This weekend was about as bad it gets football-wise for me. Penn State, following a very hard-fought first half, got completely blitzed in the second half to lose 35-23 to Ohio State, while the Eagles got flat out embarrassed by the Atlanta Falcons, giving Andy Reid his first regular-season loss following a bye week of his head coaching career.
Honestly, there's not too much to go over for either game, though there are a few things I'd like to note about the Penn State-Ohio State game. For starters, I can't say enough about the make-up of this Penn State team. Even after missing several blown opportunities to make big plays — namely a slightly off-target pass to Allen Robinson that Robinson still probably should have brought in and a sure-fire pick six dropped by Stephen Obeng-Agyapong — the Nittany Lions played tremendous defense and took a 7-0 lead on a blocked punt my Mike Hull, and even when they fell behind, they never quit, making the final score respectable.
I will say that it's disappointing that the referees' horrid call extended Ohio State's final drive of the first half, which directly led to a tired defense that thought it had gotten off the field surrendering a momentum-altering touchdown to tie it up just before half. The defense played outstanding in that opening half, but you can only contain Braxton Miller for so long. If Penn State does get that stop and then manages to score before halftime, or even just take that 7-0 into the break, who knows how things play out.
Still, that terrible (and I mean terrible) call aside, this game was lost in the third quarter. Coming out of the break, Matt McGloin tossed an atrocious pick six, the type of throw that he became known for prior to this season, and the game spiraled out of control from there. Urban Meyer and Luke Fickell flat out outcoached Bill O'Brien and Ted Roof from there on out, the first time all season really where the new Penn State staff has been overmatched.
The Ohio State defense, which came into the game struggling, was dominant, completely shutting down Penn State's exciting attack. Fickell was clearly ready for this one and overwhelmed O'Brien and his players.
As for Meyer, he found a way to let his quarterback loose even as he was struggling to throw the ball, and Braxton Miller simply took over in the third quarter. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, this one was all but over.
Like I said, credit to Penn State for not giving up and laying down, fighting until the very end, but the Buckeyes simply outclassed the Nittany Lions on Saturday in the second half.
It was a nice measuring stick, and while the outcome was not desirable, it's proof that Penn State hasn't fallen off as dramatically as some suspected — at least not yet — and that O'Brien and his staff are still headed in the right direction.
As for the Eagles, what can you really say about that 30-17 embarrassment other than not a single player, unit or coach looked even remotely good? Everyone sucked. The defense couldn't stop the Falcons to save its life, looking worse than if ever did under the admittedly underqualified Juan Castillo. The offense was inept and laughable. And the special teams is the special teams.
There's not much else to say about this team other than the longer this goes on, the more it feels like the Andy Reid era is coming to a close. Speaking of Andy, the most entertaining thing about Sunday was former Eagle Asante Samuel's remarks about his former coach after the game.
The 2012 Philadelphia Eagles suck.