Vick Throws for Career High 428 Yards in Loss to Chargers

Vick Throws for Career High 428 Yards in Loss to Chargers

Good news: Michael Vick looked fantastic for the Eagles under center. Bad news: Philip Rivers wasn't coming off of an ACL injury, nor did the opposing quarterback miss all of the preseason.

The Birds' defense didn't get the job done against Rivers quite the same way they did versus Robert Griffin III in Washington last Monday, nor did he look much like a quarterback in decline as the stories out of San Diego might have you believe. The 10-year veteran connected on 36 of 47 passes for 419 yards and three touchdowns, continuously keeping the chains moving (SD converted 10 of 15 third downs), and helping the Bolts get the last laugh on their final drive by moving Nick Novak into range for the game-winning 46-yard kick with four seconds remaining.

The Chargers completed a 33-30 upset of Philadelphia in the home opener at the Linc on Sunday, but while there are many culprits in the loss, you can't find much wrong with Vick's performance. The Eagles' QB was almost every bit as good as Rivers, hitting on 24 of 37 attempts for 428 yards and a couple of scores, plus added another on the ground.

Unfortunately, there were just a few many numbers working against the good guys. San Diego dominated time of possession thanks to their third-down prowess (40:17 to 19:43), while Philly's nine penalties cost them more than just 82 yards -- it took at least one DeSean Jackson touchdown off the board, not to mention helped the Chargers convert quite a few of those third downs.

There was still plenty to like about what the Eagles did on offense, but defensively they got steamrolled. San Diego's porous offensive line was perfectly fine for most of the afternoon, allowing Rivers to get comfortable in the pocket. Defensive coordinator Bill Davis' unit was also not able to cover the Bolts' barely adequate receiving corps, particularly alternating safeties Nate Allen and Earl Wolff.

It wasn't an altogether embarrassing performance necessarily, but it is one that perhaps Chip Kelly's crew allowed to slip through their fingertips. The Chargers controlled the ball early which allowed them to build a nice lead, but once the offense got clicking the Eagles clawed right back into the contest. As well as he played, Vick had several missed opportunities with Jackson as well.

In other words, the loss will rest heavily on the defensive end. More to come from The700Level over the next 24 hours or so, but it looks like Chip's undefeated season is over, and an appearance in BCS Championship Game is now in jeopardy.

Sixers fail to take care of business against Denver Nuggets

Sixers fail to take care of business against Denver Nuggets

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'.

Sixers name Elton Brand as Player Development Consultant

Sixers name Elton Brand as Player Development Consultant

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.