1. There seems to be some confusion about what it would take for the Eagles to make the playoffs so let me lay it out for you. Currently, three teams stand between the Eagles and one of the two wild card sports -- the Cowboys, the Bucs and the Falcons. If the Birds win out, that means they beat Dallas in Week 17, thus jumping the Cowboys. That leaves the Bucs and the Falcons. The Eagles need either Tampa Bay or Atlanta to lose once in the final two weeks. The Bucs host the Raiders and Chargers. They are 6-0 at home. The Falcons travel to Minnesota and then get the Rams at home in Week 17. So there you have it. The most likely playoff scenario for the Eagles: win out and hope the Falcons or Bucs drop one of their final two games.
2. If you stepped away from your TV for a moment, you might have missed it. When Asante Samuel picked off Ken Dorsey in the second quarter, he let go of the ball before crossing the goal line for the touchdown. Yes, this is the second time we've seen this. The other was obviously DeSean Jackson on Monday night against the Cowboys. This time, Samuel picked the ball up after letting it go. It looked like he might have received an assist from Stewart Bradley, who appeared to have said something to him. So, with all the stats we have at our disposal nowadays, when is the last time two players in the same season on the same team have let go of the ball before crossing the goal line on potential touchdowns? I expect a callback from Elias Sports Bureau about this any second now.
3. What's with this team at the end of the first halves? Last week, David Akers' field goal against the Giants was blocked and returned for a touchdown. The same thing happened in Week 6 against the 49ers. Against the Bengals, Donovan McNabb was intercepted in Cincinnati territory with 12 seconds left. And he was picked off against the Steelers in the final two minutes in Week 3. The bizarre thing is the Eagles won (or tied) all those games. Great hustle by Brian Westbrook, Hank Baskett and Brent Celek to run down Brandon McDonald and stop Cleveland from getting in the end zone.
4. The optimist says...
I've never heard so many people complain after a 20-point win. McNabb was sharp, spreading the ball out to nine different receivers. The Eagles put 30 on the board and didn't even get much from Westbrook. The 'D' played well again. The linebackers are really emerging, and they're getting pressure on the quarterback consistently. The Eagles are peaking at the perfect time. The Giants look vulnerable, and there is no favorite in the NFC. The 'Skins are dead, and do you really trust the Cowboys in December? The Birds will finish 10-5-1. If they can just get some help with a Bucs or Falcons loss, anything is possible once the playoffs start.
5. The pessimist says...
A win over the Browns is really something to get excited about? I'll take any college team playing in a BCS bowl to beat this Cleveland team, which has quit on its coach and is starting a third-string quarterback. The Eagles were awful in the red zone and gave up some big plays to Braylon Edwards. They'll probably blow it on the last game of the season in classic Philadelphia fashion. Even if the Eagles do somehow win out, they'll probably still be on the outside looking in. The Falcons and Bucs don't exactly have tough schedules coming up. And it will all come down to that tie against the freakin' Bengals. Get ready for Reid/McNabb once again next year. Another season. The same frustrations.
6. Looks like the networks have graduated from Viva Viagara to Cialis commercials. Instead of middle-aged men singing and playing the guitar, we have a nice, older couple playing footsie on the hammock. I need to hear from either a.) A son who has to watch this commercial awkwardly with his father or b.) A father who has to watch this commcercial awkwardly with his son. I remember when I used to drive to games with my Dad as a teenager and had to deal with the awkwardness of listening to the Club Risque commercials on WIP. Who's with me here?
7. The Eagles were 11-for-17 on third down, but two of those were with Kevin Kolb in the game. That means the Eagles' offense went 11-for-15 (73 percent) with McNabb. Last week the Eagles were 12-for-18. And 10-for-15 the week before. That's 33-for-50 or 66 percent in the last three weeks. Looking for a stat that represents the three-game winning streak? This is it.
8. Nice effort from Jason Avant. He had five catches for 101 yards overall, but more importantly, he seems to be McNabb's most reliable third-down target. Avant converted three third downs, picking up 52 yards in the process. Not saying he's Jerry Rice, but it's important to have players who fill specific roles, and I think Avant does that.
9 and 10.
Did you hear
...McNabb make a reference to the Cowboys' saga? McNabb was asked if he was watching the Falcons or other teams play yesterday. "Personally I wasn't. I watched a little bit of the Giants game, but that was just to see what happened during the game. I think everybody was kind of watching for that," McNabb said with a smile.
...what Andy Reid said when asked about DeSean Jackson throwing an interception? The reporter began the question, "That was the first time DeSean Jackson threw the ball..." and before he got the question out, Reid responded "It was the last time too."
...Tony Kornheiser call McNabb "Donovan the Diva" during his pre-game monologue? Kornheiser talked about McNabb still being angry about being benched throughout the broadcast.