Daily Archives: January 18, 2009

AFC Championship 2009: Steelers wrap up the Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens marched down to the Pittsburgh Steelers to the tune of I-wanna-go-to-Super-Bowl-XLIII.  Broadcast on CBS, the first quarter spritzed out a forty-five yard run by Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward.  This play was filmed in a high-angle, medium long shot.  The Steelers looked like yellow jackets, again, and the Ravens looked like pandas (white jerseys, black pants).  That drive ended with a Jeff Reed field goal.  Pittsburgh 3 and Baltimore 0.  Steelers cornerback Deshea Townsend intercepted Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco’s pass halfway through the quarter.  Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes did or did not make a (touchdown) catch two minutes later?  Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh challenged that it was even a catch (apparently Mike Tomlin was reaching for his red flag at the same time and wanted a TD call).  Harbaugh won the challenge.  After all that hoopla, the Steelers came away with a field goal.  Pittsburgh 6 and Baltimore 0.  In the bottom of the first quarter, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis hit Steelers running back Willie Parker, who then lost control of the ball, and safety Jim Leonhard recovered it.

Well, well, well. The second quarter sprang out with a sixty-five yard TD thread for the Steelers.  Denied twice in the first quarter, Santonio Holmes ran that ball in to the front, left corner of the end zone.  Pittsburgh 13 and Baltimore 0.  Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger struggled to on that play–he didn’t have a solid move and just threw the ball (I’m guessing in the direction of Holmes).  John Harbaugh threw out the red flag again toward the bottom of the quarter on a complete pass call.  Did Steelers Nate Washington keep control of the ball?  He sure did, by the space between his kneecaps.  No more challenges for the Ravens.  By the bottom of the quarter, Ravens running back Willis McGahee got the ball into the end zone.   Pittsburgh 13 and Baltimore 7.

The third quarter boiled down to three-and-a-half minutes before anyone scored…the Steelers and a forty-six yard field goal.  Pittsburgh 16 and Baltimore 7.  The fourth quarter rocked to nine-and-a-half minutes and Willis McGahee raised his team’s score with a TD.  Pittsburgh 16 and Baltimore 14.   Five minutes later Joe Flacco threw an interception.  Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu abducted the ball mid-flight and ran it–weaving in and around the Steelers–back forty yards for a TD.  Pittsburgh 23 and Baltimore 14.  A few plays later, while the Ravens were back on offense with under four minutes on the clock, Willis McGahee and Steelers safety Ryan Clark collided full speed into one another.  McGahee had just caught the ball, took one step,  and within a nano-second, Clark had plowed into him.   Clark eventually got up and walked off the field, flanked by teammates, but the cart had to come onto the field for McGahee.  Stewed to the rockpit bottom of the quarter, Joe Flacco threw another interception, that time the ball ws caught by strong safety Tyrone Carter.  Pittsburgh 23 and Baltimore 14. Final score.  The Steelers will go to Super Bowl XLIII.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Martina McBride sang the national anthem.  She stood on the middle of the field, methinks, where the Steelers logo is on the turf.  Another great performance.  I’d even say I like hers more.  The CBS cameras didn’t put her on screen as much as the Fox cameras did Jordin Sparks.

2.  Jim Nantz and Phil Simms rattled out commentary.

3.  Was it snowing? Oh yes, it was.

4.  Interesting screen graphic.  Like graffiti blue trails of players’ paths.

5.  Hines Ward suffered an unsightly right leg mishap during the top half of the first quarter.  Imagine wringing a towel…and then if the towel was Ward’s leg.  He did come back towards the bottom of the quarter…briefly.

6.  After Willis McGahee made the TD in the second quarter and the extra point was kicked, there was replay footage of Ray Lewis, in a medium shot, on the right side of the screen.  The uprights were in the background and out of focus.  Ray was looking offscreen left, towards the upper corner of the frame.  Jim Nantz and Phil Simms noted that Ray Lewis was watching the extra point on the jumbotron, not wanting to watch the “real thing.”  Fascinating, isn’t it?  Why would Lewis prefer to look at the jumbotron? Better view? A different perspective?  Or…the camera lens (and the monitor) add an extra dimension of distance.  Good news is good and bad news is less bad.

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

NFC Championship 2009: Cardinals over, sideways, and under the Eagles

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 AkersSWEET 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.

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