Tuesday Morning Quarterback

Tuesday, September 16, 2008 ·

After sleeping on the four point loss to the hated Cowboys, an objective analysis is needed. This was a game that was expected to be an “L” by most at the beginning of the season, but our Birds didn’t go down without a fight. Let’s take a look at some of the positives.

We Hung In Against a Super Bowl Contender
As much as we hate to admit it, Dallas is the class of the NFC. However, in this measuring stick of a game, the Eagles showed they can hang with the big boys and gave Dallas a run for their money.

DeSean Jackson Looks Like He’s For Real
Other than him flinging the ball away before he crossed the goal line (and dancing like he was having a seizure), Jackson had another 100+ yard game. He becomes the first rookie in 68 years to have over 100 yards in his first two games. And if you knew the answer was Don Looney in 1940 before ESPN said it, you get bonus points.

Burning Questions
Shawn Andrews left the game with an apparent back injury, but when did it happen? Max Jean-Gilles filled in admirably, but the Eagles Offensive Line in the fourth quarter looked tired and lost at times. Could Andrews have helped?

What was Andy Reid, and McNabb, thinking on some of those playcalls in the fourth quarter? The obvious evidence of idiocy was the final play of the game when the Eagles tried to lateral twice and still fell short. On the play prior, McNabb was sacked for a seven or eight yard loss, when he should have just simply thrown the ball away. It would have been an easier 4th down, and we would not have had to use our last timeout.

Why were Lito Sheppard (and Sean Considine) covering Terrell Owens? T.O. blew past both for an easy score early in the game. Wasn’t Asante Samuel paid a King’s Ransom to cover the best WRs?

Is Tony Kornheiser from Dallas? The whole game all we heard from him was “Dallas is so great, etc.” Did he not realize the Eagles were also playing, and trading leads? The way he made it seem was Dallas was winning 41-0. He was more annoying than all the shots of T.O., Jerry Jones, Tony Romo and mentions of Jessica Simpson combined, which I think was around 250 times.

Final Analysis
The Eagles are 1-1, and have put a lot of points on the board. There were a lot of positives to come out of the game that were overshadowed by the final result. Next week will be a test, hosting the 2-0 Steelers. We still have one more game against the Cowboys, at home, a few days after Christmas. Looking at the remaining schedule, if the Eagles can get out of September at 2-2, they should be in good shape. There is no need to panic right now.

Justin's Side Write-Up

Here are some notes I took while I was listening to the main teacher tell her students about a chameleon, or something along those lines.

- The Eagles offense is legit. Scoring thirty points on the road in Dallas is impressive. Sure, we could bicker about some of the red zone opportunities, but they still scored and scored often. Besides the fourth quarter that has often haunted McNabb, he looks 100% and in 2004 Super Bowl form. He ha great velocity on the balll, and better accuracy then in the past (67.5% yesterday). Brian Westbrook is still Westbrook and amazing. DeSean Jackson put in another impressive effort and he is already in an early battle with Darren McFadden for offensive rookie of the year. He was also the second rookie ever to begin his career with back-to-back 100 yard performances. Hopefully, DeSean becomes a little smarter with his fumble blunder that cost he and fantasy owners around the world a touchdown. Thankfully, Dallas did not pick up the ball and the Westbrook got the touchdown a play later. At least we know the talent is there. Be Smarter DeSean!

In the fourth quarter, the offensive play-calling was a little questionable, but things were going to right previously it was hard to argue that much with the gameplan. I'm not a big fan of Reid's gimmick plans as they often don't work (see fake reverse hand-off) and the hook and ladder. McNabb was able to throw deep over the middle all game. I know they had no time outs left (would have McNabb threw the ball out of bounds), but they should have attacked the middle of the field more often. Also, what happened to the screen pass or TE bubble screen? The team put up 30 points offensively, and that should be enough to win any game.

- Defensively, I'm not sure if this game is even worth judging. Sure big plays happened everywhere, but they happened for both teams...and both teams have stellar defenses. It was just one of those heavyweight bout type of games and almost everything offensively was going to work for either team. In the first half, the Eagles did a great job of shutting down the run, but the killer was when Lito Sheppard and Sean Considine were beat on the big touchdown to TO. Sean Considine IS HORRIBLE and does not deserve a roster spot, but I am not going to expand on that. There was some good news, the Eagles did force two turnovers and scored a defensive touchdown. Finally, the defense was in the right place at the right time for at least some points. Also, 14 points off two turnovers is the best you can do and the Eagles did that. I'm afraid Brian Dawkins is not the cover guy he used to be and all of the injuries may have taken a toll on his speed and agility. Hopefully he returns to old form.

- Special Teams were not very good. The Cowboys often had good field position and even broke a kick off return for a touchdown, regardless of the blatant hold on the return. I'm not even sure if the hold would have mattered that much. Good field position for a great offense is never a good combination.

David Akers was successful in his 3 field goal attempts and Sav Rocca averaged 51.7 yards a punt.

I think there were 3 possible turning points or points where I got a bad feeling in my stomach:

1 - When Dallas drove down and kicked a field goal with little time left in the first half. Knowing they were getting the ball to start the half, I thought the field goal would provide huge momentum.

2 - When the Eagles had first and goal on the one, but failed to punch it in after a false start penalty. I wish Andy would bring back the QB draw because teams seem to rarely even look for it anymore (though McNabb's running ability in the game will make teams worry again). Having to settle for 3 instead of 7 proved to be the defecit.

3 - The most obvious, the fumbled exchange between McNabb and Westbrook. The Eagles were driving well and had a good chance to put points on the board. The Eagles offense was never able to rebound.

Final Thoughts:

I knew the Eagles had the team to beat the Cowboys, but I felt if this game was played ten times, each team would win five times. There are so many playmakers on both sides of the ball that this game could have gone either way and it's hard to be upset with the effort. Sure, shit didn't go our way this game, but the Eagles DO have a better coaching staff and have always proved to make adjustments against the Cowboys during the second game of the season. It's week 2, I'm optimistic even after a loss to Dallas.

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A small introduction...

We Hate to Lose began in October 2007. The initial purpose of the website was to provide news updates and commentary on all four major sports teams in Philadelphia. Because of time-constraints, in April of 2009, I decided to post only on my first-love, the Philadelphia Phillies.

My name is Justin Evans and I hope you enjoy the site.

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