Talk about a plethora of storylines.
This Sunday Night, football pundits will have plenty to talk about as two of the NFL’s more controversial teams — the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles — will do battle at Candlestick Park. Plenty to discuss on both sides of the football, so let’s start with the Eagles.
Andy Reid’s team was dealt a serious blow on Sunday in a 17-12 loss to Washington — QB Michael Vick was knocked out of the game with a rib injury and when he left, so too did the Philly offense. Kevin Kolb did step in and completed a decent percentage of his passes, but it was clear the offense simply didn’t have the rhythm of past weeks when Vick was leading the charge.
So, can Kolb do the business moving forward? Probably, yes. He was anointed the starter out of training camp and seems to have a good grasp of the offense…But make no mistake, the Eagles won’t be flying high. Vick gave the offense the kind of dimension it hadn’t seen since the early days of Donovan McNabb — Vick’s ability to run and throw opened up so many other facets.
On the other side of the ledger, it’s the winless 49ers! Last week might have been the cruelest in what’s been a pretty cruel 49ers season thus far — CB Nate Clements had a potentially game-winning interception in his hands late against Atlanta, but fumbled it away and the Falcons made him pay for it. Atlanta recovered the fumble, drove down the field land kicked a field goal to win it 16-14.
The Niners are in worst shape than the Eagles. They’re still trying to adjust to new offensive coordinator Mike Johnson, QB Alex Smith continued his string of unimpressive play and they’re now two games back in the hey-will-anybody-step-up-and-take-this-thing NFC West. Needless to say, it should be an interesting affair on Sunday night.
San Diego Chargers (2-2) at Oakland Raiders (1-3), Sunday.
What a strange year it’s been for San Diego. In Week 1, the Chargers suffered a frustrating loss to Kansas City. They rebounded nicely with a Week 2 thrashing of Jacksonville, but followed that up with another frustrating loss, this time to Seattle. So, any guesses on what San Diego did this past Sunday? That’s right — they thrashed on Arizona, 41-10. If the Chargers could ever string together two solid performances in a row, they might be able to take control of the AFC West. Instead, they’re a full game behind the Chiefs and the Chiefs still have a game in hand.
The year hasn’t been as strange for Oakland — just disappointing. The Raiders were a chic pick to get to seven or eight wins this year after acquiring QB Jason Campbell from Washington, but it hasn’t panned out. Campbell has been benched in favor of Bruce Gradkowski — the QB that simply refuses to be a backup — and the Raiders still have many of the problems that plagued them a season ago. They can’t stop the run, the offense is sporadic (RB Darren McFadden has been great, but the receivers are dropping too many passes) and the kicking game has been a nightmare.