The Most Telling Statistic About the 2011 Eagles

The Most Telling Statistic About the 2011 Eagles

Why were the Eagles an unacceptable 8-8 in 2011? They were second only to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the highest number of turnovers in the NFL with 38 -- 13 fumbles, 25 interceptions.

Yes, it's that simple.

For comparison's sake, the closest team to the Eagles to actually make the postseason is in a three-way tie for sixth place with 30, and it's the Denver Broncos, who also happened to finish .500. They are the only playoff-bound team in the top 10, and we all know they aren't going anywhere.

After that, the Steelers come in tied three ways for 11th with 28. That's still a whopping 10 turnovers less than the Birds, or a difference of more than one every two games. The only other clubs to make the tournament and finish in the top half of the league were the Ravens and the Giants, who tied for 16th with 24 each.

Just look at four of the league's most serious Super Bowl contenders. The Saints are tied for 28th with 19 turnovers, half the Eagles' total. The Patriots are 30th with 17, the Packers 31st with 14, and last, but very obviously not least, the 49ers had 10 all year.

Even if you combined the last three teams, the total comes out to 41, which is only three more than Philadelphia. Stop and think about that for a second. The Eagles  committed almost as many turnovers in 16 games as three other teams did in 48. That, friends, is the difference between winning eight games, or winning 13, 15, and 13 respectively.

By the way, the defenses from New England and Green Bay ranked 31st and 32nd in the NFL.

Nine of the Eagles' giveaways occurred inside the red zone alone. Even if we stay conservative, those plays almost definitely took a minimum of 27 points off the board, basically the equivalent of four touchdowns.

Where might some of those points come in handy?

The handoff was disrupted during a botched trap running play at the four-yard line against the Falcons, who returned the fumble to the Philadelphia 24. Atlanta found paydirt, causing a nine-point swing at the bare minimum in a road game that wound up being decided by four.

Ronnie Brown's inexplicable execution of the halfback option happened on the goal line against San Francisco. The Eagles eventually lost the game by one, so something as simple as not attempting to pass the ball while being hurled to the turf would have led to a decisive field goal.

There were red zone turnovers in four of their losses. Three of those outcomes were decided by four points or less.

The Eagles also committed three turnovers or more in five of their losses, while doing the same in just two of their victories. There were a season-high five giveaways in Buffalo, including an interception returned for a touchdown -- they lost by seven.

Clearly, this was the story of the year. When the offense turned the ball over, the Eagles put themselves at a serious disadvantage. When they protected the rock, the Birds were measurably, practically infinitely, more successful.

But I suppose we can just keep on blaming Juan Castillo and the defense for all of the team's problems. It's not like there's a connection between turnovers and points allowed or anything.

Best of NHL: Lee scores 2 power-play goals, Islanders beat Kings

Best of NHL: Lee scores 2 power-play goals, Islanders beat Kings

NEW YORK -- The New York Islanders are on quite a nice roll.

Anders Lee scored two power-play goals to lead the Islanders to a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night, giving New York its third straight win and fourth in the last five games.

"We've been keeping it simple of late," said Lee, who has four goals in two games against the Kings this season. "We've been getting shots on net and being more effective. I'll do my thing down low."

John Tavares had a goal and an assist, Jason Chimera also scored and Jean-Francois Berube stopped 34 shots to earn his first win in his third start of the season (see full recap).

Hartnell snaps tie as Blue Jackets beat Carolina 3-2
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Blue Jackets would just as soon forget the second period of Saturday's game, when the Carolina Hurricanes rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie it.

Columbus didn't play much better in the third but withstood 15 shots and killed three penalties. Midway through, Scott Hartnell scored his second goal of the game , and the Blue Jackets beat Carolina 3-2.

Columbus got the win despite being outshot 37-20.

Hartnell scored in the first period and then netted the tiebreaker, helping the Blue Jackets overcome a horrendous second period - in which they managed only two shots on goal - to beat Carolina for the second time this week (see full recap).

Beagle scores in overtime, Capitals beat Stars 4-3
DALLAS -- Jay Beagle scored 19 seconds into overtime and the Washington Capitals rallied to beat the Dallas Stars 4-3 on Saturday night.

Evgeny Kuznetsov skated behind the net and put the puck in front to Beagle. His wrist shot beat goalie Kari Lehtonen, who got tangled with a defender and lost his footing.

The Stars led 3-1 and didn't allow Washington a power play until the third period, but then Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie scored with the man advantage in the first 5:26 of the period.

Adam Cracknell and Jamie Benn scored for Dallas on plays that originally were ruled no goal. Patrick Eaves had a goal and an assist for the Stars (see full recap).

Bogosian scores in overtime, Sabres edge Canadiens 3-2
MONTREAL -- The Sabres couldn't score from in close on All-Star goalie Carey Price late in regulation Saturday night.

So Zach Bogosian teed it up from a ways out in overtime to lift Buffalo.

Bogosian scored his first goal of the season in overtime and the Sabres beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in the second game of a back-to-back for both teams.

Buffalo nearly broke through against Price near the end of the third period. Price made a pad save on Matt Moulson on a breakaway at 19:40, and then with six seconds remaining, he robbed Rasmus Ristolainen with a windmill glove save (see full recap).

 

Best of NBA: Kawhi Leonard scores 41, Spurs down Cavaliers in OT

Best of NBA: Kawhi Leonard scores 41, Spurs down Cavaliers in OT

CLEVELAND -- Kawhi Leonard scored a career-high 41 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-115 in overtime on Saturday night despite missing starters Tony Parker and Pau Gasol.

Leonard scored six in OT, including a game-sealing dunk with 4.9 seconds left, as the Spurs regrouped after a late collapse in regulation.

David Lee, making a rare start in place of the injured Gasol, added 14 points as San Antonio improved to 18-4 on the road.

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving scored 29 apiece for the Cavs, who had the last shot in regulation and had plenty of opportunities in the extra five minutes. Cleveland still had a chance to tie it in the final second of overtime, but Kevin Love missed a 3-pointer (see full recap).

Lillard, McCollum carry Portland to OT win over Boston
BOSTON -- Damian Lillard had a three-point play with 47 seconds left in overtime and finished with 28 points to lift the Portland Trail Blazers to a 127-123 victory over the Boston Celtics on Saturday night, snapping their four-game losing streak.

CJ McCollum scored 35 points to lead Portland, which lost in the closing seconds in Philadelphia on Friday night. Lillard added seven assists.

Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 41 points, his 14th time this season with 30 or more points. Marcus Smart and Al Horford each scored 17 for the Celtics, who have lost two straight after winning 13 of 16.

Thomas nailed a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:24 to play in OT, pushing Boston ahead by one, but Al-Farouq Aminu was fouled on the next possession and hit both free throws to move Portland back in front.

Lillard then drove the lane, was fouled and hit the free throw. Mason Plumlee had a short jumper in the lane and a free throw in the closing 24 seconds (see full recap).

Booker scores 26 as Suns edge Knicks 107-105
NEW YORK -- Devin Booker scored 26 points and made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 31 seconds left, and the Phoenix Suns beat the New York Knicks 107-105 on Saturday night.

Carmelo Anthony's attempt at a winning 3-pointer rimmed out as Phoenix snapped a two-game losing streak and handed New York its second loss in a row.

Eric Bledsoe added 23 points for the Suns, while P.J. Tucker and Marquese Chriss each had 15.

Anthony led the Knicks with 31 points, Derrick Rose had 26 and Kristaps Porzingis scored 14 (see full recap).

Dekker scores career-best 30 leading Rockets past Grizzlies
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Sam Dekker scored a career-high 30 points, James Harden added 29 points and 10 assists and the Houston Rockets leaned on their usual 3-point offense to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 119-95 on Saturday night.

Eric Gordon added 21 points as the Rockets built the lead to as many as 20 in the fourth quarter before easily coasting home.

Dekker, making his first career start in place of the ill Ryan Anderson, made 12 of 19 shots, including 6 of 11 from outside the arc. Houston shot 51 percent overall and 38 percent from distance.

Marc Gasol scored 32 points and Mike Conley added 15 for the Grizzlies, who lost for the third time in the last four.

Memphis struggled shooting the entire night, finishing at 37 percent and unsuccessfully tried to follow the Rockets' long-range attack but converted only 9 of 34 from outside the arc (see full recap).