it be possible for the guy who recovered it for the other team to return it 25 yards? You've lost your god damn mind.
The play wasn't "properly executed" according to Moose. Just because it could have been recovered by Philadelphia if the Eagles had executed it perfectly — which can be said for any call ever in the history of sports, no matter how mind-numbingly retarded the call is — doesn't mean it was a great call. The Eagles didn't execute. Instead, they gave the ball to a struggling offense at the 19 yard line and spotted them a 7-0 lead in an important divisional game. It was an idiotic decision. Yet all game long, Moose kept referring to it as a great call that wasn't executed, and the more Johnston kept saying it, the more it convinced his butt buddy Goose that it was a good call.
More like …
The game didn't get much better from there. Yes, the Eagles took the lead by scoring on their next two drives, the second highlighted by a 35-yard touchdown pass by Donovan McNabb to a completely uncovered DeSean Jackson (try to figure that one out), but the Eagles couldn't put away Washington to save their lives. They committed costly penalty after costly penalty, couldn't get off the field defensively, continuously giving up first downs to a horrific Washington offense on third and longs, and were seemingly sleep-walking through most of the game. After going up 10-7, they allowed the Skins to build up a 24-16 lead before finally turning it on in the fourth quarter.
Really, it's hard to take away many positives from the game. All I can really say is offensively, thank god for LeSean McCoy and Jason Avant; defensively, praise jebus for Trent Cole and Asante Samuel. Without those four guys, and a steady Donovan McNabb, the Eagles would have not only lost but would have been embarrassed yesterday.
On defense, the interior linemen got absolutely no push, Juqua Parker was invisible, the linebackers looked slow and out of position, and the secondary looked vulnerable. They were especially atrocious on third downs, allowing Washington to go 8-17, and at one point 8 of 12. It was sad. Luckily for Philadelphia, Asante made two excellent, key interceptions by breaking on the ball as only he can, and Trent Cole was a beast all game long. In fact, it's safe to say Cole was the best player on the field yesterday. Imagine if that guy had a little help on the other side.
Offensively, the Eagles sputtered terribly to begin the second half, going three and out on their first three possessions of the half, and then turning it over on a pick on their fourth. The normally reliable Brent Celek starting dropping everything in sight, and turns out he may have torn ligaments in his hand. Adding insult (and injury) to injury, DeSean Jackson left with a concussion, though the Fox crew didn't feel obligated to inform us of what Jackson's injury was. I guess Goose's "sideline reporting" was sidetracked from all the nonsense he was spewing about that great onside kick call. Just what the Eagles need — more major injuries to key players.
Good thing Jason Avant and LeSean McCoy were there to carry the load. Avant, a player I used to cringe about when I heard his name due to his catch/no-catch against Penn State in 2005 that helped extend the drive that ruined Penn State's undefeated season, has developed into a serious threat at wide receiver. He unquestionably has the best hands on the team, and there is no better Eagle at snatching the ball in traffic. The ridiculous catches he makes on a weekly basis are beginning to become the thing of legend, and I honestly don't think there are many more reliable, underrated third receivers in the NFL.
Seriously, his foot was out, Mike Hart fumbled, Lloyd Carr somehow was given time back on the clock and that final touchdown was Alan Zemaitis' fault no matter what anyone says ever (I'm not bitter, honestly).
For a Michigan man, he ain't half bad. And LeSean McCoy, another player who went to a college I despise, has certainly proven his worth this season. With Brian Westbrook on the shelf, McCoy has flourished for the Eagles as the lead running back. He was effective again yesterday, picking up 76 yards on 17 carries and four catches for 25 yards. Plus, he made the play of the game, somehow managing to stay on his feet on the two-point conversion that tied the game at 24 with 7:24 left to go. I honestly don't know how he managed to stay up on that shovel pass without even putting his hand down to regain his balance. It was remarkable.
David Akers came through huge as well, going a perfect 4-for-4 on field goals including the game-winner from 32 yards out with less than two minutes to go, and the Eagles got a stop when they needed it, but that was one ugly win with two imbeciles trying way too hard to defend a moronic call by Andy Reid. But a win is a win, as they say, even if it looks like Rosie O'Donnell. Somehow, this inconsistent, maddening team that is riddled with injuries sits at 7-4 and leads the NFC wild card. The NFL is crazy like that sometimes.
Speaking of crazy, have you all seen what Vince Young and Chris Johnson are doing in Tennessee these days? If not, you're really missing out. After starting the season a shocking 0-6, Jeff Fisher pulled the pride of Penn State Kerry Collins in favor of Vince Young, and Chris Johnson, the best running back in all the land this season, proclaimed the Titans were going to win 10 straight. Don't look now, but after defeating the Arizona Cardinals 20-17 yesterday, the Titans are now 5-6, halfway to the 10 straight predicted by Johnson. And they're doing it all behind Johnson and Young.
If you didn't see highlights of the game yesterday, you missed out. VY had a career game, throwing for 387 yards on 27-43 passing and a score, which came in the final two minutes, capping off an improbable, impossible 99-yard game-winning drive, and Johnson, who leads the NFL in rushing with 1,396 yards — 276 yards more than second-place Steven Jackson — added 154 and a score on the ground himself. Good god were those two impressive.
These two are making the rest of the league look stupid, and the duo of Chris Johnson and Vince Young have turned an 0-6 team that was at the bottom of the standings to the hottest, most dangerous team in football. I don't even think the likes of Indy, New England, Minnesota or New Orleans want anything to do with Tennessee right now, at least not during this streak.
Vince is here to stay, ladies and gentlemen. And Adrian, watch your back. There may be a new No. 1 fantasy pick at running back in 2010 by the name of Chris Johnson. Don't sleep on Tennessee. Not with Vince under center and Chris Johnson running all over the league.