1983 Eagles and 2012 Eagles

The Eagles of 1983 were like the 2012 Eagles in both style and timing. Marion Campbell was in first year of being head coach and Andy Reid was in his last. In 1983 the Eagles were 4-2 at the beginning but won only one game thereafter. In the 5-11 season, three of the wins were against playoff teams.

GAME ONE AT SAN FRANCISCO (22 to 17) The 49ers were 10-6 and lost the NFC Championship to the Washington Redskins 24 to 21. The Eagles survived four sacks for 15 yards. Ron Jaworski left the game injured and Joe Pisarck replaced him. The combo completed 15 of 19 passes for 186 yards and one touchdown, that being to Hubie Oliver. Anthony Griggs had one interception and ran the ball for 32 yards. Mike Quick caught six passes for 82 yards. Roynell Young recovered a fumble from Roger Craig in the Eagles End Zone preserving the victory.

GAME THREE AT DENVER (13 TO 10) The Broncos were 9-7 and lost the AFC Wild Card Game to Seattle 31 to 7. The Eagles defense sacked John Elway three times for 32 yards. Ron Jaworski threw a 38 yard touchdown pass to Mike Quick on the game’s first possession. Late in the game, Jaws to Quick went for 35 yards setting up the winning field goal. Anthony Griggs returned his pass interception 11 yards. In total, Ron Jaworski completed 18 of 28 passes for 248 yards and one touchdown. Quick caught six passes for 248 yards and that touchdown.

GAME 11 AT PHILADELPHIA VS. LOS ANGELES (13 TO 9). The Rams were 9-7 and, at Dallas, defeated the Cowboys 24 to 17 in the Wild Card Game. One week later, the Washington Redskins destroyed them 51 to 7.

This was a great defensive battle. Eric Dickerson carried 28 times for 103 yards. Mike Quick caught seven passes for 69 yards. This game was passing duel between Ron Jaworski and Vince Ferragomo.

With five minutes remaining in the game; the scored was tied at six; the Rams had the ball at the Eagles 10; third and 1/2 yard to go. As fully expected, Ferragomo gave the ball to Dickerson. Wes Hopkins and Ray Ellis slammed Dickerson for no gain. After kicking a field goal for a 9 to 6 lead, the Los Angeles kicked off. The Eagles had the ball at their 30 and started great long drive. Jaworski threw for 29 yards to Tony Woofruff for a touchdown. The seven game losing streak was over.

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Even if Winning, Interceptions are Important

Football fans in 1962 were beginning to take the American Football League seriously. The Houston Oilers had the first dynasty which lasted from 1960 to 1962. George Blanda was arguably the best player in the AFL during these years. He was an AFL All Star for three consecutive seasons, 1961 to 1963. A quick summary is below.

1960-The Oilers were 10-4 and at home defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 32 to 16 in the AFL Title game.

1961-The Oilers were 10-3-1 and at San Diego defeated the Chargers 10 to 3. Blanda completed 18 of 41 passes for 181 yards with a touchdown pass and five interceptions. He was the AFL Most Valuable Player and made the AFL All Star Team

1962-The Oilers were 11-3 and were preparing to meet the Dallas Texans at home in the AFL Title Game. Dallas was 11-3 and would become the Kansas City Chiefs the following year.

George Blanda was without a doubt the leader of the team. Blanda had another standout season in 1962 completing 197 passes for 2,813 yards and 27 touchdowns. But he has a negative record which stands to this day. Blanda threw 42 interceptions for a 10% interception rate. He threw six interception in two games. A reporter asked him about his interceptions and Blanda replied in his usual direct fashion. “Interceptions are only important when you lose.”

The title game was one of the most exciting games ever in this fashion:
Dallas dominated the first half and lead at that point 17 to 0;
Houston dominated the second half, scored 17 points, and tied the game at 17 at the end of regulation play.

George Blanda threw three interceptions over four quarters. Without these errant throws, the Oilers would have had an easy victory. Blanda late in the game attempted a 42 yard field goal. Dallas linebacker Sherrel Hedrick got just enough of his hand on the football to deflect it.

The first overtime quarter was scoreless and the Texans won with an 18 yard field goal in the sixth quarter 20 to 17. Blanda had two more interceptions in overtime. Once again, these throws cost the Houston Oilers the game. For the day, Blanda completed 23 of 46 passes for 265 yards, one touchdown, and of course, five interceptions.

Those errant throws were costly for the title game and for the next three years. Houston fell from greatness and wound up in mediocrity. Here were the records. In fairness, George Blanda did have another big season in 1963 being named to the AFL All Star Squad.

1963. Fell to 6-8 with 25 interceptions;
1964. 4-10 with 27 interceptions;
1965. 4-10 with 30 interceptions.

Now the losses stemmed, in part, from those three years of league leading interceptions. The point is this. The two interceptions from Nick Foles in the 27 to 0 win really hurt. The Philadelphia Eagles lost a chance to rest the regulars, give much needed playing time to the second team, and spare the nerves of their fans. Ignoring those interceptions while winning is a sure way to make them cause a loss in the future.

New York Jets 1976

After winning the Super Bowl in 1968, the New York Jets fell off badly in the 70s. The team finished 3-11. The Jets defeated the 2-12 Buffalo Bills twice. At least NY was not last place in the AFC East but both wins were close. The big break through came against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While the Bucs were 0-16 in their first year, at least the Jets’ fans had something to cheer about throughout the entire game.

Week 10 at New York. The Jets shut out Tampa by 34 to 0.

On offense running back Clark Gains carried 27 times for 103 yards and caught four passes. However, the defense ruled the game. The Jets intercepted two passes, recorded for sacks for 34 yards in losses, and recovered four fumbles. The two interceptions, by Rich Sowells and Ed Taylor totaled 50 yards in returns.

Why 04 was the Best Thrill

I have been following football since 1955. In addition to the Eagles, I liked the Pittsburgh Steelers. I remember the Steelers a the team that:

–won four Super Bowls in the 1974 to 1979 timeframe;
–lost the Super Bowl to the Dallas Cowboys in 1995 27 to 17;
–won two of three Super Bowls from 2005 to 2010.

The Eagles of course have been to the top in 1960, 1980, and 2004.

What makes the 2004 NFC Title game my greatest thrill and the 2008 game so painful. The answer is retirement. Most people cannot get work and the associated stress off their mind. Sunday night is the worst time of the week as five stressful and threatening days are coming straight at you. It is not unusual for people to spend two hours per day commuting to work. Add to that family problems we all face and your life is a 24/7 nightmare.

I personally can understand why some people turn to drugs, alcohol, and gambling as a escape from their problems. Now before I go further let me state that I have not yet seen anyone who has had an easier life than yours truly; but like I said I understand these social issues.

So I remember the thrill, in the 1980 NFC Championship game vs the Cowboys, of seeing Wilbert Montgomery running for 194 yards and that 42 yard run for a touchdown; the defensive line sacking Danny White eight times; and Randy Logan, Roynell Young, and Jerry Robinson going after Tony Dorsett causing a fumble at a very critical moment. Final Philadelphia 20 Dallas Cowboys 7. That ecstasy vanished in about an hour as I prepared for the week ahead. As you might expect I thought about work during the game at various times.

24 years later the 2004 NFC Title Game was my greatest thrill. I was retired and that is the best job ever. We remember the details of 10 years ago now so let’s not talk about it now. The last drive with Donovan McNabb chopping up the Atlanta secondary with his dagger like throws actually gave me goose bumps. His touchdown pass to Chad Lewis wrapped up the game. Eagles 27 Falcons 10.

After the game ended there was no preparing for work. What this shows is that job stress can hurt a person beyond the eight hours work.

Shady vs the New york giants

Shady McCoy has had some good games against the Giants.

2009 at home. McCoy put the lock in this easy victory with a 66 yard run for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. 40 to 17.

2010 at home. Shady carried 14 times for 111 yards with a 50 yard touchdown run. The victory was not as close as the 10 point difference indicates. Eagles 27 to 17.

2011 at home. The Eagles had to settle for a field goal at the Giants two early in the fourth quarter. The 16 to 14 lead rapidly became a 29 to 16 loss. McCoy wasted a 24 carries for 128 yard effort.

at New York. Shady ran 23 times for 113 yards. A 50 yard run sealed a 17 to 10 victory.

2012 at home. MCoy carried 23 times for 123 yards. In the third quarter he ran 34 yards to the Giant two. The Eagles settled for a field goal. The 19 to 17 win should have been easier.