21
Dec
09

Eagles 27 49ers 13

A good win by the Birds yesterday.  I suppose some congratulations are in order as well because it clinched their 8th playoff appearance in the last 10 years.  I know we all bitch about Andy Reid and his playcalling disasters, his horrid clock management skills, his going 1-4 in NFC championship games, and of course his lack of Super Bowl victories.  Believe me, i’m one of his most vocal critics.  HOWEVER, I do have to give him some credit.  The Eagles are the 3rd most successful franchise in the NFL over the last decade trailing only the Patriots and the Colts.  Think about that for a minute.  For all the ups and downs, the closest thing the NFC has to a dynasty are the Eagles.  REALLY?? In this era of what-have-you-done-for-me-lately, Eagles fans tend to lose sight of the fact that unlike 90 percent of the teams in the entire league, the birds are competitive every year.  Yes they still lack a Super Bowl and yes we’d all love to see a season go by without needing bottles and bottles of antacids, but the truth is that we’re very lucky to even be in this position at all.  Jeffrey Lurie, Andy Reid, Joe Banner, and Tom Heckert deserve a lot of credit for creating an incredibly stable and consistently successful organization.  So congratulations to them on the playoff berth.  That being said, yesterday’s win was by no means perfect and there are still a few things that need to be ironed out as they march towards the playoffs

THE GOOD:                                                                                                                        

The Eagles won their 5th straight game, clinched a playoff spot, AND moved within a game of the Vikings.  That’s right.  If the Eagles win out and the Vikings drop one more game, the EAGLES will secure the #2 seed in the NFC playoffs.  (Note to Josh Elliot on Sportscenter: Um…did you bother to look at the standings this morning?  Did you?  Because if you did, you wouldn’t have said the Vikings have a virtual lock on the #2 seed in the NFC playoffs when the Eagles are only one game back of stealing it from them.)

Donovan Mcnabb threw for over 300 yards for the first time in the winning streak, DeSean Jackson had another 100 yard receiving game (& a TD) and the Eagles rushed 33 times for 116 yards and 2 TD’s.

Nobody seems to be talking about this but the Eagles have discovered how to mount long drives.  The 12 play 91 yard drive against the Giants last week (that also took about 7 minutes off the clock) was perhaps the best drive I’ve ever seen the Eagles go on.  It was the type of drive that distinguishes a championship team.  That trend continued yesterday against the 49ers.  They had drives of 5 plays and 50 yards, 9 plays and 94 yards, and 8 plays and 89 yards.  ALL 3 RESULTED IN TOUCHDOWNS.  I can’t stress the importance of that fact enough.  Earlier in the season, the Eagles would mount drive after drive and settle for field goals.  Thanks to Leonard Weaver and the team’s emphasis on sticking with the run (even when it doesn’t always work), that problem seems to have corrected itself somewhat.  While the Eagles remain a quick strike offense, they are now capable of mounting long drives that actually end with 6 points and not 3.  This is the type of football that wins playoff games.

Asante Samuel recovered a fumble, had an interception, and completely laid out Josh Morgan a few plays after Morgan made him look foolish (though I suspect Asante will be getting fined for the hit).

The Defense only gave up 13 points, got 4 turnovers, and had 3 sacks.  Nice rebound from last week.

Andy Reid won another replay challenge.

 

THE BAD:

Michael Vick running a stretch play on 3rd & 1. Why is he going sideways and not forward? (He didn’t succeed and even injured his quad on the play)

Why is Andy Reid going for it on 4th and inches from his own 29 early in the game with a lead? (Despite giving the ball to “The Weave,” they were not successful.  Luckily, the Defense bailed them out and only surrendered a field goal)

Speaking of Leonard Weaver…dude, WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING AT THE END OF THE FIRST HALF?? You cost the Eagles a shot at going for a TD.

McNabb’s two interceptions were both forced throws into double coverage.

Only 13 points off of 4 turnovers? Offense needs to do better than that.

Frank Gore became the firts RB to rush for over 100 yards against the Eagles in 24 games.  Several missed tackles contributed to his stats and shoddy tackling remains a concern going forward.

THE VERDICT:

A good win but it really should have been a blowout.  The Eagles continue to allow teams to stay close enough to make things interesting at the end of the game.  I realize that at this stage of the season any win is a good win but the Eagles are talented enough that they should not allow clearly inferior teams to stick around.  I would like them to find a way to start delivering some knockout blows. 

 

UP NEXT: THE DENVER BRONCOS

Next Sunday will be as difficult and emotional a game the Eagles have had all season.  The Denver Broncos, led by their stud receiver Brandon Marshall and fresh off a loss to the Oakland Raiders, come to town in what is a HUGE game for them because of their tenuous hold on a playoff position.  Despite that, the story of the week will no doubt be Brian Dawkins making his long awaited return to Philadelphia.  I have no doubt that B-Dawk will get the loudest and longest ovation of any player on either team when he is introduced.  Dawkins remains one of the most beloved Eagles of all time and birds fans everywhere will no doubt have a difficult time watching him in another team’s uniform. Personally, I can think of no better way to welcome him home than having DeSean Jackson burn him and his new buddies for at least 2 long touchdowns…

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