Poor Rex Ryan. He loves to be the fun asshole center of attention with stunts like making IK Enemkpali a team captain against the Jets and Geno Smith, whose jaw (and career) IK broke.
In today’s game against the Eagles though, the press was obsessed with the Chip Kelly vs. LeSean McCoy grudge match. Even Rex making Shady the lone team captain barely got noticed.
There were plenty of quiet improvements for the Eagles, from Sam Bradford’s steady progress to Caleb Sturgis getting touchbacks on 5 of 6 kickoffs, and the development of the team’s 4-minute offense to pin down leads, using the 3-headed monster at RB that the Eagles dreamed of last summer.
Sam Bradford threw his first interception since October, after 10 in the first seven games, but you can’t blame this one on him. He put the ball right in
Zach Ertz’ Brent Celek’s hands, and the DB just grabbed it away from him.
Lost in that awfulness of officiating, that was actually a very good throw by Sammy Sleeves.
— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) December 13, 2015
In fairness, though, Bradford’s failure to throw the ball away on 3rd down with 2:07 left in the game was inexcusable. Was he hoping to run off 7 seconds to get past the 2 minute warning? It makes no sense.
And I’m not one to complain about referees, but today’s officiating was horrible, from inept clock management to repeated blatant holds and even tackles on the Eagles DL that were not called until the end of the game.
But let’s be honest, people wanted to see some shit go down with all the hype about Shady’s revenge. So here are the six most interesting incidents from the game, as it actually expressed itself.
1. Shady kisses the Eagle, gets booed
As the teams took the field, McCoy knelt down to kiss the Eagle emblem, and the stands erupted with boos. Probably not how he imagined things going, but that’s Philadelphia for you.
2. Shady shoves Fletcher Cox after a run
The Eagles were clearly talking trash to McCoy, and with 13:46 left in the 2nd period, he came up from one tackle to jab Fletcher Cox in the shoulder. Instead of retaliating (right in from the of the ref), Cox wisely held his arms up in innocence. McCoy was lucky not to be penalized.
The Eagles defensive line did their shoving on the field, especially in the second half. More on that later.
3. Donnie Jones’ 52-yard completion to Bryan Braman
You’ve heard of arm punts. This was a foot pass, yet another artillery shot from Donnie Jones, with the left-footer’s spin drilling right through punt returner Thigpen’s hands. Just as they diagrammed it, Bryan Braman collected the ball for a key turnover. That led to Agholor’s first receiving touchdown, four plays later.
4. Late hit on Thigpen out of bounds on punt return
It wasn’t a huge confrontation, but Riley Cooper’s late hit near the end of the 3rd quarter moved the ball up from the Bills
27 41 to the Eagles 44 after yet another great punt by Donnie Jones. Buffalo converted this into a touchdown to tie the game. It could easily have lost the game for Philadelphia.
5. Huff gives himself up for Ertz’ 41-yard gain
Josh Huff has never been shy of contact. He executed a pick play to free up Zach Ertz with extra relish, getting knocked flat while Ertz rambled for 41 yards into the red zone. With the game tied 20-20 and 4 and a half minutes left in the game, it couldn’t have been a bigger play.
You hate to see Huff injured, and that’s the inevitable result of his all-out, self-sacrificing play. But his toughness led to the Eagles kicking the game-winning field goal with 3:26 left in the game.
6. Shady runs away.
After all his trash talking and posturing, McCoy disappeared in the second half. He had 12 carries for 63 yards before the break, but eight for only 11 yards after it. And seven of those eight came running the ball with 1:45 left at his own 31, when the Eagles were playing prevent defense and happy to encourage any run for obvious reasons.
Before the game, I predicted that Shady would have a couple big runs but finish with 60-70 yards and leave with an injury in the 3rd quarter. It turns out that he didn’t even need the injury to get capped at that mid-level production and have his revenge fantasies denied.
So at the end of the game, unsurprisingly, he ran off the field with 14 seconds left, rather than acknowledge the unhappy reality of the game. That fits, for a guy who refused Fletcher Cox’s hand during the game, who refused to talk to the press after the game, and has made a big deal over refusing to talk to Chip or shake his hand since the trade.
Oh, and by the way? Chip denied after the game that he ever called Shady this week. And in retrospect, it doesn’t make much sense that McCoy wouldn’t recognize Chip’s digits, even if he did delete his contact from his phone.
How funny would it be if that whole Inquirer story about McCoy hanging up on Chip was based on a prank phone call that Shady thought was real?