What a weekend for Philadelphia sports. First the Phillies finish off a sweep of the Marlins to pull into first place in the Wild Card race. To be fair, they did let one slip away Monday night against the Astros to fall back into a tie with the Dodgers, but can still easily pull out the playoff berth.
Following the Phils power display Sunday, the Eagles came out and put a hurtin' on the 49ers, literally. San Fran lost two of their top playmakers in Frank Gore and Vernon Davis.
First, let's talk Phils since their season comes to an end Sunday, with the playoffs, hopefully, around the corner. Down the stretch their starting pitching has been very strong, with Jamie Moyer and Randy Wolf solidifying what was a shaky rotation throughout much of the season. I would actually put the Phillies starting rotation up against any of the National League's any other playoff contenders'.
The bullpen, which had been doing the job of late, fell off a bit Monday, allowing Houston to come back thanks to three walks by three different relievers, leading to three runs and ultimately a Phils loss. The lineup has been hitting all the way through, with contributions coming from top to bottom. Jimmy Rollins is knocking the cover off the ball as if he is Ryan Howard. Chase Utley is starting to get back on track at the right time, and Howard, who may not pass Maris' 61 home run mark, is forcing pitchers to walk him, allowing David Dellucci and Jeff Conine to get some RBIs.
Personally I think the Phils will pull out the Wild Card, which would be great, especially considering how far out of it they were entering August. They had a better record than only three teams in the NL and now may make the playoffs, talk about a great run. Here's hoping this weekend brings a smile to the collective face of all Phillies fans.
Now onto the Eagles. It appears as though Andy Reid doesn't really want to run the ball more, but if the pass is working and they are putting up points, I don't give two hoots what plays Reid calls. Everyone puts too big of an emphasis on the fact the Eagles don't run the ball enough, granted last year they didn't, but I don't think they need to be a running team to be successful.
Sunday's game was a great one to watch. Westbrook looked as though he was fully healthy and really couldn't be stopped once he got going. The start of the game with the 50-yard flea-flicker from McNabb to Reggie Brown was a great way to start the game. It caught the 49ers off guard, although it shouldn't have, considering the fact they said the Eagles could only beat them using trick plays. Last I checked the only trick play used by the Eagles was the first play of the game. Here's what Niners cornerback Shawntae Spencer had to say after the game.
"That's what they hurt us on today," Spencer said. "It's trick plays. Straight up football, you saw what happened in the second half. It was a whole different game in straight up football. We knew coming in that they had to run trick plays."
So I say to Spencer, riiiiight. Good call. Was Westbrook's 71-yard touchdown run a trick? How about Mike Patterson's 98-yard fumble return for a TD? Or maybe it was the shovel pass to McNabb? That's right, you are just talking crazy talk Spencer.
Anyway, the Eagles seem to be back on track, although they need to get the defense in sync to end games. I think that will come.
All in all it was a great weekend to be a Philadelphia sports fan. At least I enjoyed it thoroughly.