NFC Divisional Playoff Live Blog: Eagles @ Giants, 1st Half

All right. Double live bloggin’ today. Worth watching today: the clash between the Eagles’ run-stuffing safety Brian Dawkins and the G-men’s trio of RBs, because Brandon Jacobs is back this time.

Game: NFC Divisional Playoff #2
Teams: Philadelphia Eagles (9-6-1, 2nd place, NFC East) vs. New York Giants (12-4, NFC East Champs)
Location: Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Start Time: 1 PM EST
Announcers and Network: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver, and Chris Myers (Fox)
Miscellany: Manning Face, Donovan McNabb’s future in Philly, Jim Johnson’s defense, Steve Spagnuolo’s D (and his “hot candidate” status for head coaching vacancies), Andy Reid’s curious challenges and/or time management.
Favorite: Giants (-4)
S2N’s Pick: Giants. Jacobs is playing this time around, and that sets up the run game. Plus, you all know I don’t trust Andy Reid’s play-calling against competent coaches. He could forget Brian Westbrook exists this week.

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Chris Myers again? Is he giving the big boys blowjobs to get these gigs? – Anon @ 12:57

It’s probably that they pay him a ton and are trying to justify it.

Or they are too cheap to use anyone else. – JFein

Now, now. Hacks don’t come cheap. Do you know how much his hair spray budget is? (And we won’t get evidence of this today; Myers is wearing a cap.)

“Hence the hat for Chris; he looks like he’s in Prison Break.” – Joe Buck, weaving in both bad joke and Fox promo like the skilled slick bastard he is. Eagles will kick off to Ahmad “Fire” Bradshaw, with the wind swirling all over the place in New Jersey. They should note when the wind is NOT a factor at the Meadowlands. Bradshaw scampers all the way down in Eagles territory and kicker David Akers saves a touchdown by pushing him out at the Philly 36 or so.

Eli Manning’s first pass goes for The Other Steve Smith, and the wind catches it a bit — lucky for Asante Samuel, who was about to get burned if not for that. Brandon Jacobs gets 7 on his first carry for a 3rd and 3. Manning Face on the first play is a rarity. Screen pass to Ward — and he’s short of the marker. 4th and 2, and the G-men are going for it — Jacobs gets that first down.

Manning completes to TE Darcy Johnson at the 11. Jacobs gets one or two, tackled by Brian Dawkins. Incomplete on 2nd down, short out to Derrick Ward again on 3rd down….and short. FG team on. John Carney’s attempt is good, 3-0, Giants.

Quentin Demps returns Lawrence Tynes’ kick 19 yards. Donovan McNabb starts with a rifle shot to DeSean Jackson for nine yards….well, 10. First down. Westbrook gets hit in the backfield for a loss at the 40. McNabb to Correll Buckhalter on a screen pass that gets sniffed out and brought down for another 3 yard loss. 3rd and 16. McNabb aims behind Kevin Curtis — three and out. Clearly, the Giants have no respect for the run game right now — they’re loading guys in the secondary and having them play run support.

To add insult to injury, it’s a false start on the punt. 4th and 21, and the predictable “EAGLES SUCK” chant. Domenik Hixon crosses the 40 on the punt, but there are flags for either holding or a block in the back. Holding and unsportsmanlike.

And right off the bat, Eli throws an ill-advised pass and Asante Samuel picks him off, returning it for a first and goal situation. Ah, Manning Face.

Westbrook on first and goal from the 2 is completely stuffed. McNabb skies 2nd and goal out of bounds with a flag thrown — usually that’s holding, but it’s defensive, and it resets the downs from the one. Westbrook tries to jump in, and crashes thanks to a G-men defender at the line of scrimmage. McNabb keeps it himself and reaches over the goal line, TOUCHDOWN, EAGLES. Akers’ kick is good, 7-3, Philly.

Still trying to figure out whose idea of a date movie is “My Bloody Valentine 3D.” By personal experience, horror movies don’t exactly make great dates.

Dear Asante, nice to see you can intercept Eli Manning

-Signed,
the New England Patriots – Ghost

Hah. Ward carries for two, and it’s a long third down for the Giants coming up. Manning throws 12 yards for Steve Smith, moving the chains. The Eagles stop up two more running plays, and it’s another 3rd and long. Manning floats another pass, this one out of bounds for Amani Toomer. Punt is 45 yards, and Philly will have to back up thanks to a block in the back. They’ll start at about the 10 or so.

What’s “G”? It’s the crappiest set of spots ever, that’s what. Westbrook loses a yard on the carry. A false start will move the Eagles back even further. Buckhalter gets five yards on 2nd down.

Get me some PowerAde. – James Craven

Donny Mac’s 3rd down pass goes through the mitts of Jason the Avant Garde….and Rocca will punt again. Hixon gets nailed by Considine at the Philly 46 — and it will back up into Giants territory because of a block in the back. Brandon Jacobs picks up 11 yards and a first down to end the quarter.

This is gonna rival Titans v. Ravens for flags. – Mal

Hopefully not with ticky-tack ones in the fourth quarter when it counts, though. Jacobs starts with a rush for two, follows up with 1 yard. Manning goes downfield for Smith….and overthrows him. Jeff Feagles punts, it’s saved from the end zone by Terrell Thomas, and downed at the five.

Westbrook gets a yard on the carry after Buck remarks that the Eagles have only gained 10 yards so far. McNabb flips the ball out on 2nd down, and EVERYBODY DO THE SAFETY DANCE! Intentional grounding. 7-5, Philly.

McNabb didn’t vomit on the field then, but that was a pretty sick hurl on that pass. – Mal

I’m pretty surprised Andy Reid didn’t challenge that, it just seems like the type of thing he would challenge. He’s stepping up a notch for the post-season. – Ghost

Rocca free punts it to Hixon, who brings it out to the 32. Four yards on a first down rush. Eli hits Kevin Boss a yard short of the marker…at least it looked like that to me, but apparently he’s got it. Ward for three as he runs out to the right. Incomplete pass, but Stewart Bradley gets called for illegal hands to the face, first down. Manning hits Boss for 21 down the left sideline, gets forced out at the 27. Jacobs carries for no gain.

Manning throws another duck that’s a bit too far to catch Hixon in stride. The Eagles have to play single coverage on the receivers to stop the run, and Manning isn’t hitting them. Eli has to get rid of it, and here comes John Carney for an FG try of 46 yards, and he pushed it right.

Buckhalter carries once again for fuck all. Both defenses are doing rather well with the run. McNabb hits Brent Celek at the 41 for 5 yards. First wasted time out by the Eagles because they can’t get a play off.

Arizona must be loving watching this game. If the winner plays like this next week, Arizona may actually be in the Super Bowl. And if Eli continues to play this badly, Arizona’s going to have an even easier time in their own house. – Zidane Valor

I don’t think Kurt Warner’s any better throwing in the wind than these guys, honestly. You can bet the Cards are rooting for the Eagles. L.J. Smith just caught a first down pass for the team’s first 3rd down conversion of the game. Westbrook gets two yards on the outside. He then grabs six for his longest run so far this game, after Buck has a bit of an obsession with McNabb’s chin strap. Buckhalter burrows for a first down on 3rd and 1.

Another yard for Westbrook. After the next play, it’s third and 9. Blitz on, McNabb is hit as he throws by Terrell Thomas, forcing the pass to float, and Sean Dockery comes down with the pick at the Giants 20!

Brandon Jacobs gets a nice 24-yard run to start thanks to a Madison Hedgecock block. Hedge-cock block, heh. Ward gets five on the next carry. Manning hits Boss after stepping up in the pocket and the tight end is down at the Eagles 26 after a 25 yard pass. Jacobs adds another five, and we’re in the red zone at the two minute warning.

I can’t be the only one who wants to see Taken, if only because Liam Neeson in ass-kicking mode is fun.

The refs took the Jacobs carry off because it apparently was snapped after the clock hit 2 minutes. Quick throw to Hixon, wrapped up, but offsides on Philly. Incomplete on 1st and 5. Tipped ball on 2nd and 5. Short throw to Ward, and he’ll be tackled short of the first down. Carney comes on for a 35 yard try. Kick up and good, Giants take an 8-7 lead.

With Coughlin standing around with his hands on his hips, I’m expecting him to start singing “I’m a Little Teapot.” – Mal

But he’s ALWAYS steamed. How can you tell when to pour him out?

Demps takes the kickoff out to the 25. McNabb throws to Celek, who drops it because he’s looking upfield. DeSean Jackson gets his first catch, running out of bounds after passing the first down marker. Donny Mac to the Avant Garde for 5, then another pass to Westbrook, who scampers out of bounds for the first down at the Giants’ 49. McNabb to Avant again at the 34.

And Andy Reid burns his last time out with 40 seconds left, while Troy Aikman digs at him slightly for it (rightfully so.)

As a Vikes fan, I now see where Brad Childress got his clock management skills. – Anon @ 2:32 PM

Jackson brings the catch in at the 25. Ball thrown away on 2nd down. 3rd and 1 means Westbrook; he gets the first, and now they spike it. Giants get flagged for an illegal contact on the running play by McNabb, which gets added on. First and goal. McNabb aims for Jackson in the end zone, but he catches it out of bounds. Akers on for the chip-shot FG; it’s up and good. 10-8, Eagles at the half. See you in the 2nd half thread.

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