Sunday, September 25, 2005

Eagles Game-Day Quick Hits

Donovan McNabb is hurting, there is no question about that. Judging from early reports, this is something that he will fight through all season. The Eagles were calling it an abdominal strain and TV called it sports hernia. Take your pick.

David Akers also is hurting and his right leg will not improve unless he takes some time off. With every kick Sunday, he was in more and more pain. But he came through when the Eagles needed him most. (No, not the opening kickoffs.)

Jeremiah Trotter was a defensive rock in the middle with 10 tackles, all unassisted, three passes defensed and a forced fumble.

Linebacker Dhani Jones, who struggled on the Raiders first drive, missing a tackle and blowing a pass coverage, came back strong with eight tackles.

Mike Patterson, who got the start when defensive tackle Darwin Walker was put on the inactive list with a thigh contusion, finished with three tackles, including a sack, and a forced fumble.

The Eagles run defense held Raiders running back Lamont Jordan to 19 yards on 16 carries for an average of 1.2 yards.

While Brian Westbrook was running forward for 68 yards on 13 carries, Lamar Gordon was going backward. He had one carry for -1 yard. But he did have three receptions for 19 yards.

Raiders receiver Randy Moss had touchdowns in his first two games for the Raiders, but he was kept out of the end zone against the Eagles.

Here is something you don't hear very often: "He's a tough guy. They call him a kicker, but he's not a kicker. He's a football player." Mike Bartrum on Akers.

The Eagles offense is best in the league after three weeks.

It didn't look good in the beginning when the Eagles started the game with penalties on the first four plays. Three on the kickoff and one on the first Raiders play from scrimmage.

You have to wonder why Donovan is throwing 52 times if he has something wrong with his abdomen/groin/chest, etc.

Forget that. Here's why. Said McNabb after the game: "I'll just continue to work at trying to find ways around it. This is a type of game that when you talk about the Philadelphia Eagles and the struggle of getting to our goal, which is the Super Bowl."

Back to Brian: Westbrook had his best game from the line of scrimmage with 208 yards rushing and receiving. It was his best game since Oct. 19, 2003 against the New York Giants when he had 223 total yards, including 67 rushing, 11 receiving, 84 on punt returns and 61 on kickoff returns.

Did you notice that Eagles had a two-minute offense. They don't get to use it much.

Akers hurt again

Eagles kicker David Akers appears to have re-injured his right leg. On the opening kickoff, Akers came up limping after a 65-yard kick. To make matters worse, there was a penalty for offsides forcing the Eagles to kick again.

On the second kick, Akers went down in pain after bouncing the kick 57 yards. There was another offsides penalty, but Akers was headed for bench to be treated.

Long-snapper Mike Bartrum took over the duties and kicked it out of bounds after 41, resulting in the third penalty in an many plays. The Raiders finally started their first drive on the 50-yard line and scored a touchdown five plays later.

Reality bites

It happens just like that.

The Phillies win three consecutive games in their final at-bat. The emotions are spilling over on the field and in living rooms around the Delaware Valley. There is the feeling that this is a team of destiny. It is all that.

And then comes the reality check. You have to play the game the next day.

The Cincinnati Reds are a team with many weapons and they, too, have to play one game at a time. In baseball, Eric Milton can show up and beat you any day of the week. Yeah, Eric Milton. The guy who could only be labeled a disappointment when he was with the Phillies. The same Eric Milton that has struggled all year for the Reds. But on Saturday night, he owned his former team, keeping the Phillies hot bats in the deep freeze.

Just like that, the Phils are two games behind the Astros, who beat the Cubs, 8-3. There are seven games remaining.

The Astros have five more against the Cubs and two vs. the Cardinals.
The Phillies have one more against the Reds and three each vs. the Mets and Nationals.

I just don't see the Phillies winning two or three more games than the Astros, especially if they have to spend as much as emotion they did this past week.

Tell me what you think.