Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/11/12

As I sat on the edge of my seat, biting my nails for almost the whole of Sunday’s Eagles versus Cleveland match-up, I almost forgot my writing assignment: top 5 things we learned by watching.

As an Eagles fan, I had to be happy with an ugly win, and put on my objective goggles to get present a fair assessment of what five things I “learned” in my Sunday Pigskin School class.

1. Holding  

The plague better known as ‘Holding Penalty’ was STILL rampant amongst offensive linemen on the Philadelphia Eagles team.

This is nothing new, but nonetheless tiresome; it seemed every other flag thrown on the Eagles (and there were quite a few) was on a different Eagles' offensive lineman for holding.

I thought we were watching professionals play the game, not pop warner, or high school teams.  What’s going on here guys?  I mean, I do not play the sport and never have, but is it hard to block without holding?  Maybe it’s just me.  To have a successful season, let alone go to and win the super bowl, the offensive line, if not all the Eagles have to limit, if not eradicate, this plague.

2. Michael Vick 

Two words: TARGET PRACTICE.  Four interceptions and a fumble?  Those are rookie numbers, overthrowing some, totally missing others; the only good drive was the TD drive for the win at the end of the game.

All signs are pointing to the fact that he was indeed affected detrimentally by the preseason games he missed this year.

3. OMG, The Cleveland Defense?

Sacks, interceptions, and good run and pass coverage, especially in the secondary, really gave Eagles receivers a tough day at the office.

If this defensive presence continues and was not a fluke, the Browns could be a dark horse in the league this season, and make for some good games.  Although with the news of Haden’s performance enhancer usage, maybe the defense isn’t as good as we saw....curious?

4. Officiating

The replacement referees were surprisingly not too bad; of course as a fan, I felt that there were a couple of cases of the “silent flags”, but overall the officiating was pretty good.  If the NFL officials and the league cannot come to terms, I don’t think these replacement officials are a bad alternative.

5. Special Teams

This is another check in the Browns’ column.  Josh Cribbs was a beast on kick returns, three kickoffs for a 30.3 average and six punts for a 13.0 average.  I don’t care who you are, those are some pretty damn good numbers-- not a bad day at the office if you ask me.  

Overall, it pains me that of the things I learned about Sunday’s game, the good things were about the opposing team!

Oh well, this Eagles fan holds fast to perpetual hope that his team will always come out the victor-- ugly wins trump pretty losses any day.



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