The thing about playing on Monday Night Football which makes any favored home team susceptible to an ambush is there’s a tendency to get caught up in the pageantry of the event itself. Maybe you could say it’s the opposite of stage fright—but similar in debilitating effect. The whole football world is watching you tonight. Since you are the favorite, you have twice as many media types reminding you of that. They’re telling you how good you are and how great you’ll be if you win this game. Equally distracting, your PR department has a huge Team-Hall-of-Fame induction ceremony planned for good old David Akers, subliminally planting the notion in your head how badly this organization and this hometown needs a Super Bowl-qualifying performance from you tonight.
It’s just one game, you say, it’s just another divisional game. You’ll handle your business despite all the pomp and circumstance.
The problem with even believing the “just another game” stuff is that it is not. Whether you as a player realize it or not, you have just entered the Twilight Zone of prime-time-TV football. What you don’t realize is you are part of a laboratory experiment which is measuring your competence level when subjected to favorable attention and high expectation.
You may say “I can tune it all out once I’ve got that first hit behind me.” But you find when you attempt to adjust the dial on this experiment, you are not in control. You learn the hard way the old scientific adage that an experiment is affected as much by the level of observation as it is by the subjects themselves.
That goes for the underdogs in this prime-time experiment, too. Funny how knowing millions of eyeballs around the world are focusing upon them can over the course of the game make the Redskins forget they are supposed to be devastated by key injuries.
Redskins’ best cornerback Josh Norman is out. Their other starting cornerback Bashaud Breeland may play, but don’t count on it, he’s hurting with a knee injury. Pro Bowl offensive tackle Trent Williams is a game-time decision but looks unlikely to play for long if he does. Defensive tackle Jonathan Allen (foot) is done for the season. Middle linebacker Mason Foster is out.
Then there’s the 0-5 record of QB Kirk Cousins when he plays Monday Night games. Do you not think the media coverage of that fact will be motivating him tonight?
I fully expect the Redskins to throw everything and the kitchen sink against us tonight.
OLB Ryan Kerrigan is no doubt licking his chops to get a shot at Wentz in the backfield. Temple product Matt Ioannidis has 14 more quarterback pressures/hits than any other player for Washington—no doubt he’s feeling some extra motivation to get his name called tonight.
Washington has won three of their last four games. The one loss during that span was against the Kansas City Chiefs when the Redskins tied the game with less than two minutes left before falling 29-20.
The Eagles defense must keep up with running back Chris Thompson. Remember, he scored a touchdown against the Eagles in the opener when he avoided numerous tackle attempts to score from 29 yards out. While Thompson’s workload has purposely been capped, the 5-8, 191-pounder has tallied 18 receptions for 340 yards and 36 carries for 175 yards with four offensive touchdowns so far on the season.
Wide receivers Josh Doctson and Terrelle Pryor are hoping for a breakout game against the Eagles secondary.
I am prepared for a street fight tonight, just want to see the Eagles avoid getting caught flat-footed in the opening act. Stay on an even keel from the get-go, keep the spotlight out of your eyes…and exit the Twilight Zone with a solid outing. I’ll take my chances with the rest.
If you want an alternative “Live Thread” to the game tonight, please join us on a site called discord.com.
Our regular commentator and home-run king Ryan Lubrich (aka The Lubricator, aka GSXR Mustang) has created an alternative chat forum for in-game real-time conversation.
Here’s a link to his interesting new talk machine if you wish to give it a look:
As Ryan explains, it’s like a chat channel, primarily used by like-gamers who stream on Twitch, but he figured we might be able to use it for gameday chats. I have found it to be very functional and very entertaining. It took me a few minutes to get the hang of some of the whistles and bells, but after a short while I was zooming along with the other EYE guys and Bored members there talking Eagles football.
It even auto-refreshes on every comment!
See you at the game!