When the 49ers blocked the field goal at the end of the first half and returned it for a TD -- a swing of at least 7 points, since it would be presumptuous to believe that Akers would have made it from that distance -- my buddy and and I turned to each other and admitted that we weren't even shocked. We didn't freak out, or start complaining about how unlucky the Eagles were, none of that. We just turned to each other and admitted that we kind of expected things like this to happen to the Birds -- after the last couple years, how could we not?
Or, more succinctly, as a middle-of-the-road NFL team, you're naive if you think crazy mistakes won't doom your team to at least a couple losses over the course of the season.
Then, as the second half began and the Niners started methodically moving the ball on the Birds' defense, well, it started to smell a lot like last week. And the week before. And probably the rest of the season.
(Of course, it all ended up working out beautifully, but there were some twists along the way.)
You'd think that the anxiety we were feeling as fans wasn't shared by the players -- that, being involved in the actual game, they see more than the sports-page cliches and storylines during the course of the game. Ummm, according the Sheldon Brown, that's exactly what they saw:
"The adversity we had before the half, everybody in the locker room said, 'Never again,' '' cornerback Sheldon Brown said. "Then they came out and drove it right down our throats."
"We were panicking," Brown said. "This is a team that's supposed to get turnovers and we weren't getting any. We're saying, 'What's going on?' Then they started to come. That's what happens."
Huh. Glad to know we're not the only ones that were worried!
Of course, this is the sort of unfiltered honesty that we've come to expect from #24, and it's what makes him our favorite Eagle quote (more on this topic later in the week, I swear). Brown is the one who, in describing the Eagles' win over the Redskins last year, said, “Normally, we’d find a way to lose that football game.”