Ian Eagle was Bourne to call football games.
The decorated play-by-play man was in the booth Sunday for Patriots-Titans alongside Charles Davis, and once again, called a clean game without the usual errors that clog other NFL broadcasts. It’s apparent the pair studied up on each team, as Davis shared interesting anecdotes about even marginal players, such as when he hyped Ryan Tannehill’s work in practice with little-used wideout Cody Hollister. Davis was always quick with a fact, while Eagle was quick with a pun.
It was a well-executed telecast all the way around.
When Mac Jones found Kendrick Bourne in the upper-right corner of the end zone for New England’s first touchdown, Eagle let loose with his first attempt at word play.
“Bourne touchdown! Bourne ready!”
Nice, clever, subtle. Every artist knows you build to the climax, and that’s what Eagle did with his puns. Bourne’s second touchdown — when he showed incredible athleticism and balance keeping his feet in bounds — resulted in one of the more memorable touchdown calls this season.
“It was a Bourne ultimatum,” Eagle said. “Does he go down, or does he stay up for the score?”
Now, it’s unclear whether Davis caught the reference to the iconic action-thriller, considering he reacted with apparent bewilderment. “What’d you say, Bourne ultimatum? I like it,” Davis added.
“I love Matt Damon,” Eagle confessed after a couple of seconds.
Too bad Bourne didn't go for the hat trick.
Sunday was the third time Patriots fans heard Eagle and Davis, and though Davis wasn’t quite as sharp as previous efforts — he kept lauding the Titans’ running game even though Dontrell Hilliard and D'Onta Foreman had two costly turnovers — the telecast was still a step above most other offerings. It sounds condescending, but Davis actually seems to pay attention to the game, which can’t be taken for granted — unfortunately. He started strong, correctly pointing out the officials blew it on Tannehill’s touchdown pass to Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, who clearly got into the end zone before being touched.
Mike Vrabel hesitated to challenge because he was so upset, and Davis was right on it.
With two primetime games coming up on Monday and Thursday nights, viewers won’t see Eagle and Davis for a while. The Patriots’ matchup against the Bills Dec. 26 is slated for 1:00 p.m., but Jim Nantz and Tony Romo could be on the call for that one — especially if the division swings in the balance.
Eagle and Davis aren’t a flashy team, but they call a solid game. Patriots fans will probably be pining for the duo the next time Romo brings his tiring schtick to Foxborough.
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