Monday, December 14, 2009

Weird, Great Game

I received an email from my dad yesterday afternoon, at about 4:50 p.m. "You're Welcome," the caption read.

We had talked earlier in the day, but I couldn't remember the favor I'd asked him to do. I clicked open the email, trying to remember. "And good luck tonight," it read. I laughed out loud.

My father lives in San Diego, you see. And he was doing what we sports fans do all the time. He was taking credit for his team's win.

Here's how it went down. The Chargers game had just ended against the Dallas Cowboys, and the Chargers had won. The Eagles and the Giants were playing in about half an hour. Now that the Cowboys had lost, the Eagles had the chance to take over the lead in the NFC East. The Giants, on the other hand, had the chance to create a three-way tie for that lead if they won. (Poor Washington D.C., the fourth team in the NFC East, is nowhere in this playoff picture.)

Oh, and have I mentioned that the Philadelphia Eagles are my favorite football team? So it all mattered. Greatly.

It was a weird game. But great - and I loved it, mostly because the Eagles won, 45-38. I'd never seen so much scoring! Well, there was that one playoff game between the Oilers and the Bills way back when... But between these two teams? I've been a Philadelphia fan since 1987 - have watched nearly all the match-ups between these two teams for those 20+ years - that's a lot of games, with the obligatory two-a-year for a division rival, and then the every-so-often playoff match-up. It was not a normal game for these two teams, was my impression. (This impression turned out to be true - "It was the highest scoring game in this series, and these two have played 156 times since October 1933.")

I think all the offense was because of the rain. Apparently it had rained all day in the Meadowlands, and while the rain stopped for the game, the field was soggy. They looked like kids playing in puddles, so splashy they got sometimes as they ran down the field.

What I loved was how the Eagles offense scored, marched, and scored again. Sometimes their offense can't get in to a rhythm, but not yesterday! The first touchdown in particular was exciting and clear. Michael Vick played part of those downs. In his first snap, he threw well, to Number 10 - DeSean Jackson, a kid that isn't too small to play in the NFL, despite the conventional wisdom that said otherwise. Beautiful football. (I've come around a bit on the whole Michael Vick deal - mostly because of his own behavior, which has been good.) And then DeSean Jackson, at another point, ran a punt back for a touchdown... Amazing play. Poetry in motion. Amazing.

And then there was that pivotal goal line stand. There was one last week too - I wrote about it here. But this one was different. This one - well, it wasn't during the Eagles game. It was a couple hours earlier, during the Chargers game. The pundits are saying that it was the Chargers' goal line stand against Dallas in the second quarter that broke the Cowboys' spirit, and turned the tide the way of San Diego. Which turned the tide the way of the Eagles - even before they took the field.

What was disappointing was all the missed tackles on defense. But I think that had to do with the soggy field. At least, I'm hoping that was the main cause. Otherwise, the Eagles are going nowhere in the playoffs - if they get to the playoffs (which I think they will - I was not so confident a few weeks ago, but I'm feeling optimistic right now about those prospects).

Also disappointing was the officiating. I get that I may not be balanced when watching calls, and want them all called for my team, but there were some pretty bad non-calls last night that could have given the Giants the game. Luckily the impact was fleeting, since the Eagles won. Smile.

I love mornings like these - you know, Monday mornings after the Eagles have won.

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