Archives for posts with tag: Star Wars


Is this really the most wonderful time of the year?  Most of us still have our football mindset with the NFL season entering its final few lengths and 40 (!) bowls on the menu.  Forgive us if college basketball is somewhat of an afterthought–like getting to the Barnes & Noble and Bath & Body Works for Christmas presents, I’ll get around to the hoop season.  Promise!  Unfortunately while there have been a few gifts in the pre-conference season (I know Maryland has begun Big Ten play and Duke lost its ACC opener to Boston College, but just work with me here), we’ve also been treated to some refugees from the Island of Misfit Toys.  And for the record, a gun that shoots jelly is pretty cool in the long run.  Here are early impressions of the local schools…who’s getting the Star Wars Death Star™ playset and who receives tube socks and a bathrobe this December?


Maryland (10-3, 1-1 Big Ten)– hold on.  They actually trailed Division III Catholic 20-18 in the first half?  Ugh.  What’s Nice:  Anthony Cowan has taken ownership (16 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists per game) of this team while freshmen Bruno Fernando and Darrell Morsell have emerged as major contributors (not unlike last year’s trio of Cowan, Kevin Huerter and Justin Jackson).  What’s Naughty:  they lead the nation in turnovers per game and lack of an effective offense against zones is the nightmare that won’t go away.  Instead of a breakout year, Jackson while posting more rebounds and assists has regressed as a shooter (37% from the field and 25% from three after making 44% from both last winter).  Best Win:  December 3rd at Illinois.  The Illini may not be expected to do much in the Big Ten, but the Terps could ill-afford to start conference play 0-2.  A clutch free throw from Cowan with one second left gave the sophomore a career-high 27 points.  Worst Loss: a 63-61 stumble to St. Bonaventure saw 20 turnovers and 5-of-23 three-point shooting.  Yes, the Bonnies play zone.  Game to watch before conference play:  Friday December 29th UMBC comes to College Park.  The 7-5 Retrievers boast former VCU guard Jairus Lyles (20 ppg & 46% from three-point range) and the kid-brother mentality that Catholic brought to Xfinity Center, only they have more staying power.


Georgetown (8-0)– with four wins over MEAC foes, the Hoyas may actually be eligible for that league’s postseason tournament should things end early in the Big East.  Actually, the schedule involves three schools that have already lost eight games, 1-10 Howard and 0-11 Coppin State.  They couldn’t at least bring St. Leo to DC?  What’s Nice:  coach Patrick Ewing said a lot would be expected of Jessie Govan this winter, and the junior has delivered in averaging 23 points (on 63% shooting) and a Division I-best 13 rebounds per game.  The offense is tied for 11th in assists per game.  It’s not “Hoya Paranoia” yet, but they rank third in the Big East in scoring defense, second in defensive field goal percentage and first in stopping the three-pointer.  What’s Naughty:  the schedule gives means “Georgetown Cupcake” is now more than just a thriving business on the corner of 33rd and M (not that I’ve ever been there).  They’re last in the Big East in turnover margin…and that’s going against teams with a combined 21-63 record (with nine wins coming against non-Division I schools).  Best Win: an 82-76 win at Richmond (the Hoyas lone road trip before conference play).  Five in double-figures proves this is more than a one-man team.  Game to Watch before conference play:  the Hoyas host Syracuse Saturday at 12:30 p.m.  CBS will be there.  Even in the final days of John Thompson III, Georgetown was still able to beat its hated rival consecutive years.

Alma Mater Update- the Orange are off to an 8-1 start that includes wins over Maryland and UConn that make one think they’re better than the team picked 10th in the ACC preseason poll…with a loss to Kansas reminding the faithful how much they still have to improve before becoming a contender instead of a pretender.  Saturday they play at Georgetown–an occasional win in this series would be nice.

Virginia (8-1)- reports of the Cavaliers’ demise after London Perrantes graduated and multiple players transferred were premature:  coach Tony Bennett has this team in the top 20 and eyeing a double-bye in the ACC Tournament.  What’s Nice:  Kyle Guy got rid of the famed man-bun and came back to campus even more productive-the sophomore is averaging 17 points per game while shooting 45% from outside the arc.  They lead the nation in scoring defense and almost caused basketballs worldwide to explode in their 49-37 water-drip win over Wisconsin.  What’s Naughty:  Jack Salt is back–and the center from New Zealand has only two more points than personal fouls through nine games (25-23).  Better big man production will be needed when the conference slate begins.  Best Win: the 76-67 victory at VCU.  Forget that the Rams have a first-year head coach.  It’s nice to stay the top dog in the Commonwealth.  Lone Loss: a 68-61 defeat at #18 West Virginia.  No shame in coming up short in Morgantown; the Mountaineers are a good team, even if their coach wears a track-suit.  Game to Watch pre-ACC:  Saturday always-dangerous Davidson drops by Charlottesville.


Virginia Tech (9-1)- introducing the high-flying Hokies:  #1 in Division I in shooting and scoring while ranking second in three-point shooting.  Forgive us if we’re getting adjusted to a coach Buzz Williams’ sportscar;  we’re accustomed to pickup trucks in Blacksburg (often with a faulty transmission).  What’s Nice:  Freshman Nickeil Alexander-Walker is a sparkplug from the perimeter (14 points per game and 47% from three) while Chris Clarke’s recovery from a torn ACL is far enough along that the junior is shooting 60% from the field while averaging 6.8 rebounds per night.  What’s Naughty:  tough to find a smudge on this early season–but the Hokies do allow the fourth-most points per game in the ACC. Best Win: a 103-79 neutral-site victory over a Washington team that has since gone on to upset Kansas.  Nice to get a victory on the Madison Square Garden floor.  Lone Loss:  the night before VT fell to Saint Louis 77-71 after getting outrebounded by ten.  Last year rebounding was an issue…it couldn’t be again when they begin league play, could it?  Game to Watch before ACC play: Saturday the Hokies visit #8 Kentucky.  The tipoff is at 2 p.m–but this will go a long way to determining if they’re ready for prime time.


George Washington (5-5)- the Colonials have had quite an ambitious pre-Atlantic 10 slate, visiting the likes of Florida State and Penn State while playing holiday tournaments against #15 Xavier and Kansas State.  Sadly they’re 0-4 against those schools.  What’s Nice: sophomore Jair Bolden has emerged as a do-it-all floor general, leading the team in assists while developing into the team’s best three-point threat.   What’s Naughty:  they’re not the best at taking care of the basketball (12th in the conference in assist-to-turnover margin).  Against the VCU’s and better defensive teams in the league that will be a major issue.  Best Win: December 3rd they beat Temple 71-67.  The Owls used to run the A-10 like their private rec-club, so it’s nice to beat the school that won nine tournament titles over a 26-year span before bolting for the AAC.  Worst Loss: a home loss to Rider from the MAAC.  Not the MAC (Mid-American) or even the (Mid-Eastern Athletic) but the Metro Atlantic Athletic-ugh.  Game to watch before league play tips off:  Saturday they host #6 Miami at noon.  Really, does every good December game involving beltway schools have to be this Saturday?


George Mason (5-6)- one year after winning 20 games perhaps a year earlier than expected, coach Dave Paulsen’s team is one of nine Atlantic 10 schools that are within one game of .500.  What’s Nice:  Otis Livingston II came back for his junior year with a three-point shot (46% this season as opposed to 34% as a sophomore) while freshman Goanar Mar has produced since opening night for the Patriots.  What’s Naughty:  you think GW has issues with turnovers?  Mason has the most miscues in the A-10 by a wide margin.  Best Win: a 76-72 grand larceny November 29th at James Madison.  They trailed by four with seven seconds left but an Ian Boyd three began a furious finish.  Worst Loss: Tuesday’s 74-51 loss to Georgia Southern.  The Eagles may be 8-2 but shooting 29% and turning the ball over 21 times at home is no way to go through life.  Best pre-conference game remaining:  Sunday they host Penn State.  Beware the Green Machine.


VCU (5-5)- coach Mike Rhoades has a lot to live up to in his debut season:  his predecessor Will Wade won 25 games in his first season at the helm, Shaka Smart’s Rams went 27-9 in his first winter as head coach and Anthony Grant’s first team bounced Duke in the first round of the NCAA’s en route to a 28-7 mark.  So there’s obviously no pressure whatsoever.  What’s Nice:  all five losses are to legit programs, including Smart’s Texas team.  Senior Jonathan Williams leads the A-10 with 6.6 assists per game.  They’re also second best in the league at scoring as well as shooting from three-point range.  What’s Naughty:  something intangible feels like it’s missing this season…and it’s going to take a while for this program to come together under their new head coach.  Best Win: an 83-69 win in Maui against Cal.  Pass the poi.  Worst Loss: a 90-67 defeat at Seton Hall.  They turned the Pirates over just twelve times and allowed 55% shooting.  Game to Watch:  Saturday against Bucknell.  The Bison almost won at Maryland-and aren’t scared of anybody.


Richmond (2-8)- the Spiders’ run of ten straight non-losing seasons is in danger of not going to eleven.  Triple-threat TJ Cline took Atlantic 10 MVP honors last winter–and this season you’re seeing how exactly valuable he was.  What’s Nice:  sophomore big man Grant Golden has stepped up from a role player to a primary contributor, netting 15 points and 5.8 rebounds per game this fall.  Freshman Jacob Gilyard has become a force on both ends of the floor, averaging 3.1 assists and 2.4 steals per contest.  What’s Naughty:  they’re the worst free-throw shooting team in the Atlantic 10 and have lost five games by double-digits.  Best Win:  the 74-71 win over James Madison snaps a six game slide…hopefully turning the pre-conference tide.  Worst Loss: an 82-76 home defeat to Georgetown.  You don’t often get the Hoyas on your home floor…and with Patrick Ewing’s rebuild this was a golden opportunity.  Game to Watch:  at Boston College Saturday December 23rd-I’m curious because this BC team beat Duke yet lost to Nebraska.  They could easily slip against the Spiders.


Navy (9-3)- this could be the Midshipman team that ends a near-two decade NCAA Tournament drought.  Ed DeChellis directed the program to its first winning conference season since 2009, and this fall they’re off to their best start of any team in the Patriot League.  November and December mean little in one-bid league’s come March, however.  What’s Nice:  the stifling defense allows the fewest points per game in the Patriot League and they’re the best rebounding team in the conference.  Senior Shawn Anderson leads the Mids in scoring, rebounding and assists while passing the 1,000 career points barrier last month.  What’s Naughty:  the Mids rank last in the Patriot League at defending the three…and in a conference of Davids it’s often the slingshot that causes the most damage.  Best Win: opening night against Pitt. Yes, the game was in Annapolis and the Panthers may be a mess under second-year coach Kevin Stallings, but they’re still an ACC opponent.  Worst Loss: falling to 8-4 Penn, 7-4 FGCU and #6 Miami is nothing to be ashamed about.  One cannot help but feel this Midshipmen team is something special.  Last game before league play:   Thursday December 21st against Lipscomb- the Bisons are off to a 6-4 start that includes losses at Alabama, Texas and #24 Tennessee.  Should be a good test.


American (3-6)- can the Eagles overcome a slow start to contend in a Patriot League that features not only a Navy program hitting its stride but the usual bully Bucknell that returns four double-digit scorers?  A young roster has turned the first two months of the regular season into a “getting to know you” process for coach Mike Brennan’s team.  What’s Nice: the one-two punch of Larry Motuzis and Sa’eed Nelson (each averages 19 points per game) has provided the bulk of the offense.  What’s Naughty: ninth in the conference in rebounding margin and defending the three, eighth in scoring and scoring defense as well as assist-to-turnover ratio.  Best win: 74-70 at New Hampshire November 21st.  When you play seven of your first eight away from DC, life can be rough on the road.  Sa-eed Nelson netted a season-high 26 points that night.  Worst Loss: a 100-89 loss to St. Francis (PA). Shoot 56% and still come up short?  At least this wasn’t against the 2-7 St. Francis (BKN) Terriers.  Game to see: they host Mt. St. Mary’s from the one-bid Northeast Conference.  Should be a truer test than trips to West Virginia and Marquette.


Howard (2-10)-  DO NOT accuse the Bison of stocking their schedule with non-conference W’s.  Just the opposite:  coach Kevin Nickelberry’s team has played 9 of 11 games on the road.  As the song plays, “they’ve been everywhere, man.”  Trouble?  They’ve had their share, man– from a 106-69 thumping at Gonzaga to an 81-67 loss at Georgetown.  Never paid their fair, man?  Well, these are buyout games.  What’s Nice:  freshman guard RJ Cole leads the team with 19 points and 6 assists per game-including 30 in their win over Washington Adventist.  He’s one of five players in the nine-man rotation in their first year with the program.  What’s Naughty:  it’s a shooter’s game and the Bison rank 341st in field goal percentage.  Gotta Watch:  no more home games in 2017–so if you can get a good rate there’s that game against Hawaii December 29th.

So much for “Gotta win five to stay alive”.  So much for going through tiebreakers after week fifteen while hoping Carolina would come back to earth.  The Redskins made December almost meaningless for the sixth time in nine years by losing 38-14 at Dallas.  It wasn’t just a bad loss; it was a defeat that exposed this team and roster.  The 2018 season in theory begins now.

Captain Kirk- the Franchise Tagged one completed 26 of 37 passes for 251 yards and 2 touchdowns while tossing a pair of interceptions (one in the red zone) and losing a fumble.  He was also sacked four times behind an offensive line held together by duct tape and paper clips.  Episode Equivalent:  “Spock’s Brain”- a disaster on the scoreboard despite Kirk’s best efforts.  He didn’t write the script where aliens came on board the Enterprise and hijacked Spock’s brain–only to have Dr. McCoy re-insert said organ later in the hour.

Running Aground- it was bound to happen sooner or later.  The recently resurgent running game managed just 56 yards on 19 carries against the Cowboys-with Samaje Perine being held to 38 yards on 12 tries.  Perine will be the third runningback in four years to lead coach Jay Gruden’s team in rushing.  Meanwhile, the guy who was replaced by the guy who was replaced by the guy Perine replaced as the #1 back fared nicely for the Cowboys.  Alfred Morris ran for 127 yards against his former team.  Ouch.

Ryan the Receiver- it’s something when Ryan Grant is your leading receiver. You cannot make the postseason when Mr. August is your top target in December.

Third Down the Drain- the stat sheet says they converted 6 of 14 third downs…but the offense didn’t move the chains until they were down 17.  Cousins completed 7 of 11 passes for 4 conversions while getting sacked once and scrambling for the marker once.  Ryan Grant was the top target (3 conversions on 3 catches and 4 passes thrown to) while recent pickup Byron Marshall also caught 3 of 4 passes on third down but was short each time.  Marshall also ran for a late first down on 3rd & 1.  Yardage: 3-for-4 on short-yardage, 2-for-4 on 3rd and 4 through 3rd and 6, 1-for-6 on 3rd and long.

Zach Meets Mr. Morris- you don’t mess with Preston’s Perspective’s pop-culture references.  Earlier this year we saw the Vikings come to FedEx Field with former kicker Kai Forbath…and showed no mercy (I’ll let you know when he’s had enough).  This past week we saw Mr. Morris blast through the Redskins defense like it was an ATV race at the Malibu Sands.  Alfred gained 80 of his 127 yards after halftime…and the Cowboys converted 7 of their last 10 third downs (and 4 of 5 in the second half).  Not an ideal day for the defense that now ranks 22nd against the run and allows the third most points in the league.

Kicking and Screaming- NO longer shall we use the term “Special Teams” regarding the kicking game that fumbled a punt and allowed a punt return for a touchdown.  Nick Rose connected on both of his extra points and Tress Way averaged 42.6 yards per punt, so they’ve got that going for them.

Flying Flags- SEVEN penalties for 43 yards.  And if you’re counting that’s 24 over the last three games.  Two infractions were rather costly:  a pass interference on Kendall Fuller turned a 3rd & 1 into a 1st & 10 and the Cowboys would score two plays later…while a pass intereference against Bashaud Breeland (he had another PI declined) set up a 1st and goal at the 1.  Then there was that “12 men on the field” flag where there may have been 14 on the field for the Skins.  Not what you need in the fourth quarter on the road.

Dissecting the Division- Philadelphia’s loss to Seattle means the Eagles won’t clinch the NFC East just yet–but at 10-2 they need only one more victory or a Cowboys loss to wrap up the division.  Philly does slip behind Minnesota into the #2 seed (Vikings have a better common opponents record).  Dallas moves a game ahead of the Skins for second (and owns the head to head tiebreaker) and is in 10th place of the NFC, two games out of the wildcard.  The Burgundy and Gold remain in 11th place thanks to a better conference record than Arizona;  a loss to the Chargers plus victories by Seattle and Carolina make the elimination official.  The NY Giants drop behind San Francisco into dead last of the conference…and are one more loss plus a Redskins win away from securing the NFC East cellar one year after making the playoffs.

Interconference Connection, Dominant Divisions & More- the NFC owns a 28-20 lead, meaning they’d have to go 3-12-1 in order to lose the Conference contest.  Cleveland and Cincinnati are playing five of those remaining 16 games so I’m going to say that might not happen.  The NFC South is a combined 28-20…while the AFC West has withered away to 21-27 over the last month.  The NFC East?  Tied for fifth with 23 wins.

Home for the Holidays- joining previously eliminated Cleveland, San Francisco and the New York Giants this week is Chicago.  The Bears lost 15-14 to the Niners as their former kicker Robbie Gould kicked five field goals before  replacing Dr. Houseman as Chief of Staff and purchasing Kellerman’s where his first act was firing Johnny Castle.  Sweet revenge, indeed.

College football has a history of being less than progressive…so I can understand if the four team playoff is here for a while.  Lets be honest–they didn’t use the bowls as a championship determining tool until the late 60’s…and it took 30 more years to move away from the jigsaw puzzle of New Years Day bowl game format.  Even the BCS overstayed its welcome.  So I’m not expecting football tournament expansion–but wouldn’t eight be great?  Five major conference winners plus three wildcards.  Home field for the higher seed.  No complaining by the Big Ten or Pac 12 if their leagues get shut out…plus once you move past the third at-large team there’s rarely a team that belongs in the championship mix.  Wouldn’t you want to see an Alabama-Ohio State quarterfinal in Tuscaloosa?  A quadruple-header December 13th or 20th would be preferable to the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl…with the winners advancing to the January 1st semifinals.  Can’t wait until 2035 when this actually happens…


Alma Mater Update– is it over yet?  The Orange’s 30-7 loss at Pitt further cemented a forgettable season.  Coach Scott Shafer’s 2015 season begins now.


Maryland cemented its status as Big Ten road warriors…rallying with two fourth quarter touchdowns to beat Michigan 23-16.  Two weeks after posting its first ever win at Penn State, coach Randy Edsall’s team notches its first ever win against the Wolverines.  Terrapin Triumphs– CJ Brown rushes for 87 yards and a TD and avoids tossing an interception after throwing 3 last week…Cole Farrand tallies 10 tackles while Will Likely secures his 6th interception of the season…Brad Craddock converts all 3 field goals as the Aussie improves to 17 of 17 on the season.  Terrapin Troubles– the offense converts just 3 of 12 third down attempts… the defense allows 319 yards rushing… and the white ops uniforms make one miss the “X-Wing Pilot helmets” look.  Next:  Saturday vs Rutgers.


Virginia somehow finds itself in position to make the postseason…mauling Miami 30-13 on Senior Day.  All they have to do is win on the road against a rival they haven’t beaten since 2003…in a stadium where they haven’t won since 1998.  Cavalier Congrats– Khalek Shepherd rushes for 95 yards and a touchdown while leading the team with 5 catches…Max Valles notches three of the team’s four sacks while posting seven tackles…Kippy & Buffy end a great tailgating season by enjoying a Taylor Fladgate LBV Port with Gruyere on Captain’s Wafers.  Cavalier Concerns– CONCERNS?  They just beat the U by 17!  One just has to be worried about getting one’s hopes up heading into the annual ACC version of Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown.  Next:  Friday night at Virginia Tech.


Virginia Tech finds itself on the precipice of bowl elimination…thanks to a 6-3 double overtime loss at Wake Forest.  How did ACC Commissioner John Swofford not step in after 60 minutes of scoreless regulation? Couldn’t he create a “thunderstorm warning” and send everybody home?  Hokie Highlights– can I actually list positives from such a dreadful day?  JC Coleman rushes for 98 yards… while Andrew Motuapuaka tallies 10 tackles and 2 sacks (of the team’s 7).  Hokie Humblings– where to begin?  Start with two fumbles lost plus an interception–both fumbles coming in Demon Deacons territory.  Continue with an offense that converted just 3 of 15 third down attempts.  Finish with an offensive line that allowed five sacks.   Next: Friday night vs Virginia.

Some said the planets were aligning for another great Redskin dash to the playoffs.  After a disappointing loss the team was 3-6 and faced Philadelphia after being off the previous Sunday, just like 2012.  Unfortunately, “planets aligning” meant “like Alderaan”.  The 24-16 loss had everything reminiscent of a Death Star Strike:  the immediate threat of disaster (aka Philly scoring on 3 of its first 4 drives) followed by a potential reprieve (back to back 4th quarter scores the “Dantooine” ploy to Grand Moff Tarkin)…and the door being slammed shut (“You may fire when ready”).  And just like that, the Skins playoff hopes blew up like the unsuspecting planet of Alderaan.

Another reason why the loss was not awesome– the loss drops the Skins to 1-6 in the NFC and 0-3 in the division.  Should they somehow make a run with 5 or 6 wins…they’d likely be involved in conference or division tiebreakers that would not pan out in their favor.

RG3ver– just like the opener it took awhile for the face of the franchise to heat up: 1-4 after one quarter…4 net passing yards after one half…and a line of 7-14=57 after three periods.  Thank goodness for garbage time, I mean, thank goodness for the fourth quarter.

Alfred the Abandoned– after rumbling for 86 yards on 18 first half carries, Mr. Morris ran just 4 times after intermission for 7 yards.  He’s not even the primary ballcarrier on third down runs (Young twice, Helu once, RG3 once).  That’s where the Bell comparison gets confusing– can you imagine an episode where Zack rocks it in the first half yet has minimal lines after the second commercial?  If only the Shanahans followed the Peter Engel principle and continued to let this Morris be the star– even down 24 points Zack could always rally the gang to sell Buddy Bands or save Kelly’s grandparents’ Hawaiian resort.

Peerless Pierre– Monsieur Garcon grabbed 6 passes for 68 yards…and his tear begins to take record-setting proportions as his 6.7 catches per game would prorate to 107 over 16 games (one better than Art Monk’s record).  There’s been a little debate in the DC media that Garcon isn’t really a #1 guy… just a #2 that puts up good numbers because there’s no other ace in the receiving corps.  Does that take into account some of the sweet catches he’s made as well as the fact that because the group is limited he’s drawing the opponents’ best DB (or DBs) every game?

Third and Long, Longer, Longest– the Burgundy and Gold converted 8 of 17 third down attempts (going through the play-by-play I thought there were just 16 attempts…but they may be counting a defensive hold on the Eagles as a failed attempt?)…with over half of those third downs measuring 7 yards or more.  RG3 went 7-11 with 5 conversions and 1 INT…with one sack and a one-yard rush that didn’t move the chains.  Absent was Alfred Morris.  The yardage breakdown:  3-6 short (1-3 needed), 3-3 medium (4-6) and 2-9 long (7+ yards needed).  Of course three of those were “super-long”: 15+ yards necessary.

Deceptive Defense–  only 24 points and 402 yards allowed… with 7 points and 141 of those coming after halftime.  There begins the deception:  Philly just like their first game was looking to end the game after the first possession of the second half as opposed to trying to score.  Over the first six possessions the Eagles carved out drives of 68, 69, 83 and 80 yards en route to putting points on the board.  The other two included an opening possession 32 yard march and a last-minute-of-the-first-half “let’s see if we can get anything here” experiment.  Trailing 24-0 is no way to help your own running game, either.

Season-long Slump– not only is this unit near the bottom of the league in yards and points allowed, it’s the way other teams pile up productivity.  The Skins have been outscored in seven of ten first halves this fall…and in the other three games they were outscored in the second half.  It seems as though the opposition can get it done when necessary…

Stat that Makes you Cringe– Brandon Merriweather led the team with 7 tackles…while Josh Wilson and David Amerson notched 5 stops apiece.  Anytime your top three tacklers are DBs, it’s not ideal.

Cobra Kai– no field goal attempts for Mr. Forbath…and no extra point attempts either (thanks to the team being down 24 in the second half).  Perhaps the real Zabka’s appearance on “How I Met Your Mother” is sapping the real Kai’s karma.  Let the record show we had Zabka parallel’s last fall…perhaps re-jumpstarting his career playing himself on HIMYM.  Otherwise this feels like KK3– when you didn’t even have the Zabka cameo at the beginning.  And for the record, KK3 made Jedi look like Empire…

Not So Special Teams– the Skins starting field position was awful in the first half:  their own 2, 17 and 19 yard line with three from the 20.  Both Philly TD’s in the first half began with drives in the 30’s.  

Flags Flying–  only four penalties for 39 yards… with three on defense:  Unnecessary roughness on EJ Biggers, Illegal Use of the Hands on David Amerson and a Horsecollar tackle on Perry Riley.  The effect?  The Eagles punted anyway four plays after Biggers’ flag, Philly settled for a 24 yd FG after Amerson’s penalty, and they scored their final TD one play after Riley’s flag from the 4 (it was a half the distance infraction from the 8).  The offensive penalty?  A facemask  on Pierre Garcon during the final drive…and the offense made up the yardage.

Dissecting the Division– last year Philadelphia lost its week 11 matchup with the Skins en route to a last place finish, this year the Eagles victory puts them a half game (6-5) ahead of idle Dallas (5-5) for the NFC East lead.  The half game means Philly gets the 4th seed while the Cowboys settle for 9th (owning the conference tiebreaker over Green Bay).  The NY Giants after FOUR STRAIGHT WINS climb all the way to 11th place in the conference (better NFC record than St. Louis)…and the Burgundy and Gold hold down 13th in the conference again this week.

The Best West…and Sad South– the race for best division now has the AFC West one half game ahead of their NFC counterpart…while the AFC South (14-26) is the only division at least ten games under .500.  If Indianapolis just beats Tennessee next weekend and wins one more game they’re champs.  The NFC East?  A sad seventh.  The Interconference showdown has the NFC taking a 26-24 lead.