BY MIKE WOLVERTON SPORTS GUY Sometimes you’ve got to envy the bandwagon fans, the ones that come along in the playoffs and manage to feel (or at least display) almost as much joy from success as the diehards. Their great advantage is that they really don’t care as much about the losses, since they aren’t that emotionally invested in the first place. These kinds of fans were able to look at the TV schedule this weekend, take a look at the weather outside and decide to enjoy one of the last quality weekends of the year. The diehards holed up inside our homes or cozied up to the bar, forgoing sunlight and foliage, and what was the reward? A double helping of depression with a side order of despair.
It really was a craptacious weekend for Philadelphia fans. Even the Union lost. The Eagles allowed a guy who didn’t even play in the 1st quarter (Kenny Britt) to rack up 225 receiving yards and three touchdowns. It’s the most yards a wide receiver has ever put up against the Eagles, and more yards than Britt had amassed in the first six games combined. After the Eagles had done a spectacular job of bottling up running back Chris Johnson, and seemed to have the Titans just where they wanted them, Britt singlehandedly destroyed the Iggles secondary. He was unstoppable. Based on that, I’ll hate to see what Miles Austin and Hakeem Nicks are going to do to that group.
The key moment came with six minutes left in the 3rd quarter, the Birds up 16-7 and heading in for another score. The subsequent fumble at the 3-yard-line changed everything…the Eagles were outscored 30-3 from that point on. If you are looking to assign blame (and what Philly fan isn’t?), you might be tempted to direct your anger at Kolb or McCoy. But the real villain on the play was the Igs’ offensive line, which allowed the untouched Titan lineman to be right on top of Kolb a split-second after the snap. From a possible 23-7 lead to a complete 2nd-half meltdown, that was the play that made the game, and the responsibility lies with the center and the right guard.
>And who can we blame for the Phillies debacle? My first instinct is to blame the Giants’ pitching…they’ve got some pretty good twirlers. The Phils just didn’t hit. It happened for long stretches during the regular season, and if it happens for a short stretch in the playoffs, sometimes that’s enough. Phillies pitching held San Fran to merely 19 runs in six games (barely over 3 runs per game), yet won only twice. Utley hit .182 in the series, Victorino .208, Ibanez .211, Ruiz .167. Ryan Howard had zero runs batted in. In a very tight Game 6, the Phillies had runners in scoring position in the 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th innings, but never got that critical base hit. For a team that made its reputation by bashing the opposition, they were decidedly punchless. It was fitting for the game to end with Howard, their biggest slugger, striking out without taking a hack.
But wait! There’s always next weekend! When the Eagles are on a bye, the Phillies are on the golf course and the weather is going to suck. Have a happy Monday, Philadelphia!