Daily Archives: January 5, 2008

AFC Wildcard Game 2008: the Jaguars desiccate the Steelers

The Jacksonville Jaguars pounced northwards to Pittsburgh to stand against the Steelers for a chance to go to the AFC divisional championship game and ultimately the Super Bowl.

The top of the first quarter offered each team seven points: Steelers running back Najeh Davenport and Jaguars running back Fred Taylor. The second quarter gave Jacksonville the lead 14 to 7 with a touchdown that resulted from Rashean Mathis intercepting a pass that was meant for Steelers split end Santonio Holmes. Jaguars running back/kick returner Maurice Jones-Drew increased the point lead with a touchdown soon thereafter. Jacksonville 21. Pittsburgh 7. Such are the scores going into halftime.

The third quarter started with a spirit-booster for the Steelers as linebacker James Farrior intercepted a Jaguars pass. That series ended with a field goal. Steelers down by eleven points rather than fourteen. But, towards the bottom of the third quarter, Maurice-Jones Drew made another touchdown. Jaguars 28 and Steelers 10.

The fourth quarter started with an even greater dose of confidence with a TD by Santonio Holmes. Back to an eleven point game. Steelers tight end Heath Miller made a touchdown not long after Holmes’s. A two-point conversion was attempted and successful (wide receiver Hines Ward caught the ball), but a holding penalty was put on Steelers center Sean Mahan and they had to try again. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger ran towards the end zone but didn’t make it. On the next Jaguars possession, Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor intercepted the ball. That series ended with a Steelers TD by Najeh Davenport. A two-point conversion was not successful, but Pittsburgh took a one-point lead with 29 on the scoreboard. With fewer than two minutes left to play, Jaguars quarterback David Garrard ran down to the ten-yard line! Sweet potato fries! Jaguars reclaimed the lead with a field goal, which gave them 31 points. Thirty-one seconds left to play. Upon Pittsburgh’s next and final possession, Jaguars defensive end Bobby McCray sacked Ben Roethlisberger. Defensive tackle Derek Landri recovered the fumbled ball. Final score: Jacksonville 31 and Pittsburgh 29.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. Tonight’s game, on NBC, began with the Faith Hill song number and then went to a close-up of Al Michaels and then a zoom/track back to include John Madden. Did the camera always start on Al Michaels’s face and I just never noticed it before the first time I noticed it (pretty late in the season)?

2. Fred Taylor’s TD in the first quarter was preceded by a 96-yard kick-off return by Maurice Jones-Drew, who ran the ball to the Pittsburgh one-yard line.

3. Everyone who is going to watch the 21st Century production of American Gladiators please raise your hand. Anyone watch the original version from the 80s and 90s? I saw it out of sheer boredom.

4. Bob Costas asked Cris Collinsworth a few questions about the Seahawks-Redskins game during halftime. Collinsworth was sweeping the press box ground at the start of the exchange. What an odd choice of a prop. Attempting to do a tap dance number with the broom a la Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire would’ve been more random but way cooler (in that silly sort of way).

5. After Ike Taylor intercepted the Jaguars pass near the middle of the fourth quarter, Pittsburgh fans started chanting “lets go Steelers, lets go!” Then Ben Roethlisberger gestured for the crowd the quiet down a bit so his players could hear his play call.

6. Najeh Davenport’s touchdown in the fourth quarter occurred after Pittsburgh had tried to get the ball in the end zone five times–I believe–but failed. On that fifth attempt, Roethlisberger threw incomplete to Hines Ward. Jaguars wide receiver Brian Williams was charged with defensive pass interference, which gave Pittsburgh another chance to get a TD.

7. David Garrad’s uniform was muddier than his offensive players. Maurice Jones-Drew didn’t look as dirty.
8. By the time Roethlisberger was sacked–the sixth time tonight–at the very, very, very bottom of the fourth quarter, my heart was pounding.

Get game summary, stats, and play by play here.

NFC Wildcard 2008: The Seahawks send the Redskins to the corner

The Washington Redskins went Pacific westward to Qwest Field in Seattle to flare nostrils before the Seahawks for a shot at the Super Bowl (game on NBC).

Seahawks fullback Leonard Weaver made the first touchdown of the game in the top of the first quarter. The second quarter increased Seattle’s lead by three points with a fifty yard field goal by kicker Josh Brown. Seahawks 10. Redskins 0. Such was the score going into halftime.

The third quarter produced a Seahawks field goal. Seattle 13 and Washington 0. At the top of the fourth quarter, Redskins wide receiver Antwaan Randle El scored his team’s first touchdown in the game. Washington wide receiver wide receiver Santana Moss put his team on top with a touchdown in the top of the fourth as well. Redskins 14. Seahawks 13. Just past the halfway point in the fourth quarter, Seahawks wide receiver DJ Hackett made a TD. Washington opted to go for a two-point conversion (ball caught by tight end Marcus Pollard). Seahawks 21. Redskins 14. On Washington’s next possession, Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant intercepted a pass meant for Santana Moss and made a seventy-eight yard touchdown. Seattle 28 and Washington 14. With less than a minute less to play in the fourth quarter, Seahawks defensive back Jordan Babineaux intercepted a Redskins pass and made a fifty-seven yard touchdown. Seattle 35 and Washington 14, final score.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. One of the game’s sponsors is KFC’s new hot wings sans sauce. I’d understand why a person would feed a bunch of TV viewers these things, but who would want to eat them? How can a hot wing still be a hot wing without any sauce? It’s just a piece of spicy fried chicken.

2. Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer was in the top of the stadium (end zone side with the flags) inciting the crowd to cheer. He was wearing Seahawks fan gear.

3. Matt Hasselbeck, quarterback for the Seahawks, threw an incomplete pass within two minutes into the game and during the replay of his reaction, his body language and facial expressions shouted: “Merde! Stupid. Gawd. Man.” I like a quarterback that displays emotion, but perhaps not to such a decipherable degree…so early in the game to boot.

4. Walt Coleman was the referee.

5. According to one of the commentators, not Cris Collingworth, the four Seahawks defensive players going to the Pro-Bowl are paying for the rest of the defensive team to go too (and their families, a little end-of-season vacation).

5. During halftime, there was a Line of Scrimmage video presented by Toyota on the Naples High School football team and its Pen Pal program where the players exchange letters with the youth football league. There was also a vignette about Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard and his struggle with Crohn’s disease.

6. After returning from a commercial break (just before the midway point in the third quarter), the camera cut to a medium shot of Tom Cruise in a VIP room at the game. Accompanying voice-over noted that Cruise is a buddy of Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

7. Redskins quarterback for this game was thirty-six year-old Todd Collins.

8. Redskins safety LaRon Landry intercepted a pass intended for Seahawks wide receiver Ben Obamanu. as Landry stumbled out of bounds, a cameraman had to leap over him and then landed chest-down on the sidelines ground (and he still had his camera on his right shoulder).

9. Qwest Field holds the record for hosting the most number of false starts, as one of the commentators remarked (I don’t recall which one). One of the commentators mentioned that the stadium is designed to funnel crowd noise onto the field–no wonder the title in false starts. During the October 14th game between Saints and the Seahawks, Al Michaels and John Madden noted that Qwest Field “been the stage for fifty-four opponent false starts in eighteen games since 2005.”

10. Jordan Babineaux’s younger brother Jonathan Babineaux is a defensive tackle for the Atlanta Falcons.

Get game summary, stats, and play by play here.

US Army All-American Bowl 2008: Go East.

Comprised of the eighty most promising high school football players, the US Army All-American Bowl (in San Antonio, TX at the Alamo Dome and televised on NBC) progressed as podium for players to announce their choice in college and the was the last time they would play high school level football. The two teams consisted of the East (clad in all black) and the West (in yellow pants, white tops, and yellow helmets).

Terrelle Pryor quarterbacked for the East and made the first touchdown of the game. Dan Buckner, wide receiver for the West, tied the game in the bottom of the first quarter. East wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin’s TD in the top of the second quarter gave his team the lead. The point gap decreased with a West field goal just past the middle of the second quarter. DeAndre Brown, wide receiver for the East, made a touchdown in the bottom of the second quarter (extra point no good). Going into halftime, East 20 and West 10.

The third quarter began with a fifty-six yard touchdown by the West’s wide receiver Michael Floyd. Wide receiver John Goodman of the East increased his team’s lead with a touchdown in the very bottom of the third quarter (extra kick no good). East 26. West 17.

I had to go run an errand and didn’t get to watch the rest of the game. I’m having difficulty locating a final score. I’m guessing East won because they were in the lead halfway through the fourth quarter.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. From the high-angle long shot point-of-view, the players literally looked like a clump of yellow jackets.

2. There was no blue line of scrimmage or 1st and Ten Line graphic. I can do without the line of scrimmage graphic. There was no down-yardage graphic either. Surprisingly, it took me two quarters to realize the last one wasn’t there.

3. Andrew Luck quarterbacked for the West (until Dayne Crist switched with him sometime in the second quarter).

4. West running back Sam McGuffie’s ability to hurdle over opponents is due to his gymnastic background (started in third grade).

5. There was an eating competition in the days before the game–the West won.

6. Marquies Gray took over quarterbacking duties for the East at some point in the first half (second quarter I think). Terrelle Pryor was QB’ing again in the third quarter. In the bottom of the third quarter, one of the commentators noted that Pryor would only QB on every third series. Ah Soudesuka.

7. Terrelle Pryor received the US Army All-American player of the year award. He and the correspondent were standing screen-left; the award presenter on the right. Pryor looked exceedingly tall and a tad distracted. I couldn’t tell where he was looking at offscreen.

Want to know where these guys are going for their higher education? Click here.

For more media goodies, click here.

Update: Indeed, the East did win (33 to 23). Click here to read more about it.