Saturday, October 11, 2008

Game Journal: Redskins at Eagles, 10/5/2008

When last we left our intrepid travelers, your author and his traveling partner lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader/lurker Wilbert Montgomery, they had decided to make a weekend of their trip to Philadelphia to see the Redskins and Eagles play for the 18th time in the last 19 games in the series, and the 16th overall for your author. They had lit off for Philadelphia on Saturday 4 October 2008 and spent that day at a museum exhibit of stoner art, drinking in bars and looking for a way to watch the Phillies-Rays World Series game on local television.

Waking up to an outstanding breakfast prepared by Wilbert Montgomery's mom, we had some errands to run before the game. First we needed tickets. Seems as though Wilbert Montgomery's sister had failed to deposit the tickets at the parents' house and the sister had since gone out of town. How we were going to get past security at Wilbert Montgomery's sister's brand new green high rise condo in Wilmington was a mystery to me but I tell you, I have seen Wilbert Montgomery talk himself into and out of some serious situations so if anyone was going to be able to walk in to a building and say hey you don't know me but I need something out of someone's place upstairs and I don't have a key it would be Wilbert Montgomery.

Somewhere inside this building are our tickets.

Of course Wilbert Montgomery parks us right under the NO PARKING FIRE LANE sign then walks right past the police officer and into the building that he doesn't live in to get property out of a residence he does not have the key to.

As I was waiting either for Wilbert Montgomery to return or the police to force me to move the car out of the fire lane, I was as always listening to Sirius NFL Radio. I happened to catch most of John Madden's preview of the Redskins-Eagles game on tape:

(YouTube here) Basically the whole preview is about how tough Jim Johnson's defense will be for the Redskins. Get well Jim Johnson.

Our next task was to pick up our game partner Andy aka fly eagles fly in comments, he was coming up from Washington on the early train to take Wilbert Montgomery's extra ticket. Like Wilbert Montgomery, Andy is an Eagles fan trapped in the educated, comfortable and civilized confines of the DC area. Andy's train was right on time and we made our way to the stadium it was not yet 10am.

How I know I am on final approach to Philadelphia.

The Broad Street exit, we never get off here, Wilbert Montgomery goes the super secret locals only back way down Packer Avenue.

The distinctive open to the highway east side of Eagles Stadium.

As we made final approach to our tailgate spot I documented the arrival and the in car chatter, it is obvious we are all excited about this game.

(YouTube here) Andy thinks it is all about motivation, Wilbert Montgomery thinks it is about Shawn Springs and whether he plays (he did not).

We captured more or less our usual spot, right on South Lawrence Street and Packer Avenue, right across from the Liberty Fish and Fine Products warehouses.

Usually we are right across the street from Liberty Fish, as in this photo from the 2007 game and this photo from the 2006 game.

No doubt perfectly legitimate.

With nearly three hours to go before kickoff, we set tailgating immediately.

Wilbert Montgomery setting stuff up while the reliably managerial Andy looks on.

The view through the chain link to Citizens Bank Park, the new home of the Phillies. I hope to get there in 2009 with Wilbert Montgomery for a Nationals-Phillies series, who knows, maybe I will even chronicle it on nearly defunct sister site The Curly W.

Setting up the tailgate, Liberty Fish in the background. Andy still has not clocked in and Wilbert Montgomery did all the work to set up. There are different kinds of Eagles fans.

No need for this unless there is brats in your future.

One of my better capers, I ordered this shirt for Wilbert Montgomery and did not tell him, it arrived and he spent a few days trying to figure out where it came from. No surprise that I was his original suspect. Sadly now that the Phillies won the World Series this shirt is a collectors item.

Wilbert Montgomery wearing it proudly, the Wilmingtonian that he is.

Andy saving the world, one Blackberry message at a time.

When one is in Philadelphia one listens to WIP, I happened to catch a few good bits from the pregame show. The first is some pregame banter, the end of the parody The Hell with the Redskins song, making fun of Hail to the Redskins (a longer capture of that one is further below).

(YouTube here) Mainly in this bit the hosts talk about the time in the 2005 season when Clinton Portis' mother, Rhonnel Hearn, who never misses a game her baby plays, was doused with beer at Eagles Stadium. The WIP crew not surprisingly has the story backwards. According to the Washington Post, Rhonnel and her party were doused with flying beer then Rhonnel punched out the lady that threw the beer, the WIP crew reports it in the opposite order, as though Clinton's mama started it. Which I am sure she did with her mouth.

A few minutes later they had a caller, a Redskins fan from Lancaster Pennsylvania and the topic oddly was Giants fans.

(YouTube here) I missed the part where they grilled him on being a Redskins fan and living in Philadelphia.

Your author.

Wilbert Montgomery with the game ticket, that is cornerback Asante Samuel.

More fun from the WIP pregame show. They manage to score an interview with a Redskins-Eagles mixed couple, the girl is the Eagles fan and they cannot get much out of the Redskins fan boyfriend.

(YouTube here) The gem of this bit is the interview with a fake Arlen Specter in the second half. They had me going at first, it really does sound like the senior senator from Pennsylvania.

Shortly thereafter I managed to pick up most of the replay of the The Hell with the Redskins fight song parody.

(YouTube here) The guy singing sounds an awful like Doug Tracht, the Greaseman himself.

And so about noon after a two hour tailgate we decided to head down South Lawrence to Eagles Stadium, for once we might actually be able to get in, get beers and get seats before kickoff.

The imagery of a dead and smashed bird in the road on the walk to Eagles Stadium was not lost on me, especially since the Eagles ultimately lost 23-17 to the Redskins amidst cascades of boos from the home crowd.

Andy and Wilbert Montgomery in the warehouse district of South Philadelphia.

The second dead bird in the last 100 yards, at this point I am having a recollection of a movie where the birds started falling from the skies and the next thing people were eating each other. That is not a good story for me in Philadelphia.

First look at Eagles Stadium down Pattison Street, that is the PBS building at left, but not that PBS, it definitely is a front for some shady business.

There are a lot of girls women ladies at Eagles games, something I have observed over the past ten years. They all love football, some of them are hot and many are trasheh. Only a small percentage of them are trasheh-hot like these ladies, too bad I could not get them from the front, they were driving the home crowd frigging nuts.

Citizens Bank Park aka Phillies Stadium, the new home of the World Champion Phillies, directly across the street from Eagles Stadium, I hope to see some games there this summer assuming I still have gainful employment and no the blog does not count.

The sea of green going into an Eagles game.

A Chuck Bednarik jersey, that is old school, Chuck retired from the Eagles in 1962 and was elected into the Hall of Fame five years later in his first year of eligibility, Chuck helped Frank Gifford out of football.

As ever the RVs line up out in front of the stadium, there are some good ones including this retro beater...

...and this hand painted throwback Eagles logo...

...a more professional paint job...

...the mother of all Eagles themed RVs, obviously sponsored or owned by a Pulte contractor...

...and the incredible paint job, the regulation logo and a two color image of the Philadelphia skyline, these guys take this stuff seriously.

Lining up to get in to the stadium, this line moves pretty quickly... funnel craploads of people in...

...even an Eagles fan like Andy thinks those people are insane.

Finally we are in the stadium, with more than forty minutes until kickoff. So we took a leisurely stroll across the promenade.

(YouTube here) I have come to an appreciation of Mr. Greengenes, the goofball cover band that plays for the promenade and on a platform on the east side of the stadium at halftime (see below), they are actually pretty tight as the cover of David Bowie & Freddie Mercury's Under Pressure indicates. Note also that I draw attention to how long is the line for face painting. Sadly I could not get Andy to accede my offer to wait in line with him if he would get his face painted.

The big screen on the promenade, yes it is a Redskins game kids!

Then it was time to head up to the seats.

First look at the field, this is a terrific stadium.

I think the stadium worker was trying to get this guy some medical attention, she may not have realized he did that to himself on purpose.

Looking up the stairs on the west side of the stadium, these fans hang out there the whole game.

The observation deck at the top of the west steps, this is where they trot out Sylvester Stallone once a year to reenact the Rocky scenes the team insists on playing before every game. Note also the Reggie White banner at top, this town loves that guy.

More pregame big screen.

The famous Terry Farrell, Jr. (in Eagle mask). He is one of the ones if not the Eagles superfan that gets on TV most games, his seats are in Wilbert Montgomery's section which is why you see him and me on TV from time to time.

Terry unmasked, the Eagle mask was a new one for me, I have seen the Philly Gras beads and the green feather boa but not the mask until today.

The Philadelphia Muffintops cheerleaders with their signature pink pom poms for the Eagles Tackle Breast Cancer campaign.

More of the Muffintops.

The Muffintops up on the big screen, note the ad for Lovaza at left, Lovaza is a prescription fish oil omega-3 pill for treating high triglycerides typically found in fat people and people on the way to a heart attack. Philadelphia happens to be a top 20 fattest city in the country so there may be a market here. By one cardiologist's account Lozava is almost 3400 dollars per year for the standard dose, the same doctor says you can get virtually the same thing with a fish oil pill out of the vitamin section for about 150 dollars a year.

Lil Swoop, the second string mascot in the inflatable suit, kind of creepy for some reason.

More of the Muffintops at midfield.

Donovan McNabb Pro Bowl jersey from 2004, nice.

Love the Natty Boh. But isn't that a Baltimore Beer?

When I first sat down and saw this guy three rows in front of me I thought he was clad in a really tacky green and white Eagles shirt. Then I noticed the lei and realized it was a really tacky University of Hawaii shirt, this guy and his lei'd lady companion were here to catch a glimpse of Redskins rookie quarterback and former UH sensation Colt Brennan.

And so the introductions begin, number 36 tailback Brian Westbrook...

...number 5 quarterback Donovan McNabb.

The midfield coin toss.

This town is frigging nuts for Rocky.

And now is time for game. Thing I have travel all way from home in Russia.

The first three shots are of the opening kickoff, returned by Philadelphia to the 20, the fourth is the first play from scrimmage, right click and have a look at the hole Brian Westbrook is in, he took it seventeen yards on the play.

(YouTube here) Second play from scrimmage, Brian Westbrook for five yards, with microcommentary on the Eagles game plan by Wilbert Montgomery.

Two shot sequence of second and five on the Eagles 42, 13:23 to go in the first, Brian Westbrook up the middle for three yards.

Nine plays later the Eagles scored on a first and goal from the Redskins nine yard line to make the game 7-0 Eagles. I caught just a flash of the fight song on the big screen.

Hit em low, that being the key takeaway from the Eagles fight song.

The Redskins got the ball back, mainly because that is the rules in football.

Superfan Terry Farrell, Jr. (in eagle mask) watches as Jason Campbell prepares to throw an incomplete pass on first and ten from the Redskins 31 yard line. This was not a good drive, three and out, all incomplete passes.

Yet-to-be-cut Durant Brooks booted the ball a whole 37 yards where it was fielded by Eagles rookie receiver and returner DeSean Jackson at the Eagles 32. All DeSean did was take the ball 68 yards for a touchdown, or so we thought. There was a flag on the play back on the Eagles half of the field and the touchdown was waved off...

(YouTube here) The flag looked to be for a block in the back but as you can see from this video after a tense minute the flag is picked up and the touchdown counts, the crowd goes wild...

...and the Eagles are up fourteen to nothing with almost eight minutes to go in the first quarter.

The Redskins had another unproductive drive, not even getting out of their own territory before punting.

DeSean Jackson fair caught the ball on the Philadelphia 15 and that is where the Eagles started their second possession.

Nine plays later the Eagles had moved to the Redskins 32, Donovan McNabb missed tight end Greg Lewis on third and five and Philadelphia was setting up for a 50 yard field goal...

(YouTube here) ...which David Akers missed, score remains 14-0 Eagles. Note the commentary at the end of the video, Wilbert Montgomery does not believe David has been the same since tearing his hamstring in 2006.

Fast forward two possessions and into the second quarter, the Redskins had managed a field goal then the Eagles had punted. Aussie Sav Rocca boomed a 52 yard kick that was downed at the Redskins three yard line, the home crowd got loud for their defense...

(YouTube here) ...and then quieted down when tailback Clinton Portis carried the ball around the left end for eight yards.

Two plays later the Philadelphia defense had held and it was third and one deep in Redskins territory. Jason Campbell snaps the ball and...

(YouTube here) ...Clinton Portis delivers and it is first down Redskins, listen to that crowd hush.

Next play, Redskins first down on the Washington 15...

(YouTube here) ...and this time it is Ladell Betts off left side for nine yards, note about halfway through the video a nearby Eagles fan asks where is the, sounds like control.

And the next play, Redskins second and one on the Washington 24...

(YouTube here) ...and it is Ladell Betts again, this time for fourteen yards, the Philadelphia natives are at this point starting to get a little restless.

Now three plays later, still in the second quarter, third and eleven on the Washington 37 yard line, on first down Eagles safety Brian Dawkins had roared through and sacked Jason Campbell for a nine yard loss, then Chris Cooley had caught an eight yard pass...

(YouTube here) ...Jason Campbell goes right side to rookie receiver Devin Thomas for sixteen yards on third and eleven, note the nearby Eagles fan bemoaning Devin's rookiness pejoratively and in an impotent rage. First down Redskins.

Despite Washington's domination on this drive, the Redskins could only manage a field goal to bring the game to 14-6 Eagles. With just under two minutes left in the second quarter and a chance to close out the half with a score, or at least prevent Washington from scoring again... the Eagles laid a three and out, and with no help from the Redskins in the form of timeouts took only 52 seconds off the clock.

Washington got the ball back after Sav Rocca's punt on their own eighteen with 55 seconds left in the half and in eight plays, seven passes and a run by Ladell Betts, moved to the Philadelphia 32 yard line with five seconds left. Shaun Suisham came out and kicked a 50 yard field goal to mirror the one David Akers missed and the half ended 14-9 Eagles.

The halftime score, 14-9 Eagles, after a 14-0 Eagles start.

The halftime entertainment was Mr. Greengenes (op. cit.), the aforementioned goofball cover band that has their own stage down on the promenade before games, as ever they put on a great show, all clad in Eagles jerseys.

Bryen, lead signer.

They have their own stage in the southeast corner of the stadium, that open corner in the middle of the picture is the corner of the stadium open to Interstate 95 as depicted above on the way to the stadium. Right click this photo for full size, the stage is dead center.

A closeup of the Mr. Greengenes halftime stage.

A wider shot of the band on the big screen, Bryen, Tim, John and Joe. Perhaps this is the right time to mention that these guys do not reveal their full names on their website.

Halftime stats, it is pretty even, the Eagles have a huge advantage in return yards and penalty yards, the Redskins held the ball for a minute and a half longer.

Superfan Terry Farrell, Jr., unmasked.

Quote Insanely Green unquote? Indeed.

Superfan Terry Farrell, Jr. again, note the Green Intensity on the big screen over his shoulder, I would call this guy green intense. He used to hurl obscenities at me, redfaced and beady eyed with flecks of spit flying, now he knows me and I just get the finger.

Quote Green is putting your tickets in your will unquote. No, green is rushing the field during a game and dumping your mother's ashes without permission and getting arrested for it. That is taking one for the team.

Then it was time to resume the game. The Redskins got the ball to start the second half and punted near midfield, Philadelphia got the ball back on their own twenty yard line with 12:22 left in the third...

(YouTube here) ...and Donovan McNabb goes incomplete to Greg Lewis. Listen in the crowd reaction, particularly the Eagles fan near by the camera, for how confident they feel about the Eagles' lead.

After a short run by tailback Brian Westbrook it was third and eight for the Eagles at the Philadelphia 22...

(YouTube here) ...and cornerback Carlos Rogers breaks up the pass intended for receiver Jason Avant, the crowd did not dig it. It is perhaps worth noting that in the absence of receiver Terrell Owens, the Eagles have temporarily granted jersey number 81 to Jason Avant.

The Eagles wound up punting after three plays and it is Redskins ball on their own 25 yard line. Six plays later, including a third and nine deep in Washington territory converted on a sixteen yard Jason Campbell to Antwaan Randle El completion, it was second and three on the Eagles 30 and for once the play is over on our side of the field...

(YouTube here) ...and quarterback Jason Campbell hooks up with the rookie Devin Thomas for a second big play, a twelve yard catch taking the ball down to the Philadelphia 18. Despite the Eagles' 14-9 lead you can hear the frustration growing in the home crowd.

The next play, Redskins first and ten on the Philadelphia 18 yard line, Redskins still trailing 14-9, 8:16 left in the third quarter...

(YouTube here) ...and Jason Campbell hands off on the reverse option to Antwaan Randle El, he spots tight end Chris Cooley on the right side and passes for a touchdown to move the Redskins ahead 15-14 before the extra point try and the home crowd is quieting down.

Although you can hear Wilbert Montgomery on that last video questioning whether a Washington lineman was illegally downfield that was not the controversy of the play. Philadelphia challenged the play, alleging that Antwaan had sold the reverse run too well and had actually gone over the line of scrimmage which should have resulted in an illegal forward pass penalty.

Curly R aside: illegal forward pass is my favorite penalty call in all of football. As you can see in the image at right the referee stands straight with his right hand behind his back, his elbow cocked at ninety degrees and waves his hand back and forth, ninety degrees cocked to straight down and back several times, physically signaling as though the ref has passed the line of scrimmage and it is now behind him. I love this call so much because it resembles a man waving the air behind his bottom to disperse the awful smell of his farts that he is afraid you will enter the room and smell at any second. For this reason I always loudly say smelly fahts in place of illegal forward pass when the penalty is called.

Between the touchdown and the challenge the two attractive lady Eagles fans behind me asked if I would be in a picture with them, they wanted me to lean back into their cleavage and appear surprised, as though they were beating or molesting me, the Redskins fan in full jersey and ballcap regalia that I was, the guy in the row in front of me took the picture with their camera and the photo appeared to come out really well, if you ladies are reading this then please email me a copy of that photo, I get the feeling that they did not get the same thing from the experience that I did.

One of my so called tormentors. I am looking forward to next year's game at Eagles Stadium already.

(YouTube here) Meanwhile the play was upheld, touchdown Redskins, after Shaun Suisham's extra point the game was 16-14 Washington and Philadelphia was charged a time out. The Eagles would not regain the lead.

The Redskins take their first lead with 8:08 left in the third after the 18 yard Antwaan Randle El to Chris Cooley touchdown pass.

Quick Blackberry Man, there's a policy wonk in danger!

After the Redskins touchdown the Eagles three and outed, then the Redskins went on an eight play drive before punting, then the Eagles three and outed again, both of those drives totaled three complete passes for fifteen yards and three incomplete passes, as I remember the game now it seemed a bit early, down by two with an entire quarter to play, for Andy Reid to suddenly panic and feel the need to score immediately by passing but that's just me.

After Sav Rocca booted a 56 yard punt to end that second consecutive Eagles three and out, Antwaan Randle El had what must have been one of his best of the year if not the best punt return he had in 2008, taking the ball 21 yards to the Washington 35 where Philadelphia special teams linebacker Torrance Daniels grabbed Antwaan's facemask then hit him out of bounds. The resulting unnecessary roughness penalty (the facemask penalty was declined) gave Washington the ball on the Philadelphia side of midfield.

After two plays a Clinton Portis run for no yards then one for nine, it was third down and one on the Eagles 34 with 49 seconds left in the third quarter... and Clinton takes it 27 yards down to the Philadelphia seven yard line. Ladell Betts moved the ball to the four, ending the third quarter.

Jason Campbell tried to find fullback Mike Sellers on the first play of the fourth quarter but it fell incomplete.

Then, it was Clinton Portis time...

(YouTube here) As Clinton walks in from four yards out to move the score to 22-14 before the PAT Eagles fans start to melt down, then silence.

But then look at the clock, despite the Redskins 23-14 lead there were still nearly fifteen minutes left in the game. The Eagles then went on a twelve play drive that went all the way to the Washington two yard line...

... but could not punch it in...

... first Rocky McIntosh then Andre Carter stopped Eagles tailback Brian Westbrook at the goal line and the Eagles had to settle for a field goal to make the game 23-17.

This is superfan Terry Farrell, Jr. getting what I think is a a teddy bear to make him feel better from Swoop the Low Budget Mascot.

23-17 Redskins, 2:48 left in the game, tick tock...

Last real play of the game, Jason Campbell hands off to Clinton Portis on fourth and one on the Eagles 38, Clinton banged it for three and the first down.

Three kneeldown plays and the game was over, Redskins win 23-17.

(YouTube here) Your reporter bids adieu to Eagles Stadium for another year.

We leave you with a final image on the way out of the stadium:

My benefactor, lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader/lurker Wilbert Montgomery on the left, trailed by his nom de jersey on the right. Thanks again Wilbert Montgomery, I can't wait to tell the story of our 21 December 2008 trip to Redskins Stadium, our 19th of the past 20 games in this rivalry, and my 17th straight.

All photos and videos by me.


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