By Bill Campbell
The Phillies ended a disappointing season on Sunday with another disappointing 2-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves. Lefty Cole Hamels (9-9) was the only bright spot in the game, as he has been all season, delivering another stellar performance on the mound despite being hit in the face on Braves’ second baseman Tommy LaStella’s hard grounder up the middle in the second inning. He stayed to pitch through the seventh. Hamels posted the lowest ERA of his career this year, 2.46, but the Phils took little or no advantage of that stat, going 15-15 in Hamels’ starts this year. The Phillies ended their season 73-89, putting them last in the National League East. The top brass has a lot of thinking to do and some changes to make before spring training 2015 begins.
Eagles – Almost
To start the season, the Eagles have come from behind and beaten the Jaguars, Colts, and Redskins in three exciting games. Their luck ran out in San Francisco on Sunday afternoon, where they took their first loss 26-21. They could have pulled it out.
With 1:50 remaining in the fourth quarter, with five first downs and no offensive points all day, the Birds started a drive on their own nine yard line. Incredibly, they ticked off a fifteen-play masterpiece that got them inside the Niners’ two-yard line, third-and goal. On the drive, they tallied six first downs, which was more than they’d gotten all day. But their luck ran out and they couldn’t get the seventh first down of the drive and a come-from-behind-again touchdown. An incomplete pass from Nick Foles to Brent Celek on the left was followed by a fourth down rollout on the right, with a pass intended for Jeremy Maclin in the end zone. It went over his head and that was all she wrote. The Eagles flew back to Philly 3-1, losing to the 49ers, 26-21. The Birds were frustrated afterwards but they didn’t deserve to win this one, turning the ball over three times in four possessions. The offense gained twenty-two rushing yards on twelve carries and Shady McCoy’s longest run all day was for five yards. Foles was inaccurate most of the day but the offensive line, which Coach Kelly acknowledged to be “banged up”, gave him little time or protection to find a receiver. He was banged up himself.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys and the Giants won their contests last week, with the Giants beating the Redskins 45-14. The Cowboys and Giants stand at 2-2, the Redskins 1-3. The St. Louis Rams (1-2), who lost to the Cowboys on Sunday, will be at The Linc this Sunday, October 5th, for a 1:00 p.m. kick-off.
When the Eagles played the Redskins last Sunday, September 21st, Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall suffered a torn left Achilles tendon. His season is over but he sought advice from other pro athletes who’ve had to deal with the same injury to get a read on what he is facing. One of those he called was Los Angeles Laker star, Kobe Bryant, who ruptured an Achilles tendon in April 2013 and missed nine months of basketball as he recovered. Bryant is known for playing through or bouncing back quickly from most injuries, but not this one. He told Hall that he has to be patient if he’s going to come back from this. Hall said that Bryant, “was probably the most notable guy that I remember having an Achilles injury and coming back [and] he said the same thing our trainers have said: Just be patient with it. It’s going to feel like you can push…like you can do some things. But the best thing for that is to not do anything. Be as patient as possible.” It’s not an easy assignment for a pro athlete. Hall has to be aware that, after returning from the injury last December, Bryant played in only six games before injuring his knee and missing the rest of his season. His NBA future remains uncertain. Hall’s NFL future could be too. He’ll be tested in the months ahead.
I was sorry to learn that former Philadelphia 76er, Caldwell Jones, had died of a heart attack last week. Jones made the 1975 ABA All Star Game squad and was coached by Wilt Chamberlain in his first ABA season. He then spent six seasons here with the Sixers starting in 1976, playing with Julius Erving and George McGinnis, among others whom I remember well. He was sent to the Houston Rockets in 1982 and then to the Portland Trailblazers where he played from 1985 to 1989. Jones ended his career in San Antonio in 1990 where he also served as a mentor for then-rookie David Robinson. His three brothers also played in the NBA. It was reported that Jones had spent his final morning last Sunday in his Atlanta church, followed by brunch with his family. Jones had discovered the pleasures of golf late in life and went out to hit some golf balls that afternoon. Unfortunately, he suffered a massive heart attack on the course and passed away. His wife said that, earlier that day, the family had talked about what each of them would choose to do for the rest of their lives if they had to choose one thing. Jones had said, “I’d play golf every day.” Here’s hoping he gets a couple of shots a side in heaven. Rest in peace, old friend.
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