Well, NOW it’s officially fall. At least it is in my book, which I’ve come to understand differs from those of most meteorologists.
It’s not the gorgeous mid-60s weather here in the Philly burbs, the Phillies playing (somewhat kinda sorta) meaningful baseball, or the annual Kennett Square Mushroom Festival (featuring the renowned Fried Mushroom Eating Championship, where your $600 prize will cover about ten percent of your triple bypass).
Without a leaf on the ground or a school bus in site, you know it’s fall because there’s already a quarterback controversy in Philadelphia. In Week One. After a win, albeit an atrocious one to watch.
Because of the NFL’s rule about using their “Game Rewind” service anytime when a football game could possibly be happening somewhere in the continental United States, I have yet to re-watch the game like I’d intended for this post. Looks like for the season, that’s going to come on Tuesdays. Hold back your tears, kids. Be strong.
In the meantime, let’s review the good, bad, and the Pugly (for Pat McQuistan, the Jeff Karstens of professional football) from Sunday’s game, in a 100 percent original blog post theme you won’t see anywhere else on the Internet. Nosiree.
GOOD – Well, Mike Vick didn’t throw a fifth interception. That would’ve sucked.
BAD – Holy hell in a hand basket with ham and hot potatoes. In order, Vick’s picks came on:
1. A ball thrown across his body as he rolled left (you’re not going to believe this, but it was underthrown).
2. A throw into triple coverage.
3. A ball that glanced off Jeremy Maclin’s hands and into Joe Haden’s pierogie basket – half Maclin’s fault for not hauling it in, half Vick’s for leading him too far.
4. A throw into double coverage, where the other Cleveland dude in coverage was actually in better position for the sure pick than the backpedaling D’Qwell Jackson, who merely returned it for a touchdown.
Don’t forget the fumble on the final drive that, by the grace of the football gods, Vick fell right on top of with three Browns within 10 feet of it. Yes, he led the offense to the game-winning score, one of two uncharacteristically good two-minute drills that produced both Eagle touchdowns, but Vick nearly blew that last drive twice.
There’s “rust” and then there’s literally not seeing defenders.
GOOD – Vick did have two very nice scrambles – one for a first down on 3rd and 15 on the first drive of the game, and the other on the final drive where he spun for a first down amongst three tacklers. The second one would have been much better had he not nearly bobbled the game away with the fumble.
BAD – Every lineman except Todd Herremans got called for holding, and in order from left to right, to boot. If each member of line is whistled once in a game, Tastykake should give out free Chocolate Juniors to everyone at Wawa the next morning with the purchase of the Daily News.
BAD – Did you guys know Jason Peters didn’t play yesterday? It’s true! He’s injured, so he can’t play any football, and since he’s very good at football, that could be a problem.
King Dunlap is really, really bad. At least Andy put Clay Harbor next to him once in a while so he didn’t wither away into Winston Justice. Evan Mathis took two bad penalties as well, and his play tossed more grease onto the “is he even any good without Peters” fire. In short, losing a Pro Bowl left tackle bites the big one. You have to wonder why the front office decided not to sign anyone in the offseason to replace him.
GOOD: After a fumble on his first carry, Shady McCoy looked like his old self, dancing to 100+ yards. Of course…
BAD - …he got 20 carries. Bryce Brown had 2. DeSean Jackson had one. That’s 23 planned running plays compared to 60 passes. Michael Vick is a career 56 percent passer, (60.5 percent with the Eagles). Vick’s 41st pass of the game was the pick-six. The Eagles ran 17 more pass plays after that, with Reid most likely cackling and downing a bear claw the entire time.
PUGLY – Brandon Weeden didn’t get stuck under the flag by accident before the game– he was trying to see if the troops would let him use it later in the game to dry his tears. If you want to know why rounding up replacement schmucks to referee professional football games is a bad idea, check out the embarrassingly late roughing the passer flag against the Eagles in the third quarter, thrown only after Weeden threw up his hands, pissed his pants and begged for his mother’s teat. It was literally the only thing Weeden did successfully yesterday aside from completing quick slants.
Every time Weeden complains about a call the rest of his career, whichever broadcast network is showing the game should cue up one of those montages where Mike Vick is knocked down after a throw, hit by an oncoming train, hacked to pieces with a chainsaw, etc.
Each network has at least one montage for Vick getting the snot beaten out of him. It’s the NFL equivalent of the obit the New York Times has on file for anyone with a Wikipedia entry. Don’t worry, though – whereas a defensive end spinning out of his way to avoid hitting the quarterback, yet accidentally brushing him with his ring finger, is a 15-yard penalty, Vick getting body-checked five yards after every throw is perfectly OK.
GOOD – The secondary probably batted down more passes in yesterday’s game than they did all last season. DRC was a boss. Nnamdi laid a touchdown-saving smackdown on Travis Benjamin and deflected a ton of balls; aside from a bizarre play in the first quarter where he lined up about 45 yards off the line of scrimmage on a quick slant to Mohamed Mass Effect, he was great. Brandon Boykin played about two-thirds of the defensive snaps and had a nice leaping near-interception before he went down near the end of the game. Greg Little, the only receiver on the Browns with more talent than a can of Sierra Mist, had no catches on four targets.
PUGLY – Yep.
GOOD – The first couple times I saw Trent Richardson go down in the backfield, I was convinced it was a trick play surely some sleight of hand from Pat Shurmur. But sure as the Cuyahoga River is polluted, legitimate, two-armed, textbook tackles brought him down each time. If Jeremiah Trotter was the axeman, DeMeco Ryans can be Hatchet Harry. Mychal Kendricks looks rock solid and very un-Eagles linebacker-like. Even Jason Babin accidentally ran into the running back a couple times on his way to hitting the quarterback regardless of the play call.
GOOD/BAD/PUGLY – Maclin was flagged for a 50-50 offensive pass interference call on a hook route that happened to put him right where a charging Browns defender was chasing Shady early on. He caught a couple of nice long passes, then followed it up with a holding penalty. He also died about three times in the span of 10 minutes. Dimitri Patterson nearly KO’d him. It was that kind of game.
PUGLY – Something about the replacement refs.
GOOD – Brandon Graham didn’t get a ton of time, but he made a couple plays, including chasing Richardson down from behind on a run where Graham initially ran right past him into the backfield. This was mostly just a reminder that Brandon Graham still exists.
PUGLY – Good God, is Brandon Weeden bad or what?
GOOD – Hey, Andy didn’t do anything stupid with his timeouts! He actually used them well in the first half, conserving clock while Cleveland’s offense sputtered like a stalling Pinto to allow for a touchdown pass to Maclin, then didn’t use them once in the second half. Of course, if an extra timeout could’ve mitigated Vick’s 6-for-91 second half, I wouldn’t have minded that.
GOOD – Juan Castillo cooked up an above-average gameplan and the defense executed it to near perfection. Yes, this is how a defense dripping with talent and skill should play against an offense starting two rookies, a corpse and Joe Thomas (also known as Trent Cole’s bitch), but considering how often they underperformed and gave away leads last year, this was encouraging. It was also brilliant of Castillo to tell Kurt Coleman that the Browns were starting Rex Grossman at quarterback.
Like a philosopher with a mental tick once said, a win is a win is a win is a win is a win is a win is a swan is a swim is Swin Cash is Daddy gonna be home for dinner? In the standings, this is a W, which is all that matters. But considering the insanity this week will bring, you can count this one as a losing win. So while we’re talking about insanity and awful jokes, you can chalk this one up as a…
See you tomorrow, kids.