Wednesday, January 7, 2009


You heard Troy Aikman say it and, admit it, you thought of me.

The Hall of Fame quarterback and Fox NFL analyst said something about the Eagles having "big play ability," which sparked a conversation where I was watching the game about how many words that was, and the various permutations of each.

Whatever Aikman meant by it, it didn't matter to me. He'd given me my new favorite phrase and, once Sunday's 26-14 victory over the Vikings was concluded, the title of this week's entry.

Watching the game was an interesting experience, a game that could've ended just as easily in a loss as it did in our favor. One person wrote into ESPN: "Too bad for the Vikes. This Eagles team was right there for the taking." And perhaps that's true. It also could've ended in an Eagles blowout, if some early drives had been cashed in for six instead of three. So, to be honest, I'm still not totally sure what to make of this game.

First, the frustrations:

Was it just me, or did every single call in the game go against us? The sack that wasn't a sack that knocked us out of field goal range? Maybe it just felt that way.

The running game never really got established. Now let's be fair: the Vikings had the best rush defense in the league, and the Metrodome is one of the most difficult places to play. Westbrook had just 38 yards on 20 carries. Eek. And Andy Reid, once again studying logic in order to depart from it 180 degrees, barely used Correll Buckhalter, the offensive MVP of the Dallas Destruction. The box score reads that he had two carries for 27 yards, and that his long was 27 yards. Maybe think about getting the ball into the hottest hands on the team? Even if Westbrook is 100 percent, Buckhalter should be in there for, say, 10 carries a game. All the more so if Westbrook is not.

The defense was once again really solid, but missed at least three or four opportunities to come down with interceptions that might have put the game away sooner.

However, when you have bigplayability, it only takes a couple of things going your way to make all the difference. Asante Samuel's 44-yard interception return for a touchdown was vintage Asante. I felt like I was having deja vu to every other Asante pick six I'd ever seen a highlight of. Only this one was in Eagles white and green. And did you see the Chris Clemons block on Tarvaris Jackson? WOW. Dude got picked up and pancaked.

And then Westbrook broke off the biggest play of the season, taking a screen pass 71 yards to paydirt. You had to love this for so many reasons, not the least of which was the entire team effort blocking all the way downfield, including help from receivers Kevin Curtis and my boy (yes, I wrote that) DeSean Jackson. Big-play-ability. On a side note, did anyone else notice how close the pass was to hitting Nick Cole in the back? Can you imagine if it did? I don't want to think about it. I wished I had a direct line into Reid's headset to say, "Look at that! A screen pass! We've only been saying it for months!"

Many said it would be a game of field position, and it was. Special teams came up big, and we won that battle pretty handily. Might've been the biggest difference in the game.

And the defense deserves more kudos. They have been the constant this season, and while I wouldn't go so far as to say they shut down Adrian Peterson, they certainly contained him. Don't be fooled by AP's numbers. He may have had 83 yards, but 40 of them came on one play. 43 yards on 19 carries? You can't be unhappy with that.

Not that anybody ever does, but I really have no clue what's going to happen this Sunday at the Meadowlands. The Giants' bye week and the Eagles' momentum could play either way, as we've seen in the last few seasons. I'm feeling hopeful that we'll play a good game, but I'm certainly not about to talk any trash. The Giants are a very good team, probably the better team on paper. But if the defense keeps up its solid play, run blitzing to contain Jacobs and Ward, getting some good pressure on Eli, the game certainly has a high level of winability.

We should remember that we shouldn't even be here, that we're really playing with house money, as the expression goes. Our very own Sal Paolantonio in an interview with Donovan after the game, said:

"A couple of weeks ago, your season was marooned. Now it's revived. How did that happen?"

"Well, you know what, you just gotta stay mentally strong, keep faith in God, and understand that there's something positive at the end of the tunnel."

I'm working on it, Donovan. I'm working on it.

Go Birds.
Other Musings:

The Flyers are a hurt bunch, once again hit by an injury epidemic. If they can survive the next couple of months until they get everyone back, I think they're in great shape.

Interesting that Tampa signed Pat the Bat. That team is going to be really good again, and you have to hope that they win that division again.

In a related report that just came out, the New York Yankees have signed Satan and the Angel of Death. As you can imagine, terms of the deals were not disclosed.

In the ongoing battle between the cable companies for the dumbest ad campaigns, Time Warner's new ads advertising its calling plan might just take the cake. Why should you sign up for their plan? Cause in one moment, you're in your parents living room, in another somewhere else! So, I should sign up because Time Warner will ensure my telephone a telephone? Amazing. Truly amazing.

My new favorite commercial is the LeBron James State Farm commercial, with the huge old-school shout-out to Kid n Play. Check it out.

I've been saying it for weeks, and no one's been listening. Don't be too shocked if the Baltimore Ravens make it to the Super Bowl.

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