NFL 2014-2015 Divisionals Recap

January 10th, 2015

NFL 2014-2015 Divisionals Recap

http://www.commdiginews.com/sports/nfl-2014-2015-divisionals-lessons-learned-and-not-learned-33212/

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots was the Saturday afternoon game. Three times in the last four years the Ravens have had to go on the road at New England in the playoffs. All 3 times the Ravens outplayed the Patriots, winning two of those games. Now Baltimore had to go through New England again. Again for large stretches of the game Baltimore outplayed New England. Again the Patriots came back

Joe Flacco moved easily against the New England defense. A 19 yard touchdown pass to Aiken and an 9 yard toss to Steve Smith on 3rd and 7 put the Ravens up 14-0. Tom Brady then had his turn, running for a 4 yard touchdown in the first quarter and a throwing a 15 yard touchdown to Danny Amendola to tie the game 14-14. Late in the half Brady was intercepted. Flacco threw an 11 yard touchdown pass to Owen Daniels for a 21-14 Ravens lead at the half.

The Ravens kept marching in the third quarter as Flacco’s fourth touchdown pass, a 16 yard toss to Justin Forsett, made it 28-14 Ravens. Again the vaunted Baltimore defense could not close the door like they did two years ago. Brady threw a 5 yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski to get the Patriots within 28-21. The Patriots got it back and Bill Bellichick went to his bag of tricks. Danny Amendola threw his first NFL pass, a halfback option that went for a 51 yard touchdown to Julian Edelman for a 28-28 game.

Every time it looked like one team had momentum, it would shift. With the Ravens facing 3rd and 2 at their own 28, Flacco scrambled around under heavy pressure and was eventually sacked and fumbled. The Patriots recovered all the way at the Baltimore 2 yard line ready to take the lead. Instead defense holding on Darrelle Revis meant 1st and 10 for Baltimore. Early in the fourth quarter the Ravens faced 4th and 1 at the New England 36. Earlier in the game John Harbaugh successfully gambled on 4th and 6. He went for it again and Flacco hit Juszczyk for 11 yards. On 2nd and goal at the 7 Flacco threw incomplete twice. Justin Tucker hit a 25 yard field goal as the Ravens led 31-28 with 10 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

The Ravens thought they had a chance to do further damage when the Patriots fumbled the ball and the Ravens recovered. It was the third Patriots fumbled on the day but the Patriots retained possession the first two times. They would again when the call as reversed and the runner’s knee was ruled down. This continued the 15 year track record of the Patriots benefitting from fumbled that are not really fumbles. Brady then threw a 23 yard touchdown pass to LaFell. With 5 minutes left the Patriots had their first lead of the game despite only 19 yards rushing.

The Ravens faced 4th and 3 from their own 42 with 2:14 to play. Each team took a time out, the second one for the Ravens. Flacco found Owen Daniels for a 17 yard gain to the New England 41 at the 2 minute warning. Offsides added 5 more yards. Flacco then went for all the marbles. He was intercepted in the end zone.

The Ravens got it back at their own 48 with 4 seconds left. Flacco’s Hail Mary was well thrown but still fell incomplete. Steve Smith was shoved to the ground but defensive pass interference on the Hail Mary is never called. The Evil Empire of Football escaped with another playoff win after being outplayed. Flacco finished 28 of 44 for 292 yards and 4 touchdowns, but with the 2 killer interceptions. Brady finished 33 of 50 for 367 yards, 3 touchdowns and one interception. New England hosts the AFC Title Game in one week. 35-31 Patriots

Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks was the Saturday night game. For three straight regular seasons, the Seahawks went on the road into Carolina and won. All 3 of those games were defensive slugfests. This year Seattle started 3-3 but finished with a 12-4 record. After starting 3-8-1, the Panthers won four straight and then their playoff game. Even though the game was in Seattle, both teams known for defense produced another hard-hitting slobber-knocker.

An interception of Cam Newton led to nothing, but then the Panthers fumbled and Seattle recovered at the Carolina 28. on 3rd and 9, Russell Wilson threw a 16 yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin for a 7-0 Seahawks lead.

In the second quarter Newton moved the Panthers 79 yards in 14 plays and 8 minutes. A 7 yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin tied the game 7-7. Wilson came back and fired a 63 yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse for a 14-7 Seahawks lead. As the half ended, Graham Gano twice nearly had a field goal try blocked by Kam Chancellor. After penalties on both teams, Gano hit the 35 yarder on the third try to get the Panthers within 14-10.

The defenses clamped down in the third quarter, but on the first play of the fourth quarter Steve Hauschka hit a 37 yard field goal to make it 17-10 Seahawks. Seattle got it back and Russell Wilson hit his non-relative Luke Wilson for the 25 yard touchdown with 10 1/2 minutes left in regulation. With a 24-10 Seahawks lead, the Legion of Boom did the rest. With the Panthers in the red zone looking to make it a one score game, Kam Chancellor intercepted Cam Newton and raced 89 yards for the dagger with 6 minutes to play. Carolina added a garbage  touchdown to complete the scoring as the Seahawks prepared to host their second straight NFC Title Game. 31-17 Seahawks

Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers was the Sunday morning game. It was 1966 and 1967 when the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys played two of the greatest NFL Title Games in pro football history. Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry gave us the Ice Bowl. Jerry Kramer wedged Jethro Pugh with, “the block.” In 1995 these teams again met with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. Again it came down to the fourth quarter. Emmett Smith ran over Green Bay on the way to a Dallas dynasty. One year later Green Bay ascended to the mountaintop with a gunslinger.

The 2014 Packers would have to play smash mouth to defeat the Cowboys in a battle of 12-4 teams. With Aaron Rodgers nursing an injured calf, pass-happy Mike McCarthy came out running the football. Rodgers capped off the opening drive by throwing a 4 yard touchdown pass to Quarrels for a 7-0 Packers lead. The Cowboys responded with a one yard touchdown pass to Clutts for a 7-7 tie.

Early in the second quarter The Packers were on the move and facing 3rd and 7 at the Dallas 27. An errant snap out of the shotgun led to Rodgers being sacked. The forced fumble was recovered by Dallas at their own 36 yard line. Romo threw a 38 yard touchdown pass to Terrence Williams for a 14-7 Cowboys lead. With 34 seconds left in the half Dan Bailey lined up for a 50 yard field goal to extend the Dallas lead. The kick was blocked, setting up the Packers at their own 40. 30 second was enough time. Mason Crosby’s 40 yard field goal to end the half had the Packers only down 14-10 instead of 17-7.

In the third quarter DeMarco Murray fumbled and the Packers recovered at the Dallas 44. Crosby hit a 30 yard field goal to get the Packers within 14-13 midway through the third quarter. Murray redeemed himself with a 26 yard run followed by a one yard plunge to put the Cowboys up 21-13 with 4 minutes left in the third quarter. The Packers came back but soon faced 3rd and 15 from the Dallas 46. Rodgers zipped a pass over the middle to DeVonte Adams and Adams outraced everyone for a touchdown to get the Packers within 21-20.

In the fourth quarter Rodgers moved the Packers. With 9 minutes left in regulation Rodgers completed a 13 yard touchdown pass to his non-relative Richard Rodgers. The 2 point conversion try failed but the Packers led 26-21. With 4 minutes left Dallas faced 4th and 2 at the Dallas 33. One option was to bring in Bailey for a 51 yard field goal and rely on the defense. Jason Garrett decided to go for it. Rather than just try and move the sticks, play caller Bill Callahan went for all the marbles. Romo went bombs away to Dez Bryant. Bryant was well defended, but somehow made an acrobatic catch at the one yard line. Mike McCarthy challenged the call.

The call will be debated in bars by letterheads for decades to come, but the officials reversed the call and declared an incomplete pass. With 2 1/2 minutes left the Packers soon faced 3rd and 3 at their own 40. Rodgers threw a short pass and again one player from each team wrestled for the ball. Davis came up with the reception and broke free for a 26 yard gain. At the 2 minute warning the Packers faced 3rd and 11 at the Dallas 35 with the Cowboys out of timeouts.

Obviously in that situation you do not even think of throwing the football. You run the ball and bleed the clock. Instead Mike McCarthy called a pass. Rodgers threw a risky pass over the middle knowing an incompletion would stop the clock. If Aaron Rodgers was not the league MVP before, he certainly is now. His 13 yard completion to Randall Cobb allowed the Packers to kneel on the ball.

Both quarterbacks played well. Romo finished 15 of 19 with 2 touchdowns. Rodgers was 24 of 35 for 316 yards and 3 touchdowns. Neither one was intercepted. Both of these coaches played to win rather than not to lose in this fine football game that is now an instant classic. Last week the Cowboys benefitted from a controversial call. This week the call went against them. As for the Packers, they are back in the NFC Title Game for the first time since 2010. They will be on the road, but they were then as well. 26-21 Packers

Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos was the Sunday afternoon game. I was supposed to be a mismatch, a tune-up for Denver before the AFC Title Game rematch from last year that seemed pre-ordained before this season started.  Early on Peyton Manning threw a 32 yard pass to Julius Thomas to set up a one yard touchdown pass to Denarius Thomas for the 7-0 Broncos lead.

Then the game changed. The second quarter began with Herron running it in from 6 yards out to tie the game. Then with the Broncos facing 3rd and 12 from midfield, Manning was sacked and fumbled. The Colts took over at the Denver 41. On 3rd and goal from the 6, Andrew Luck threw incomplete but Aqib Talib was called for defensive holding. Luck threw a 3 yard touchdown pass to Allen for a 14-7 Colts lead. The Colts missed a chance to extend the lead when a 43 yard Adam Vinatieri field goal try was no good. After a near interception of Manning was ruled out of bounds incomplete, Connor Barth hit a 45 yard field goal to get the Broncos within 14-10 at halftime.

In the third quarter the home crowd got very nervous when Luck led an 11 play, 72 yard, 5 minute drive. A 15 yard touchdown pass to Hakeem Nicks had the Colts up 21-10. Denver was in deeper trouble when they quickly went 3 and out on their next series. Yet the Broncos received a break when the Colts return man got belted and fumbled. There was no penalty since a member of the Colts blocked the Denver coverage person into the return man. The Broncos recovered the fumble at the Indianapolis 30. On further review, the officials reversed the call and ruled the return man down by contact. This one seemed like a blown call as the Colts retained possession.

It did not matter. On 3rd and 13 from their own 39, Luck went deep and was intercepted at the Denver 24. The Broncos finally got going on offense. On the last play of the third quarter the Broncos faced 4th and 1 at the Indy 36. John Fox decided to go for it. CJ Anderson was stopped cold in the backfield but somehow broke free of a couple tackles to change a multi-yard loss into a 7 yard gain. On 3rd and 4 from the Indy 23, Manning threw incomplete. Barth hit from 41 as the Broncos trailed 21-13 one minute into the fourth quarter.

After both teams went 3 and out, the Colts just pounded and grounded the Denver defense into dust. 13 plays bled over 8 minutes off of the clock. Vinatieri hit a 30 yard field goal as the Colts had a shocking 24-13 lead with 4 minutes left. Denver quickly faced 4th and 8 at their own 46. A dumpoff pass to Anderson came up inches short of the first down marker with 2:50 to play. John Fox challenged the spot and lost. The Broncos were done, forced to add 2014 to the ghosts of 1984, 1996 and 2012 playoff heartbreak at home.

The Colts were supposed to be tomato cans. Instead they just hit Denver in the mouth. Chuck Pagano’s team showed that “Chuck Strong” now applies to life on the football field as well as off of it. The Colts will be expected to lose badly on the road in the AFC Title Game. They will not care. They were supposed to lose this one. The AFC Title Game dream matchup of Manning against Brady will not take place this year. For the eleventh straight season, a lower seeded team knocked off a team with a first round bye.

Dear Dubya, I just turned 43

January 10th, 2015

Dear Dubya, I just turned 43

http://www.commdiginews.com/politics-2/my-43rd-birthday-wish-to-meet-president-bush-or-43-while-43-33033/

eric

NFL 2014-2015 Divisionals Prequel

January 10th, 2015

NFL 2014-2015 Divisionals Prequel

http://www.commdiginews.com/sports/nfl-2014-2015-divisionals-preview-and-bettors-guide-33022/

eric

Top 10 NFL Divisional upsets of all time

January 10th, 2015

Top 10 NFL Divisional upsets of all time

http://www.commdiginews.com/sports/top-ten-nfl-divisional-round-playoff-shockers-32990/

eric

2015: New Year, Same Islamists, Same French

January 10th, 2015

2015: New Year, Same Islamists, Same French

http://www.commdiginews.com/world-news/charlie-hebdo-radical-islam-new-year-celebration-32970/

eric

Stuart Scott: Can I get a witness from the congregation?

January 4th, 2015

RIP Stuart Scott. Simply the best.

http://www.commdiginews.com/sports/espn-anchor-stuart-scott-is-gone-but-not-forgotten-32762/

eric

NFL 2014-2015 Wildcards Recap

January 3rd, 2015

NFL 2014-2015 Wildcards Recap

http://www.commdiginews.com/sports/nfl-2014-2015-wildcards-lessons-learned-and-not-learned-32793/

Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers was the Saturday afternoon game. The Cardinals began the season 11-3 but lost a pair of quarterbacks along the way as they slipped from home field advantage to 11-5 and playing  a wildcard game. The Panthers began 3-8-1 but won four straight to win the dreadful NFC South and host a playoff game with a losing record. Five years ago the 9-7 Cardinals went into Carolina and shocked the heavily favored 12-4 Panthers. That game saw Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald lead the Greatest Show in the Desert. Jake Delhomme was never the same after that game and Steve Smith was eventually traded. The 2014 game saw third string Ryan Lindley face off against Cam Newton, who was playing only a couple weeks after suffering injuries in a serious car accident.

A poor punt had the Panthers beginning their first drive at the Arizona 48. Graham Gano hit a 47 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Panthers. Carolina got it back at their own 43 and Stewart ran for a 13 yard touchdown to make it 10-0 Panthers. The Panthers had all of the momentum until they fumbled a punt, setting up Arizona at the Carolina 30. On the first play of the second quarter Lindley hit Fells for a one yard touchdown to get the Cardinals within 10-7. Carolina missed a chance to extend their lead when a 43 yard field goal try by Gano was no good.

With 6 minutes left in the half a field position game had the Panthers starting on the Arizona 34. On 3rd and 13, Newton was intercepted by Antonio Cromartie, who raced 50 yards to the Carolina 17. From the one, Grice got the carry and fumbled the ball and the Panthers recovered. On further review, Grice broke the plane of the goal and the Cardinals had the touchdown and the 14-10 lead with 2:45 left in the half. Newton moved the Panthers in position for a 39 yard Gano field goal with seconds left in the half. This time it was good as the Panthers trailed 14-13 at halftime despite the Cardinals having only 65 yards of offense.

In the third quarter field position again favored the Panthers as another short Arizona punt had the Panthers setting up shop at the Arizona 39. One play was enough for Fozzy Whitaker to take a short pass from Newton, shake several tackles, cross the field, get some great blocks, and score to put the Panthers up 20-14. The Cardinals fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Panthers recovered at the Arizona 3 yard line. On 3rd and goal Newton threw incomplete, but defensive pass interference meant 1st and goal at the one. Newton hit Mike Tolbert all alone in the flat for the 27-14 Panthers lead.

A bizarre play in the third quarter let referee and attorney by trade Ed Hochuli explain a challenged call. Newton got hit and decided to try and throw the ball rather than bring it to his body and take the sack. The ball appeared to be thrown backward for a lateral and a live ball. Arizona challenged the call. Hochuli explained that if a quarterback is trying to throw forward but gets hit causing his body to spin around, a backward pass would still be considered a forward pass. The Panthers dodged a bullet with the incomplete pass.

With 12 minutes left in regulation the exact situation reversed. Newton went back to pass from his own 29 and got hit. Initially it appeared to be an incomplete pass but there was no whistle. On further review, Newton had the ball knocked out of his hand before his arm went forward. Then with his empty hand he knocked the ball forward. The officials again got the call right as the fumble was returned to the Carolina 8. One play later Lindley was intercepted by Luke Kuechly for a touchback.   

With 3 minutes left a Carolina punt pinned the Cardinals at their own one. A facemark penalty on the Panthers meant they had to punt again. This time the snap was fumbled, giving the Cardinals a short field. It did not matter. Lindley went to the end zone and had a pass tipped by Kuechly and intercepted. The Panthers took an intentional safety with three seconds left to avoid a blocked punt. Ron Rivera saw his team win their fifth straight while Bruce Arians was left to wonder what might have been if he had a healthy quarterback. 27-16 Panthers

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers was the Saturday night game. As expected, it was a hard-hitting head-knocker. With LeVeon bell out injured, the Steelers running game was not the same. Shawn Suisham got the Steelers on the board first with a 45 yard field goal. In the second quarter the Ravens moved 80 yards. Pierce got in from 5 yards out to make it 7-3 Ravens. It was the only touchdown of the half. A pair of defensive penalties on Baltimore, including one on 4th and 1, led to Suisham hitting from 22 to get the Steelers within 7-6. A Pittsburgh touchdown was waved off when the receiver caught the ball inbounds but was forced out of bounds before his feet landed. Justin Tucker hit from 28 for the Ravens and Suisham answered from 47 as his third field goal had the Steelers trailing 10-9 at halftime.

Tucker hit from 45 in the third quarter to make it 13-9. Baltimore got it back at their own 31 and Joe Flacco went deep to Steve Smith for a 40 yard gain. On 3rd and 7 from the Pittsburgh 11, Flacco hit Tory Smith for the touchdown and the 20-9 Ravens lead with 4 minutes left in the third quarter. With 12 minutes left in regulation, the Ravens seemed in the driver’s seat when they successfully converted on 4th and 1. One play later Justin Forsett fumbled and the Steelers took over at the Baltimore 45. Big Ben immediately went deep to Antonio Brown inside the one yard line. After a false start Big Ben ht Brown for the 6 yard touchdown.The 2 point conversion try was intercepted as the Steelers got within 20-15.

Baltimore came back and soon faced 3rd and 1 at the Pittsburgh 34. Rather than run up the gut, John Harbaugh went for all the marbles to try and put the game away. Flacco went deep to Smith in the back of the end zone, but Smith could not get both feet down. On 4th and 1 Harbaugh decided on a 52 yard field goal try knowing a miss would give Pittsburgh great field position. Tucker connected and the Ravens led 23-15 with 9 minutes left.

Roethlisberger quickly found himself in trouble. Trying to avoid a sack, he threw a dump off pass that bounced off a receiver’s fingers and was intercepted by Terrell Suggs. Suggs caught the ball between his legs and pulled it to his body. Midway through the fourth quarter the Ravens had another chance to put the game away at the Pittsburgh 21. Flacco immediately went for the kill and this time he hit Crockett Gilmore for the touchdown and the 30-15 Ravens lead.

With six minutes left a Pittsburgh touchdown pass was called back due to offensive holding. On the next play Roethlisberger got slammed to the ground. He left the game with a concussion and Bruce Gradkowski came in on 3rd and 21. On 4th and 3 from the 18, Gradkowski fired complete for the first down as the clock ticked. A pass to the end zone was knocked out of the receiver’s hands incomplete at the last moment. After 3 good throws by Gradkowski, Roethlisberger came back in the game. He immediately fired to the end zone and was intercepted for a touchback with 3 minutes left.

At the 2 minute warning the Ravens punted and the Steelers blocked it out of the end zone for a safety. Down by 13, Pittsburgh got the free kick and took over at their own 31 with 1:50 left needing a miracle. On 4th and 3 from the Pittsburgh 38, Roethlisberger found Heath Miller for a 6 yard gain. Miller fumbled and the Ravens recovered to run out the clock. Flacco finished 18 of 29 for 259 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. Roethlisberger finished 31 of 45 for 334 yards and one touchdown but with two costly interceptions. The Ravens travel to New England for the Divisional game. This was AFC North football, and on this night it was Baltimore who hit Pittsburgh in the mouth. 30-17 Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts was the Sunday morning game. The Colts throttled the Bengals 27-0 during the regular season, and began their playoff game in similar fashion. A 2 yard touchdown run by Herron quickly made it 7-0 Colts. This time the Bengals responded as Jeremy Hill got in from one yard out to tie the game 7-7 In the second quarter the Colts drove to the red zone twice but had to settle for Adam Vinatieri field goals from 38 and 29 yards for a 13-7 lead. With 10 seconds left in the half Mike Nugent had a 57 yard field goal that doinked off the upright but went through good as the Bengals trailed 13-10 at halftime.

Midway through the third quarter Andrew Luck threw a perfect pass to Moncrief for a 36 yard touchdown and a 20-10 Colts lead. After another touchdown was wiped off of the board due to an offensive penalty, Vinatieri’s third field goal from 22 yards out made it 23-10 Colts late in the third quarter. With 11 1/2 minutes in regulation Vinatieri hit his fourth field goal from 53 to complete the scoring.  Luck finished 31 of 44 for 376 yards and the one touchdown pass. Andy Dalton finished 16 of 30 for 137 yards without a touchdown. Neither quarterback was intercepted. Marvin Lewis joined Jim Mora in losing six playoff games without a win. “Playoffs? Are you kidding me?” Not for the Bengals, who were eliminated in the opening round for the fourth straight year. 26-10 Colts.

Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys was the Sunday afternoon game. Fans of these teams finally had a reason to rejoice after years of frustration. The 11-5 Lions and 12-4 Cowboys offered contrasting styles. Dallas had the glamour on offense with Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and workhorse DeMarco Murray. Detroit brought the ugly defense led by Ndamokung Suh.

Early on the script did not play to form. Mathew Stafford fired a strike to Golden Tate, who outraced everyone for a 51 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Lions lead. A good Dallas punt pinned the Lions at their own one. Detroit punted but a running into the kicker penalty gave Detroit another chance. The Lions moved 99 in 14 plays and 7 minutes. Reggie Bush, despite having once dated a Kardashian, ran for an 18 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Lions.

With 1:50 left in the half and the Lions in total control, one defensive breakdown made it a ballgame. On 3rd and 12 from the Dallas 24, Romo found Terrence Williams, who sped away from everyone for a 74 yard touchdown to get the Cowboys within 14-7. Stafford quickly moved the Lions after a touchback into field goal range. As the half ended, Matt Prater’s 39 yard field goal was just inside the upright for a 17-7 Lions lead.

On the first play of the third quarter, Stafford had a pass over the middle deflected and intercepted. Dallas took over at the Detroit 19. On 3rd and 1 from the 10, rather than feed DeMarco Murray, a pass play was called. Romo was sacked for a 13 yard loss. Dan Bailey then missed the 41 yard field goal try as the Cowboys came up with nothing. It became a big momentum swing that led to Prater hitting from 37 to make it 20-7 Lions.

With 3 minutes left in the third quarter the Cowboys were knocking on the door when Murray failed to get in on 3rd and goal from the one. Jason Garrett decided to go for it and on 4th and goal Murray got in to get the Cowboys within 20-14. The fourth quarter began with the Cowboys immediately moving to a 1st and 10 at the Detroit 18. Consecutive sacks by Suh meant 4th and 25. Bailey hit from 51 to get the Cowboys within 20-17 with 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

Terrible judgment on the kick return had the Lions starting on their own 5. Midway through the fourth quarter Detroit threw incomplete on 3rd and 1 from the Dallas 46. The Lions initially benefitted from a terrible defensive pass interference call, but in a very rare move the refs picked up the flag. Caldwell opted to punt on 4th and 1 when disaster struck. A shanked punt went only 10 yards as the Cowboys took over at their own 41. The punt was not blocked nor was there pressure. It was just a bad kick.

Dallas soon faced 4th and 6 at the Detroit 42 with 6 minutes left. Jason Garrett again decided to go for it and Romo hit Witten for 21 yards. On 3rd and 7 from the 13 with 3 1/2 minutes left, Romo threw incomplete. Yet another killer defensive holding penalty on the Lions meant 1st and goal at the 8. On 3rd and goal Romo avoided the pressure, danced around, and fired to Williams. Their second touchdown connection gave Dallas a 4 point lead with 2 1/2 minutes left.

The Dallas offense did their jobs. The Detroit defense did not. Now it was time to see whether the other matchup would favor the Detroit offense or the Dallas defense. Dallas appeared to end the game when Stafford got belted and fumbled. Rather than fall on it, a Dallas defender tried to run with it. He got stripped and the Lions got the ball back at the 2 minute warning. Given second life, Detroit moved to a 4th and 3 at the Dallas 42 with exactly one minute left. Stafford was sacked and fumbled again, and this time the Cowboys fell on the ball.

The Lions have still only won one playoff game since 1957 and none since 1991. The win was sweet redemption for Tony Romo and Jason Garrett. It was also sweet for Rod Marinelli. He was the coach of the 2008 Lions that went 0-16. He is now the coordinator of the Dallas defense that made the biggest stop when it counted. As for Jerry Jones, he was criticized for years for being impatient and in recent years for being too patient. His patience with Garrett and Romo was rewarded on this day. 24-20 Cowboys

The Divisional Playoffs are set.

NFC

Saturday: 4) Carolina Panthers at 1) Seattle Seahawks

Sunday: 3) Cowboys at 2) Green Bay Packers

AFC

Saturday: 6) Baltimore Ravens at 1) New England Patriots

Sunday: 4) Indianapolis Colts at 2) Denver Broncos

eric

NFL 2014-2015 Wildcards Prequel

January 3rd, 2015

NFL 2014 Wildcards Prequel

http://www.commdiginews.com/sports/nfl-2014-2015-wildcards-preview-and-bettors-guide-32685/

eric

2015: We…can…do…this

January 1st, 2015

2015: We…can…do…this

What the heck is that beeping sound?

(Knocks the phone off the hook, keeps banging the snooze alarm)

A voice tells me it’s my pager. My pager is black, so finding it in the dark is the needle haystack equivalent. A lucky smack knocks it against the wall, where it may or may not have shattered. The beeping continues. Why does anyone need a pager anymore anyway?

Who the heck is texting me at this ungodly hour of…(either 7 a.m., 1 p.m., or 1 a.m. …it looks blurry)?

Oh, no. It is 5 a.m., and my first radio interview of the New Year is with the morning man of an East Coast station. Time to pretend to sound coherent and go back to sleep. Oh no, wait, that radio interview was last year.

Great, happy wishes for the new year. Thanks. Whoever you are, it is too early to talk to you.

One year the person on the telephone insisted it was 1 p.m. After explaining to them that they were on the East Coast, and that 1 p.m. EST is 10 a.m. in Los Angeles, they grew impatient. They knew how to tell time, and that it was 4 p.m. EST, hence 1 p.m. my time.

Sure, getting up and writing my column is an option. It’s a new year, and starting the year off with a flurry of brilliance might be helpful. Forget it. This column is recycled from years ago.

Election 2016? The first candidate to call me gets blistered in my column … tomorrow.

Bowl games? There is Tivo. Besides, does anybody care who wins the Poulan Weed Eater Bowl, the Lack of Insight.com Bowl, the Fishbowl, the RU486 Morning After Bowl, The California Metrosexual Pride Bowl, or any other game that may or may not be made up?

Speaking of the morning after, does anybody remember the David Byrne Talking Heads song from the movie “Less than Zero? (which the temperature feels like right now, even in LA)? The song is called “Once In A Lifetime.”

“This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife. What have I done? How did I get here?”

It then occurs to me that the beeping sounds are the voices in my head telling me I am too old, even at 42, to stay out this late. Even without alcohol, exhaustion has set in.

Get out of bed? Work calls in (whenever) hours. Better rest up, before my tyrant of a boss complains. Such is the life of the self-employed.

Get up now? Somehow stagger to the shower, get dressed, make it out of my condo to go … where?

The stores are closed. Maybe they are open. Too tired to find out.

My birthday is in just over a week. Time to pace myself.

Work on my website? All that takes is staggering to my couch. Oh, no. My IT guy has not finished it

yet. Oh, wait, he did years ago. I clicked on the wrong site.

Go on Jdate and search for women? Not a bad idea, except it is too tiring to check their adams apples. This is not the year for a boyfriend, and am not sure that my eyes can tell the difference right now. Besides, Jdate is so 2014. Now it is Tinder, JSwipe and Crush.

Shop on Ebay? No, bad idea. Buying stuff when not at full capacity is problematic. Who needs another mountain goat? Dang creature gets his horns in my hide. Not a comfy way to wake up. Calm down boy, you’ll get some straw to graze on upon my waking up.

Work on my record album? Although again, world, just because my hair is long, that does not mean my band exists. The best instrument is the triangle, because that tells me lunch is ready.

Ahh, yes, lunch. Get up and eat something. My microwave is slow, and a five minute microwave dinner takes almost 15 minutes. Read the paper? It is cold outside my building where the stand is, and it only takes coins. Reading the paper online is tiring, and my printer is not working. At least the lifestyle section makes a great placemat for eating.

Staying in bed for only a couple more hours until (whatever the big and little hands say) would allow me to stay up all night and be totally exhausted for work tomorrow. Again, my boss is a tyrant.

Running errands … not gonna happen.

Every morning, a four word prayer starts my day. My elbows are used to try and leverage them against my bed to prop me up. Placing my alarm clock on the other side of the room failed, since ripping the cord out of the wall solved that problem.

As for the Jewish brunette who stole the covers, her political liberalism was not a problem last night, although if she opens her trap today she will receive a more caustic reception than usual.

Oh wait, she already left. Here is a note. “Tried to wake you, but that was a losing battle. By the way, you have nothing but soda in your fridge. Talk to you soon.” oh, wait, I think that happened a decade ago. This is 2015 not 2005.

She is a liar. There are potato chips in my fridge as well. Why they are there remains a mystery, but it saves having to remember which cabinet they are in. One stop shopping  is the way to go.

Besides, combing my hair for her last night was enough. Not doing it this morning, proud “retrosexual” that is me.

At least having the decency to say some morning prayers would be appropriate.

“Hey God…those people I pray for every night…yeah those people, the same ones…look after them again.”

Back to sleep, despite every attempt to wake up. The home phone is turned off, the cell is off as well, and the pager is still shattered, in addition to being disconnected years ago.

There may have been a car crash outside my building followed by 911 calls and sirens, but telling everybody to “keep it down,” solved that problem. A brief nightmare of me being late for work was averted when I realized my location to me was known if necessary.

Four televisions in the living room, and none in the bedroom. Who thought that up? Oh yeah, a television in the bedroom would promote laziness. Besides, trying to figure out which remote to use would cause me to break them all as if they were my pager.

Ok, here it is. Come on, elbows, do your stuff. Rise, young lad, rise! Awaken thy exhausted tired eyes!

Why is God shouting? Oh wait, that is my overdramatization of God.

Time to set the alarm now to avoid missing work tomorrow. Where was it thrown? Threw it? Oh, screw it.

Ok, time for my four word prayer. It has gotten me this incredibly terribly far. Time to contemplate getting out of bed.

“We…can…do…this.”

Happy 2015 all. Except for the person that woke me up earlier. Whoever you are, I still can’t stand you, even though you are doing me a favor.

Ten hours and 16 bowl games later, there is only one thing left to do.

Time for a nap. Happy 2015.

Zzzzz.

eric

New Year Eve 2014 with Lil John and Senator Brian Schatz

January 1st, 2015

New Years Eve with Lil John and Senator Brian Schatz

http://www.commdiginews.com/politics-2/the-schatz-rap-nye-2014-with-lil-john-and-brian-schatz-32617/

eric