Good morning- today's long post is a 'tape-delay' blog of last night's game between the Giants and Eagles. What that means is that the words were written live, during the game, but are being posted today during normal work hours. I promise that the content below contains all original thoughts and entries from last night, and aside from minor style edits, I haven't adjusted anything to make myself look like a genius. It ended up being 11 pages in Microsoft Word, so if you actually make it to the end, God bless. Enjoy.
7:38 – Here we go, baby! It’s about 30 minutes til game time, and I’m cooking up a bit of pasta (linguine marinara) to fill me up before kickoff. It’s the only thing I know how to make that involves using a stove or oven, and it also happens to be my favorite food. Just like Eli Manning only knows how to make perfect passes, and it also happens to thrill a nation. (This is the first of many entries where I discuss irrelevant personal details and then loosely connect them to the football game I’m supposed to be blogging about.)
7:46: Dallas did their part in the 4pm game, losing to San Diego by 3. They’re now 8-5, which will be the same record the Giants and Eagles hold if the good guys win tonight. That would leave the NFC East in a 3-way tangle with 3 weeks left. The Giants have the easiest schedule of the bunch.
7:48: Girlfriend just called to ask what kind of girl scout cookies I like, since she’s buying some from the girl she babysits. Am I the only one who’s never liked girl scout cookies? I like the names (Daisy-go-rounds, samosas, tagalongs, do-si-dos), but none of the cookies. To me, regardless of flavor, they’re all thin and bland. Which is kind of how I feel about girl scouts themselves. So I told my girlfriend to stop calling and ruining my blog. (If you stop reading this post right now, I can’t say I blame you.)
8:00: I do, however, like chocolate chip cookie dough. I had a few heaping spoonfuls while waiting for my pasta to cook. If you look at my cookie dough career, I think I probably own the record for least times making actual cookies. I just love the product, homes. I do find myself wishing the chocolate chips weren’t around, though. I know what you’re thinking: just buy sugar cookie dough. Believe me, brother, it is not the same. I learned that one the hard way. There's still a tube of 7/8ths full sugar cookie dough sitting in my freezer from '04. I can't even look at it.
8:02: Bob Costas is interviewing Eli Manning. “Familiarity breeds contempt,” he says of the Giants-Eagles rivalry. Eli offers a chuckle that falls somewhere between good-natured and sheepish, and a tame answer that amounts to, “well, we’re all out here trying our hardest!” It works so well that he uses it for every other question Costas asks.
8:04: Costas talks about how Peyton gets combative when people question Eli’s ability. “He jumps to your defense like Perry Mason!” says Costas. Eli’s smile temporarily leaves, and he says “Is that another 1940s tv reference, grandpa? Who the fuck is Perry Mason?”
8:05: That last entry is not true.
8:06: Since I don’t have a coffee table and my desk faces away from the tv, I have my computer on a cardboard tv box, exactly the right height, which normally rests on the side of my bed. This is an object of “furniture” which functions perfectly to hold my water bottle and cell phone while I’m sleeping, but which my girlfriend absolutely detests. Something about a 26-year old still using cardboard as a main part of his decor. Sometimes I bring a lamp over and place it ont he box, and it drives her crazy.
Last week, she started crusading for an end table. She sent me roughly 60 links per day on g-chat showing various examples for sale on craigslist. It went from an idle conversation topic to a sort of mania on her part, and it became clear that this would be a ‘sticking point’ that at best would plague my days and at worst would escalate to our first huge fight and end the relationship. So I gave her carte blanche to find an end table, with the one caveat that it couldn’t be higher than the bed; there’s no space behind the bed, so if it was higher, there’s a strong chance I’d bump the table in the middle of the night and send the very heavy lamp crashing on my head.
She picked something up last Thursday on craigslist for 20 bucks, set it up, and watched me expectantly when I came home. And here’s where I made a sort of boyfriend ‘mistake.’ Instead of making a positive comment or showing any kind of gratitude, I walked over, pushed the end table (which was higher than the bed!!) lightly toward the wall, and watched as the lamp teetered and fell directly onto the pillow where my head would be. Then I gave the girlfriend a meaningful look and shook my head.
Needless to say, it wasn’t our best night. And now she hates the box even more, especially because I’ve been extolling its virtues since the failed end table experiment. I’ll make sure to document her exact reaction when she sees me typing on it. She’ll be home in about an hour.
8:15: It was an absolutely miserable day in New York. Nothing but cold, rain, and overcast skies. The Meadowlands should still be wet, and it will definitely be freezing. Westbrook is out for the Eagles, and hopefully the conditions limit their passing game. Since Eli never learned to throw a spiral anyway, I don’t think it fazes him when the ball is slick.
8:21: Just sent my weekly Giants text message. This is a ‘motivational’ note I send to ten people on my phone list. Two of them are young kids, two are my brothers, three are actual Giants fans I know, and two are Pittsburgh fans who repeatedly ask me to stop sending them the message. It’s always some combination of corny and weird, and always involves an odd homage to Eli, often involving some mythical feat he once accomplished relating to the week’s opponent. This week’s installment: “The Eagles have landed, America. This is where we take our spot on the perch. Eli once ate a live eagle, and it was beautiful. Get angry. Go Giants!”
8:23: Excerpt from the Sunday Night Football theme song by Faith Hill: “Al and Chris having fun on tv!” And they really, really do.
8:26: Two great text responses already. First my friend Mike, a Packers fan, told me he was ‘shitcanned’ because he was at the Packers win over Chicago. Then my cousin, also named Mike, wrote “The eagle came off the endangered species list in 2003. The g men are going to put them back on it. I’m pumped.”
SO AM I, YOU BEAUTIFUL BASTARD!
8:30: Giants control their destiny. Win today, and we’re first place in the NFC East. Justin Tuck now being interviewed by Andrea Kramer. “We’ve got to play with the same intensity we played with against Dallas.” Nobody reminded him that Tony Romo threw for 400 yards last week. Which is probably good.
8:31: Kickoff. Party Tynes boots it not quite to the endzone, Eagles take it out past the 30.
8:31: Look, Eagles head coach Andy Reid takes a lot of flack, but I’ll say this for him: he looks absolutely retarded standing on the sideline.
8:32: First offensive play is a 10-yard run. Here we go again. It wish it was raining harder.
8:33: OH MY GOD, I FORGOT TO PUT ON MY JERSEY! If we lose, it’s on me. I’m now wearing Corey Webster #23. I’ll be switching back and forth between this one and my Eli jersey as the Giants switch between offense and defense.
8:34: First play after donning the Corey Webster jersey, Michael Vick (the asshole who killed dogs, not the other Michael Vick) completes a 40-yard pass inside the ten. They oughta call this secondary a ‘tertiary,’ am I right?
8:35: McNabb to Celek on a well-designed tight end screen. Touchdown Eagles. On the sideline, Celek screams at the Meadowlands crowd. It’s still early, bud.
8:37: That DJ Remix Southwest Airlines commercial, using sound bites from the runway personnel, makes me want to puke as though I just watched Michael Vick shoot a battered dog in the temple.
8:38: You know how people act like Flava Flav is this hilarious person, and if you just mention him, it’s like some kind of pop culture currency that buys you a cool pass? WELL HE’S NOT THAT FUCKING FUNNY. Which you can tell Sprint, because they have him in a commercial now. Other things that aren’t funny are midgets, mullets, and any other fucking loser who made bad art in the 80s. Here’s a good lesson: when some kind of idea or concept makes you smirk, rather than laugh, it’s officially lame and won’t be cool or even relevant or even identifiable in ten years. Can you tell I’m really happy about how the game’s gone so far?
8:39: I think Eli’s first pass just hit the referee, and Brandon Jacobs then yelled at the ref. B-Jake then follows it with a vintage 2008 run, plowing ahead with like 15 Eagles hanging on him for 8 yards.
8:41: Steve Smith’s first catch of the game. Love him. He is always open over the middle. Always. They should just run that play over and over.
8:41: Oh lord. Jacobs fumbles, Philly returns it for another touchdown. Are they maybe reviewing this one? Nope. Replay just shown, not even close. Son of a…
8:43: The over-under for when I quit this live blog and start sulking has just been set at 9:32.
8:46: 3-yard pass to Kevin Boss. Jacobs gets a first down, having cut off the rubber sleeve that apparently was specifically designed to make him fumble. Nicks with a sweet slant from the left end, 17 yards. They need to use this guy a lot more, even if he is from UNC.
8:48: As if on cue, Nicks drops the next pass. First Kevin Gilbride sighting, our offensive coordinator. Still has a dumb mustache. Still something untrustworthy about the fellow. Steve Smith over the middle works again. First down in Eagle territory.
8:50: Second and long, Giants call a run. Here we go with the conservative crap. Third and long will either be a draw or a 3 yard pass. Guaranteed.
8:50: Almost right. 6 yard pass to Smith, still short of the first down. AND COUGHLIN’S GOING FOR IT!! I love it. Let’s try to win this friggin’ thing.
8:51: JACOBS IS A BAD HUMAN BEING! First down! Alright alright alright. Let’s stuff this baby in the zone.
8:52: The field is meant to look green, but is actually kinda grayish, swampy, and drab. So huge credit to the field crew for making the Meadowlands an exact representation of New Jersey.
8:53: Wow. Eli throws a prayer to the corner, somehow the defender misses the easy pick, and it falls into Boss’ arms. First and goal.
8:54: UGH. Fade route to Manningham is complete, but out of bounds. And he should have had his feet in, but kept his right leg hanging in the air so it could land wide for stability. Bad form, Mario. Plant the foot and fall over. You wear pads. Giants settle for a very disappointing field goal. It’s still ‘early,’ but I really feel we needed the touchdown there.
8:57: I’m excited for the Sherlock Holmes movie. Call me what you will. Robert Downey and Jude Law just “do it” for me.
8:58: Girlfriend arrived. No harsh reaction to the box, unfortunately, even though I even prompted her. Now she just read this and said “see, I’m awesome.” And she brought ice cream and sodas. Now I’m feeling bad about all that stuff earlier…
9:00: Collinsworth is yelling at Manningham for not making a strong enough fake to the inside before doing his fade. Which is valid, but he still should have caught the effing touchdown.
9:01: Giants snuff out a screen. Good sign, Philly destroys us on the running back screen al the time. Pressure on McNabb on third forces an incompletion. Kiwanuka made a sweet deke to harass McNabb from the middle.
9:06: Why the hell are we running Jacobs wide? HE’S NOT FAST. He’s a bull! I think Gilbride gets confused about the different running backs sometimes. I wonder if he even knows their first names? End of first quarter.
9:10: Are you fucking kidding me, Hakeem Nicks? Forget anything good I’ve ever said about him. He just dropped a bomb from Eli that would have been a sure touchdown.
9:11: AND HE DID IT AGAIN. Oh my lord, he has no hands. On both plays, however, Philly got called for illegal contact. But still, sweet mother…even Collinsworth called that sequence ‘embarrassing.’
9:13: “Eli has just gotten sooo sophisticated,” gushes Collinsworth. I think he’s the Eli Manning of NFL announcers; happy-go-lucky, interesting, and strangely effective.
9:14: HAKEEM NICKS!!!! MAN OF INTRIGUE!! What a friggin’ spectacular play! He just snatched a bad pass out of the air, came down, pulled off a brilliant spin, and raced for a long touchdown. I’ve never seen such a huge swing of skill by one player in a single drive. I love you, Nicks! I think?
9:16: They just showed the three Nicks plays from that drive in slow motion. He literally looked like the neighborhood dweeb on the first two plays, either very uncoordinated or just scared of the ball, and on the third he looked like Moss or Rice (the receivers, not the plants).
9:20: Vick the Dog Killer in…and he breaks a tackle and runs for a first down.
9:21: While I’ve been thinking about Nicks, Philly is carving up our (horrible) secondary. They’re on the verge of another touchdown. And now McCoy receives a pass in the flat, ten yards from the endzone, and there is literally nobody around. Does this defense ever even practice?
9:24: Some weird play involving a halfback option to Vick fails. Rouse with the break-up. And wow, on the replay he realllllly got away with interference there. Philly has to kick the field goal. Nice stop, kinda. 17-10.
9:31: Debilitating fumble aside, Jacobs is starting to look like his old self. The last two weeks have been like a revival; the bull is back, the matadors are scared.
9:33: And Nicks drops another big pass over the middle. I don’t even know what to say or think anymore. He’s certainly getting his name out there. But now we have to punt. And now Jackson runs it back down the sideline for a touchdown, and now we’re screwed. This game just got close to being out of hand.
9:38: Hixon fumbles the kickoff, and the game comes inches away from being basically over. But the G-Men recover. This drive needs to end in points. 4 minutes left in the second quarter.
9:39: Good start by Bradshaw, who jukes and jives to the 50. It occurs to me that I’ve totally forgotten to switch jerseys like I intended. Between that and not wearing anything Giants related to start the game, I can only blame myself for how things have gone.
9:41: Bradshaw is just destroying the Philly defense right now. A 17-yard run brings us to the two minute warning, and we get the ball to start the second half. This thing could be tied before long, but a touchdown here is crucial.
9:44: Smith drop a pass in the middle of the endzone. These receivers are not delivering the goods, and this also ruins my theory that Smith over the middle should be run every single time.
9:45: Or does it??? Smith over the middle to the 5!
9:46: Yikes, Kareem Mackenzie, our right tackle, is dragging himself across the field like someone in a bad disaster movie rigth after the explosion. That’s typically a bad sign.
9:47: I like the Playstation guy. Those commercials give me the giggles. (Shit, I promised myself I’d never say ‘give me the giggles’ again after my dad refused to speak with me for three years last time.)
9:49: Mackenzie is hobbling on the sideline, but at least he’s ambulatory. Bradshaw spins to the 2. After another draw, TOUCHDOWN Bradshaw! Great drive, and Ahmad owned it there. When he’s healthy, this offense is very, very dangerous. 24-17 Eagles, only 1:30 left in the half.
9:54: I went about a half hour without screaming at the television, but Osi just hit McNabb’s arm as he threw, and we nearly had a pick-six on our hands. But #52 dropped the ball and cost us a potential tie. Oh my oh my oh my oh my.
9:56: Instead, our horrible secondary decides not to cover anyone downfield, and McNabb finds Jackson wide open way downfield. Dockery and Rouse blew another one. They’re reviewing it, apparently. For what, I’m not sure...McNabb might have been across the line. Coughlin is absolutely livid; I think he knows we need a new defensive coordinator. It’s just unbelievable how a player can be that wide open.
9:59: There’s a lot of confusion about forward fumbles and possession and what not, but the bottom line is the pass stands. Eagles in field goal range...Tuck bats down a second down pass, twenty-six seconds left. If you’re a betting man, put down a double sawbuck that the secondary leaves someone wide open close to the endzone.
10:00: It’s Celek wide open at the 5. Un-fucking-believable. He rams it down the 1. I hate this defense. So weak, so predictable. For some reason our linebacker was five yards deep in the endzone. And the really sad part is, we’re only rushing four guys. That leaves seven supposedly in coverage.
10:01: Michael fuckface Vick runs in for the touchdown. Somewhere in heaven, an angel dog loses its wings. The extra point is blocked by Robbins, so it’s a 13 point lead with 10 seconds left. I’m going to sulk through halftime, back later.
10:04: Jesus, one more piece of excitement as Hixon fumbles again. This one is recovered by Philly, but the clock expired and its halftime. Unreal.
10:18: We’re back, and the girlfriend went to bed, so now we can get REAL. Eli looks pissed. If we can score like 50 points this half, we have a real shot at winning the thing.
10:20: There’s something about a dude named Boss stiff-arming a guy that’s just a few degrees cooler than your average stiff-arm. And your average stiff-arm is pretty awesome.
10:21: Steve Smith just set a team record for catches in a season with 83. He’s been a stud this year.
10:22: Nicks continues to confuse everyone. With Asante Samuel draped all over him, he makes a spectacular catch on the sideline and prevents an interception. But of course Philly is challenging...come on, guys, let’s play football here. Not ‘challenge-ball.’ (Is it possible to shame a team into not challenging favorable plays?)
10:24: Play stands! But they showed the replay, and Nicks looked like he was trying to corral a greased-up watermelon. There are some hands issues with this young man.
10:26: Jacobs is awesome. He just bowled all 11 Philly defenders over on his way to the 2-yard line.
10:27: On second-and-goal, Eli overthrows an eligible tackle. Maybe not the best option in the playbook, Gilbride. “A better first down call than second down,” says Collinsworth.
10:28: Jacobs can’t get in the endzone. Decision time, 4th down. This is basically the game here.
10: 28: Coughlin’s going.
10:29: JACOBS AIN’T HEARD OF YOUR CONCEPT CALLED DOUBT! Chris Snee leads him into the zone. Six point game as Party Tynes nails the XP.
10:30: One hates to be negative, but this has all the makings of a game that stays close enough so I can never give up and go to bed, but tantalizingly out of reach right until the last whistle. I hate having to hope for a defensive stop from this group of bumblers.
10:33: Some kind of beat poet voice-over leads us back to the Meadowlands. NBC Sunday Night Football really has their finger on the pulse. Of what, I don’t know.
10:34: “The Giants have had a real hole on the right side of their defense this year,” says Collinsworth. And the left side. And the front, and the back, and most of the middle, too...
10:35: PICK-OFF GOFF! Goff, who is apparently a mechanical engineer, or at least majored in it during college, intercepted McNabb.
10:36: And Eli fumbles. But he might have been down by contact, so I’m not panicking yet...here comes the red flag.
10:40: This call is taking forever, and for good reason. It’s ridiculously close whether or not Eli was down by contact from the defender who grabbed his jersey, and now they’re calling it a fumble. I hate to admit it, but that call isn’t horrible. This is a huge missed opportunity. I don’t think you can really count on this defense for another big stop.
10:43: Whooooooooo. That’s a sigh of relief 'whoo.' McNabb had his man wide open on a streak route on yet another miserable group coverage effort, but overthrew him. “I’ve never seen so many blown assignments in one game,” says Collinsworth. And it’s week 14. No excuse. But Philly has to punt, luckily. Another chance to take the lead.
10:44: I don’t think these McDonald’s commercials capture how depressing it is to actually step into their restaurant. The McDonald’s of advertisement-land is a bright, homey place with luminous reds and yellows setting off the appetizing food. I wish they’d try to convey the oily, lower class squalor that overwhelms you when you cross the threshold. More obesity and acne would be a decent start.
10:47: DOMINIC HIXON, LADIES AND GENTS!!! 61 yards later, and we’re one Party Tynes kick away from the lead! McNabb looks pretty annoyed on the sideline, but he’s got nobody to blame but himself. Tynes nails it, and we’re on top, baby!
10:49: I picked a good game to blog...this is wild. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Eli as pumped as when Hixon scored. Not for a second do I think we’ll hold this lead, though.
10:51: And right as I say it, McNabb to Jackson for another long touchdown. This time, Ross was the goat. The really infuriating part about this secondary is that you can’t pick out one guy who keeps failing...they all stink. I need a scapegoat, please! Jackson did a little river dance after scoring that was actually quite entertaining.
10:54: Hakeem Nicks is mankind’s greatest mystery. He just caught an 8-yard pass and inexplicably ran about five yards backward.
10:56: Three and out for the G-Men, and that is not a good omen.
10:58: Kiwanuka makes an admittedly nice tackle in the backfield, but then gives a huge full body fist pump, which I just don’t think the Giants defense has earned. Kinda like how the Arab alliance didn’t earn a celebration during the 6-Day War just because Day 4 didn’t suck as bad. (What?)
11:02: God love him, but every time Eli Manning calls an audible, it’s a shotgun draw. End of fourth quarter, Giants ball, 3rd and long. 37-31 Eagles.
11:03: In our favor: the fact that a missed extra point always, always comes back to haunt the team that missed it. It’s like a tragic flaw in a Greek play; it will be their downfall. Not in our favor: the world’s worst defense. Our D is like a 'sensitive' guy; you hope for the best, but he cries a little too often and just isn't gonna get the girl.
11:05: Boss with the first down, and a late hit! If this were 1978, I’d be all: “That was so Boss!” Then I’d give a knowing smile, alone here in my living room. (I might wake up my girlfriend to see how she took it.)
11:07: Man, Eli is pinpoint today. Boss drops a beautiful pass downfield...when even your reliable tight end is having a bad hands day, you know things are rough.
11:08: Fucking draw on third and 5. Hate it. Bradshaw gets stuffed. Coughlin’s going to punt, which I guess is the smart move. Jackson fair catch at the 9. Is one more stop too much to ask?
11:10: Zales has that commercial where people keep telling their significant others that they love them in meaningful situations, and the s/o stops in their tracks and looks shocked. They need to have one where the guy says it, but the girl is smiling at a text on her cell phone and looks up with those wide eyes where it’s clear she’s not paying attention, and goes “what?” And they need another where the guy looks up from a comic book and goes “don’t be a fucking idiot.” And one where a chubby guy with a mustache and a beanie wags his eyebrows and goes "oooohhhh, mushy mushy!"
11:11: In a move I respect, the Giants secondary are no longer even pretending to cover any receivers.
11:15: Defense getting eaten up. Beginning of the end, I fear.
11:17: The lowlight of this game just happened, as Brown made our entire defense look like weebles as he ran back and forth in a joyous expression of human locomotion. Michael Prick takes it to the 1, and then Weaver scores. Fucking brutal drive.
11:23: Teeth are brushed, clothes are laid out for tomorrow. I’m trying to reason with myself and not become totally pissed off at how terrible our defense has played all year.
11:25: Eli audibilizes into a play where he runs for 4 yards without going out of bounds. This is followed by a running play for 5 yards. A minute has come off the clock here.
11:26: Oh my, what a run by Bradshaw. Eli, about to get sacked, shovels it to Bradshaw, who jukes out three different Eagles and finally gets forced out a the 30. New life!
11:28: Fourth down, but no timeout...and Manningham with an amazing catch in traffic! Yikes. Brilliant pass by Eli, though.
11:30: 2:30 left...TOUCHDOWN MANNINGHAM! This one will be reviewed...and it will be overturned. He didn’t get the second foot, and that’s the second time it’s happened this game. Horrible. He reminds me of the spastic kid in gym class who could never play basketball because his body was too excitable and he couldn't stop himself before he dribbled out of bounds and ran into the wall. 2nd and very long, and we’re in trouble.
11:36: Whatever the fuck ‘P’ stands for in the phrase ‘1080P,’ it really pisses me off. Just say pixels, or whatever it is. Otherwise you’re a douchebag who loves being smarmy at Best Buy and secretly thinks Wal-Mart is the coolest. Why is this bothering me right now? Because THE GIANTS ARE FRIGGIN’ TERRIBLE AND IT’S PISSING ME OFF. I'VE HAD A ROUGH NIGHT, AND I HATE THE FUCKING EAGLES, MAN!
11:38: Remember what I said about this game being close the whole time, but ultimately frustrating? Giants at the 5, and then TOUCHDOWN BOSS. 1:30 left. This one will come down to an onsides kick. Which we probably should have been doing all game.
11:41: Tynes chose to kick it as hard as he could directly out of bounds. Clever, but ultimately stupid.
11:42: “The Giants need a reverse Joe Pesarshick,” says Al Michaels. I have no idea what that means, but it sounds smart.
11:43: Oh, it’s some old game where the Giants blew it against the Eagles. 1:22 left, Giants out of timeouts, 3rd and 9 for the Eagles. Are they dumb enough to risk a pass? If not, we’ll get the ball back with about 30 seconds left.
11:44: Nope, they run. So there’s a chance, but not much of one.
11:45: Both teams averaging 7.2 yards per game. Before the game, I knew we’d have to outscore them, and it looks like our offense was up to the task. But the fumble recovery and the punt return are the difference. 500 yards of total offense for the Giants might not be good enough.
11:47: 95 yards in 30 seconds is the task at hand.
11:47: Eli narrowly avoids a safety, Boss gets a few yards, but now only 19 seconds remain.
11:48: Eli fumbles. Game over. Huge fight on the field. Sean O’Hara got punched twice by Trent Cole, then got flagged for taking his helmet off. O’Hara is irate. Then the refs get it right and disqualify Cole for the last 8 seconds. Hopefully he gets suspended for a game.
11:50: So our record is down to 7-6, and playoff hopes are pretty slim. Crappy way to end the weekend. I won’t be staying tuned for the Wendy’s postgame report. At least Dallas lost, I guess. Philly still owns our souls. See you in hell, Eagles.