Sunday, September 25, 2005

Eagles win, screw their kicker

I watched today’s Eagles/Raiders game. As a Chiefs fan, I was rooting for an Eagles win, but things didn’t look good to start the game. Eagles kicker David Akers kicked off, and limped off the field with a bum hamstring. Unfortunately, the Eagles were off sides, so they had to rekick. Akers limped back on the field and tried to kick off again, and after kicking he fell to the ground in obviously a great deal of pain. But, the Eagles were off sides again! Off sides on a kickoff is the dumbest penalty in football, and the Eagles did it two times in a row, further injuring their kicker.

Akers couldn’t kick it a third time, so tight end Mike Bartrum had to kick off. Once the Eagles scored a touch down, linebacker Mark Simoneau tried the point after but kicked it off one of his lineman’s head.

So the Eagles knew they were playing without a kicker for the day. What I don’t understand is why, after their second touchdown, they didn’t go for two to try to make up the lost point from the earlier touchdown. Plus, Akers came back in to kick the extra point for that second touchdown. The guy could hardly walk, and they were making him kick these extra points, when they could get two points without risking further injury to their kicker.

Predictably, the game came was tied with time running out and the Eagles had the ball. Normally, you would play for a field goal to win, but the Eagles really needed to get in the end zone, knowing their kicker was hurt. The Eagles drove down to the six yard line with 9 seconds remaining. If I remember correctly, it was either second or third down. I believe there was enough time to take one shot at the end zone to end the game without using their kicker. Instead, Akers came onto the field to attempt a 23 yard field goal to win it. Give him credit: he sucked it up and made the kick and the Eagles sent the Raiders to an 0-3 start.

There’s one other thing that confuses me about the Eagles. Akers injured his hamstring last week, and Simoneau had to kick an extra point in last week’s game. That means that the Eagles knew their kicker was injured, and yet they didn’t attempt to sign another kicker for this week? I know there are plenty of kickers who are sitting out there and would be happy to play in the NFL for a week or two. The Chiefs have used temporary kickers several times over the last few years in situations just like this one. I admire Akers for playing through the pain, but at the same time he should be upset that his team did nothing to help his hamstring heal. I hope he hasn’t injured it for good, putting him out for several weeks.

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