This game was so boring Fox NFL color analyst John Lynch actually did everyone a favor by trying to drum up some excitement when the Eagles held the Falcons to a field goal in the third quarter.
Never mind that the Eagles still trailed 27-10. Forget that the Falcons had scored on all five of their possessions and that the Eagles seemed nervous about letting Michael Vick throw more than five yards down field.
By the standards of this game, “We held them to a field goal!” was a rallying cry for the Eagles.
“You see [defensive coordinator] Todd Bowles and his group celebrating,” Lynch said as Fox went to a commercial break. “Sometimes you have to celebrate the little victories. Life for the Philadelphia Eagles.”
Lynch sounded hopeful because this was not good television. Alas, Lynch and play-by-play man Dick Stockton had little to work with after halftime.
The Falcons were dominant and the Eagles were awful. Dead air doesn’t work on television so the duo tried to to create some drama whenever they could.
The closest the game came to getting interesting after halftime was when the Eagles trimmed the lead to 30-17 and then forced a three-and-out. That was Atlanta’s first punt of the game and nearly 10 minutes had elapsed in the fourth quarter.
“The Falcons will kick with 5:35 to go in a 13-point game!” Stockton said, sounding excited.
A penalty against Falcons linebacker Stephen Nicholas put the Eagles at the 50.
“Life for the Philadelphia Eagles,” Lynch said again, hopefully, but the Eagles remained lifeless.
Philadelphia fans, no doubt ornery for having to watch bad football in miserable weather, let the Eagles have it after three short passes and a run led to a turnover on downs.
“You are down 30-10: start getting the ball down field,” Lynch said. “I understand the game plan coming in. [The Falcons] are going to play off [in coverage], take what they give you, but that’s out the door right now.”
It was a good critique of Philadelphia’s inexplicable strategy. It also sounded like a plea from Lynch for the Eagles to please provide some excitement.
It never happened.
Vick playing ‘nervous’
Lynch relayed a conversation he and Stockton had with Vick in the week before the game.
“”Early this year, John, I was nervous and quite frankly I was worried about getting injured,’” Lynch said Vick told them. “I’ve got to go play football.”
“That was a great admission by him,” Stockton said.
It was great for Lynch and Stockton’s purposes of getting a good quote. It was not so great for a quarterback on the verge of losing his job.
Praise for Falcons
During the pregame, Lynch commented on the Falcons “flying under the radar” in spite of their record.
“Everybody is looking for something wrong about the Falcons,” Lynch said. “They are 6-0!. My kids tell me all the time, ‘Dad, don’t hate, congratulate.’”
Time to consult Urban Dictionary for some new slang for those quips.
Seriously, all of the Fox analysts generally praised the Falcons (when they talked about them at all). That’s true even though three of the five studio guys picked the Eagles to win the game (Philly was favored).
Also, Terry Bradshaw added the familiar asterisk next to Matt Ryan’s name.
“He came to the league in 2008 and so much was expected and he has delivered,” Bradshaw said. “If he’s had a flaw it’s that in three playoff appearances he’s lost all three of those football games.”