Eagles @ Patriots 1st Half Live Blog

Eagles @ Patriots 1st Half Live Blog

It's Sunday night and the Eagles are playing.  This is usually cause for an abundance of beer and wings to be guzzled down amongst fellow Birds fans all across the Delaware Valley.  Tonight's match up has quite a different vibe.  It's like we're going to watch our best friend get his face pounded by Mike Tyson.  Sure, we got our boys' back, but it could get ugly.

We're in front of our TV wondering what the heck Keith Olberman is talking about half the time.  Anyway, more of our random ramblings after the jump.  Send us your tips if you're watching along with us.

John Madden is doing the game this evening, which should be fun, and if his video game is any indicator, the Eagles are going to give the Pats a battle tonght.  Madden 2008 says the Eagles lost 33-36 to the Pats in a simulation.  (they forgot to take McNabb out.)

Early games: It's good to see Eli Manning looking like himself.  Man, that guy is not good.  Also, anyone see the end of that Cardinals game?  Wow.  Tough way to lose.

This NBC Sunday Football opener makes me want to do lots of things.  Watching football is not one of them.  Sending text messages on my Sprint PCS phone? Yes!

Andrea Kremer tells us that the Patriots are the healthiest they've been all season.  Perfect.

KICK OFF -- Eagles get the ball first.

Well that was quick! A.J. Feeley throws a pick-six on only the third play of the game.  7-0 Patriots.  On the plus side, A.J. Feeley won't have to wait long to get back out on the field.

I may need to start surfing the Internet for other ways to entertain myself on this nice Sunday evening.  Don't know how long I can take it.  At this pace, the Eagles will lose by a score of 420-0.

The Eagles throw together a couple nice little plays there and get a first down.  Westbrook slithered his way for a first when there wasn't really a hole.

The Birds' line seems to be giving Feeley enough time to find open receivers.  If you take away that horrible interception, Feeley has looked fine.

4th and a half yard...  They're going for it?!? and Feeley sneaks it up the middle with no problem.  Gutsy play for call from Big Red.  That could have hurt a lot of you gamblers out there early.

TOUCHDOWN Brian Westbrook!  Eagles 7 Patriots 7 After a nice little play from Reggie Brown, Westy jumps into the endzone.  Man, the Eagles could be winning this game right now.

The great and mighty New Enland Patriots offense led by the infallible one, Tom Brady, will take the field for the first time this evening.  Put the women and children to bed now.

Jabar Gafney sighting!

JUQUA THOMAS! sacks the shit out of Tom Brady.  But did he lay on him long enough afterwards?

Anyone see a hold there on Trent Cole? on the completion to Gafney?  It's a good thing Tom Brady throws like Joe Montana 'cause he runs like a girl.  The Pats move the ball fairly easily down to the one yard line and are then forced to call a timeout because Brady saw a super model in the stands whose number he wants to get.

TD Patriots.  14-7

They just showed a shot of the Boston Harbor Hotel.  My parents stayed there when I graduated from BC.  One of the nicest hotels I've ever stayed at, complete with a great view of the hahbah.

Matt P. seems to have some great seats at the game tonight.  He also seems to have a crappy cell phone camera.  Here is a cellphone pic he sent me.

If you hadn't heard all of the hype regarding the New England Patriots, after watching the first quarter, you would think these two teams are fairly matched.

2nd QTR: Brian Westbrook is good.  Very good.

The Eagles try to run a little trickery with Avant getting a backwards pass and then failing to find anything open downfield.  Pats didn't bite for a second on that one.  I guess that's the kind of shit you have to pull if you want to beat The Darkside.

Ha!  A.J. Feeley connects with Greg Lewis, who apparently scares the Patriots and no one else, to tie the game up 14-14.  A heck of a touch pass from Feeley.  What's up now, chowdaheads!

The Eagles are hanging in early and the offensiveline hasn't allowed the Pats defense to really get to Feeley.  You give a backup QB enough time and he'll beat you.

ONSIDE KICK! ONSIDE KICK! GOD BLESS ANDY REID! ONSIDE KICK! EAGLES RECOVER!  Ah, this game just became fun.  Andy Reid is a little happy inside to outsmart Belichick on that one.

Madden makes a point: Tom Brady can't beat you if he's sitting on the sideline.  Madden makes another point that I've been making: that maybe Brian Westbrook is the best RB in football.  Thanks, John.

The euphoria of the onside kick lasted about 2 minutes.  I will now have some Thanksgiving desert leftovers to regain a high.  Sugar high.

Jabar Gafney, Eagles killer.  Randy Moss isn't too bad either, eh?  I think this drive shows us something, the only way to slow the Pats is to get a body on Brady.  I'd say holding the Best Offense Ever to a field goal is a moral victory.  17-14 Pats

That NBC show Chuck would be infinitely better if it starred Sir Charles.

Greg Lewis is the Patriot killer.  A.J. Feeley connects on a nifty little pass to GLew for a nice first.

The football gods are smiling on the Eagles tonight after A.J. Feely throws a blooper to Matt Schobel for another amazing first down.  A play like that never goes the Birds' way.

Greg Lewis, recognize! The Eagles lead the Patriots 21-17 late in the second half.

This is getting fairly interesting.  I'd pay to be a fly on the wall of Belichick's locker room at half time.  Not to see Tom Brady in his underwear either.

As many commenters are noting, the Eagles defense is stepping up on the big stage.  From Chris Gocong getting his first sack to BDawk preventing Randy Moss from making the big play, the Birds defense is making their statement.

People make fun of Peyton Manning all the time for his mannerisms at the line, but Tom Brady is pretty loud and commanding up there as well in the no huddle.

I think the Birds got the shaft on the offsides call.  Clearly Mr. Perfect got away with one there.

Whew, dawgy.  J.R. Reed has been laying some hits down.  But the Pats keep moving the chains but are running out of time.

Jabar Gafney, Eagles killer.  He catches a TD on a throw from Brady in which it looked as if he may not have had possession in the end zone.  Ouch, and he does the Eagles wing flap.  Ouch, you scrub, ouch.  24-21 Pats.

That'll do it for the first half.  Kudos to the Birds for a pretty good first half.  Pret-ty good.  Pret-ty, pret-ty good.

Click here for the 2nd half live blog.

Eagles-Vikings 5 things: Game much bigger than Sam Bradford's return

Eagles-Vikings 5 things: Game much bigger than Sam Bradford's return

Eagles vs. Vikings
1 p.m. on FOX

Eagles +3

A familiar face comes to town on Sunday when the Eagles host the Vikings, the NFL's last unbeaten team at 5-0.

There's more to this matchup than a certain jilted quarterback returning to Lincoln Financial Field though. After an inspired 3-0 start, the Eagles have come out flat in two consecutive games, both losses. If this squad has any hope of getting back on track in Week 7, they can't afford to focus on the high-profile former teammate in purple sleeves.

Grinding it out
How good is the Vikings' defense? Even though they're ranked fourth in the league against the run and eighth in yards per carry allowed, they've faced the second-highest number of rushing attempts. Simply put, between a fierce pass-rush and ball-hawking secondary, offenses are afraid to put the ball in the air against this team.

Opponents have decided the best way to beat the Minnesota defense is by keeping the ball on the ground — shorten the game, try to create manageable third downs and play the field position game. Of course, the best way for the Eagles to beat Washington's 28th-ranked run defense last week, with a fifth-round rookie right tackle making his first career start mind you, also would've been to hand the ball off early and often, which wasn't exactly the game plan that we saw.

As good as Carson Wentz is, the Eagles probably aren't going to beat this team by airing the ball out. It may be inefficient and look ugly, but this time, head coach Doug Pederson needs to lean on the ground attack and take the pressure off of his first-year quarterback and tackle. Otherwise, a Vikings defense that ranks third in the NFL in sacks and fourth in interceptions can take this game over.

Self-inflicted wounds
Ticky-tack calls or not, you can't blame the judgment of the officials for all of the penalties the Eagles have taken the past two weeks. Last week in Washington, they drew 13 flags for 114 yards. The week before, it was 14 flags for 111 yards. Is it really any coincidence in two losses the Eagles have been penalized 27 times for 225 yards? Unlikely.

Were one or two or even a handful of those calls excessive? Have officials missed some potential calls that could have gone the other way? Yes and yes, as is always the case. When it's that many penalties for that many yards though, you can only place so much blame on the refs.

Simply put, the players need to clean up their acts. According to TeamRankings.com, the Eagles are committing the most penalties per game at 9.8. Only one other team is above 9.0. All excuses aside, the Eagles lack discipline right now, and it's hard to beat anybody when they are continuously shooting themselves in the foot, let alone the only undefeated squad in football.

No gimmes
There is no bigger indicator of winning and losing in the NFL than turnovers. So what happens when the two teams who cough the ball up the least are going head-to-head?

One thing the Eagles did correct in Washington was the little giveaway problem that cost them the game in Detroit. After losing their first fumble and throwing their first interception of the season in the final three minutes of their loss at Detroit, the offense went back to playing turnover-free football on Sunday, one of the positive things that could be said for the performance.

Yet the only team that's committed fewer turnovers than the Eagles is the Vikings, who have just one through five games. The ball security these clubs have displayed is remarkable bordering on unheard of. So what happens when the unstoppable force meets the immovable object? The first one to blink, or in this case make a mistake, might just cost themselves the game in what could be a tightly contested tilt.

Just a pit stop
If it feels like the Eagles' 34-3 romp of the Steelers at the Linc was a long time ago, well, it has been almost a month. Since then, there's been a bye week followed by trips to Detroit and Washington, putting the last home game at exactly four weeks ago.

Don't get used to the feeling either. After their game against the Vikings on Sunday, the Eagles go back on the road for two contests against the division rival Cowboys and Giants.

What does it all mean? Besides a travel-heavy stretch, it suggests this sandwich game with the Vikings is an especially significant spot on the Eagles' schedule, particularly given the slow starts they've jumped out to as the visiting team of late. That can't be blamed entirely on going on the road of course, but it certainly hasn't helped. Vikings or not, the Eagles could use a positive showing on Sunday before they go away again.

The Bradford Bowl
You didn't really think we were going to completely gloss over Sam Bradford, did you? Not even mention his name?

It's interesting, because right now, the trade that sent Bradford to the Vikings and cleared the way for Wentz to start at quarterback for the Eagles looks like a win-win. Both head coaches agreed with that sentiment as well. Mike Zimmer says Bradford gave the Vikings an energy back after starter Teddy Bridgewater was lost for the season with an improbable injury, while despite coming back down to earth a bit the last two weeks, it's obvious the Eagles' future is bright with Wentz.

That being said, there are some additional bragging rights at stake for both signal-callers this week, whether they acknowledge it or not. If the Eagles win, it shows their gamble on Wentz being prepared to start right away was justified. If the Vikings win, pundits could argue the Eagles never should've traded Bradford in the first place.

These are only narratives of course, and the Eagles' investment in Wentz and the Vikings' desperation trade for Bradford are both left to be judged somewhere down the road, long after this game has been played. Nonetheless, the result on Sunday is sure to spark some interesting debate in the coming days.

Penn State upsets No. 2 Ohio State, 24-21

Penn State upsets No. 2 Ohio State, 24-21


STATE COLLEGE – As his team slogged through back-to-back 7-6 seasons in his first two years as Penn State’s head coach, Langhorne native James Franklin heard time and again that he was in need of a signature victory.

Now he has one, even if he refuses to admit it.

Junior cornerback Grant Haley returned a blocked field goal 60 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 4:27 left as the Nittany Lions stunned second-ranked Ohio State 24-21 on Saturday night.

“That’s for you (media) guys, all that signature stuff,” Franklin said.

Not exactly.

“It’s just a game that put Penn State back on the map,” Haley said. “We needed that signature win, and we did it tonight.”

The fans stormed the field after the Lions, 5-2 after their third straight victory this season, beat a ranked team for the first time since 2013 (Wisconsin). It was also PSU’s first victory over a team ranked in the top five since 1999 (Arizona) and its first over a team slotted as high as No. 2 since 1990 (Notre Dame).

Ohio State (7-1) saw winning streaks of 20 straight road games and 17 straight Big Ten road games come to an end, despite building a 21-7 lead through three quarters.

The Lions whisked 90 yards in five plays to cut the gap to seven with 13:32 left in the game, with quarterback Trace McSorley running two yards for the TD.

Freshman linebacker Cam Brown then blocked Cameron Johnston’s punt to set up a 34-yard field goal by Tyler Davis with 9:33 remaining, making it 21-17.

Ohio State mounted a drive behind J.T. Barrett, their splendid quarterback, moving from its own 13 to the PSU 28. Barrett’s 34-yard connection with wide receiver Noah Brown was the big play.

But the Buckeyes stalled, and Tyler Durbin came on to attempt a 45-yard field goal. Penn State safety Marcus Allen made a leaping block, however, and Haley scooped up the bouncing ball and beat Durbin and Johnston, the holder, down the left sideline for the go-ahead score.

Ohio State’s final drive of the night ended with a pair of Penn State sacks, the last a combined effort by defensive linemen Kevin Givens and Evan Schwan with 1:02 left.

When the final gun sounded, several Penn State players sprinted toward the south end zone and launched themselves into the front row of the stands, Lambeau Leap-style, among the delirious students. And thousands of fans, all clad in white for PSU’s traditional White Out, flooded the field.

“This is for everybody,” Franklin said later. “This community’s been through so much in the last five years (a reference to the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal and its aftermath), and this is a big step in the right direction, in terms of healing. I said very, very early on that for us to get where we want to be, we need this entire community together, and a win like tonight – I know I’m biased – but I believe that football has the ability to bring a community together like nothing else.”

Moments later, he caught himself and said he “didn’t want to spend a lot of time talking about the big picture.”

Rather, he added, “I just want to enjoy tonight.”