Now that I've had a few hours to simmer (and come down off the ledge) after one of the most horrifying excuses for a quarter-plus of football, I've formulated some thoughts.
Ok, they are less thoughts than mutterings, but you get the idea.
For three quarters, all of the drama and bitterness of last season, and the seemingly endless pit of pessimism where the heart of my Philly fanatacism seems to float was replaced by this warm sensation -- I've been told it's what others call hope and happiness -- wafted over me. It was a joyous time -- the sky seemed bluer, the trees greener.
The Eagles were playing some of the best football I've seen them play in years. They were fired up and they were making plays. The defense was flying around, crushing Eli, shutting down Tiki, controlling them game. The offense was clicking, McNabb was spreading the ball around, Westbrook was rolling, LJ was delivering and Stallworth continued to impress.
Sure, there were mistakes and imperfections. But all things considered, it was great football. And we were sticking it to, of all teams, the Giants!
And then, BAM!
The Eagles delivered another crushing blow. They did it to me again, and as they often do, in one of the most infuriating, embarrassing ways possible.
Suddenly, the perfect tosses went through receivers hands like they had butter on their gloves and bounced off their chests as though they were wrapped in rubber. The defense missed more assignments than even the most ambitious of high school slackers could brush off.
And spare me the song and dance about Eli being the Comeback Kid. The master of late-game heroics. It's all well and good that he's pulled it off in the past, but let's be honest. He can't take much credit for this one -- the Eagles practically gift-wrapped it and delievered it to him on a silver platter.
And so it is that, as a hundred times before, the Eagles (and the Phillies in their times) reeled me back in. Filled me with this false hope and made be believe. There was happiness and optimism. Could it be, had we finally paid our dues and despite all the naysayers and disbelievers, the Eagles would really contend for the division again?
HAHA. The evil laughter rings in my ears as I writhe from the pain of having been sucked in only to be spit out and crushed as I had been so many times before.
Look at it this way. One play might perfectly capsulize the emotion of Sunday. The game was still well in the Eagles' hands, but the Giants were threatening. But, what's this, we force a fumble that would end NY's drive and all but seal the victory for the Eagles? I'm up from my chair, arms raised, throat ready to let out a resounding "Whoop!" when ... sucker punch, right to the gut. The Eagles boot the ball into the end zone trying to recover the fumble and instead the Giants land on it, for a TD that would send the Eagles into a tailspin and the Giants on the path to victory.
Game over. Heart broken (again). Hopes for the season crushed.
Okay, so it's only Week 2 and the season is far from lost. But gone is that unbridled optimism, that warm, fuzzy feeling of enjoying an Eagles game without that nawing feeling deep in your gut that it is just a matter of plays before the bottom is pulled out from beneath you. The pride and excitement at watching those first three quarters of enjoyable, entertaining (not gut-wrenching) Eagles ball.
And so it is, just two games in, the bitterness and distrust overwhelms once again.
But it's not all gloom and doom. Take heart, Eagles fans, all is not lost. There is reason to smirk and have a good chuckle -- TO has a broken bone in his finger!