Finally Some Good Football!
The Eagles fans showing their form of respect to the Cowboys. AP Photo/Mel Evans
In a season that has been as lackluster as any in recent memory, the drama of Week 17 singlehandedly saved the season.
In the morning you had the Patriots-Bills game that was played in gale-force winds. It was so bad the officials had to call time out so the grounds crew could straighten the goal posts on field goal attempts. There was the drama of the Giants-Vikings game that would determine if the Vikings would win the NFC North, the Raiders-Buccaneers game that would decide if the Bucs would get the wild card or the Bears-Texans game to see if the Bears would get the NFC North or the wild card.
Is your head spinning yet?
Of course the Bears and Buccaneers lost which meant that the Cowboys-Eagles game would be a play-in game to see which team would get the last wild card spot in the NFC playoffs.
And then you have the Detroit Lions who succeeded in being the ultimate failures in having the first ever 0-16 season in NFL history just a year after the New England Patriots had the first 16-0 season ever.
Ben Roethlisberger suffered a concussion in the Steelers shutout against the Browns. The Chargers overcome the Ed Hochuli call in week two and their ineptitude throughout the season to defeat the Denver Broncos and be the first division winner ever at 8-8.
So a lot of things happened in the 11 hours of football that was played on Sunday which redeemed my faith in the NFL. Or maybe I was drunk on the eggnog. Whatever. Sitting on my couch in my soiled boy briefs Sunday night, I felt a sense of wonder that has long been overdue.
With all the good things, I have to point out the biggest embarrassment on Sunday.
It's not the Lions going 0-16. It's not the Chargers making the playoffs and hosting a playoff game despite having a .500 record. It's not the fact that the New England Patriots and their 11-5 record will not be playing January.
No. It's the Dallas Cowboys laying the colossal goose egg in Philadelphia losing 6,784,239,493-6.
I can understand playing a bad game when laying everything on the line. But let's take a look at a series of events at the end of the first half.
The Cowboys have a 2nd-and-5 on the Eagle's 48-yard line with 1:13 left in the half. Tony Romo drops back throws to Roy Williams on the left sideline and gets intercepted. Romo had a pretty good pocket around him and didn't have to hurry the throw. But he did throw off his back foot to Williams. Now Williams was running down the sideline and never once turned around to see the ball headed his way.
This led me to wonder whether this team practices at all. Was Williams supposed to run a different route or was Romo not supposed to throw there? It looked like Pop Warner.
But even if the ball went incomplete it wouldn't have mattered because Dallas was called for holding.
Now Eagles have the ball and are driving in Cowboys territory. They have a 3rd-and-9 on the Dallas 41 with 55 seconds left to go, Donavan McNabb threw a short pass to Reggie Brown for 13 yards out-of-bounds. But there is Pac Man Jones who throws Brown to the ground after he got out-of-bounds. Add 15 yards for the late hit.
Now with 23 seconds left on the Dallas 13 with a 3rd-and-9, McNabb threw an incomplete pass to DeSean Jackson in the end zone. However Terence Newman was flagged for pass interference. Eagles get a first down at the Dallas 1. McNabb threw a short pass on the next play for a touchdown. Eagles took a 24-3 lead.
If Dallas could have shown the same amount of discipline as they have spent whining about their individual stats, perhaps they could have held the Eagles to a field goal. Or just perhaps they could have gone for a score.
But the half wasn't over.
The Eagles kicked off to Pac Man Jones who ran it to the 31 yard line and coughed it up. The Eagles grabbed the fumble and with three seconds left hit a 50-yard field goal to take a 27-3 lead.
And thankfully for the Cowboys the half was over. Unfortunately they would have to take the field for the second half and judging from the 44-7 score things didn't get any better for the Cowboys.
This Cowboys team is an embarrassment to the league. Knowing they had to win the game in order to make it to the playoffs, they put this kind of effort into the game? Now maybe they would have lost anyhow, but you have to show some dignity. It's not like they're facing the 46 defense of the Bears in 1985.
Now for the playoffs.
This weekend will have a lot of interesting games. In the AFC it's a duet of rematches. I see the San Diego Chargers somehow pulling out the game at home against the Indianapolis Colts while the Baltimore Ravens will make tuna salad out of the Miami Dolphins. Feel good about that.
In the NFC the dirty birds Atlanta Falcons will gut the Arizona Cardinals. And in what will be the worst playoff game the Philadelphia Eagles will just eke out a win against the Minnesota Vikings.