Sunday, October 12, 2008

Eagles "D" Comes Alive; Beats Niners

The Eagles saved themselves 2 weeks of grief and went out and beat the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 40 - 26. The Eagles played this game without Brian Westbrook (broken ribs), Shawn Andrews (back), and Reggie Brown (groin). Now, with the Eagles bye week, it is hoped that they Eagles can get their wounded healthy, and possibly, get Kevin Curtis back from his sports hernia.

The score itself was somewhat deceptive. San Francisco had control of this game for a good portion of the 2nd half, before the Eagles defense finally asserted itself.

The scoring opened in the 1st quarter with a San Francisco field goal with the big play being a 45 yard punt return from ex-Eagle Allen Rossum. The Eagles responded with a big kick return of their own (courtesy of Quintin Demps) that culminated in a 1 yard Correll Buckhalter plunge.

After another San Francisco field goal to make the score 7 - 6, the Eagles drove the ball 78 yards in just over 5 minutes. This time, they scored on a fade pattern from Donovan McNabb to Hank Baskett from 5 yards out.

After a Niner punt, the Eagles drove the ball once more on the strength of two McNabb to DeSean Jackson connections that totalled 53 yards. The Eagles' red zone woes continued, however, as all the Eagles could muster on the possession was a 19 yard field goal from David Akers to make the score 17 - 6.

The Niners did manage to tack on another field goal before the Eagles took over on their final drive of the first half. They drove the ball to the San Francisco 36 yard line where they attempted a field goal with 1 second remaining. The field goal was blocked and picked up by ex-Eagle Donald Strickland, who took the ball into the endzone for a San Francisco touchdown.

The blocked field goal set the tone for the 2nd half as the Niners held the ball through most of the 3rd quarter. The Niners came out for the 3rd quarter and went right down the field, scoring a touchdown on a Frank Gore 6 yd run, giving San Francisco the lead at 23 - 17. After an Eagle punt, the Niners took the ball again and held it for over 6 minutes, but could only cobble together another Joe Nedney field goal to make the score 26 - 17.

The Eagles finally fought back in the 4th quarter, taking advantage of a short field from a poor San Fran punt. The Eagles only had to drive 38 yards to bring them within 2 points on a pass from McNabb to LJ Smith from 2 yards out. Another San Francisco punt later, the Eagles drove 31 yards, which was enough for a successful David Akers field goal try to put the Eagles in the lead by a score of 27 - 26. Niners coach Mike Nolan did unsucessfully challenge the field goal, which seemed to be well above and barely within the uprights, giving the impression that the field goal was no good.

At about the 7 minute mark of the 4th quarter, the Eagles defense finally asserted itself. Quinton Mikell intercepted a JT O'Sullivan pass and took it all the way back to the Niner 7 yd line. This enabled the Eagles to tack on another Akers field goal to make the score 30 - 26.

The defense got the ball back again, this time on a Trent Cole sack and strip of quarterback JT O'Sullivan. Chris Clemons recovered the fumble and the turnover led to another Akers field goal to make the score 33 - 26.

The final nail in the coffin for the Niners was when Juqua Parker intercepted a poorly executed screen pass from JT O'Sullivan and rumbled 55 yards for a touchdown to make the score 40 - 26 and to put the game completely out of reach.

The Eagles will now enter their sorely needed bye week, in which they'll get some of their offensive weapons when they take on Atlanta at the Linc on October 26th.


- "Most drops in the NFL"....Thanks Andy for bringing "5" some playmakers.

- I know the announcers cried about Baskett's first quarter reception not being a catch, but there was not nearly enough to overturn the call. Actually, it looked to me like Baskett had his arm under the ball the entire time.

- The blocked field goal leading into the end of the 1st half was bad enough. Watching the Eagles defense get pushed around for the 2nd week in a row was much more tough to take. Frank Gore did rush for 101 yards and the Niners ran successfully on the Eagles. They can count on teams following that blueprint for the rest of the season.

- Takeo Spikes picking McNabb.....some sort of karmic middle finger?

- LJ Smith....who knew he was still on the team?

- The tackle on DeSean Jackson at the 10 minute mark of the 4th looked worse than it was; it wasn't a clothes line, per se. A clothesline tackle is around the neck....this was across Jackson's chest.

- Congrats to Donovan McNabb for breaking Ron Jaworski's all-time passing yards record with the Eagles. Question: Why was Dick Stockton so reluctant to refer to Jaworski by his given nickname when it was brought up? Jaws' nickname was "The Polish Rifle"....Stockton shortened it to "The Rifle". Clearly, Jaws doesn't mind the nickname...he incorporates it into some of his autographs.

- Not sure it was the right play for Nolan to challenge the field goal by Akers, but according to the rules, it IS challengeable, despite what the announcers said.

- Nice play by Juqua Parker blowing up the end around with about 6 minutes left in the game. This was right before the Quinton Mikell interception. Parker had a huge game, in general, with 4 tackles, a sack, and an interception for a touchdown.

- Huge game from Correll Buckhalter, playing in place of Westbrook. He 18 carries for 93 yards to go with 7 receptions for 85 yards. Very much Westbrook-like numbers.

- DeSean Jackson: 6 catches for 98 yards along with a 19 yard punt return in the 2nd quarter.

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