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Monday, September 17, 2012

Split Weekend: Eagles go to 2-0; Phillies Fade in Houston

          Two ugly games. Two comebacks. And the Eagles are 2-0 for the first time since they went to the Super Bowl.

          This ugly win, 24-23 over the Baltimore Ravens, was one the Eagles don’t need to be embarrassed by. They slugged it out with a team known for playing hard fought games.

          For a second straight week Mike Vick coughed up multiple turnovers, including 2 interceptions, and lead the Eagles on a late touchdown drive to give them a 1-point victory. He also lost a fumble, and overcame an offensive line that is quickly becoming decimated by injury. His passing yards were more impressive this week coming on a reasonable number of passing attempts. Vick was 23 of 32 passing for 371 yards for a touchdown.

          LeSean McCoy also had a touchdown and lost a fumble, rushing 25 times for 81 yards.

          Eagles receivers seemed to be very open all day. Brent Celek (157) and DeSean Jackson (114) had 100-yard plus games. Jeremy Maclin left the game at one point with his hip injury, but made his one catch really count with a touchdown.

          While the Eagles defense deserves credit for making Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco look very pedestrian after a great performance last week, I didn’t understand the Baltimore play calling. Ray Rice gashed the Eagles for 99 yards on just 16 carries, yet Flacco threw the ball 42 times despite being ahead for all but the last minute and change of the second half.

          There were times Baltimore had the run stuffed in the second half, but there was no reason not to stick with it. Flacco was terrible in the half, throwing his 1 interception, and couldn’t get the ball in the end zone.

          To be fair, Flacco did throw a second TD that would have sealed the game for Baltimore that was called back on a very questionable offensive pass interference call.

          On the other side of the Philadelphia rooting interests in the fall, the Phillies fell flat to the 99-loss Houston Astros, losing a long weekend series 3-1. The bats came up short Thursday and Saturday while the bullpen let them down on Sunday.

          Having won 7 games in a row odds were they would cool off. But the team losing 3 in Houston while getting a 4-game series split between the Cardinals and Dodgers is a bit heartbreaking for Phils fans. It’s hard not to think about the fact that even with a reversal in the series with the Astros (not to mention a sweep that didn’t seem unthinkable), the Phillies could have been just a game out of the second Wild Card. Now, they’re 3 out with three teams between them and the Cardinals, plus Arizona just a half game behind them.

          With just 15 games to play and the Cardinals playing the Astros in two more series and the Cubs in another, hopes for a miracle run from the Phillies have been all but dashed.

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