Hello, dear Awful Announcing Readers. It’s been so long since last we spoke. For those of you who are new to the party, my name is Brian and I write a fantastic blog called One More Dying Quail (seriously, my mom uses the word “fantastic” to describe it). I used to do the weekends around these parts until my kid was born and my wife started to expect me to “help out” around the house, which put a bit of a crimp in blogging productivity. Not that I resent the little guy or anything.

Fortunately, the kid is sleeping and the wife has been warned of the afternoon’s festivities, so barring some sort of natural disaster here in New Hampshire, I’ll be around to guide you through the Giants-Bucs game, which should be the best quarterbacked game we’ll see all postseason. I’ve got the odds at 5:1 that we see both Bruce Gradkowski and Jared Lorenzen on the field at some point this afternoon.

Be back in a few with the first half – until then, enjoy this video of Eli Manning from back in the day:

Frank Caliendo? Whatever happened to his TBS show? I saw a couple commercials for it during the baseball playoffs, there was some buzz around the debut, then…nothing.

“Six million unemployed people and FOX hired YOU? How about you start being funny – like a New Year’s Resolution or something.” – Terry Bradshaw on Caliendo

WebMD is just as great as the commercials would have you think. I recently diagnosed myself with about six different diseases. It’s a hypochondriac’s dream.

“What a scene on a gorgeous day here in Tampa…” – Joe Buck – Oh yeah, Joe? Well, here in New Hampshire, we’re looking to top 40 today. And it’s not snowing. Top that.

“Writers Strike OMDQ. They only aired 4 episodes.” – Anonymous re: Caliendo

I’m loving the commercials today. The current AIG campaign is hilarious (“It’s a NIGHTMARE!”). It’d be nice if PepsiMax could come up with something new, though.

Great – three seconds before kickoff, the kid starts crying. I went into his room, we stared each other down for about fifteen seconds – then I said, “You’re not going back to sleep, are you?” followed by a huge grin.

I’d hate him if I didn’t love him so damn much.

Anyhow – the Giants take the opening kickoff, come out firing…and go three and out. Good start, Eli. Feagles boots it away and the Bucs take over at about the twenty. Two short Earnest Graham carries and the Bucs have third down.

WOW, FOX actually showed player introductions scrolling across the bottom of the screen. Now was that so hard, Rupert? – DTM – I read a blog post this morning from somebody who absolutely HATED that, but I’m with you. I think it looked good.

Led by the Ageless Jeff Garcia, the Bucs are on the move. Two third down conversions and they’re across midfield.

If you’re already drinking here’s a little game for you to play….The Eli Manning Drinking Game” – AA

Band shot! Oh wait… – ssreporters

The sad thing is that I’m still firmly expecting a band shot even though there’s no marching band there. – willmott

If there’s a band shot today, I will buy everyone here a drink (note: while the occurrence of a band shot is unlikely, this is still just a joke. If somehow, somewhere, and band appears and they show it on the screen, please do not come to New Hampshire looking for alcohol.

The Bucs offense remembers that it is the Bucs offense and stalls. Punt, and Eli will start the next drive at the 14.

“Eli thought the weather had something to do with his performance at the end of the season.” – Buck – Yeah. That’s it. It’s the weather’s fault. As if on cue, the Giants go three and out in sunny Tampa Bay.

I’ll be honest: I like the “Dude” commercials, and the first shot of Joe Buck is a nice touch in the latest one. But the ending sucks.

The Bucs have great field position and go for it all on first down. Garcia manages to overthrow Joey Galloway by about ten yards. Earnest Graham is a beast, however, and runs over a couple guys en route to the first down. Slant to Michael Clayton for another first down. It’s early, but Tampa Bay is having some success moving the ball.

Those Burger King commercials have got to be staged. I refuse to believe that Americans would get so pissed off about a fast-food burger……eh, yeah, I can. – Signal to Noise. Dude. I worked at McDonald’s for seven years in high school and college. I once had a guy yell at me because I didn’t say “Thank you” when he was leaving. Another first down for the Bucs and they’re just about in the Red Zone.

More bad news for New York: long snapper Jay Alford is down with an injury. Garcia comes back from the injury timeout with a fourteen yard completion across the middle. Graham takes it down to the one, then punches it in. Touchdown, Bucs.

Tampa Bay 7, New York 0.

Bucs kick it off. Hixon with a minimal return. Unlike the Patriots, Tampa Bay apparently knows how to tackle on special teams. My wife just heard Joe Buck mention Davin Joseph and has now decided that we need to get our son a Tampa Bay “Joseph” jersey. Doesn’t even matter to her that he’s an offensive lineman.

Alcoholics, take note: Eli Manning is back on the field.

“The Giants have got to run the ball.” – Buck, seconds before Brandon Jacobs is hit for a four yard loss. Good call.

Gaines Adams jumps early – five yard penalty. I think the Giants have gained more yards in penalties than they have in actual offensive yardage. Eli tries “fitting that one in” and it’s almost intercepted.

And down goes Eli, at the hands of Gaines Adams. Drink. And then he looks disheveled on the sidelines. Drink. Poor Jeff Feagles is gonna have to ice his leg at halftime.

Earnest Graham dropped for a loss as the first quarter comes to a close. Only 45 more minutes to go before it’s all over, Eli.

Face. Drink. – Anonymous.

The Giants defense “stiffens up” (Joe Buck’s words, not mine) and forces a three-and-out. I think Michael Strahan and Co. might have realized that if they want to win this game, they’re gonna have to cover for the offense’s shortcomings. Last week might, just might, have been a fluke.

ELI COMPLETES A PASS! Four yard gain. There you go, Brother Eli. I knew you wouldn’t let us down. AND AGAIN! Throws short to Toomer, who makes the catch, breaks a tackle, makes a move, and picks up some good yardage.

I think the Bucs have 13 people on the line daring Eli to throw. – Nick. Troy Aikman agrees, more or less.

Eli is a goddamn machine to start the second quarter. Three straight completions, two first downs, standing strong under pressure. Are we sure that’s not actually Peyton? Still not doing much with the running game, unfortunately. And Steve Smith drops what should have been four straight. Eli Manning is UNSTOPPABLE!

“It seems like the Buccaneers are daring Eli Manning to beat them.” – Buck

Another completion, another first down…short pass to Jacobs, and the big man rumbles into the end zone. Touchdown, Giants!

Tampa Bay 7, New York 7

It’s scary, but Eli looked very good on that series. This one isn’t over just yet.

So Joe Buck’s logic is basically: If the Giants can’t run, and Eli can’t pass, the Giants are in troubleamazing analysis. – sam

6 rushes = 1 yard for Brandon Jacobs. That’s pathetic. – Signal to Noise

Did the Giants decide before the game that they wouldn’t start playing until the second quarter?
“A big fourth down coming up here, fourth and long.” – Buck – How is that a “big” fourth-down, again? Tampa Bay goes three-and-out again.

Ahmad Bradshaw in at running back for the Giants – Joe and Troy tell me it’s because he gives them a better “burst” than Brandon Jacobs, but it hurts in pass protection. Eli to Burress for a first down, then again for nine yards. Bradshaw for no gain, back to the sidelines. 3rd-and-1, Manning goes over the middle to Steve Smith for 21 yards; Bradshaw splits to the right and catches one for about eight; 2nd-and-2, Jacobs back in, gets the handoff, barrels up the middle – touchdown, Giants.

New York 14, Tampa Bay 7

This thing has changed directions in a hurry.

The vaunted Tampa Two zone is being picked apart.Is anyone counting…how many Chucky faces have been shown? – The False Rumor Monger.

I may be wrong, but I don’t think we’ve seen any. Haven’t noticed a lot of coach shots so far.

Bucs pick up nine on two plays, big third-and-short upcoming…Garcia completes to Michael Pittman for a first down. That was huge – they couldn’t afford another three-and-out. On first down, Garcia overthrows Graham, almost intercepted. Second down, he shovels it to Graham, who almost gets killed by two Giants.

Did anyone notice earlier that Buck and Aikman were being very complementary of Garcia and his ability to lead the Bucs? Yeah, well, that’s pretty much over now. Aikman just said that he doesn’t know how he’s lasted so long in the league, because he takes so many shots – some of which are not the result of bad protection, but because he moves around in the pocket so much.

Jon Gruden nicknamed Ike Hilliard “Third-and-Ike”. Okaaaaay.

Bucs at mid-field after a completion to Hilliard. We get to see Garcia’s mastery of the Two Minute Drill. Incomplete to Galloway. Incomplete to Hilliard. All we get to see is Garcia’s mastery of the Thirty-Second Drill, apparently.

You know what I hate? When receivers make the “throw the flag” hand motion whenever they don’t make a catch. If the NFL wants to start penalizing players for THAT, I’d be 100% behind it.

New York takes possession and runs out the clock on the first half. We’ll head into halftime and the second half thread with the score New York 14, Tampa Bay 7.

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