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Eagles Beat Vikings, Bradford In Slopfest: The Morning After

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Good morning TMA readers,

 

Steve O was away this weekend on business. But he saw the game and is eagerly anticipating my recap, so I can’t screw this up.

 

Here goes nothing:

 

Well, it was the moment Eagles fans had been waiting for since 1908. Oh sorry, that’s another sport.

TMA

 

Anyways, their former quarterback, who heroically put the Birds on his shoulders during their 2015 season and led them to an uninspiring 7-7 record as a starter, was returning to the Linc with a 5-0 record with his new team, the Minnesota Vikings. The game had playoff atmosphere written all over it, and Eagles fans were waiting with bated breath to pay tribute to their conquering hero Sam (aka: Sammy Sleeves) Bradford.

 

You know what...the Philly fan in me is really enjoying these sarcastic overtones, but I can’t keep them going any longer.

 

After two consecutive weeks of subpar play resulting in losses, it looks like Carson Wentz and his band of merry men are somewhat back on track, beating the undefeated Vikings, 21-10. Injuries, penalties, play stoppages and five consecutive possessions ending in turnovers were all prominently featured in one of the ugliest Eagles wins in recent memory—and that is being nice.

 

Let’s break it all down:

 

Although the Vikings entered the game undefeated, it’s not because Bradford is pulling a 1998 Randall Cunningham and is “lighting it up” offensively. Yes, prior to the loss, he had a completion rate of 70.4%, but the team’s offense is almost at the bottom of the league in major offensive categories. As a result, many “experts” believed the game would be a battle of the respective team’s defenses. Well, they were half right.

 

TURNOVERS, TURNOVERS, AND BETTER RECEIVERS….PLEASE!?

 

The Eagles and Vikings entered the day with the least amount of turnovers in the league. So naturally, there were five of them during the first 10 minutes of the contest, including interceptions on back to back drives from Carson Wentz, who is actually showing some signs of being human as of late. Remember kids, he IS a rookie. This was going to happen. As Steve O says, the key to this season is “patience.” 

 

Speaking of Wentz, as well as patience, I really hate to do this, because I’m not a Howie Roseman fan by any means and I hate asking people for favors I’m not a fan of. That being said, Howie, can you please, please, please, PLEASE, get Wentz the essential wide receiver he needs to form a dynamic one-two punch that this team needs? It’s obvious that Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor are not deep threats, aren’t physical enough, and don’t have the steady hands required to be dominant elite receivers in this league.

The summer of '05. Man, what a circus that was. Photo: http://thephillyphour.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/owens2.jpg

 

Yes, Dorial Green (don’t call me David) Beckham scored his first touchdown in Sunday’s game, but the jury is still out on him. Moreover, he too got outmuscled on a play in the first quarter that squandered a first down. There’s only one human being on the planet the Eagles have had in the last 25 years who fits the description of an elite wideout. We all know his name. Yes, players like Terrell Owens don’t grow on trees, but Howie, your boy Jeffrey Lurie is paying you big bucks. Find someone like him. Somewhere. Do it. Get it done. This is ridiculous.

 

And no...DeSean Jackson is neither tall or physical, and his speed will diminish in several years.

 

MATHEWS FUMBLES….AGAIN

 

First the good news: After his game-losing fumble against the Lions, somebody told Ryan Mathews to put the football in the hand that is closest to the sidelines.

 

Now the bad news: Ryan Mathews fumbled again.

 

It was the 13th lost fumble of his career.

 

I’m not rooting for a human being to lose their job. Most of us have been there and it stinks. That being said, just read the above sentences once more. As a business owner, you have to ask yourself whether a specific employee is hurting your organization more than helping it. I’ll leave it at that.

 

SCHWARTZ STRIKES BACK

 

After coming out flat against the Lions and Redskins and taking a lot of heat in the process, Jim Schwartz implemented a variety of blitzes into his scheme to rattle Bradford, and the defense showed up in a big way—allowing only 10 points, 93 rushing yards, 189 passing yards (282 total yards) while hitting Bradford 19 times. Connor Barwin, whose lack of production has led to speculation that his playing time could be decreased, also had a strong game. Needless to say, performances like these need to continue, especially next week against the 5-1 Cowgirls.

 

THE O-LINE STEPS UP; INJURIES

 

We’ve discussed this before: Lane Johnson really hurt his team doing what he did. After a penalty was called on Halapoulivaati Vaitai during the Birds first drive of the game, I thought “Man oh man. Here we go again.” That was actually the G-rated version of what I said. However, Vaitai settled in and played a much better game on Sunday then he did against the Redskins. As a unit, the whole offensive line looked better. Then Jason Peters had to leave the game with a bicep injury, and Matt Tobin finished the game at left tackle. Let’s face it, you might be able to steal a few games with Johnson gone, but when both of your team’s primary right and left tackles miss a substantial period of time, well…

 

Peters wasn’t the only Eagle to get his wings clipped on Sunday. Cornerback Ron Brooks went down with a knee injury. This appears to be more serious than Peters’ injury, so we should keep our fingers crossed here.

 

BIG BALLS DOUG?

 

I’m not going to lie, Pederson has almost put to rest any fears I had of him being Andy Reid-lite (stop it!) with just a few plays—including the successful two-point conversion after a Vikings’ penalty, and converting a 4th and 2 for a first down in the second quarter.

 

I know it’s still early to accurately judge this, but after his first six games as coach of the Eagles, it seems Doug Pederson might be more daring than Chip Kelly was.

No Curveballs: My Greatest Sports Stories Never Told

 

That’s all for now. Steve O should be back next week, when the Birds take on Dallas. This will be a true test. We shall see…

 

On a side note, I’d like to shamelessly plug my brand new book: “No Curveballs: My Greatest Sports Stories Never Told.” The book is the autobiography of Eagles spotter Bill Werndl, who is celebrating 50 years in the world of sports. You can check us out at www.nocurveballs.com and can buy the book on Kindle for a limited time for just 99 cents!

 

 

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