Flock of seagulls? No. A wheel-barrow of pigeons? Nope. What we had today were the Philadelphia Eagles in the Arizona Cardinals territory playing the rodeo, horse-shoe toss with all the strength and energy they could muster to win the NFC Championship and then go to Super Bowl XLIII.
Televised by Fox, the first quarter began with the Cardinals on offense and a twirling touchdown by wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Arizona 7 and Philadelphia 0. The Eagles entered in a forty-five yard field goal with the leg power of kicker David Akers. SWEET PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY!! In the bottom of the quarter, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb threw an interception–Cardinals safety Aaron Franciso had wound his grasp around the projectile. After running back ten or so yards, Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson knocked the ball out and teammate tackle Jon Runyan recovered possession.
The second quarter began with an unsuccessful forty-seven yard field goal for the Eagles. How did the Cardinals react? quarterback Kurt Warner threw a sixty-two yard TD pass to Larry Fitzgerald. Would David Akers be able to replicate a forty-three yard field goal somewhat later? Absolutely. Oh, but hold the Crayola Crayons for a minute. In the bottom of the second quarter, when the Cardinals got to the red zone again, Larry Fitzgerald put the baby in the end zone. Arizona 21 and Philadelphia 6. Wake up and inhale the reality of the situation, Eagles? Mhm. I suppose so. Eagles defensive end Trent Cole dragged Kurt Warner to the turf with forty-eight seconds on the clock. The Cardinals did not spit up seven more points–just three more with a forty-nine yard field goal by Neil Rackers. Going into halftime, Arizona 24 and Philadelphia 6.
The third quarter started with the Eagles on half a dozen offensive plays when Cardinals strong safety Adrian Wilson sacked Donovan McNabb, the ball was up for grabs, and defensive end Bertrand Berry maximized on the opportunity. Double-time down to six minutes or so on the clock and Donovan McNabb and wide receiver Kevin Curtis made a crucial fifty-yard connection. A couple plays later, Eagles tight-end Brent Celek made a TD catch. Double-time again down to under a minute and Brent Celek got into the end zone again. David Akers’s extra point was no good. Arizona 24 and Philadelphia 19.
The fourth quarter burst out with a SUPER SOY PORCELAIN TULIP VASE!!!!! Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson caught then juggled a sixty-two yard pass then got his body into the end zone. They tried for two points but didn’t make it. Philadelphia 25 and Arizona 24. The Cardinals were not deterred. They were unsettled but dove right back into the offensive game and got into the red zone. Would they reclaim the lead with a TD or a field goal? It was a TD, courtesy of running back Tim Hightower. They went for a two-point conversion and succeeded. Kurt Warner threw directly into the embrace of tight-end Ben Patrick. Arizona 32 and Philadelphia 25. Final score. The Cardinals are going to Super Bowl XLIII.
And then the red and white paper rectangles swirled into the sky and made everything pink.
Observations & Miscellania:
1. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman were the commentators.
2. Jordin Sparks performed the national anthem. She sang amazingly well and looked like she was enjoying herself too.
3. From the high-angle, long shot POV, the Eagles and Cardinals made me think of a green and red bell pepper omelette.
4. Joe Buck remarked that seats were added to accommodate 70,000 + spectators. It took six minutes to sell out the game.
5. Collective Soul performed during halftime (not televised).
6. Did Joe Buck say about ten minutes in the fourth quarter that Donovan McNabb threw “three touchdowns and no interceptions” ?
7. After the Cardinals made the two-point conversion in the bottom of the fourth quarter, instant replay footage revealed a Larry Fitzgerald skipping up hte field with a child-like exuberance only matched by the party children in The Nutcracker.
8. On fourth-and-one in the bottom of the fourth quarter, when the Eagles had pretty much their last chance to score, Kevin Curtis couldn’t catch Donovan McNabb’s throw (due to possible pass interference by Cardinals cornerback Roderick Hood). One of the cameras then cut to a high-angle, medium close-up of Larry Fitzgerald. His helmet was off, he was kneeled down (one shin parallel and on the ground, the other knee propping up an elbow); I think I saw some tear sparkles in his eyes.
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