It’s the 100th meeting between the Eagles and Cowboys and you know what that means…the end of days in Philadelphia. Fresh off of seeing the Phillies drop the World Series, Philadelphia fans are sure to be frisky. After all, they’ve had all day to tailgate before an Eagles/Cowboys game scheduled for 8:30. Well played NFL, well played.
Dallas and Philly last met in the 2008 regular season finale, a 44-6 drubbing by Philly that propelled the Eagles into the playoffs and eventually to the NFC title game. Meanwhile, Dallas went into hibernation for the winter.
Fast forwarding to tonight’s festivities, the winner of this game will be in sole possession of first place in the NFC East. In the immortal words of Mills Lane…LET’S GET IT ON!!
8:30 – NBC’s Andrea Kremer informs us no Brian Westbrook tonight due to lingering concussion issues. Perhaps in the long run a wise move considering the upcoming Philly schedule which includes a trip to San Diego next week.
8:35 – First bad sign of the night for Dallas. The first offensive series features a Philly sack and Tony Romo running for his life. Prior to the game’s start in a pregame interview, Romo told NBC’s Bob Costas that he would not cut his hair until Dallas lost again. Tony, my father is a licensed barber. He can give you a trim in 20 minutes after the game. He is located in nearby South Jersey.
8:40 – When announcers keep talking about both quarterbacks going awhile without throwing an interception, you can count one of the two doing it. The broadcaster’s jinx finds Donovan McNabb and he is picked off by household name Gerald Sensabaugh.
8:47 – Dallas utilizes a big reception by Kevin Ogletree (I’ll explain who he is shortly) to setup Tashard Choice running it in out of the wildcat formation from two yards away. So far, Dallas’ three key contributors are Sensabaugh, Choice and Ogletree, three guys who you wouldn’t recognize if you walked by them in broad daylight. DALLAS 7, PHILLY 0
8:51 – Just so we’re clear…a brief introduction to Kevin Ogletree.
8:53 – Uh oh. The Eagles, who are notoriously odd when it comes to 3rd and 1’s don’t convert on a dropped pass by tight end Alex Smith. McNabbulous is 0 of 4 thus far.
9:05 – Dallas’ Jay Ratliff sacks McNabb and injures left tackle Jason Peters all on the same play. Philly’s achilles’ heel on offense besides their irrational playcalling (see Raiders loss a couple of weeks back) is a concern over protecting McNabb. The line has been shuffled around throughout the preseason and into the regular season.
9:11 – Mc5 is throwing ground ball practice as the quarter ends. Not much to crow about from the Philly side. Their struggles aren’t the biggest surprise of the night. We’ve somehow gone 45 minutes into the game without NBC making a reference to next Sunday night’s affair.
9:20 – Jay Ratliff is trying to make the Pro Bowl tonight apparently. Another sack of McNabb thwarts a Philly drive. Cue up David Akers. DALLAS 7, PHILLY 3.
9:26 – First Brady/Manning promo.
9:30 – New offensive linemen on the field = sacks. Jason Babin introduces himself to the former beau of Jessica Simpson. Another Dallas drive is squashed as the low scoring tilt continues.
9:36 – Ladies and gentlemen, a MICHAEL VICK SIGHTING! Coming into tonight, Vick is the proud owner of 31 all-purpose yards through seven games. Why did we care about this again? The protesters have been all but silent and so has been Vick’s play on the field.
9:45 – Oh lord. Facing a 3rd and 4, the Eagles run out of the shotgun. Yep, that surely will mean another Akers field goal. DALLAS 7, PHILLY 6.
9:57 – Eagles dodge a bullet after giving up a 64 yard reception to Patrick Crayton. Nick Folk boots through a field goal to extend the Dallas lead. Asante Samuel is probably smiling on the Eagles’ sideline after he nearly dismembered Roy E. Williams in the endzone to make sure he did not catch a touchdown. Somehow, the officials missed such a happening.
HALFTIME: DALLAS 10, PHILLY 6
10:14 – Ellis Hobbs returns the opening kickoff for six to give the Eagles a lead. PHILLY 13, DALL…..about that. Holding on the Eagles negatives the touchdown. Neither team is wildly outplaying the other but it seems the Eagles are leaving some plays on the field and allowing Dallas to have some shred of success.
10:20 – So much for that penalty. The Eagles utilize a 45 yard catch off of a dump off pass to LeSean McCoy to set up a TD pass to Brent Celek. Uncle Wade challenges the call, claiming McNabb was over the line of scrimmage. As it turns out, McNabb’s whole body was across the line…except his foot. Hi-jinx ensues in the endzone resulting in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Birds. PHILLY 13, DALLAS 10
10:28 – Paging Miles Austin…paging Miles Austin. Following a personal foul against Asante Samuel, Sheldon Brown intercepts Romulus. Like any prize fighter, you keep hitting a quarterback enough, he’ll airmail one to you. It appears the Eagles are starting to heat up…By the way, a quick sidebar if I may. The next time Samuel trash talks any player in the NFL, they should remind young Asante of this play from Super Bowl XLII.
10:45 – A cat and mouse game ensues with the Eagles trying to draw Dallas offsides on a fourth and 1. It backfires as Jason Peters ever so slightly flinches, thus drawing a flag. It’s a drive killer that makes Wade Phillips jolly.
10:56 – Don’t have the actually number in front of me, but when Tony Romo gets sacked more than once typically we’re headed to a Dallas loss. Tonight, the Eagles have sacked him four times.
10:58 – Before we can begin to offer up a dirt nap to the Cowboys, McNabb goes deep, only to be picked off by Cowboys DB Mike Jenkins. The momentum swings again…
11:05 – Just when it appeared as if the Eagles might open this thing up, the Cowboys capitalize on the McNabb interception with a field goal to tie. It just seems we’re headed towards one of those finishes that will end terribly for one of these two quarterbacks. DALLAS 13, PHILLY 13
11:19 – The ghosts of short yardage failures past visits Philadelphia again. They fail to convert 3rd and 1 AND 4th and inches. On the replay, it seemed as if McNabb easily got the first down. Somehow controversy follows tonight’s referee Walt Coleman. Remember him Raider fans?
11:22 – Eagles lose a challenge on McNabb’s sneak. Dallas given up a layup here to take the lead by Andy Reid. Buckle up folks. The end should be absurd.
11:26 – It only took Dallas three quarters and change but they finally found Miles Austin to the tune of a 49 yard touchdown catch thanks to the dreaded double move against Philly’s Sheldon Brown. DALLAS 20, PHILLY 13
11:38 – Should the Eagles lose this game, Andy Reid is going to get savaged by the Philly media. McNabb was stopped short on a 3rd and 10 and elected to have Akers kick a 52 yard field goal with 4:27 left. Normally, that is an acceptable bit of strategy. However, when you’ve blown all three of your timeouts in the half, that’s a different story. DALLAS 20, PHILLY 16
11:44 – Jason Witten first down catch. Goodnight folks. No timeouts for Philly. Should have gone for it Big Red. Let the media beatdown begin.
1149 – Ball game folks. A bad loss for the Eagles who drop to 5-3 with a trip to San Diego next week. Meanwhile, the Cowboys own first place in the NFC East with a two game lead on the suddenly reeling Giants, who have dropped to third place. At 6-2, Dallas visits Green Bay next Sunday in Lambeau. Just pencil in the Cowboys for at least five sacks on Aaron Rodgers now and save yourself the trouble.
FINAL: DALLAS 20, PHILLY 16.
To the victor goes the spoils…