Versus the 49ers Since 2004

Past Games Against San Francisco since the Super Bowl Season.

Since the 2004 Championship Season, the Eagles have defeated the San Francisco Forty Niners five consecutive times.  The 49ers are obviously getting better as witness by last year’s really close game.

2005 at Lincoln Financial Field

Both clubs lost their first game.  This was just a tremendous performance and I could use a whole season of games like this.    Donovan McNabb was 23 for 29 for 243 yards and five touchdowns.  Terrell Owens caught five passes for 143 yards and and three touchdowns.  L.J. Smith caught nine passes for 119 yards.  On a late drive with reserves playing, Koy Detmer went nine for nine for 94 yards.  Eagles won with ease 42 to 3.

2006 at San Francisco

Both teams once  1-1 records.  The previous week, at home, Philadelphia saw a 24 to 7 lead evaporate versus the New York Giants into a 30 to 24 overtime loss.  The same thing almost happened again. McNabb was having a field day.  Midway through the third frame, the 49ers were driving and Mike Patterson, from the Eagles one, jarred the ball loose and went 99 yards for a touchdown. Eagles 31 49ers 3.  Nevertheless, San Francisco still persisted but the Eagles won 38 to 24.  The fumble recovery and run by Patterson was a seven point play. Alex Smith was 27 for 46 for 293 yards and a touchdown.  Donovan McNabb was 18 for 33 for 296 yards and two touchdowns. Brian Westbrook gained 114 yards.

2008 at San Francisco

Both the Eagles and San Francisco had  2-3 records.  On the play before halftime, the Eagles were setting up for a  40 yard field goal and leading 17 to 9.   Don Strickland blocked the field goal and Allan Rossum returned it for a touchdown.  That was a ten point play.  Rather than leading by 11 the Eagles led by just one.  In the third quarter, the Eagles were lethargic to stay the least.  The score was 26 to 17 in favor of San Francisco at the end of three periods.   Someone must have spotted something both on both SF’s offense and defense.   It reminded me of the fourth quarter of the playoffs at New Orleans in 1992.

Despite the repeated problems of scoring in the Red Zone, the David Ackers kicked three goals for a 33 to 26 lead.  Quintin Mikel set up one field goal with a pass interception. The defense really smoked with a display of sacks, turnovers, ball jarred loose from receivers, and deflected passes.  San Francisco quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan and running back Frank Gore did nothing.  The 49ers gained five yards in the last period.  Eagles Defensive Lineman Juqua Parker dropped back in coverage on the 49ers last possession intercepted a pass and ran 55 yards for a touchdown. Despite the Red Zone Problems, Philadelphia won 40 to 26.

2009 at Philadelphia

The Eagles were 9-4 and San Francisco 6-7.  Frank Gore gained 166 yard but this was really the only sore spot in the game.  Donovan McNabb was 21 for 36 for 301 yards and one touchdown.  Philadelphia won 27 to 13.

2010  at San Francisco

Philadelphia was 2-3  and the 49ers winless.  The Eagles held Frank Gore in check allowing him just 55 yards.  Quintin Mikel ran a fumble back 65 yards for a touchdown.  Alex Smith was 21 for 31 for 309 yards and three touchdowns.  Kevin Kolb was 21 for 31 for 253 yards and one touchdown.  The Eagles won a close contest 27 to 24.


The Big Loss to the Giants

We fans heard how good  the Eagles secondary would be with the free agent acquisitions in the off season.  Nobody would believe that after Eli Manning really destroyed the Eagles coverage Sunday.   Despite the sacks, the defense was not good against the run either.  The Giants  really have two good runners, which is a rare thing in the NFL.   Philadelphia also did not get any turnovers.

Inspite of the defense, Philadelphia lost the game in those two fourth and less than one situations in the second half.

Third Quarter-The Eagles were trailing 14 to 13 with a fourth and goal at the Giants one.  On second down,  I am surprised that Andy Reid did not challenge the call.  It looked to my biased eyes that Vick was over the goal line. Then came the offside penalty and the loss on third down.  Getting that  chip shot field goal brought little satisfaction.

Fourth Quarter-The Eagles with that 16 to 14 lead had a fourth and one at the Giants 45.  The attempt for the first down was logical but it failed.

These series in the third and the one play in the fourth cost the game.  It is the little things that are the difference between excellent and average and average to nothing.    



Letting Atlanta Off the Hook

Last Sunday nights game reminded me of  how the Eagles let the  Atlanta Falcons off hook each year from 1978 to 1980.  The losses  hurt the Eagles during the season and in the playoffs.

1978 at Atlanta-the Wild Card Playoff Game.  Both teams had 9-7 records

It was a raining sloppy  day for the Falcons  first post season game since their inception in 1966.  This was the Eagles first post season action since the  1960 NFL Championship Game.   Both clubs had trouble moving the football on the soggy turf.  After the Eagles recovered a fumble, Ron Jaworski threw a touchdown pass to Harold Carmichael.   Wilbert Montgomery, who otherwise had an awful day, inced over for second score.  So the the Eagles were leading 13 to 0 with just under four minutes left in the game.  Mick Michel missed an extra point. 

 Bobby Lee Howard then intercepted a pass from Steve Bartkowski and return it to the Falcons four .  I thought the game was over and the Eagles would win.  On the next play, Mike Hogan fumbled the ball  back to  Atlanta.  Steve Bartkowski took over and threw  two touchdown passes.  Atlanta won the  game 14 to 13.  The Eagles could not get pass the first playoff weekend.

1979 at Philadelphia-Week Two-Atlanta won 14 to 10.

The Eagles were leading 10 to 7 late in the third quarter.   They had the ball on the Falcons four on fourth and one.  The Atlanta defense stopped  Wilbert Montgomery for no gain.  After that, the Eagles did nothing.  This loss really hurt the Philadelphia Eagles in the playoffs.  If the Eagles had won, they would have finished first in the NFC East, had the BYE week, and the home field advantage in the playoffs.  As it was they beat the Chicago  Bears in the Wild Card Game 27 to 17 but lost to Tampa Bay 24 to 17 the following week.  This lost to Atlanta may cost the Philadelphia Eagles a trip to the Super Bowl.  Playoff losses have their roots in the regular season.    

1980 at Philadelphia-Week 14  Atlanta won 20 to 17.

The Eagles were leading 14 to 3 at midfield late in the first half. Ron Jaworski threw an interception which led to an Atlanta touchdown. Philadelphia did nothing in the second half.   The impact of this loss is not easy to understand.   In the final game of the season at Dallas, the Cowboys  came in at 11-4 and the Philadelphia Eagles were 12-3.  The complicated NFL rules that stated Dallas had to defeat the Eagles by 25 or more points to claim the NFC East Title and get the BYE week.  After three quarters, the Eagles trailed 35 to 10 but rallied to score 17 points and lose 35 to 27.  They lost the game but won the battle.

If they had won the Atlanta game, the final week’s game at Dallas would have been meaningless. They could have rested the starters and played reserves with an eye to 1981.  Having a game where the result that does not matter is a chance to experiment that is a luxury to any team


The 35 to 31 Loss to Atlanta

Losing the game Sunday night was a real downer since the victory was within reach.   The media said Shady McCoy and Jeremy Maclin had really good games but that is no consolation.  Here are the sore spots: 

–The defense, though good at times, was inconsistent.  This was especially true of the run defense.
–There was the continued horrible play of the Eagles defense in the Red Zone.   Five times the Atlanta was inside Philadelphia’s 20 yard line and they  put up 35 points.  Once again, the run defense was a major factor. 
–The Eagles got only a  22 field goal on a fourth and one at the Atlanta six.  This was a big Red Zone failure.
–Of course the Micheal Vick fumble inside the Falcons 10 and subsequent return really deflated the team. 
–The two points previously mentioned cost the Eagles 11 points.  A really good team would have had two touchdowns not just a field goal.
–I urge fans, players, and media to put anything but the next game out of their minds.  This really deflects attention from the immediate issue.          

Atlanta Since the NFC Title Game

Since that great day in 05, when the Eagles defeated Atlanta for the NFc title,  Philadelphia’s record against the Falcons is 5-1.  Really quite good considering the caliber of Atlanta, which at times has been good

2005 at Atlanta-First Game of the Seaon

The officials ejected Jerimiah Trotter before the game minor brawl with an Atlanta reserve player.   This was an obvious set up and Trotter fell into the trap.  Atlanta got two touchdowns in the first quarter and the Eagles pitched a shutout thereafter.  The officials ignored a roughing the passer call on McNabb but fined the Atlanta lineman later.  The way the Eagles were moving the ball, they could have used the 15 yards in the game. When a team gains only 50 yards rushing, winning is almost impossible.  Falcons 14 Eagles 10.

2006 at Lincoln Financial Field–the Eagles were 9-6 and the Falcons 7-8.

Just as the game started, the Public Address Announcer informed the crowd that Detroit had defeated Dallas.  Since this assured the Eagles the NFC title, the game was meaningless. Andy Reid pulled all starters.  A. J. Feely went 22 for 33 for 321 yards and three touchdowns.  Hank Baskett caught seven passes for 177 yards and one touchdown.  Big Factor-the Eagles got five sacks for 37 yards in losses.  Eagles 24 Falcons 17.

2008 at Lincoln National Field–the Eagles were 3-3 and the Falcons were 4-2.
Donovan McNabb went 19 for 33 for 253 yards. Brian Westbrook carried 22 times for 167 yards and two touchdowns.  Eagles 27 Atlanta 14.

2009 at Atlanta–the Eagles were 7-4 and the Falcons were 6-5

McNabb went 14 for 25 for 238 yards and one touchdown.  The Eagles got three turnovers to none for Atlanta.  Sheldon Brown returned an interception 83 yards for a touchdown.  The Falcons scored a touchdown on the last play of the game denying Philadelphia their first shutout under Andy Reid.  Eagles 34 Falcons 7.

2010 at Lincoln Financial Field–the Eagles were 3-2 and the Falcons 4-1

Kevin Kolb was superb going 23 for 29 for 326 yards and three touchdowns.  Jeremy Maclin caught seven passes for 159 yards.  Davis Ackers’ missing three of  four field goal attempts prevented a blowout and was no doubt a factor in his release.  Fans will long remember the explosion at Washington and the great comeback at New York.  Since the Falcons were 13-3, this to me was the biggest win of the season.  Eagles 31 Falcons 17.


David Ackers Up More Than Downs

Nobody on a football team is under as much pressure as the kicker. This  was not the case in the days before specialization.  Lou Micheals, once a place kicker and defensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers, put it best.   “When I miss a field goal, I have to play all the harder as the defensive end. This is a tremendous incentive I often find myself doing things I previously thought impossible.”   Not so today.  Placekickers have no chance to atone for misses and often have short lives in football.  I think some of their duds just stem from the inability to withstand pressure.

This year the Eagles replaced David Ackers with Alex Henery, a big time kicker in college.  Ackers gave fans many fine moments in his ten years as an Eagle.  He is the all time team leader in both scoring and games played.  Ackers really had critical misses in five games and two of them were not his fault.  The Philadelphia Eagles in the last two games listed below played poorly should not have depended on his extra long field goal attempts.

Where David Ackers did not play up to par.

2003 San Francisco at Lincoln Financial Field.

Ackers missed two field goals and the game went into overtime.  The Eagles lost on a field goal 30 to 27.  Had the Eagles won, the final game at Washington would have been meaningless.  They could have played reserves and rested the first string players.  However, they had to win the final game to get the home field advantage in the playoffs.  The 31 to 7 win was costly. Brian Westbtrook got injured and was out for the playoffs.  Westbrook’s presence may have made a difference in the NFC Championship game.  The Carolina Panthers defeated the punchless Eagles 14 to 3

2010 Atlanta at Lincoln Financial Field.

Ackers missed three of four field goal attempts.  The 31 to 17 victory should have been much easier.

2010 Green Bay in the Playoffs at Lincoln Financial Field

Ackers missed two field goals; Brent Celek stepped over the end line on a two point conversion attempt; and   Micheal Vick threw a foolish pass that the Packers intercepted in their End Zone on the final play.  Those two missed field goals and elimination of the other two mistakes would have won the game.   Packers 21 Eagles 16.

Two Game where Ackers missed long field goals but losing was a team effort.

2005 Dallas at Lincoln Financial Field.

Leading 17 to 7 in the fourth quarter, Philadelphia had the ball first and goal at the Dallas eight.  The Eagles could not move the ball a single yard in three downs.  Ackers kicked a field goal and the lead was 20 to 7.  Dallas suddenly exploded for a touchdown with four minutes left narrowing the lead to 20 to 14.   After getting the kickoff, the Eagles committed a mental mistake that indicated lack of coordination.   Pass Receiver Reggie Brown went one way and Donovan McNabb threw the ball in another direction.  Linebacker Roy Williams intercepted the pass and went for a touchdown.  Davis Ackers missed a 54 yard field goal attempt as time ran out.   This was the biggest loss of the 05 season but it was a team failure.

2007 New York Giants
at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Eagles led 7 to 6 at halftime. In the third quarter, Trent Cole  and recovered a fumble returned to the Giants 8.  The Eagles could not move the ball a single yard in three downs.  Ackers kicked a short field goal.  The Eagles lead 10 to 6 but 14 to 6 would have been better.  The score was 10 to 9, when Lito Shepard recovered an apparent fumble at the Eagle 30.  The officials blew this one calling the ball dead and Andy Reid did not challenge the call.  Eli Manning threw a 30 yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress for a 16 to 10 lead.  David Ackers brought them closer  narrowing the score to 16 to 13.   However, he missed a 54 yards field goal attempt as time ran out.   This was the biggest loss of the 07 season but it was a team failure.

Statehood for Washington, DC

To insure full representation of all citizens in Congress,  Washington DC should become a state. There is currently a non voting delegate in the Senate and House of Representatives.  No one  wants membership on the Committees on the District of Columbia in either house.   I believe it goes to those with little political clout.

The first President since Thomas Jefferson to take an active interest in Washington, DC was Herbert Hoover.  He was very proud of his accomplishments in public works for the District as both Secretary of Commerce and President.   To quote him: “I am glad that the opportunity has come to me as President to contribute to the impulse and leadership in the improvement of our national capital. This is more than the making of a beautiful city. Washington is not only the capital, it is the symbol of America.  By its dignity and and architectural inspiration we stimulate pride in our country, we encourage that elevation of thought and character which comes from great architecture.”    It is ironic that Washington DC residents, who live in the city that symbolizes democracy, have no voice in Congress.

In fact 1964, 175 years after the ratification of the Constitution, was the first time that  Washington residents could vote for President.  The 23rd Amendment to the United States Constitution permits citizens in the District of Columbia to vote for Electors for President and Vice President.  Congress proposed the amendment on June 17, 1960 and the States ratified it on March 29, 1961. The  amendment restricts the district to the number of Electors of the least populous state, irrespective of its own population.  Even without this clause, the district’s present population would only entitle it to three Electors.

The 23rd Amendment reads as follows:

Section 1. The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct: A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.

Section 2.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Washington has been heavily Democratic in each Presidential Election.  The 1972 and 1984 elections really show the District’s preference.  Both George McGovern in 1972 and Walter Mondale in 1984 got the percentage of the vote in DC by twice that of the entire nation.
1972-McGovern carried one state, Massachusetts by 54 %; had 39% of the national popular vote, and won DC with 78%.
1980-Mondale carried one state, his home base of Minnesota, narrowly with 50.4%; had 41% of the national popular vote; and won DC with 80%.

There now are seven states with three electoral votes-Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, and Vermont.  Washington, DC has more people than some of them and a  population density greater than all of them. The density of population is the major when we look at social and economic problems.  Statehood would greatly help the District at least make a dent in these problems.

Proponents of Statehood call Washington, DC our last colony.  To some degree, they are correct.   Washington DC should be our 51st state.