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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Rob’s Rants on Sports: Eagles Win Ugly; Embiid Shines in Debut; Flyers Comeback Win Impressive; Sports Talk Moves; more

The Eagles got an ugly win against previously undefeated Minnesota, and Joel Embiid’s long awaited debut may have been the highlight of the week. Here’s my Rob’s Rants:
Embiids tweet featured a pic of his own fist-pump

  • Five turnovers on five consecutive possessions in the first quarter marred the Eagles game. I’ll admit when I’m wrong, and, at least for a week, I was way off about Sam Bradford. More on that in a second. Carson Wentz is the concern in Philadelphia, and he looked predictably bad against one of the best defenses in the league. Yes, the Eagles won the game, but with his 2 interceptions and 3 fumbles—2 of which the Eagles recovered—there wasn’t much reason to give Wentz credit. He did have one TD pass, but his QBR was an anemic 13 as he passed for just 138 yards, completing 16 of 28 attempts.

  • Last night we finally got to see Embiid on the court in an NBA game that meant something, and he didn’t disappoint. It’s hard not to gush over his performance. He moves with a smoothness that is hard to believe for a 7’ 2” guy, can score down low, and even showed a shooting touch that apparently includes 3-point range—though I wonder if that’s what the Sixers want. In just 22 minutes, Embiid shot 6 for 16, 1 of 3 from beyond the arc, and 7 of 8 from the free throw line, which I always think is a good indicator of a guy’s shooting ability. The center helped the Sixers almost pull off the upset win over the Thunder. The best part may have been seeing other guys already starting to fall into roles in which they actually look capable by playing alongside the best player on the team—a concept lost on the organization for years under Sam Hinkie. I’ll still be holding my breath a little every time Embiid’s on the court fearing the next injury, but Sixers fans can only hope to watch this guy for the next decade.

  • The Flyers rallied from a 3-goal deficit against Buffalo on Tuesday night to force overtime. I’m sure hockey purists hate hearing this from guys like me, but the 3-on-3 format in overtime was the most enjoyable hockey I’ve watched in ages. It’s a wide open game with plenty of scoring chances. I was almost disappointed by the shootout, which gave the Flyers the win, because I wanted more of the 3-on-3.

  • Bradford flat out choked in his return to Philadelphia. Sometimes it’s difficult to know if a defense shut down an offense or if the offense just stunk. The Eagles defense is looking very good, but I just can’t get to the point of saying they were responsible for Bradford’s performance. The end zone interception he threw on Minnesota’s second possession—after the defense gave him the ball on the Eagles’ 2-yard line—was ridiculous. It looked like Bradford just threw it up for grabs because he had no idea what else to do. He was eventually sacked 6 times, but he wasn’t sacked once to that point. I have no idea how that team was 5-0.

  • I’ve laid off the topic of the comings and goings of sports talk hosts a bit for various reasons, but the move of Joe Decamera from 97.5 to 94.1 is potentially interesting. Decamera’s teaming with Jon Ritchie to replace Michael Barkann and Ike Reese in the midday slot. Somehow, Reese survived, moving to drive time with Joe Giglio, though I’m guessing it’s a short-term situation. I was hanging in with Anthony Gargano’s morning show on 97.5 until Jon Marks left. I felt like Marks made Gargano OK, and, I had such an aversion to Barkann and Reese, I didn’t want to risk hearing them even for a minute after Angelo Cataldi signed off in the morning for WIP. Plus, I’ve always enjoyed 97.5’s Harry Mayes with most of his various partners, including current co-host Rob Ellis. Before the change, I had been leaving the radio off until Mayes and Ellis came on. Now, I could see going back to Cataldi in the morning on WIP, and possibly staying there at times. Afternoon drive-time is still going to be dominated by Mike Missanelli.

  • On Sunday, I watched about 8 hours of the worst football I’ve ever seen. Now that I got my analysis out of the way, the Eagles game sucked. Five turnovers in a row is just disgraceful. Anticipation for Steelers-Patriots in the late afternoon game was dampened by Ben Roethlisberger’s injury, but the Steelers basically treated the game like an extra bye week, sitting several players as they headed into their actual bye. Despite that, they sort of hung around with a Patriots team that was blowing teams out since Tom Brady’s return. And the night game ended 6-6. Enough said.

  • The World Series is underway, and I really wish I cared more. Playing the most important games of the summer sport in cold weather has to change somehow. But my main thought is that I hope the Cubs beat the Indians so Steve Bartman can just move on.

  • ESPN recently aired an Outside The Lines focused on the Lakers, called A dynasty derailed. It unwittingly reminded viewers (at least this one) of the farce that the NBA can be at times, pushing glamour franchises over others. It’s obvious every time the league sits by while a young superstar forces his way to L.A. or New York. But somehow it’s even more disgusting when a network airing NBA games treats the failures of one of these franchises as a national story.

  • Aside from watching the Sixers finally try to develop, the NBA season is potentially 7 games long this year—the maximum length of a Finals between the Cavaliers and Warriors. It’s such a foregone conclusion that they meet for the championship, the only way the season becomes interesting is if that doesn’t happen.

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