Monday, September 18, 2006

Eagles Haunted By T.O. In Sunday's Heartbreaker

Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field, the Philadelphia Eagles squandered a 24-7 fourth-quarter lead in a crushing 30-24 overtime loss to the New York Giants. In numerous ways, the defeat for Donovan McNabb and company was due to T.O. No, not controversial former Eagle Terrell Owens, who suffered a broken finger in his Dallas Cowboys’ win over the Washington Redskins. As noted below, this NFC East showdown was impacted by plenty of other instances of T.O.

Touchdown in Overtime: New York receiver Plaxico Burress ended matters when he entered the end zone with 3:11 remaining in the extra period. However, he was upset afterwards when he learned that he wouldn’t receive overtime pay.

Turn Over: Running back Brian Westbrook coughed up a huge fumble with four minutes remaining in regulation and the Eagles up by 10. It is crucial to avoid mistakes when competing against Giants, as countless wrestlers learned the hard way against Andre the Giant.

Two-minute Offense: The Giants drove down the field at the end of regulation, resulting in Jay Feely’s tying 35-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining. Those New Yorkers are always in a hurry.

Time-Outs: The Giants saved theirs until late in the fourth quarter, providing one more possession to tie the game. Their wise use of time-outs in Philly could serve as a lesson to 76er Chris Webber.

Temple Owls: The awful college football team also calls Lincoln Financial Field home. They must have left the unavoidable smell of defeat in the air.

Toomer Outstanding: New York receiver Amani Toomer had 12 catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns. He just wanted to keep up with his college team, as Michigan had spent all day in the end zone on Saturday.

Trent Overzealous: Eagles defensive end Trent Cole drew a personal foul for kicking tackle Kareem McKenzie, providing the Giants with 15 precious yards before Feely’s tying field goal. Ironically, Cole had better form on his kick than Feely.

Trever O’Brien: He portrayed Kenny Bates in Gridiron Gang, this weekend’s #1 movie at the box office. Gridiron Gang replaced Invincible as the reigning inspirational football movie, so anything involving the Eagles got knocked off this weekend.

Tim’s Opportunism: The Giants cut the lead to 24-14 early in the fourth when receiver Tim Carter recovered a fumble by Burress in the end zone. Longtime Eagles fans were stunned, having assumed that the Giants’ fumble would be returned for a touchdown by Herman Edwards.

Toronto, Ontario: The largest Canadian city was the site of another devastating Philly sports defeat – Game 6 of the 1993 World Series. With a guy named Carter starting Sunday’s comeback, you knew there was bad karma for the Eagles.

The Outsiders: The film is best remembered for Matt Dillon’s shouting of “Let’s do it for Johnny!” Inspired by the quote, Giants quarterback Eli Manning screamed it at his teammates in honor of offensive coordinator John Hufnagel.

Tower Over: What 6’5” receiver Burress did to 5’10” defensive back Sheldon Brown, whom he outjumped on the winning touchdown. What Brown can’t do for you is eliminate a 7-inch disadvantage.

Texans Opener: In week one, Philadelphia could afford to cruise in the fourth quarter. Things are different when you’re not playing Houston.

Twenty-three – O: Margin by which the Eagles were outscored in the fourth quarter and overtime. As fourth quarter collapses go, it was up there with Enron in 2001.

The Office: The season premiere of NBC’s Emmy-winning comedy is this Thursday. Some Eagles lost focus on the game while wondering what will happen between Jim and Pam.

Tulsa, Oklahoma: Nolan Richardson coached basketball for five years at Tulsa before moving on to Arkansas in 1985. Drawing inspiration from Richardson, Philadelphia gave the Giants 40 minutes of hell on Sunday. Unfortunately, regulation lasts for 60.

Tatum O’Neal: The actress has a recurring role on Rescue Me, starring Dennis Leary as a New York firefighter. Thinking of the show, Manning was inspired to rescue his fellow New Yorkers.

Texas-Ohio State: Unlike Philadelphia, the Buckeyes maintained their 24-7 lead in Austin. The Eagles would have done the same if they had faced a freshman quarterback.

Tom O’Brien: The Boston College coach guided his team to overtime victories on each of the past two Saturdays. His presence is golden for Eagles in overtime, but it was too late to get him to Philly.

Tony Oliva: In 1964, he was the American League Rookie of the Year and batting champion for the Minnesota Twins. Somehow, the 1964 baseball season seemed relevant to a Philly sports collapse.

Eagles coach Andy Reid expects next week’s result to be the Total Opposite. It should be, since playing the 49ers is generally a Therapeutic Occasion.