Sunday’s Game with Washington

Sunday’s game with Washington does have some meaning.  Hanging on it is a  .500 record, a four game winning streak, and  going 5-1 against teams from the NFC East.  I do not believe in the idea that winning will give the Eagles any momentum going into 2012.  It has been great to see this team come together over the past three games.  This has happened despite knowing that they had a slim to zero chance of making  the playoffs.

The Redskins also handed the Philadelphia their worst loss of the 2010 season.  Washington came to Philadelphia at 1-2.  The Eagles were gathering confidence having squeezed by the Lions and defeating Jacksonville 28 t0 3.  This was Donovan McNabb’s return as a player to Philadelphia.  The  playing field  where he had some great triumphs and his share of disappointments specifically  two of the four losses in the NFC Tile game-to Tampa Bay 27 to 10 in 02 and Carolina 14 to 3 in 03.

The Eagles looked unprepared as they fell behind 14 to o in the first quarter.  Ryan Torrain capped a one drive with a 12 yard touchdown run.  After that,  McNabb threw a 31 yard touchdown pass to Chris Cooley.  There was 17 to 6 deficit at halftime and a scoreless third quarter.  Kevin Kolb threw a touchdown pass to Brent Celek but the Eagles missed on a two point conversion.  I felt that that would be costly and it was.

Philadelphia had the ball inside the Redskins 20 very late in the game.  Jason Avant barely missed a catch in the End Zone as time ran out.  This was the biggest loss of the season.  Special teams and that last drive were the keys.  Had the Eagles got the two points earlier, a field goal would have sent the game into overtime.

This loss really deflated the Eagles for the entire season.  That should be some additional motivation.

Terry Bradshaw-the Last Hurrah

In training camp before the 1983 season,  Terry Bradshaw’s arm looked worn out and hurting.  Bradshaw  would sit out the season or perhaps retire. Fortunately,  he stayed  with the team.  The Steelers won nine of the first 11,  largely relying on defense.  Franco Harris gained 1,007 yards for the season but had an average of under four yards per carry. Cliff Stout had limited range  in his arm and threw too many interception.  A team that is one dimensional  will  eventually falter.  After starting at 9-2, Pittsburgh lost three in a row.

–The Minnesota Vikings defeated them 17 to 14.  Cliff Stout failed to connect on a late pass.

–On Thanksgiving  Day, the Detroit Lions had the Steelers for dinner, winning 45 to 3.

–A third consecutive loss was 23 to 10 to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Coach Chuck Noll decided it was time for a change.  The Steelers were falling apart on both sides of the ball.  Noll  started Terry Bradshaw at quarterback in  game 15 at the Meadowlands against the New York  Jets.  Only playing the the first half,  Brasdshaw completed five of eight passes for 77 yards and two touchdown.  The Steelers led  20 to 0 at halftime.  Bradshaw’s arm was screaming

In the second half Cliff Stout returned to the field and the Steelers put two additional touchdowns on the board.  Stout benefited from a tired Jets defense, which played almost the entire first half .  The Steelers clinched the NFC Central with a 34 to 7  win.   The Steelers’  loss to the Cleveland Browns, 30 to 17, in the final week meant nothing.  They finished 10-6.

Coin Flip in 1970 went to the Right Team

This weekend a broadcaster mentioned that there was a coin flip between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Bears to determine the the first draft pick for 1970.  This flip stemmed from the both the Steelers and the Bears having 1-13 records.  The Steelers won the toss but the NFL should have let Pittsburgh have it with no hesitation.

On week eight of  the 1969 season, the Chicago Bears (0-7) were home playing the 1-6 Steelers.  A Chicago writer made derogatory remarks about the Bears, especially on defense.   Linebacker Dick Butkus taped the newspaper to the wall and this, plus Butukus’ hot determination, set the team on fire.  The Chicago Bears led 29 to 0 and the Steelers had only 12 yards at halftime.  The Bears kept the pressure on in the second half.  With the score 38 to 0, the Steelers went on a touchdown drive against a prevent defense. Quaterback Dick Shiner completed a series of small passes.  Earl Gros went in on a two yard touchdown run.  The Bears won 38 to 7.

The statistics tell the story:

–in total yards, the Bears had 379 to 86 for Pittsburgh;
–the Bears sacked the two Steeler quarterbacks, Dick Shiner and Terry Hannraty, eight times for 48 yards;
–the Bears intercepted three passes and put up two safeties.

Three players stand out

–Gale Sayers carried 28 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns;
–Quarterback Bobby Douglas had one of his better days, completing nine of 16 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns;

Dick Butkus completely dominated the defense.  He seem to be all over the field breaking up passes, tackling, and scored one of the two safeties.

Their records were identical but this game showed who the better team was.  Chicago 38 Pittsburgh 7.

 

 

Next Game for Philadelphia

 This is the reason the last game, the 20 to 7 deal with the Eagles,  had no meaning for Dallas.  Remember we found out in the first quarter of the Eagles game that the Giants defeated their intercity rival.  Both New York and Dallas have records of 8-7. Had the the Eagles lost, Dallas would be 9-6, one full game over the Giants.   If they lose Sunday, both Dallas and New York finish at 9-7.  The tie breaker goes to the Giants. It is a win or out season for either team.  The NFC East Champion will be 9-7.  This division has gone downhill the past two years.
————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————
Andy Reid stated that he will play all regulars and not treat this game as an exhibition. Winning this game means a .500 season; a sweep of both the Cowboys and Redskins; a 5-1 record in the NFC; and a four game winning streak.  Fans will have a measure of consolation for what has been a disappointing season.  

He has played reserves  only four times before and three times I agreed with him.

–The last two games of the 2004 season.  The Eagles had the BYE week and home field advantage assured.  They lost at St Louis 20 to 7 and at home to the Cincinnati Bengals 38 to 10.  After winning 13 of the first 14, that was fine.
–The last game of 2006.  Before the game, the Eagles learned that the Detroit Lions beat the Dallas Cowboys.   Philadelphia clinched first place in the NFC East but could not avoid a Wild Card game.
–The last game of 2010.  The previous week, Philadelphia lost to Minnesota.  This destroyed any chances of a BYE week.   Dallas came from behind for a 14 to 13 win.  It was odd playing Dallas with nothing at stake.  This loss hurt and I am not certain this was the correct way to approach the game. More on this later.
———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
The Divine Lorraine Hotel closed in 1999 and is sitting at Broad and Ridge haunting. This building, as a hotel, could be a big part in the revitalizing of North Broad Street.  I will talk about three other buildings which could also help the economy of North Philadelphia-the Broad Street Station, the North Philadelphia Station, and the Metropolitan Opera House.  

More on the Dallas Victory

The Philadelphia Eagles had a great win yesterday. This was the first time since 2006 that the Eagles defeated the Dallas Cowboys twice.   Since the Super Bowl and counting the 09 Wild Card,  the Eagles record against Dallas is 7-8.   Three other games were lost that should have been easy.  Some additional observations beyond what I stated yesterday.

–The pass protection was perfect yesterday especially in the first half;

–Those two additional plays which cost the Eagles  14 points;

–Except for the last minute,  the first 59 looked like the memorable 24 to 0 game in 1991.    Twenty years ago, the Eagles held off a last attempt at a shut out.  This year things were different.  Dallas turned the ball over on downs inside the Eagle ten.  I commend the team for not settling for a field goal.  On fourth one,  the Eagles decided to punt with 15 second left in the game.  Dallas blocked it and  scored on a touchdown pass-Steve MaGee to Miles Austin with 15 seconds left.  Plays such as these show the Dallas team never gave up.  This speaks well for the coaches and players.

–There were three games lost  that the Eagles should have won in past years.   21 to 20 at home in 2005; 41 to 37 at Dallas  in 2008; and 14 to 13 at home in 2010.

Eagles 20 Dallas Cowboys 7

Just a superb effort today.  No good to great team can depend on another team to get them in the playoffs.  Three years ago things fell into place and the Eagles made the  playoffs; it is unrealistic to expect that again  in so short a time frame.   Even so, this win was over Dallas was very special.  For the first time in  five years, Philadelphia  beat  Dallas twice.  They missed chances to do it in 2008 and 2010, which I will discuss.

Vick and company moved the ball in the first half.  He got great pass protection and scored.  The defense was intense all day long.  Just a few comments:

–Jeremy Maclin’s fumble that flew into the Dallas End Zone cost the Eagles a touchdown;

–Brian Rolle’s muff of a pass interception in the third quarter also prevented an easy 40 yard glide for another.  I don’t he maintained his cool.

I felt both of these mistakes, costing 14 points, really would zap Philadelphia later in the game.  In spite of this additional pressure, the defense held on.

There is of course the continual problem of the offense wilting in the second half.  This has happened in both victories and defeats this year.

Great win though which should be some comfort to fans.

Inter City Rivals-Good For the NFL

Inter-city rivalries are good for any sport.  The interest goes far beyond the metropolitan area  and makes headlines in  newspapers across the country.   Fans get into heated but friendly discussions over what team  is better or who has the best player at any one position.   The best inter city play is of course in New York.  The history of the World Series, to me, was best in the ten years between 1947and 1956.

In the that period:

-the The New York Yankees defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers five times;

–the Dodgers defeated the Yankees once;

–the Yankees defeated the New York Giants.

I also enjoyed the 18 games during the season between the Giants and Dodgers-nine games each at the Polo Grounds and nine games at Ebbets Field.

The NFL did the same thing each year prior to 1967 between the Baltimore Colts and Washington Redskins.  Now three cities play each other only once  three plays.  I believe the NFL should realign and one division should include

{1} the Ravens and the Redskins;

{2} the 49ers and the Raiders and;

{3} the Giants and the Jets.

Here was the set up until 1959.   I know it’s odd with Baltimore Colts in the West

Western Division                                   Eastern Division

1. Baltimore Colts                                 1. Chicago Cardinals

2. Chicago Bears                                    2. Cleveland Browns

3. Detroit Lions                                      3. New York Giants

4. Green Bay Packers                           4. Philadelphia Eagles

5. Los Angeles Rams                            5. Pittsburgh Steelers

6. San Francisco 49ers                        6. Washington Redskins

Each team in each division played each other twice; one home and one way.

Each team played two teams in the other conference, one game home and the other away.

Baltimore and Washington always played each other in an interconference game  rotating locations each year.  This was a good match up.  The distance between the two cities is only 40 miles.

Here was the setup in 1960.

Western Division                                   Eastern Division

1. Baltimore Colts                                 1. Chicago Cardinals

2. Chicago Bears                                    2. Cleveland Browns

3. Detroit Lions                                      3. New York Giants

4. Green Bay Packers                           4. Philadelphia Eagles

5. Los Angeles Rams                            5. Pittsburgh Steelers

6. San Francisco 49ers                        6. Washington Redskins

7. Dallas Cowboys

The addition  of a 13th team with 13 weeks meant a BYE for every team.

Each team in the western division, with the exception of Dallas played each other twice; one home and one way; Baltimore and Washington had the interconference game,

Each team in the eastern division played each other twice; they played one team in the western division, and Dallas

Dallas played every team once.

In 1961 to 1965.  In

Western Division                                   Eastern Division

1. Baltimore Colts                                 1. Chicago Cardinals

2. Chicago Bears                                    2. Cleveland Browns

3. Detroit Lions                                      3. New York Giants

4. Green Bay Packers                           4. Philadelphia Eagles

5. Los Angeles Rams                            5. Pittsburgh Steelers

6. San Francisco 49ers                        6. Washington Redskins

7. Minnesota Vikings                           7. Dallas Cowboys

Club in each division played each other twice and two interconference games.  Baltimore and Washington again had an interconfernce game.

1966

Western Division                                   Eastern Division

1. Baltimore Colts                                 1. Chicago Cardinals

2. Chicago Bears                                    2. Cleveland Browns

3. Detroit Lions                                      3. New York Giants

4. Green Bay Packers                           4. Philadelphia Eagles

5. Los Angeles Rams                            5. Pittsburgh Steelers

6. San Francisco 49ers                        6. Washington Redskins

7. Minnesota Vikings                           7. Dallas Cowboys

8. Atlanta Falcons

Here was the setup in 1966.

Western Division                                   Eastern Division

1. Baltimore Colts                                 1. Chicago Cardinals

2. Chicago Bears                                    2. Cleveland Browns

3. Detroit Lions                                      3. New York Giants

4. Green Bay Packers                           4. Philadelphia Eagles

5. Los Angeles Rams                            5. Pittsburgh Steelers

6. San Francisco 49ers                        6. Washington Redskins

7. Minnesota Vikings                            7. Dallas Cowboys

8. Atlanta Falcons

The addition  of a 16th team with 15 weeks meant a BYE for every team.

Each team in the western division, with the exception of Atlanta played each other twice; one home and one way; Baltimore and Washington had the interconference game,

Each team in the eastern division played each other twice; they played one team in the western division, and Atlanta

Atlanta played every team once.