Monday, November 14, 2005

Acting Lessons from Greg Lewis

The petite wide receiver did his best Marlon Brando, his best Bill Barber dive and drew an unsportsman-like conduct penalty on the Eagles' early fourth quarter field goal-producing drive. Bravo, Greg.

Third Quarter Score: Eagles 17, Cowboys 7

Going with the theme that tonight's Eagles performance was reminiscent of the pre-T.O. Birds, here's a thought to swallow.

The Eagles "O" back in those days never really relied on the wideouts for most of their yardage through the air. Through three quarters, Donovan McNabb has 15 completed passes with 13 of those to tight ends or backs.

Eagles 17, Cowboys 7

David Akers is back and he's not crying. The Eagles kicker nailed a 48-yard field goal with ease as the Eagles expanded their lead here in the third quarter. A quick thought - Doesn't the way this game is being played by the Eagles remind you of how they used to win, pre-T.O. McNabb makes zero mistakes and the defense makes big play after big play. Hmmm ...

Eagles 14, Cowboys 7

McNabb struts in untouched for a 2-yard TD. When was the last time you saw that? He pulled out a vintage Michael Jackson celebration and, maybe it's just us, but he was overly demonstrative with his dance. Wouldn't it have been choice if he had done a T.O.-esque flapping of the Bird wings?

The Prophet Jeremiah

Jeremiah Trotter was rather adamant all week about the Eagles' chances in tonight's game. All he did was put his play where his mouth was. The Eagles D overloaded on the left side and blitzed Trotter and Michael Lewis. Trotter had a clear path to Drew Bledsoe as Lewis took two defenders. Trotter exploded into Bledsoe's house and the quarterback, who was near-perfect against the Eagles in October threw a horrendous pass into the arms of Lito Sheppard. That was a big play for an Eagles D that hasn't been accustomed to the big play this season.

First Quarter Score: Eagles 7, Cowboys 7

The Eagles composed a perfect opening possession drive, their defense stuffed the Cowboys and forced a three-and-out in their first series driving their fans into a frenzy and they're only tied, 7-7, after one quarter of play.

Not a good sign.

Eagles 7, Cowboys 0

Who are these Eagles? The better question is, where was this play-calling in the first half of the season? That was simply a beauty of a first possession drive. It looked like the plays were scripted and executed exactly as written. They ran seven times on the 11-play, 72-yard TD-producing drive with six of the last seven play calls on the ground. The 11 plays were the most they've strung together all season and the six minutes and six seconds they drained from the clock was the most thus far this season, as well.

Brian Westbrook's 15-yard TD was the first rushing TD he's had since Week 3 when he ran 18 yards for a TD against the Oakland Raiders.

T.O. or no T.O., that was an impressive drive/start.

Super Donovan

Who was that masked man scampering for five yards and a first down? No T.O., noooo problem.

Pre-game Observations

We caught wind that ABC will delay the start of tonight's game because of a pre-game skit they've developed. Everyone remembers the attempt at humor last year when the brains at the network conceived a mock Desperate Wives scenario with Terrell Owens and Nicolette Sheridan. You remember how well that went over, right?

Tonight's satire will have take on the T.O. ordeal not using Desperate Housewives as a template, but the groundbreaking series from over a decade ago, Twin Peaks. And instead of having the question, "Who killed Laura Palmer?" as the show's mantra, the Twins Peaks: The Eagles 2005 Season episode will have the question "Who's most responsible for T.O.'s departure?" as the theme. The censors will have their hands full with this one.

Eagles vs. Cowboys: Pre-game Notes

You're looking live at the Eye on Eagles Blog. We're here at Lincoln Financial Field for tonight's 9 p.m. start between the Eagles and Cowboys. The most notable scratch from the starting lineup for the Eagles is defensive end N.D. Kalu. Darwin Walker will slide over from tackle and Sam Rayburn will take his place. Other inactives:

Third quarterback Mike McMahon, running back Ryan Moats, cornerback Dexter Wynn, tight end Stephen Spach, linebacker Matt McCoy, tackle Calvin Armstrong and tackle Todd Herremans.

McNabb Needs To Leg It Out Vs.Dallas

Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb insists that his sports hernia and other assorted injuries don't prevent him from running. The statistics indicate otherwise. McNabb has rushed 20 times for 33 yards and no touchdowns. That is a paltry 1.7 yards per rush.
If the Eagles are going to take advantage of the gifts delivered yesterday by Minnesota and Tampa Bay respectively with their wins over the N.Y. Giants and Washington Redskins, then McNabb is going to have to get some production from his legs.
In the earlier 33-10 loss at Dallas, McNabb faced a fierce pass rush and was sacked four times. He rushed twice for all of two yards.
Dallas realized he wasn't going to run and McNabb essentially became a sitting target. The Cowboys will do the same thing tonight, forcing everything to the middle and not expecting McNabb to dart to the outside.
A few runs would open things up considerably, not only for running back Brian Westbrook, but for the young receivers. The Eagles were far too predictable in their first meeting with Dallas and that explains why they accumulated just 129 total net yards.
Before this season, the lowest yards-per-carry in McNabb's career has been 5.1 in 2003. Last season he ran the ball just 41 times, but averaged 5.4 yards and scored three touchdowns.
McNabb has proven that he is an elite quarterback who can do much more than run, but the Eagles are now in a desperate situation, where they need every weapon available to them.
And there are few things that are more unsettling to a defense than seeing McNabb take off down field.
He insists that he can run effectively. Tonight would be a good time to prove it, or the Eagles playoff run could finally run out of gas.