October 12th, 2008
Things were not looking good for the Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) as they took on the San Francisco 49ers in California on Sunday. It was another week without their top player, Brian Westbrook, who did not even travel with the team to San Francisco, and even with two touchdowns before the half, the Birds had fans scratching their heads and asking themselves, 'Where is the defense'. It all seemed like a recipe for disaster for Eagles fans. A ray of hope was shining for rookie, DeSean Jackson as he continued to look like an outstanding playmaker, ending Sunday's game with a total of 98 yards.
Just when you thought the Eagles could hold onto the lead, Philadelphia's special team defense came up short, especially in the closing seconds of the 2nd quarter. As David Akers prepared to kick a field goal with 34 seconds from the 54 yard line, Donald Strickland of the 49ers blocked the kick and took off right into the end zone, giving San Francisco a 17-16 lead at the beginning of the half.
Beginning the 3rd quarter, things really looked dim for the Eagles and things didn't look any brighter after Takeo Spikes intercepted Donovan McNabb's throw intended for Birds Tight End L.J. Smith. A frustrated Donovan McNabb made his way to the sideline with a visage that read, 'This is all too familiar'. Regardless of L.J. Smith's bland performance in Sunday's game, and in most recent games, he added a touchdown to the Eagles scoreboard against the 49ers, after finally catching a tough pass from McNabb in the end zone.
Towards the end of the 3rd quarter, it seemed as if the Eagles had begun to understand how crucial this game would be for them as they approach a bye-week and then return home to Lincoln Financial Field to play the Atlanta Falcons (3-2). The Eagles finally turned up the heat, and the strong Eagles defense made their presence known until the game clock winded down to zero.
Opening up the 4th quarter, Quinton Mikell intercepted a strong pass thrown by 49ers QB, J.T. O'Sullivan, and then he ran 41 yards to help push Philadelphia's offense. This play only helped the 34 year old Birds kicker, David Akers. Akers went on to score the team 3 consecutive field goals, adding to his total of 4 FG during Sunday's game.
Ending the 4th, Eagles were up 33-26, but it wouldn't be right to end the game without a bang, which is where Juqua Parker, Eagles Defensive End, who missed all of last week's practices with a knee injury, stepped in to intercept another strong O'Sullivan pass and run 55 yards into the end zone.
The Eagles ended the game with a 40-26 victory over the San Francisco 49ers, escaping another loss and improving their record to .500. After the game McNabb stated, "It all starts with a winning mentality... [Football season] is not a sprint, it is a marathon". There is no doubt that Philly fans are hoping
for a turnaround in this football team that was picked to be one of the top contenders in the NFC East this season.
If the regular season is not a sprint, hopefully the Eagles have gotten over the giant hurdle that seems to have placed them behind in the current Eastern standings. If this team wants to make it into the playoffs, they better put on their running shoes and begin to sprint because it's going to take a lot more than kicking field goals to make these Philadelphia fans happy.
-- Jenise Rolle