With Michael Vick out due to injury, and LeSean McCoy finding little room to run, a rusty Vince Young did just enough to lead the Birds offense to 17 points, while the defense stepped up when their teammates needed them most, limiting the Giants offense to 278 total yards and 10 points. The Eagles move up to 4-6, still a below-average mark, but keeping them no further than two games out of first place in the NFC East.
Young did throw three interceptions, one of them the club's eighth turnover in the red zone this year, but the former third overall pick tossed a pair of touchdowns, including the game winner -- an eight yarder to Riley Cooper in the back of the end zone with 2:50 remaining. Young got better as the game went on, finishing 23/36 with 258 yards passing, while Cooper had a breakthrough performance, catching five balls for 75 yards.
There were a bunch of solid lines on offense, but the defense set the tone early, allowing Young and his mates to overcome a slow start.
The Giants weren't very successful in any phase of the game, rushing for a paltry 29 yards, while Eli Manning failed to find any kind of rhythm. The Giants finally got something going in the fourth quarter, when Nnamdi Asomugha left Victor Cruz behind him in the end zone for a 24-yard TD to knot the game at 10. Jason Babin came up with the big play of the game though, stripping Eli to finish any hopes of another comeback.
Plenty of fans may have already given up on this season, but the Eagles -- even with their backup quarterback at the helm -- continue to battle. As much as the idea might sound laughable, a post-season berth technically is still possible. Who knows what can happen if they have more efforts like these. More to come...
It really felt like we could've gotten this one. The Denver Nuggets are hardly pushovers, but they came into this one a 7-13 team that'd lost their last three games, and even last night they seemed fairly beatable, even for a Philadelphia 76ers team still missing Robert Covington (in additional to our usual mini-roster of absentees). But Philly's energy sagged in the third quarter as Denver caught a second wind, and they spent the final frame hitting shots that the Sixers couldn't answer. Final score: Nuggets 106, 76ers 98.
The most sobering part of the loss was that Joel Embiid finally played what would best be described as "a bad game." Not that bad, of course — even at his worst, Joel still managed 16 points and notched career-high five blocks. But he only shot 5-15 from the field, turned ball over three times, grabbed just four boards and played a large part in the sinkhole offense that the Sixers played in the late third and early fourth that ultimately cost them this one. JoJo still has trouble reading double teams and knowing when not to attack into traffic, and his frustration was extremely evident as he kept trying to do too much and paying the price for it.
Nonetheless, even with an off Embiid night and a still-slumping Sauce — officially down to Left in the Car Overnight temperature after a night of 4 points on 1-7 shooting in 35 minutes — Philly probably still coulda gotten this one. Sergio Rodriguez appears to have swiped Nik's swag at least temporarily, with a season-high 17 points on 7-14 shooting to go with seven dimes and three steals, while Dario Saric and Ersan Ilyasova also poured in 17 and 8 each, and the Nuggets wings were largely kept quiet for two and a half quarters. But even while struggling, the Nuggets paraded their way to free-throw line — 34 FTAs for the night, including 12 for Danilo Gallinari alone — and once they caught fire late, the Sixers just couldn't keep up.
A bummer for a team that's now lost seven in a row, and has to face the Grizzlies tonight in Memphis — their fourth game in five nights, and the first of a three-game road trip — without Embiid and also without Jahlil Okafor, out with illness. Even with the Grizz missing their own big names (no Mike Conley, Chandler Parsons, Zach Randolph or Vince Carter lately) and likely suffering from fatigue of their own after a double-OT road win last night in New Orleans, the 4-17 Sixers are gonna have a tough go matching Memphis' grit and grind tonight. Anytime you feel like Supermanning in and saving the day now would be cool, Nerlens Noel. Just sayin'.
Elton Brand is back with the Sixers, albeit not on the court.
The Sixers agreed with the former NBA forward to name Brand Player Development Consultant. In a press release, the team said Brand will be working with Sixers players in 'every facet of their on- and off-court development' while also working in the front office.
“We are extremely excited to bring Elton Brand back into the organization where he will be a valuable resource to our young and developing team," Bryan Colangelo said in the release. "Elton’s leadership and character displayed throughout his playing career as a player align perfectly with our vision, direction and culture of this basketball team, coaching staff and management group."
Brand retired during training camp after 17 NBA seasons, including five with the Sixers over two stints. The 6-foot-8 forward came out of retirement last season to provide a veteran presence for the Sixers and eventually played in 17 games when the team was snakebitten by injuries.
He will now continue to be an influence on the Sixers' young core thanks to his new role with the basketball operations department.