Ok, so last night I have some friends over for the football game, Skins vs. Cowboys, on ABC. I honestly wasn't sure what to expect. Both the Cowboys and Redskins had narrow victories in week 1, but Dallas' opponent (San Diego) was supposedly better than the Redskins' (Chicago) and Dallas was on the road while the Redskins were home. Things began to look better on Sunday, when the Bears trounced the Lions 38-6 while the Chargers fell to the Broncos, who a week earlier had been thoroughly whipped by the Miami Dolphins. So it began to look like maybe everyone was wrong, at least a little bit, when comparing the relative strength of the two opponents.
The game started, and it started slowly, to say the least. Brunell looked an awful lot like the same Mark Brunell from last season, and while Bledsoe looked better than Brunell, he wasn't exactly leading his team up and down the field either. In fact, it was 3-0 at the half, when Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman, and Emmitt Smith were inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor.
In the third quarter, the Cowboys dug into their bag of Jap Plays and pulled out a flea-flicker for a 70-some odd yard score (Cowboy fans have been whining about how they dominated last night's game for 55 minutes but they haven't been mentioning that their only TD came on a gimmick play). They tacked on another figgie and it was 13-0 late in the 4th quarter.
With 4 minutes to go, the Skins were looking at 4th and 15 on the Cowboys 38 yard line. As I was on the extremeskins.com demanding that Gibbs put in rookie QB Jason Campbell immediately, Brunell threw a beautiful pass into the end zone that ended up in the arms of WR Santana Moss (yes, he's on my fantasy team, no I didn't play him). Nice play, I thought, where the hell has that been, oh I don't know, THE ENTIRE FUCKING GAME. Hey, at least the Skins were gonna get all those people who took them and the points a push...
But the Redskins' defense, as it had been doing mostly all night, kept the Cowboys from going anywhere on their next drive, so the Redskins wound up with the ball again, with just about a minute having been lost from the game clock. They got the ball up to their 30 yard line (as in 70 yards away from the end zone) when Brunell dropped back again. And chucked it again. At Santana Moss again. And he caught it again. And scored again.
Next thing I know, I'm lying on the floor screaming at the top of my lungs, something like "HOLY SHIT! THEY DID IT!" Maybe my folks remember, because I woke them both up.
Routes are nice. I love to watch my Skins whoop up on somebody (although that never happens these days...). But with a route all the joy is spread out over the course of an entire game. It's lot's of fun to watch, but you never get that one moment, where an entire game's worth of elation is all concentrated into one play. And because it was against the Cowboys, because it was in Dallas, in front of all those Dallas fans (and those up-till-that-point poor Redskin fans, whom I pitied all night long but now envy more than anyone else), and on the night they had their ceremony, and with 8 years of losing to those fuckers fresh in all our minds, the euphoria was concentrated and beautiful.
I do, of course, have better memories than the Redskins beating Dallas in week two of a regular season. However, as far as one moment of sheer unadulterated joy, I don't believe anything ever topped Moss scoring that second TD. I wish I could have bottled that shit up.
After that, it was two minutes of nerveousness, waiting for some BS pass interference call or some other such nonsense that the Cowboys ALWAYS got against us that would set them up at the 2 with just enough time for Jose Cortez to atone for his earleir miss by kicking the game winning figgie, but it didn't come. The Skins held on, and the celebration began. I went to bed at 3 AM. I got up this morning at 7, not because I had to, but because I couldn't sleep. I suppose I'll be tired at some point, but I've been up all day and it hasn't happened yet.
Anyway, as far as the rest of the NFL weekend went, it was more blowouts, more suprising results, and, for you Ravens' fans, more misery. My top five for the week were:
5. Dolphins/Jets - the Jets won this won, 17-7, which is hardly a stomping, but seeing as Nick Saban has the Dolphins playing better, a win is a win. I'm not ready to call the Jets a great team yet - that week 1 loss in still as ugly as it was a week ago - but this was an important game for them to win.
4. Chargers/Broncos - the Broncos held home field, beating the Chargers in Denver. This puts the Chargers in an 0-2 hole in a conference where 10 wins is necessary for a playoff berth, but they aren't out of it yet. The next few weeks are going to be very important for Schotty & Co., however.
3. Chiefs/Raiders - the Raiders were unable to hold home field against the hated Chiefs, which is doubly bad news for a team that is now 0-2. When you have only three divisional home games a year, you want to be damn sure you don't let them slip away, but that's exactly what happened here (although Randy Moss was robbed of that TD...pathetic call). Eventually the Raiders will learn (as the Redskins did) that the secret to success is chucking the ball as far downfield as possible and letting Moss catch it, as often as possible. I have no idea why they went to Porter in the end zone on 4th down at the end of the game. I mean, Porter is on my fantasy team, I think he's a great receiver...but he's no Randy Moss. Nobody else is. Go to your playmaker.
2. Patriots/Panthers - the Patriots went down to Carolina and got beat pretty decent. Stephen Davis had a monster of a game with 3 TDs, and the Carolina defense did a good job of holding the Pats to a reasonable 17 points. I wouldn't read too much into this game if I were a Pats' fan (although it does show that the mighty Patriots are not, in fact, invincible), but it has to be an enormous feather in the cap of the Panthers, who were coming off a divsional home loss to an emotionally riled up Saints team.
1. Jaguars/Colts - the Colts held home field, but barely. Byron Leftwich had a performance in the 4th quarter, while injured, that conjured up memories of the tear-inducing performance he had at Marshall when his offensive line was literally carrying him down the field after long completions. If there is a gutsier player in the NFL, I don't know who he is. As for the game, 10-3 was the final score. The good news for Indianapolis, besides the fact that they put themselves a game up against the only other good team in their division, is that they can now win, apparently, even when the vaunted offense isn't lighting up the scoreboard like a Christmas tree. They have held their opponents to 10 points in two games. That's 10 points, TOTAL. And 7 of those came on a garbage time TD by the Ravens. That makes them the most dangerous team in the NFL, at this point.
Ok, this week's college line-up (first game of the weekend is, ridiculously, tommorow):
We got some goodies, not quite as good as last week maybe, but still soome goodies...
5. Michigan/Wisconsin - a "preseason top 5 team", the Wolverines had high hopes for this season, but they took a major hit the weekend before last, when Notre Dame came into the Big House and beat them. Now they travel to undefeated Wisconsin. The Badgers haven't exactly distinguished themselves against high-quality competition, but they have given no reason to think they aren't capable of winning this year, either. If Wisconsin has any aspirations of winning the Big 10, they have to win this one. Same with thew Wolverines, for that matter.
4. USC/Oregon - normally you'd think the number 1 team in the country going on the road to face a ranked opponent would be higher than #4, but honestly the gulf between USC and the other schools is so high at this point that I would be suprised if this wasn't a laugher by game's end. If Oregon can make this close, it'll show the champs are vulnerable. Otherwise, we're back to where we started...
3. Iowa/Ohio State - two of the Big 10's "big three" (which all lost two weeks ago) meet in the Horseshoe in Columbus. The Big 10 is poised to be the most competitive conference in football this year, with as many as 7 teams potentially vying for the crown. Obviously, every game is direly important. Like Wisconsin/Michigan, and all the Big 10 match-ups this week and every other week, a loss could cripple a team's chances of winning the conference.
2. Georgia Tech/Virginia Tech - the battle of the Techs in the ACC. Both teams are currently undefeated, with Virginia Tech trouncing two overmatched opponents after winning a great opener against a game NC State squad, and Georgia Tech still shining after their week 1 victory at Jordan-Hare Stadium. This is a divisional game, soany hopes either team has of winning their division (and, thus, their conference) lies in winning this game.
1. Tennessee/LSU - who designed Tennesse's schedule this year? After a tough loss in the swamp, things get no easier for the Vols, who now get to go to Death Valley and play against the charged up Bayou Bengals in the first major football game in Louisiana since the hurricane. Because the Volunteers are so damn good, this will be a tough one for LSU, but I wouldn't be shocked if the emotion took over and the Tigers won by 20 points. One thing is for sure, it's gonna be rockin', and Tiger Stadium is a tough place to play in at night for a visitor. GEAUX TIGERS!
Ok, that's all for now. P&L...