Monthly Archives: September 2008

Absolutely Infuriating – Quick Hits from the Eagles Game

– This was one of the more frustrating games I have watched in a long time. The Eagles offense, minus Brian Westbrook, could not capitalize on the opportunities they were given. The defense provided four turnovers. We had three chances from the 1 to take the lead, and we blew it. David Akers missed 2 field goals. Aaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh!

– Donovan McNabb’s body language was not pretty as the game went along. He looked frustrated and a bit hobbled.

– A lot of Donovan’s throws were less than stellar, but there were too many drops by Eagles receivers and tight ends.

– The ups-and-downs of DeSean Jackson are exhilarating and debilitating to watch. He is really fast around the corner on the reverses, and he darted behind the defense on the first quarter touchdown catch. But he had a few drops, and he did not look good fielding punts. Obviously, there was the fumble, but he also let one roll that cost the Eagles a substantial chunk of real estate. He keeps you on the edge of your seat, for better and for worse (Editor’s note: Nickname idea – DeSean “Wall Street” Jackson. Sure, he’s been money, but his actions have also caused confusion and despair for those trusting in him).

– I’m sure Chicago fans were pretty pissed off watching this game also, as every time it seemed as though the Bears had a golden opportunity to seize control of the game, they somehow blew it. Case in point: after taking an interception to the Eagles 11, already up by a touchdown, Kyle Orton throws a pick in the end zone. It seemed at times as if neither team wanted to win this game.

– Give Chicago’s defense credit. They pressured McNabb and stifled the run game. They stood tall at the goal line and assured the win. In a season where there does not appear to be many teams standing above the pack, this Bears’ defense should keep in the playoff discussion as the season progresses.

– Omar Gaither, you did everything you could to help the Eagles win this game. Every time the defense made a big play, you seemed to be in the middle of it. If you can continue to play with the energy and nose for the ball you exhibited tonight, the Eagles defense will be really tough.

– Nice job Trent Cole and Juqua Parker. Kept the pressure on Orton for most of the night, especially in the second half. This was the second straight week I have been impressed by the play of the front four and the pressure they generated on the QB – when they are capable of getting to the passer on their own, it enables the Eagles to be more selective with their blitz schemes. This keeps the offense on their toes, as it eliminates obvious blitzing situations and allows the defense to disguise both their blitzes and their drops into coverage.

– Correll Buckhalter, I said it last week and I’ll say it again: I love the heart, baby. Love the way you play the game. You aren’t Westbrook, but you give us everything you have, and that’s all we expect.

– I felt as though the Eagles should have gone for the early 4th and 1 instead of trying 50 yarder that Akers ended up missing in the first half. Even if you don’t get the first down, you still give up possession deeper in Bears territory than you do if you miss the field goal.

– How, in God’s name, with three chances from the one to score, do you not get in? And how, in three plays, is one of them not play-action? The Bears are a tough defense, and you knew they would stack the line; I don’t care which play it was, why not try the play-action? Didn’t understand that, and I think it may have cost us the game. That, and we squandered a slew of other golden opportunities.

– This was what I call an Infuriating Game. Your team blows all of its chances, yet continues to get more, and then blows them. Every time you think you’ve got the game in control, the team squanders a key opportunity. You know that your team should be winning, but can’t stop beating itself. You find yourself daydreaming a Brian Westbrook highlight reel, as Aerosmith blasts I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing in your imagination. (Editor’s note: Alright, that’s just frightening). But it was more than just this game – it blew my perfect weekend trifecta. The Phillies clinched while the Mets blew the wildcard (Editor’s note: Trying…so…hard….to…be…classy…BAHAHAHAHAHAHA, they blew it again!), Penn State looked extremely impressive against Illinois and moved to number six in the polls, and then the Eagles went out and beat the Bears. Except they didn’t. Ah, what can you do? Two out of three ain’t bad.

– Bring on the Redskins, they of the outdated, innapropriate, and totally racist moniker. At least they don’t play in our nation’s capital. Oh, shit. They do. Right. Good work, guys.

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From the Nosebleeds – Why we all should have known Oregon State would beat USC

From the Nosebleeds is a new feature to The Pattison Pundit. Essentially, anytime one of the Pundit’s buddies, or anyone else decides that they have something they need to get off of their chest about the sports world, this will be their forum. I’ll edit the post and add my own take, but the floor is yours. Feel free to email me anytime with your rants, raves, concerns, critiques and/or analysis. Today we have Jacobs, who saw the Oregon State win against USC coming, and thinks you should have, too. Jacobs, the floor is yours.

So I talked to you earlier this evening about watching the USC game, right?  Your answer, as I expected, was “Oh yeah, that’ll be a good game…or not. Are you kidding me, man?  They’re going to kill Oregon State!  Didn’t you see what Penn State did to them?”

A typical answer, and honestly, most college football enthusiasts wouldn’t have disagreed.  Not me. I just knew. (Editor’s note: Alright Miss Cleo, just relax). I knew that Oregon State had good players.  Not just playmakers that have been drafted in the past, like Chad Johnson and T.J. HoushmaMillyVanilly, but playmakers right now.  Playmakers like junior quarterback Lyle Moevao, who somehow, after getting wrecked by Penn State, has averaged almost 275 passing yards per game, throwing 8 touchdowns. Though, to be fair, he has thrown four picks.  And this is the same single caller who beat USC two years ago. (Editor’s note: Actually, that was Matt Moore. Moevao’s lifetime stats for 2007-08: 174 – 304, 57% completion percentage, 10 touchdowns, 10 interceptions. A playmaker? Haven’t really seen him enough to give an accurate assessment, but judge for yourself).

Wait, did I mention they have playmakers now? (Editor’s note: Yes, I believe you suggested it).  Like receiver Sammy Stroughter, who overcame severe depression and mental problems, quitting football for over a year (even though he was considered to be a possible All-American candidate) to come back and play his last eligible year at Oregon State to show people he can still rip it up. And you can’t forget about freshman Jacquizz Rodgers, who rushed 37 times for 186 yards and 2 TDs (all 5’5”, 176 lbs. of him). (Editor’s note: Raise your hand if you live outside of Corvallis and had ever heard of the guy). By the way folks, say what you want about the PAC-10, but they have (and know how to produce) kick-ass running backs. (Editor’s note: They have turned out some killer backs. But enough about O.J. Simpson…)

I most definitely won’t forget how Penn State blew Oregon State out of the water, but this is the mother of all rebounds! (Editor’s note: I think that broad Patty I was with last night might disagree).  Against #1 USC, who is supposed to be ready for everything and penciled into the BCS National Championship game after their crushing defeat of Ohio State. Whatever. Oregon State proved that they can still play with the big-timers. But wait! (Editor’s note: Oooh, is there a surprise?) They have beat USC three out of the last five times they’ve played them.

Hmmmmmm…..interesting.  As I said before, Oregon State is a pesky team for USC, kind of like Minnesota has been for Penn State for the past decade. (Editor’s note: Since 2000, Penn State is 2-3 against Minnesota).  They play hard against USC and still have good players and excellent athletes. Did I mention they have playmakers? (Editor’s note: YES!!!)  Regardless, Oregon State executed poorly against and planned poorly for PSU. (Editor’s note: And they traveled across the country and played them in Happy Valley, an environment I’m not sure they were quite used to). However, I think they learned a few things from that severe ass-whooping and moved on to bigger and better things. In other words, they put that loss in the rearview mirror and realized they had bigger fish to fry…but only if they could handle it. (Editor’s note: Two clichés are better than one, people – can you handle that?). In this case, it was #1 ranked Southern Cal.

I applaud the performance, even though the Oregon State coaches backed off and got extremely conservative in the 2nd half.  In fact, the only connection this game had with the Penn State game was that the Oregon State coaches must have taken pointers from Jay Paterno and Galen Hall about being huge pussies at the end of an important game. (Editor’s note: Somebody’s feeling a bit saucy, eh?)

Surely, the conservative and trusted coaching mentality would have been to run the clock out, but you could see that USC adjusted and started gaining momentum in the 2nd half.  Instead of continuing the balanced offensive attack that gouged the USC defense in the 1st half, Oregon State turned almost exclusively to the ground game in the 2nd half.  This was unacceptable to my semi-educated football mind – KEEP PRESSURING THEM! (Editor’s note: Hey, he said it).

I rooted for Oregon State not only because I am sick of USC dominance/&^@% kissing/*$@# sucking (Editor’s note: Wow, even I’m blushing), but because I want to see how many eraser shavings can be accumulated from weekly AP voters’ ballets. Plus, this defeat will only help Penn State to move into the AP top 10 – a place where they belong if they can execute against Illinois in the same way that they executed against an Oregon State team that beat the overwhelmingly favored and top-ranked USC Trojans.

-Jacobs

PS: The most important topic I chose NOT to discuss begs the following question: Honestly, can you be THAT surprised by the outcome of this game after what last year taught (and showed) you?

The Pundit responds: Ok, where to begin. First of all, I have never been a believer that the past performances of one college program against another should help to dictate future ones, unless one program is traditionally powerful while the other is, well, Temple. The Oregon State team that beat the USC team two years ago is not the same team, with the same players, as it is now, and neither is this USC team. That was then, and this is now. Secondly, after watching Oregon State get absolutely dismantled by Penn State, you can’t tell me that anyone with any sort of football brain at all would think that this team wasn’t completely overmatched, on paper, against USC. A USC team that, even if you weren’t penciling them into the BCS title game yet (which I wasn’t, because they seem to have one meltdown a year), seemed pretty dominant after last week. Ohio State may not have had Beanie Wells, but I’m not sure that he could have saved them. Third – Oregon State did not have nationally recognized playmakers, at least before this game. They may have had great players who played out of their minds, but you can’t tell me that Jacquizz Rodgers was on your radar. He may turn out to be the truth, but I sure as hell had never heard of him until last night. Four – if Penn State beats Illinois, that itself should be enough to push them into the top ten. Illinois is a quality opponent, and Penn State has absolutely embarrassed everyone they’ve played so far. And finally, shouldn’t I have expected this upset after the giddy mayhem that was last year’s college football season? Well, truthfully, no, because the entire idea behind an upset is that you aren’t expecting it. If enough people thought that Oregon State could beat USC last night, then it wouldn’t have really be an upset, right? I mean, who in their right mind would have thought that Stanford would have beaten USC last year? You may keep the possibility of an upset in your mind, but that doesn’t mean you actually think it will happen – which, of course, is what makes it so fun and exhilarating when it does.

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Filed under College Football, From the Nosebleeds, Penn State

The push to the MLB playoffs: the tale of one city, and the fail of another

I. Philadelphia

Watching the Phillies tonight, I observed in myself a strange phenomenon. (Editor’s note: He wasn’t wearing any pants). I wasn’t concerned. I wasn’t flipping my shit that they were losing 10-4. It wasn’t bothering me that they were about to drop two against the Braves and lose the series. I was watching the entire game in an almost zen-like state, as though there was little in the outside world that was going to shake my unwavering belief that the Phillies were still going to make the playoffs.

This worried me.

This isn’t a Philadelphia attitude. Now, I don’t want to pigeonhole every Philadelphia fan into one attitude – that’s far too simplistic. But I don’t think you can deny that a large population of Philly fans watch every game with a certain amount of tension and doubt; countless failures will do that to a fan base. And truthfully, I have always felt that Philadelphia teams played at their best when they were left for dead and had to play catch-up, especially the Phillies. It was as though they themselves were motivated by the very tension that regularly adds years to the lives of Philly fans.

Some may say that this is a sign of inexperience, and that may be true. In Philly, we call it character. (Editor’s note: And anybody that says otherwise is a frickin’ schmuck, ya know whadda mean?) We’re not used to being the front runner, no matter what J-Roll says. Had I, after the Phillies swept the Brewers and started their hot streak, suddenly been lulled into a false sense of security?

And, more alarming then this, had the Phillies themselves done the same thing? Had they lost their urgency?

This didn’t seem right. I still worry about every game the Phillies play. I don’t take any NL East teams lightly, and I’m certainly worried about the pesky Nationals. I dreaded seeing the Marlins, and though I believed the Phillies would play better against the Braves, I knew they were no joke. So I hadn’t somehow developed the idea that the Phillies, of their own volition, were guaranteed to make the playoffs. Something else was keeping me cool and relaxed.

I didn’t realize what it was until I flipped to ESPN after the Phillies game.

II. New York

I won’t go into the nitty-gritty of the Mets-Cubs game. All I really need to illustrate my point is the bottom of the ninth inning, game tied at six. David Murphy had led off the inning with a triple, and the Mets seemed destined to take the game and slide 1/2 game behind the Phillies. A sacrifice fly or a well-placed hit would score the winning run. And they couldn’t do it. David Wright, in my opinion the Mets best player, and one of the best all-around players in baseball, struck out. After two intentional walks, the Mets only managed a grounder to second for a force at the plate, and another strike-out. The Cubs scored three in the next inning, and won the game.

And suddenly, it hit me – my feeling of zen was completely derived from my complete lack of faith in the Mets ability to win a big game. After Aramis Ramirez hit his two-run homer to extend the lead to 9-6 in the top of the 10th, I literally laughed out loud. (Editor’s note: Lucy, grab the haloperidol, pronto). Not in a mocking sort of way, but more like how you laugh when you have an epiphany and suddenly everything seems right with the world again.

And you know, for the briefest of moments, I truly felt for Mets fans. I know that sinking feeling they have in their gut; that feeling was a fairly regular part of my adolescence supporting Philadelphia teams. Yet this feeling was quickly replaced by a far more sinister realization – I enjoyed watching the Mets blow this game almost as much as I do watching the Phillies win one. Maybe that’s unsportsmanlike, I don’t know, but its also the nature of rivalries, and this has certainly become one.

III. Conclusion

So, in thinking about this, I have decided that I would like to take Mr. Met out to the bars and buy him exactly two beers. Beer one – the “I’m sorry this happened to you” beer. I recognize the plethora of unrecognized potential in the Mets, and how this often leads them toward a spiral of heart-wrenching failure. Cheer up, Mr. Met – someday, somewhere over the rainbow, they may figure it out.

But beer two is an “I appreciate you” beer. You may be trapped in a whirlwind of your own underachievement, but thanks for being such a good friend. When I need something, like a loss that keeps you a game back of the Phillies in the loss column and ties you in the wildcard standings with the Brewers, you always come through. You’re a good friend, Mr. Met, and I drink to you.

Fear the Nationals, Phillies fans. But thank God for the Mets.

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Filed under MLB, Phillies

Monday Night Football Liveblogging

8:32 PM – First edition of the Monday Night Football liveblogging. This game is intriguing for three reasons: I didn’t expect the Chargers to start 0-2, Brett Favre is playing, and the game has huge fantasy implications for me. I have a 25 point lead, and LT is on my team. My opponent has Favre, Thomas Jones and the San Diego defense. I’m figuring he’s going to cancel some points out. Hopefully, Favre will throw 3 interceptions but no touchdowns, Jones will have a few fumbles and barely any yards, but a bunch of other Jets will step up and they’ll put 30 up on the Chargers D. Meanwhile, LT will rush for over 100 yards and two TD’s, and I’ll go 2-1 on the season.

8:36 PM – Oh god, I think Kornheiser is attempting to do Howard Cosell while performing a montage of Brett Favre MNF football moments. Uggggghhhhhh.

8:38 PM – I’ll be throwing some Phils coverage into the mix, as well. 2-2 in the 7th. Let’s go, boys.

8:42 PM – A nice screen pass to Thomas Jones. That hurts me twice in fantasy. According to Jaws, tonight is going to be Brett Favre’s “coming out party” with the Jets. I wonder when Kornheiser will have his coming out party. (Editor’s note: That’s not right).

8:46 PM – Rudy Seanez coming into the game for J.A. Happ. Wrap it up, Rudy.

8:47 PM – I am praying that LT’s toe feels nice tonight. Inject that bad boy with Lidocaine or whatever the hell they use.

8:54 PM – Rivers is looking a bit shaky right now. Almost threw another pick. Hey, Rivers – knock it off. I need LT with the ball in his hands, not the friggin’ Jets.

8:56 PM – Oh no. LT’s wife had a bad feeling about this game for the Chargers. Guess this one is a foregone conclusion.

9:04 PM – Braves had a man on third, Jeff Francoeur hit a chopper to third, J-Roll made a great play, jumping for the ball and making a perfect throw to home, getting the runner easily. Game stays tied 2-2.

9:09 PM – Fumble by Thomas Jones! And the Chargers D doesn’t return it for a touchdown! I’m a huge fantasy geek!

9:13 PM – Chargers score, but it isn’t LT, so I’m pissed. Then, with Greg Golson pinch-running for Greg Dobbs, a pick-off attempt went past the first basemen and Golson ends up on third. No outs, Phillies need to capitalize here.

9:18 PM – Golson scores on a ground ball to third, speeding down the line and getting underneath the tag. Phillies take the lead, 3-2. God, I love this team.

9:20 PM – Antonio Cromartie returns an interception for a touchdown. Hurts Favre, but helps the Chargers defense. This has to be unbelievably frustrating for the guy I’m playing against.

9:24 PM – Worst possible scenario for me. I thought Leon Washington was going to return the kick for a touchdown, thereby hurting the Chargers D in points and preventing Favre or Jones from getting a touchdown. Instead, he gets tackled at the five, and Favre gets the touchdown pass. Still hurts the Chargers D, but Favre gets them back. My 25 point lead has been shaved to 8.

9:28 PM – Suddenly, the Phillies are up 6-2. Pat Burrell with a 3-run homer. Booyah!

9:33 PM – Chris Chambers with a long TD reception. Stop stealing TD’s from LT, Chargers!

9:42 PM – Phillies win. Magic number for a playoff spot now down to two. And another interception by the Chargers D, though it really didn’t hurt me, as I’m still leading by 8.

9:51 PM – Touchdown pass to Antonio Gates. If you would have told me that the Chargers would score 31 points in the first half, and that LT wouldn’t have any of those touchdowns, I would have laughed in your face. Guess the joke is on me, huh?

10:03 PM – At the half, Chargers up 31-14. In fantasy, I lead 106.1 – 98.9. Oh man, gonna be a wild finish, at least in my fantasy match-up. I need LT to start grinding out some yards to keep the clock moving, maybe get a TD in here somewhere.

10:24 PM – So, LT scores a touchdown and I miss it taking a break on my roof. That’s fitting, isn’t it? You know what – I’m out. Back to the roof. I’ll leave you with one final thought: fantasy football is both a great thing, and a distracting thing. Truthfully, watching this game, I could have given two shits who actually won this game. I was paying attention to fantasy points, and fantasy points alone. Granted, it gets countless fans into football, and I pay much more attention to the rest of the league because of my fantasy guys. But football purists surely must complain that it negatively affects the way people analyze and value football. Whatever. I consider myself a football purist, and I love fantasy football. Now, enough of my soapbox, its back to the roof. Let’s go LT!

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Filed under Live Blogging, MLB, NFL, Phillies, Uncategorized

The Week in Review (9/15/08 – 9/21/08)

No-Show/s of the Week

So, he’s been the ace for the second-half of the season. That makes this harder. But Brett Myers, you can’t give up 10 runs in 4 innings of work against the Marlins. I know, the Marlins have been hot, and you were due to get hit hard one of these games, but this is a bit much. Everyone has off days, I am privy to that; but you can’t be this off, especially when every game is so valuable. The offense scored 8 runs, which should almost always be enough to win. Hopefully, Brett will take it for what it was – one bad start – and focus on the next one. I truly believe that, if Brett maintains his dominance, Cole Hamels keeps finding ways to win, and Jamie Moyer continues to be the ageless blessing he’s been all season, this team could legitimately make a run to the Series.

Stud/s of the Week

The entire Eagles defense and Jim Johnson. 9 sacks, a safety and 3 turnovers against the Steelers will get you Stud recognition every week. We’ll just ignore the fact that technically Monday night’s game against the Cowboys falls within the dates I listed in the title; they more than made up for it this week. The front four generated a rush on its own; Big Ben never knew where the blitz was coming from; Dawkins was soaring through the air and causing mayhem; Asante Samuel made a beautiful interception; Willie Parker had 20 rushing yards. 20! And they didn’t allow a touchdown. As dominating a performance, against a good team, as I have seen from this unit in a while. They were solid across the board, and will need to be again next week, as a game against the Bears, potentially without Brian Westbrook, will probably be another defensive struggle.

My All-Encompassing Thought of the Week

This isn’t about Philly, but bears mentioning – last night was the last game ever played at Yankee Stadium. Now, you may not like the Yankees; God knows I don’t. But it is still sad for me to think that a place that fielded the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Reggie Jackson, and yes, we’ll someday say Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, will no longer be hosting MLB games. Yankee Stadium is our Colosseum, though it wasn’t a place where warriors were beloved for defying death and committing acts of violence. (Editor’s note: That sounds more like a description of the Vet and its fans). No, Yankee Stadium was a place where perhaps otherwise ordinary men captured the imaginations of people everywhere while playing a child’s game. Where Babe Ruth, a man who looked more akin to the chubby guy on the corner playing cards than a great athlete, represented an American love of excess and just having a good time. For every home run, there was a beer, a woman, and a hot dog to go along with it. Yet the measure of his power, especially when compared to his peers, will likely never be duplicated. Babe Ruth often hit more homers in a season than some teams did, and did so without ever missing a good time. A deity amongst mere mortals. Contrast him to Lou Gehrig, who’s work ethic and consistency perfectly mirrored the blue-collar lifestyle of so many Americans. Fittingly, Gehrig was vastly underrated, and remains so, though I believe him to be one of the five greatest hitters ever. Than there was the tragic figure of Mickey Mantle, whose Herculean abilities were only stymied by his constant injuries and habits. Yet, if you ask anybody who ever saw him play to describe the experience, they will remember it with a certain degree of awe and reverence that is rarely reserved for athletes. Certainly, we all admire the athletic prowess of our favorite sports figures, but to hear someone talk of Mantle is to hear them describe something more than simply a ball player; he was Superman, a man lacking weakness on the diamond. And yet, he was also the protagonist in his own tale of Greek mythology, befallen by tragic flaws but an important reminder that even the most spectacular of us is simply human. Joltin’ Joe dated Marilyn Monroe and hit in 56 straight game; Yogi Berra was always a quip away from profundity.

The Yankees, and how they’re received outside of New York, are strangely representative of America itself. Many people don’t like them, but they win more than they lose, and many of the most important accomplishments in baseball history have come from their players. They’re the big spenders, the guys with money, the team that’s got it made. And yet, much as they are despised, they have traditionally set the bar for success in baseball. The best players in baseball want to play for them. Any true fan of a team from another city will tell you that they despise the Yankees; what they won’t mention is how much they respect them, at least their legacy. Farewell to Yankee Stadium; you may now take your place next to all of the greats you hosted, firmly entrenched in both baseball and American history, and perhaps more fittingly, forever etched in our imaginations.

My Painfully Specific Thought of the Week

It doesn’t bother me one bit that the Yankees will miss the playoffs this year.

Moment of the Week

Yesterday was awesome, and frightening, but mostly awesome. The Eagles D looked great, but seeing both Westbrook and McNabb leave the field with potential injuries was horrifying. The Phillies won, but Lidge sure made it more exciting than it needed to be. So, after three games, the Eagles look like, if they stay healthy, one of the NFC’s top teams, and the Phillies, with 6 games left and leads of 1 1/2 in the division and 3 over the Brewers for the wildcard, look as though they’re headed to the postseason (Editor’s note: Somebody knock on some frickin’ wood, for God’s sake!). I mean, the following things happened yesterday: Big Ben was hit so many times by Eagles defenders, he had to leave the game; we beat the pesky Marlins and don’t have to play them again until next year; the Mets’ bullpen blew another game. A beautiful Sunday, and though it most certainly is not always sunny in Philadelphia, it sure as hell is today.

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Filed under Eagles, MLB, NFL, Phillies, The Week in Review

D-FENCE! Quick hits from the Eagles game

– McNabb started like a man on fire, completing his first 15 passes. Granted, a lot of them were dinks and dunks to the backs in the flat, but that was what the Steelers’ D was giving them, and they were moving the ball. He didn’t look the same after the injury, however, which could be a cause for concern; he seemed to me to be visibly wincing and his throws were more erratic in the second half.

– Okay, so seeing Brian Westbrook leave the field nursing his ankle was just frightening. I almost swore off beer in a barter with God to keep him healthy; I realized my mistake almost immediately, and begged to retract the deal. He met me halfway – if Westbrook returns next week, I’m allowed to have Bud. It’s barely beer, but it’ll have to do. (Editor’s note: A just and compassionate God he is).

– Good job Correll Buckhalter. There is no replacing Westbrook, but Buckhalter avoided trouble in the backfield and consistently fell forward. Love the persistence of Buckhalter, both in getting himself on the field after knee problems, and in the way he runs. The leap into the endzone was pure heart on his part. Well done, sir.

– Hey Big Ben? How ya feelin’, buddy? Little sore, I bet. Unbelievable pressure from the D all game long. Jim Johnson the ‘ol blitz mojo running at an all time high, and the front four did a spectacular job of generating a rush when the blitz wasn’t on. 9 sacks, a forced safety and 3 turnovers? That, ladies and gentlemen, is championship defense.

– Was there anything more awesome in the whole game than seeing Brian Dawkins soaring through the air towards Big Ben, forcing the fumble and recovering it at the end of the game? The slow motion was incredible; he literally looks like he’s flying when he does his leap, he’s like a friggin’ bird (Editor’s note: Yeah, yeah, an Eagle, I know). Dawkins may not be quite the same in coverage, but the man has a nose for the ball and still makes clutch plays off of the blitz. I don’t care if, in 30 years, Dawkins is blitzing off of the corner using a walker – I don’t want to see the guy hang it up. (Editor’s note: You know he would walk in all slow and decrepit, realize he couldn’t jump, and just bash the QB in the helmet with his walker. And everyone would go nuts).

– Asante Samuel, you’re earning that check so far. Beautiful interception on the deep ball. Man just knows how to get at the football, and that’s why we’re paying him.

– Don’t think you can blame Kevin Kolb for the interception he threw. It looked as though L.J. got hit before the ball got to him – should have been pass interference.

– Wasn’t Willie Parker having a really good season so far? Yup, he sure was. Guess we’ll just call today a detour. The Eagles D held him to 20 yards on 13 carries. The Eagles D was like the Schukyll during rush hour – they kept everything to a crawl. (Editor’s note: This whole traffic theme is totally clever, isn’t it?) Game ball goes to the front 7 – they dominated the entire game, and were the reason the Steelers couldn’t get into the endzone all afternoon.

– Sav Rocca, you punted like a champ. I may have to get a Rocca jersey if he keeps this up. Alright, so there isn’t a chance in hell of that happening, but still good work by Rugby Rocca.

– To me, after 3 games, the Eagles have shown me two things: they can hang with just about anyone in a shoot-out, and they can survive a knock-down, drag-out affair. (Editor’s note: I remember my last drag-out affair…um, nevermind). The Eagles were in a fistfight today, and they punched harder and more often. Smashmouth, baby!

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The Pundit List presents – Essential Drinking Games

So, its time to bring back The Pundit List. The first edition was all about picnic games – now, it’s on to something I hold even dearer to my heart (Editor’s note: And liver). That, of course, is drinking games. Thus, in the spirit of the upcoming weekend, and with college students everywhere back in the swing of things, I present my list of essential drinking games. Again, there is no predetermined number for this list – those that make it are, in my opinion, simply the most essential. Enjoy.

6. Quarters – A classic, quarters is simple enough. Quarters can be played frantically, or it can be played with a few shot glasses and a couple of bored (Editor’s note: And relatively broke) people. The game was never played much in my circle at Temple, so I by no means am a quarters connoisseur, but it’s an an oldie and a goodie, and it had to be included.

5. Asshole – Anyone who’s ever played asshole knows that I can’t properly explain it, seeing as I’m not drunk right now. But talk cards, and you’ve got to mention asshole. It’s got strategy, president rules always make for excellent drinking escapades, and you’ve got an asshole that, depending on the rules you play, the president can make drink at will. My biggest gripe with the game is that, for a drinking game, it often becomes a game that people forget to drink during. But no drinking list would be complete without asshole.

4. Flip cup – Wait a hoot – flip cup only comes number four on your list, Mr. Pundit? Yes, that is correct. Sure, flip cup is great fun, especially in the middle of the party when everybody is starting to sway but is getting a bit bored. Suddenly, from somewhere, some wise sage yells “FLIP CUP!,” and a huge throng of people rush to the table. Flip cup can be great group fun, especially if you’re playing elimination flip cup and strategy comes into play. But, in my opinion, flip cup gets old quick, and hence, I only include it at number four.

3. Kings – Kings has always been my favorite drinking cards game, in that it can be played with a large and boisterous party crowd, or with a few of your friends just hanging around the house. Kings is great in that it offers a wide variety of things to be done, as each card spread out on the table represents a different task to be completed. We play with the following card representations:

2 – You (person who picked the card selects somone else to drink)

3 – Me (person who selects the card drinks)

4 – Whores (the ladies drink)

5 – Categories (A category is chosen, and then everyone goes around the table, selecting something that fits that category until somebody misses. Best played with a category that everyone knows a bit about, so that it goes a few rounds until the obscure answers have to be given. Solid examples include cigarette brands, cereals, condom brands, Will Ferrell movies, etc.)

6 – Dicks (Guys drink)

7 – Heaven (Everyone puts there hands in the air, as if reaching for heaven, last person with hands in the air drinks)

8 – Pick a date (Person selecting card picks someone to drink with)

9 – Bust a rhyme (My personal favorite, bust a rhyme is simple but can become hilarious. Essentially, the first person says a phrase, and then the next person says a phrase that rhymes with it. This continues until someone cannot think of a rhyme or repeats one. The more demeaning, the better. For example: Your mother’s a whore / You know I always score / Your life is a bore / I went to war / This rhyme is a chore / To you I implore / I dig on the Cure, etc. etc. (Editor’s note: That was a weak ass rhyme, btw). As long as it sounds as though it rhymes, it flies.)

10 – Sentence (Every player adds one word to a sentence, but must remember everything before it. Example: Player one says “the,” player two says “the sexy,” player three says “the sexy Pattison”, player four says “the sexy Pattison Pundit,” etc. etc. This sentence continues until somebody forgets how the sentence goes. More fun if you put in ridiculous noises, or sounds. One time, we attempted to put the Chewbacca noise in our sentence. Funniest sentence ever. Probably the most difficult of the cards, especially when you’re drunk.)

Jack – Back (The person behind the person selecting the card drinks)

Queen – Waterfall (Everybody starts chugging their beer, and must continue until the person before them in turn stops drinking. Torture for those at the end of the waterfall)

King – King’s Cup (A cup, during the entire game, is placed in the middle of the cards. When a person selects the king, they can put as much or as little of their beer into the cup as they please. The person to select the final of the four kings must chug the king’s cup)

Ace – Make a rule (This is where the game is truly fun – the game is made or lost with rules. For example, if you curse, you drink. Or, if you say somebody’s name, you have to keep your chin on the table until somebody else says a name. The crazier and more torturous, the more fun the game. We once played that, if you said the word drink, you had to do a freestyle rap. It was painful, and hysterical, though I recall laying down some phat beats, yo (Editor’s note: Oh woooord?)).

The key to Kings is having people who are creative and don’t mind acting a bit foolish in the name of entertainment. No stiffs allowed.

2. Baseball – Baseball is sooooo very close to being my number one, but it doesn’t have quite the classic appeal of the game that tops my list. However, it is the combination of that game and flip cup, and is formatted after  the game it is named for, baseball. Essentially, you need a table, and two teams of two. Two sets of four cups are set in a straight line at the back middle on opposing sides of the table. These are the cups that are shot at. Two more sets of three cups are put on one side of the table. These cups are played as flip cups.

One team shoots at a time, in three-out innings. The four cups each represent a different hit in baseball: the closest cup is a single, the second is a double, the third is a triple, and the furthest away is a homer. If, however, you miss a cup, it is an out. Now, let’s say you hit the first cup, for a single. You can then go over to the flipping cups, and, if you choose, drink the beer out of one cup and attempt to flip it before a member of the other team drinks their beer and flips their cup. If you beat them, you steal a base; if they beat you, you are out. You can continue to steal all the way home, if they never beat your flip. You continue to shoot until you record three outs, and then the home team shoots. The game can be played for as many innings as you desire, though I recommend beginners start at about five. Why, you ask?

BECAUSE IT’LL GET YOU DRUNK!!!

Those are the basic rules. There are also balks, and other little add-ons for more serious players. If you like baseball, the number one game about to be revealed below, flip cup, and consuming copious amounts of booze, this is the perfect game for you. If you don’t – grow a set. (Editor’s note: And how!)

1. Beer Pong – Was there ever any doubt? Who doesn’t play beer pong? I’ve played beer pong at family parties, at college parties, at picnics, with my roommate when we’re bored. Have you ever been to a college party where beer pong wasn’t being played? And have you ever met anyone who didn’t enjoy the game? I think not. It has strategy (when to rack, to bounce or not to bounce, coming up with methods for fazing out the opponents), and it takes skill, which strangely seems to improve as you drink more. Plus, at every party, there are the house rules. Everyone plays slightly different: some allow more racks, some play with 10 cups, or with two sets of six cups, some don’t allow bouncing, some allow no re-racking at all. Hell, I’ve been to parties that allow guys to finger spinning balls out of their cups – and when I say guys, I mean “guys”. It allows for a home court advantage, and I like that. Plus, it’s so simple to set up: cups, ping-pong balls, beer, table, hours of entertainment. Simply the best.

I end the list with this: The Pundit is always open to learning new games. Any that should have been on here? And any you think perhaps I have never played, but should know about? Please, share the love, and have a great weekend.

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