Sunday, January 2, 2011

Eagles - Cowboys Diary: The First Preseason Game of 2011

As the "B" game on Fox, we get the Siragusa / Johnston crew from Fox, which helps to make this seem even more preseasony. As if Goose's hat wasn't enough...

Dallas comes out on the ground, with RB Felix Jones in the middle for two. QB Stephen McGee on second throws the swing pass to Jones that has made up 25% of the Cowboys' plays this year for a loss of five. On third from the gun, it's a bubble screen to WR Miles Austin, who goes for thirty yards against the people wearing green jerseys today, whoever the hell they are. That was just sad, but its preseason, you know?

McGee on the fresh first scrambles for five. Green calls time on defense, because they didn't waste one last week, and want to change the luck. Jones through green paper-maiche for ten and a first. RB Tashard Choice from the Wildcat (it's WILD!) for four. An end-around to Austin is crushed by CB Dmitri Patterson for a loss of nine; nice play for the erratic one. Third and fifteen is a figgie down at least, and from the gun McGee misses an out on a blitz, with rookie CB Trevor Lindley getting away with a grab. Punter Mat McBriar puts it into the end zone, and that's that.

QB Kevin Kolb to rookie TE Clay Harbor for some, and my play of Cursed Brent Celek is now crap. Kill me. RB Jerome Harrison for yards, and then Kolb takes him again for the drop-down for eight yards as he shakes a tackler. Harrison again for five and a first, and I do love the steal trade of Mike Bell for him. Kolb fakes an end-around and tries a deep ball to WR Jeremy Maclin, which misses. From the gun on second, Kolb's aborts a pass into his lineman; whoops. Third and ten from the gun at midfield is another bat job, and NT Jay Ratliff, one of five comical Cowboys going to Hawaii, knocks it down. Eagle Fan boos Kolb, because that's what we do. Punter Sav Rocca gets a nice roll and check up to the Cowboy 9.

Jones for four, then two, as the line seems to have taken their recent improvement to heart. From the gun on third, McGee gives to Choice, but DE Darryl Tapp owns it, and that's a nice three and out. McBriar's punt is another All-Pro effort, and a gutty return by PR Chad Hall is negated by a hold from Patterson. There's a reason why he didn't start for five years before getting here, folks...

Now it's pouring down icy rain, and why there are people at this game, I'll never know. Harrison for four, then two. Kolb from the gun on third hits Harrison on one of those pointless throws that can't make the sticks; nice catch by the back, and I guess Kolb is just avoiding the blitz there, but yeesh. Rocca's punt is fair caught by McCann at the 24, and we're 49 minutes away from this being over. Yes, it's been that riveting.

Is there any sign that you are watching a dog game than the dreaded "The Game Is On Film" speech? We get that as DT Broderick Bunkley and Patterson collect a sack on a first down blitz; McGee looks more brave than smart. A screen to TE Martellus Bennett is eaten by LB Moises Fokou, and that's third and 14. From the gun, McGee takes another hit and throws it away, with an intentional grounding thrown in for fun. McBriar punts from his en zone, and the effort is less than Pro Bowlish, as Hall takes it from midfield to the Cowboys 39.

Kolb from the gun on first misses WR Jason Avant on what might be miscommunication. On second from the gun, it's the same thing but much better, as Avant curls the route and gets 21. Harbor drops a ball, just to prove it's not all Celek. Harrison wiggles for two, as RG Max Jean-Gillies, the only starter in the game, is down. Jeez. C Mike McGlynn in, and Kolb then has time to find Hall on a cross for the first. Nice effort by the line. The novelty act from Air Force takes a direct snap (it's WILD!) for two, and that's the end of the first quarter.

Jean-Gillies limps off, and Kolb shows his athleticism by making time in the pocket, then finding the forgotten Hall in the back of the end zone. Wow, that was undisciplined by Blue, and the poor man's Welker jumps into the stands for fun. And lo, fun was had. K David Akers for the extra point -- what, he's not old enough for a week off? -- and we hear Hall's origin story again, because that's required whenever he does anything. Green 7, Blue 0.

KR Brian McCann gets blown up by Fokou on the return; tasty. Jones for a lot on sloppy tackling, as Lindley finally shoves him out after 20. Choice gets it for five, then out of the direct snap (it's WILD!) for a yard, as LB Akeem Jordan does nice work. From the gun on third, McGee misses under pressure, and the young QB doesn't look right in those situations. McBriar to the seven, where Hall makes a fair catch.

Harrison on the shotgun draw for three. That score to Hall makes the third straight year that Green has set a new scoring record. Harrison again for four, and Kolb from the gun loses awareness of the pass rush, as DE Anthony Spencer taps him for a fumble. The room service hop to Ware is a Blue touchdown, and that's just all kinds of awful. Tie game, second straight one where the Green QB tries to do too much and costs his defense the first points on the board. Gahhhh.

Some UFL guy returns it to the 29. Woo. Kolb to Hall for eight. Harrison for two as Fox thinks Siragusa's hat is more important than the game. They might be right. Harrison again to move the sticks, and now we are talking about Siragusa's mom. I wish I was making this up. Harrison for four. Kolb to Hall, his fourth catch of the day, to move the sticks. He's smaller than ordinary players, so he must be invisible! Harrison for five, but it comes back on a hold by T King Dunlap. RB Eldra Buckley on a shotgun draw with room, and he gets ten and a first. Kolb to FB Owen Schmitt for a few. On third and seven, Kolb has time but misses Habor, and the hold effectively ends the drive. Rocca's punt is caught at the 15, and we've got 6:26 left in the half.

Jones for nothing, as Tapp is flying today. McGee runs for two in advance of pressure, and it's third and eight. From the gun, Green Fan gets loud, and a slant to WR Manny Johnson is stopped before the sticks. Another three and out, and McGee's not making anyone forget Jon Kitna so far. McBriar's punt is caught by Hall at the 31, and we're treated to an under-amplified mumble from Jerruh Jones, and More Siragusa. It's far more important than the actual play, which is a three yard carry. God Almighty, I Hate Fox. As the announcing team continues to ignore the game in front of them for the fulminations of a nowhere franchise, Kolb takes a checkdown screen, but Harbor is flagged for an illegal block. Kolb misses WR Riley Cooper as we begin Hour Two of Cowboy Chat, with the non-HD screen not showing the QB. I think I might switch to radio. On third and 22, Hall gets a bubble screen and is gritty for 7 yards; not exactly the two-minute drill offense you might want to see there. I think Siragusa has been talking for ten minutes without a breath, showing that he does have potential in porn. Rocca's punt goes distance and rolls, and Blue starts at their own 20.

McGee from the gun takes 10, as he's shown that he did, in fact, watch the Joe Webb tape. Siragusa then criticizes his slide -- hey, he watched a play! good for him! -- despite the fact that, um, he executed it perfectly. Two minute warning, and I think I'm watching this as a habit only.

From the gun, McGee runs again, this time for four. Looks like he's going to do a lot of that. Dallas with a false start. Second and 11 from the gun is a give to Choice for five, and the clock is running. From the gun on third, McGee finds TE Jason Witten, but the ball is dropped as the Fox boys says it was out of bounds. As if you are surprised that they are not watching the game? Fox's booth tells us about the Cotton Bowl, because we care very, very much about the booth personnel's travel plans.

From the 30 with 52 seconds left, Kolb takes Harbor for a pointless two yards and a timeout. Siragusa talks about hating the bye, because he's an idiot that doesn't look at actual statistics. Harrison on a screen for three as Johnston talks about the past. Kolb is eaten on a sack, and the failure of the O-line does not impact the need of the Fox boys to talk about themselves. Is it possible to prosecute a broadcast team for war crimes? Rocca's punt is dropped by McCann, and the scrum is E-C-Wish. Green gets the recovery, with the pride of the UFL, Jarrod Lawson, coming up with it. It's a big enough play for Fox to notice the game!

From the Blue 35, Kolb is eaten by Ware. This is not a recording. Final Green timeout of the half, and if the line is going to do that, we need to see Mike Kafka in the second half to be the sacrificial lamb. Ware gets pressure again on a whiff by Schmitt, and Siragusa climaxes. Third and 18 from the gun has Kolb put it in the end zone, and S Gerald Sensabaugh picks it to end the half. If there's a point to watching this game, I haven't seen it yet.

Green gets the ball to stat the second half, and Lawson gets it back to the 30 with straight line speed and determination. Kolb on a boot hits Harbor in the hands, and he just plain drops it. Wide open, yeesh. Are we sure Celek's not wearing that jersey? Terrible drop by the rook. Harrison for four and they put Harbor back in, since the game means nothing. Third and six from the gun sees Kolb evade pressure and try for Hall; it misses, but the defensive holding call is pretty easy, and that's a first down. Harrison moves the pile for four. Kolb from the gun with time hits Harbor, who makes a nice catch for 18. The play gets an exxtra 15 for a late hit from noted pregame cheerleading fraud LB Keith Brookings, and we're on the Blue 21. Harrison for three yards, but Kolb then makes another bad mistake in traffic, as CB Terence Newman gets the pick. This is the rebuilding year we were expecting, folks. Blue ball at their own 14.

Third Green turnover of the day, and the thoroughly predictable Jones carry gets 13. Same play with Choice gets a couple. McGee stands in against pressure to hit Austin for 31 yards; nice athleticism by the rook, who beats Lindley. A screen to Choice is close to a lateral, but correctly ruled incomplete, as the Fox announcers discuss the sex they had with each other last night. I wish I was kidding. Second down is a slant to WR Roy Williams -- hey, he's still in the NFL! -- for six yards. Third and four from the gun is a missed slant, breaking the momentum of the fluff job for McGee as the defense brings pressure. Blue goes for it on fourth instead of a 53-yard figgie -- why? those always work against my laundry! -- and McGee misses Austin on more pressure. Phew. We were just one completion away from the telecast going to a full McGee fluff job.

Harrison for a yard of meh. Kolb nearly gets picked on a back pedal bail out; poor technique by everyone in Green there. Third from the gun sees the QB scramble for it, and a fortunate spot moves the chains. As the Fox Dallas Fluffers pule for a review, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett declines, so it'll stand. Harrison for a couple up the middle. From the gun on second, Kolb sneaks it to Cooper to make third down manageable. From the gun on third, Kolb tries Buckley, and obvious DPI is missed. Wow, what a bad no-call, right in front of everything. Rocca's punt goes out of bounds at the 10. He's having a nice day at least.

McGee scrambles and is nearly in the end zone when a chop block is called on Jones; that was pitiful by the RB. From the 5, Jones gets a half dozen on a middle give as Fox notices that even Dallas knows that Marion Barber is spent now. Jones for eight. Barber in, on cue, for third and one, but the give is to rookie FB Chris Gronkowski, who converts it. Williams then bobbles a slant ball for five seconds, and if he had taken in the fifth try, he'd go a long way. That's the life in microcosm for Roy. Barber for two before S Colt Anderson arrives with violence. McGee from the gun on third and eight goes up the gut, avoiding Patterson to dive forward for the first. Not very surprising when he runs, folks.

WILD!Cat carry for Choice for two. McGee misses Choice on a screen to the audible disappointment of the Fox guys, who do not wave Cowboy pom poms and nipple tassels, as far as you know. Third from the gun sees McGee miss Witten, with nice coverage from #45 in Green, not that the Fox guys can tell us who that is. (Safety Jamar Adams. It's nice that the Internet can cover what the paid television crew can not.) McBriar's punt might have been tipped, not that the telecast tells us this, and goes out at the Eagle 40.

Kolb's attempt to Harbor misses; a drop, and he wasn't open. From the gun on second, Harrison gets 36 on a perfect play call against a blitz; nicely done. Buckley for a few. From the gun, Harrison gets nothing on a center carry, and that's the end of three quarters. Fifteen more minutes of silly football left.

From the gun on third, Kolb takes a predictable sack, and K David Akers tries a 43-yarder. It's good, and we've got a Green lead, 10-7. McCann down on his own 23 on an ordinary kickoff; nice day for the coverage teams so far.

McGee's shaky pass bounces to Bennett for a first, and the laundry is on the defense. My fantasy team officially and finally bubbles as Packers QB Aaron Rodgers throws a touchdown. McGee goes for four with his feet. Jones for a dozen up the middle, and he's at 10 for 78 now. The RB goes left for three as he's finding more room as Blue crosses midfield. McGee's pass is tipped at the line and nearly picked; Jordan nearly had it. Third down is Pressure Time, and Blue doesn't help by Bennett with a false start. (Martellus Bennett's a bitch!) From the gun on third, Green rushes four, then doesn't bring the QB down, as the rook dives for the first. Sigh. 49 yards now for the QB, and if you are getting Joe Webb flashbacks, I don't blame you.

Gronkowski with power for five, which makes the Fox Boys squee. Barber gets nothing, because he's worthless and all. Third and five is a prime down for McGree to scramble for the first, and I wrote that before the ball was snapped.... forcing McGee to miss Witten to sop the drive. Adams again with nice coverage on the TE. Have we actually found a guy who can cover a TE? I'm not believing it either. K David Buehler misses from 62, and that's the first time I can remember where a long figgie doesn't go against my laundry. It's a new decade, folks! 9:45 left.

Kolb rolls right and connects with Hall for 48 yards, and the Air Force man did a nice job with a double move there. About time this terrible secondary got exposed. Kolb with an odd Vickian draw that just looks painfully white for no gain. Fox starting to fluff Green big now, since they seem to have missed the fact that DALLAS IS A TERRIBLE TEAM. Kolb tries to take it in himself on third, and that's also painful. Akers in for the chip shot figgie, and he connects from 22. Green 13, Blue 7.

Dribble kickoff returned to the 32. A genuinely amusing sack of McGee from rookie Daniel Te'o-Nesheim is the first of his career, and yes, I had to look up the spelling. Miss on second, and third and 20 is a room service pick and TAInt opportunity for rookie LB Keenan Clayton, but he drops it. That would have been the exclamation point. Hall misplays a McBriar punt, so Green starts at their own 19 with 5:59 left.

Can they take the air out of the ball for the second time this year against Blue? Coach Andy Reid will try, with Harrison taking it for a yard. Kolb goes right and misses Hall; the WR was open, but accuracy on the run is not a strong suit yet. Harrison carries on third and fumbles it, but the ball is recovered by Green for a benefit and first down; nice work by McGlynn to save the game there. Siragusa fluffs Ratliff by instinct. Harrison for a yard on the fresh first down; he's now at 90 for the day on the ground, 90 after the second down carry. Dallas calls time with 3:21 left. Dallas calls their first time out with 3:16 left. Kolb rolls left as Green tries to be tricky to keep the chains moving, but Spencer goes with him for the stop. Rocca's punt is nearly blocked, and downed at the Blue 46 as Fox notices that the game is, in fact, close. Way to look at the game occasionally, guys!

From the gun on first, McGee gets it to Witten for his first catch of the day, and seven yards. Witten doesn't get the first on a hot read as Fox hates on the spot. They probably have a point, and Garrett tries to challenge it, but that's not reviewable. Fox's Cowboy geishas pule about this. Such a joy, this crew. On third and inches from the gun (huh?), McGee looks confused, and it's a Blue timeout. Wow, that was Reid-esque. Fox brings in more Dallas geishas with their review gomer, as if three isn't enough. Green calls timeout now so that Fox can spend more time on this, and even my kid, who is only watching the game with me right now to avoid her younger sister, knows this is tedious nonsense. Barber gets the call and doesn't get it, not that the result of this play matters as much as the previous non-review situation, and we'll have a fourth down after the commerce.

Not to put too fine a point on this, but this is the worst, the very worst, the living definition of terrible, announcing. On some level, I'm kind of OK with that, since it's nice to know that you are watching something historic, and since the game is preseason, I'm not so invested as to be offended. But honestly, war crime. Unmitigated war crime.

Gronkowski gets the carry, and picks up the first down by a little. McGee clocks in with 1:38 left, as Green Bay survives Chicago, eliminating the Giants. From the gun on second, McGee hits Witten, who shakes coverage for 33 yards and a huge play. Ah, there's the defense I remember. McGee from the 11 runs it, and gets eight. 70 seconds and counting. From the gun, he misses Johnston, and it will be 3rd and 3 with 59 seconds left. From the gun, the Eagles bring the house, so McGee calmly hits Witten on a curl for the touchdown. Blue leads with 55 seconds left, 14-13, on the first score against the defense in the entire game. A flag on the kicking team pushes the kickoff back five yards, and Kolb will have two time outs to try to work out a game-winning field goal. Despite the flag, Buehler puts it out of the end zone for the touchback; impressive.

Hey, there's less than a minute left in the game; time for the Fox guys to talk about other games. No, I'm not kidding. Ware sacks Kolb on first down, and that's genuinely terrible. Come back, Brent Celek; all is forgiven. Second and 19 and desperation time now, and Kolb's pass is knocked down; no credit to the DL, as the QB nearly hit him in the face with it. From the gun on third, Kolb gets nailed and misses. Wow, this line? Not good. Fourth and 19 requires Fred Mitchell, but instead, it's another Newman pick, and a lot of momentum for the Michael Vick contract extension. Blue wins as McGee sits, 14-13. See you next week for Green Bay, where the home team will complete their three-game home losing streak to end what seemed to be so promising, such a very little time ago.

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