BY MIKE WOLVERTON SPORTS GUY Yes, the Eagles won the game. But no one will claim that Sunday night’s win over the Bears was “the night the Birds turned their season around.” It was a game the Eagles could easily have lost, to a crummy Bears team with a lost quarterback. For those who knock Donovan, admit he throws a hell of a deep ball. The pass to DeSean Jackson in the third quarter Sunday night wasn’t in-stride perfect, but it was good enough that Jackson only had to alter his stride a bit, without slowing up and letting the defender catch up. When Jay Cutler had his chance to hit an open Johnny Knox down the sidelines with four minutes left, he overthrew him, one of three missed deep balls on the night for Cutler and the Bears. And when you knock Donovan, remember that you could have Chad Pennington, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brady Quinn or one of the many other quarterbacks that don’t even throw deep because they don’t have the arm strength.
Some guy from the Bears named Kahlil Bell torched the Eagles for 72 yards on his first career carry. Turns out it was the longest gain on a first carry since Alan “The Horse” Ameche went 79 yards on his first touch in 1955. That’s a pretty sweet nickname, The Horse. Where have all the good nicknames gone? Off the top of my head, I could only think of Ochocinco, and that’s a guy who gave a nickname to himself! It’s like the whole league has gone Peyton Manning vanilla cream pie. Why doesn’t Tom Brady have a nickname? Or what about a running back? Among running backs alone there used to be The Galloping Ghost and Crazy Legs, Iron Head and The Bus. The Nigerian Nightmare. And Sweetness. The best the NFL can do right now is All Day and Beast Mode? Actually, those are pretty good. What was my point again? Ah, the chance to list a bunch of sweet nicknames.
For me the big sequence Sunday night came early in the 4th quarter, soon after the LeSean McCoy fumble, when the Bears were given a golden chance to ice the game. With the Eagles on defense, Victor Abiamiri caught Matt Forte from behind on a 3rd down screen pass, three yards short of a first down. This forced a long field goal, which was blocked by Antonio Dixon. The Bears were leading by three at the time, but couldn’t add to their advantage. The Eagles then took the ball and marched down the field to score the winning touchdown. It all may have played out much differently had it not been for Abiamiri’s play. I put the stopwatch on that postgame “conversation” between McNabb and Cutler. Forty-five seconds. Cutler actually started to go for separation at about 13 seconds and didn’t get it. He was doing a lot of nodding. He started getting a little annoyed at the 24-second mark and at 31 seconds, he switched to his “You’ve got to be kidding me” nod. But the camera was right there and he had to act deferential. Would Donovan have been as gracious with his advice had the Eagles lost?