26 December 2006

2006 Week 16 Recap

Eagles at Cowboys, Monday, December 25, 2006

In attendance: Chef Spouse, Ex-Navy Cheesehead, Shoegal, and Everyone Should Have a General Contractor Friend.

Menu: shrimp, asparagus with prosciutto, crudities, Chef Spouse's fabulous totally-from-scratch, 3-day-process boeuf bourguignon, brussels sprouts, broccoli, chocolate torte, champagne, REALLY good red wine, eggnog. Happy holidays!

Well, Santa must have been in an especially forgiving mood this year because I got the Manolos, and the Jimmys, a DVD of Invincible (which I'm watching as I type this) and the BEST. GAME. EVER.


The football crew started the game by popping the champagne, and I made a goofy little speech about how proud I am of my team for not giving up when everyone called them dead and for still being in it in week 16. I noted that we only needed to win one of the two remaining games to secure a playoff spot, and that as a first round bye was already out of reach, while the NFC East title would be great, it wouldn't really make any difference from a playoff perspective. Chef Spouse pointed out that, ostensibly, the NFC East crown would mean playing an easier team the weekend of January 6-7. Of course, this season, who can say who's an easier team? (See below re: Texans/Colts.)

Soooo much praise to go around. It's like our whole team has found an extra gear.
Andy, Marty and Jim are calling games really well at this point. Westy had ANOTHER 100+ rushing yard game. Lito had ANOTHER key interception, as did Dawk. Aside from that one TD pass, Dawk made TO STFU. Our D has found their spine again - that goal-line stand on Marion Barber was gorgeous. Rod Hood got the first sack of his career. Matt Schobel got his first TD of the year. Even Akers seems to have his mojo back, nailing 3 FGs, including an incredible 45 yarder as time expired in the first half. Donte Stallworth even blocked efficiently! And it looked like Juqua Thomas' ONLY job the whole game was to pressure Romo. He never sacked Romo, but it seemed like he was in Romo's face every single play. Including while we were on offense. Garcia remembered that we have this guy called LJ Smith who McNabb used to hit for big plays pretty regularly, and, guess what? He hit LJ for a big play. Speaking of Garcia (who's older than I...barely), the guy's a beast. Did you see him running around the field with his arm all torn up, throwing hand STILL bandaged, buying time with his feet, throwing beautiful short and long passes, gaining 40+ yards on the ground himself and virtually always ending, not with the QB slide, but by plowing over some hapless Cowboys' defender? I'd almost think it was 'roid rage, if he wasn't way too small to be on the juice. Garcia claims to want to stay in Philly as a #2, and I sure hope he means it. "Merry Christmas, Philadelphia!" indeed.

TO's love-fest with the Ro-monster seems to be over. Did you see his post-game press conference, in which he whined about not getting the ball early, then getting thrown to late "when I'm not in a rhythm"? Waah-waah-waah. I've never been an NFL QB, so take my opinion with a grain of salt, but if I were Tony Romo, I'd be inclined to throw to guys who actually catch the ball - like maybe Terry Glenn or Jason Witten, for instance - rather than to a big crybaby who drops everything I'm putting on his numbers. Cue the shafting of the QB.

You know what else was pretty? Captain ME! gets all up in Dawk's cream cheese when he beats him for the TD, then when Dawk, total professional that he is, picks off a pass intended for TO in the endzone, he tosses the ball to the refs, turns his back on TO, and goes to celebrate with his teammates.

So what happened? Parcells made the usual noises about not preparing right and missed opportunities and whatever. But you know what I think it was? Every football pundit (other than Berman, who's gotta be from Philly originally, because he's a bigger homer than I am) called the Cowboys to win. So Tony Romo was more focused on semi-famous inamorata number 12 (and honestly, who gives a damn about frapping Carrie Underwood? Stop showing her and maybe show us some damn replays of "penalties" on the Eagles. Oh, that's right - they COULDN'T show a replay because there WAS no penalty. Biased zebras much? But I digress...) I think the whole team walked into Texas Stadium assuming it was a done deal and the NFC East crown was already theirs. Sorry, guys (no, I'm not). And more bad news? The Lions gave the Bears a run for it this week, so your final game might not be the cakewalk you're expecting. You might want to shut up and practice this week for a change.

Extra holiday love? Watching Michael Irvin eat crow on SportsCenter after the Jets/Dolphins game. Add Sean Salisbury's comments about TO on this morning's SportsCenter: "He's not a great receiver anymore. He's only one of many good wideouts." (I might not have that exact, but it's close.) Oh, SNAP! And our win secured the Saints a first round bye, which also makes me happy.

Around the rest of the NFL...

Oh crap, the Packers beat the Vikings, keeping their exceptionally slim playoff hopes alive. OK, it would take a miracle - particularly since they end their season against the Bears at Soldier field - but they are barely in the weak NFC playoff field. Does that mean another 6 months of "will he or won't he?" then ANOTHER season of paens to the Great Brett Favre? You're going to have to talk me down off the ledge. Seriously.

The Chiefs only beat the Raiders by 11 points, even though the Raiders turned the ball over basically every single time they touched it. So the Chiefs are still barely alive in the AFC race, but frankly, if you can't turn a gazillion turnovers into more than 20 points, it ain't happening.

The Ravens spanked the Steelers. Yeah, that was pretty much what I expected.

The Panthers/Falcons game was just pathetic. I can't believe we all thought the Panthers would be playoff contenders this year. I can't believe we all thought the Falcons might be a decent team. I sure hope the Eagles admin staff is on getting those "NFC East Champions" shirts and caps made up for the team, because I don't see how we don't beat the Falcons in our house next Sunday.

Excuse me, but did the 2-13 Lions almost beat the Bears? And Lovie Smith ended up pulling Rex for Brian Greise. That does not seem to be a good sign. I might be missing some of the finer points of coaching, but had Greise taken a snap all season? Is Lovie worried about the playoffs? I would be if I were him.

And speaking of upsets: The Texans led almost all game, the Colts tied it up late, and then Kris Brown knocks through a 48 yarder at the buzzer, if you'll excuse a mixed-sports metaphor. I can't figure the Texans out. They beat Jacksonville twice, Miami during the Daunte Culpepper mess, the Raiders, and then the Colts. Makes no damn sense at all. They'll probably finish 6-10 with a win over the Browns next week.

Speaking of the Jags, they dropped another game they could have won, to the Patriots this time, and will very likely miss the playoffs, although they're also still in it from a mathematical standpoint. So let's see: how many of my playoff picks punked me this year? 4? 5? All of them?

Dear Giants fans: be a man, sit down and WATCH your TEAM LOSE. At HALFTIME, people were streaming for the exits. Listen, I know it's painful, but sack up! Also, as a long-time Eagles fan I feel compelled to point out that if you leave early, you miss valuable booing time. Of course, the way things are going, you'll get a few more hours in next week as your team loses to the Skins and ends their season. I'm pretty sure the Chargers offer daily novenas in thanks that wittle Eli just couldn't stand the thought of the big, bad west coast.

Bad (Bucs) beat Worse (Browns) in the Suck Bowl.

The Titans beat the Bills, keeping their slim playoff chances alive. Look for the Titans to kick some AFC a** in the coming seasons.

Likewise, the Rams beat the Redskins on an OT TD by none other than go-to guy Steven Jackson, also keeping their slim playoff chances alive.

The Cardinals killed the 49ers' slim playoff hopes, beating them 26-20 in San Francisco.

The Broncos hung on to beat the Bengals thanks to a botched extra point. Who misses an extra point for God's sake?

And the Chargers did beat the Seahawks as I'd predicted, although the game was MUCH closer than I anticipated. Both teams looked really flat. It was not a brilliant game on either side. Too much nog?

Speaking of teams who didn't exactly look brilliant, the Jets did manage to hang on and beat the Dolphins, also staying alive in the playoff race, but at least they had the torrential Miami downpour as an excuse.


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