The New England Patriots against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Holy Mary in a Manger. Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel intercepted the second Eagles pass just moments into the first quarter and ran to the end zone for a touchdown. The Eagles matched the touchdown when running back Brian Westbrook jumped over three players (two Eagles and one Patriot) into the end zone a few minutes later. With fewer than two minutes in the first quarter, Patriots fullback Heath Evans broke the tie with a touchdown.
Eagles wide receiver Greg Lewis brought the tie back with TD in the top of the second quarter. Patriots broke that tie again with a field goal in the middle of the second quarter. New England 17. Philadelphia 14. Ooo. Greg Lewis took his fellow Eagles on top with another touchdown in the second quarter. Philadelphia led 21 to 17. But the Patriots weren’t having second-tier. Wide receiver Jabar Gaffney made a touchdown at the bottom of the second quarter.
The third quarter allowed the Eagles to take top tier after wide receiver Reggie Brown made a TD. The quarter began with a touchdown by wide receiver Randy Moss that was reversed because of offensive pass interference on Moss himself. The fourth quarter put the Patriots back in the lead halfway through the quarter when running back Laurence Maroney made a touchdown. New England 31. Philadelphia 28. The Eagles had a shot to put on more numbers, but Asante Samuel made another interception in the bottom of the fourth quarter. The game ended with the Patriots winning 31 to 28. Although the Eagles weren’t able to achieve what would have been one of the most momentous feats in recent NFL history, they have demythologized and humanized the New England players. I would even argue that the Eagles played “better” against the Patriots tonight than the Colts did a few weeks ago (Indianapolis lost by four points 20 to New England’s 24). Perhaps not technically, but dramatically, yes.
Observations & Miscellania:
1. Did all Sunday Night Football telecasts on NBC this season begin with an extreme close-up of Al Michaels?
2. Al Michaels remarked that “Tom Brady‘s numbers are otherworldly.” Not long after Michaels made this comment, Brady had to run the ball and then took a slide. New England sure has a dainty runner in their quarterback.
3. When the first quarter ended, Al Michaels said “…will take us into the second stanza.” It’s only a matter of time before he adds “trimester,” “chapter,” “prong,” “lap,” “verse,” and “act.”
4. Baseball players chew all sorts of things during games because they’re probably really bored (all that sitting around until it’s your turn to bat or take the outfield). Why do football players chew gum? Suited players too. So many shots of the side lines, so many jaws a chewin’ (if it’s not gum, then it’s Starburst, fruit roll-up, or gummy bears). How large a stash of gum do these players have that they can chew while they wait to go back onto the field? Excepting instances where they’re not going back in, of course.
4. Al Michaels likened the referee’s faulty microphone to an emulation of Marcel Marceau, the legendary mime. He’s just full of intertextual comments tonight, isn’t he?
5. John Madden believed that the Jabar Gaffney TD could’ve been reviewed. While Gaffney caught the ball and had possession of it, when he came down onto the field, neither knee was still in the end zone.
6. Patriots kicker Stephen Kostowski missed a thirty-two yard field goal nearing the bottom of the third quarter. Returning from the commercial break, there was a slow-motion instant replay of the field goal, accompanied by an unnecessary graphic that involved solid sheets of color covering the area outside of the uprights and a cyan colored line that traced the path of the ball. I think it took the cake in terms of ugly graphics that occasionally come along with instant replays.
For game summary, stats, and play by play, click here.
And now for something quasi-unrelated. Eagles wide receiver Kevin Curtis is ludicrously aesthetically pleasing (with and without helmet). I decided to look him up on wikipedia. One of the trivia factoids about him is that he “scored a 48 out of a possible 50 points on the Wonderlic intelligence test administered to all prospective rookies at the NFL Combine. The highest among active players.” I followed a few of the links concerning the Wonderlic test and found this thought-provoking piece on intelligence and quarterbacks.
pic cred: official Eagles web site