Cowboys @ Eagles 1st Half Live Blog

Cowboys @ Eagles 1st Half Live Blog

Earlier today I get a text message from friend and long time Level reader Sid who was tailgating all day.  It included this picture of none other than the Andy Reid impersonator, Stevey A.  Not gonna lie, it made us entirely jealous that we weren't down in the lots all day with our fellow Eagles fans.  Instead, we're going to sit back and watch this one from the couch and post some thoughts as they happen.

Kick off in about 30 minutes.  Follow along after the jump.

Pregame: The Eagles wear green.  Apparently, NBC cares about the environment.

So I guess turning the lights out means you're being nice to the environment???   And when you're operating like normal -- you know, with the lights on -- your just killing baby seals.

Here's my drinking game for the night.  Take a shot every time you hear one of Andy's kids mentioned, ever time you see the Liberty Bell or a shot of the skyline, or one of the announcers talk about Owens/McNabb BS.  Double shot if T.O. does a good TD dance.

Yes! Jim Johnson uses Rocky to inspire the Eagles defense.

Loyal commenter Gootman writes in with our first breaking news, "Tony Romo is queer.  More thoughts to come..."

1st Quarter

Alright, first play from scrimage... let's see if the Eagles can get Bri... Jesus! Donovan McNabb fumble.  Great start Eagles!

Tony Romo finds T.O. right in the middle of the field.  Terrell Owens proceeds to stroll down to the 10 yard line on a speedy RAC.  Thunderlips brings up a good point in the comments, can't the Eagles come up with a different movie to use to motivate themselves, like maybe The Mighty Ducks or something?

And just like that it's 7-0 Dallas.  When does Curb Your Enthusiasm start?

Some football commentary: could the Eagles return game do any less?  I think Reno Mahe may have had one return this season that was like, "oooh, not bad."  Other than that our return game provides zero.  Nada.

Reggie Brown gets the Eagles a first on a nice route, Brian Westbrook runs for another... and the Eagles cheerleaders are there, showing off their, uh, their pink pom-poms for breast cancer awareness.

Reggie Brown with another nice route and a great RAC down to about the two yard line.  Madden seems to think this Jacques Reeves guy couldn't play in your flag football league.  TOUCHDOWN BWEST!  7-7

Commercial analysis: Ha!  In a new commercial, Samsung says it's new JUKE phone is "leading the music phone revolution." LOL! Ha!  And then an iPhone iPod touch commercial that kicks ass is aired about a minute later.  The iPhone ad was actually created by a fan.

Okay, back to football: Terrell Owens is pretty good and Tony Romo -- on a broken play -- dumps a ball to Barber that simply kills the Eagles.  Nice play by Romo there.  And damn, he dumps it to Barber again on the next play.  The D-Line is getting pressure, but Romo is simply making plays.

Romo hits Tony Curtis in the endzone to put Dallas up 14-7.  A couple tough bounces for the D on that drive, but Romo looked sharp.  Never heard of this Tony Curtis guy... Kevin's cousin?

START OF THE 2nd QUARTER: Dallas 14 Eagles 7

Phew, more Rocky music.  I don't know what I would do if the world didn't remind us that Rocky was from Philadelphia every time we play on national television.

Random thought: If Terrell Owens was a mute, he would have made an amazing Eagle for a number of years.

Madden paraphrased: "Donovan doesn't throw a lot of interceptions because he throws horrible passes in the dirt a lot." Not bad, John, not bad.  Eagles can't get much going on this drive and look pretty bad.  Rocca punts a nice one that puts the 'Girls inside their own 10.

Romo gets a first down to Owens and then another to Barber.  May have to send Gocong for Romo's knees or something at this point.  Damnit, on another 3rd and 6, Romo finds Owens again.  Ugh.

Thinking about naming my first child Flozell.  And the Eagles finally stop the 'Girls on a third down.  Bout time.

Eagles take over with 7:49 left on their own 19. 

BOOOOOOYAH!  Jim Cramer is there and is a big Eagles fan.

And the Eagles, with 2nd and 2, can't get a first down.  WTF.

Tony Romo, as my dad would say, has enough time to make a sandwich back there.  Lot's of protection.

YES! Eagles get a pick.  Lito Sheppard reads a Tony Romo pass and takes it right out of the Cowboys hands.  That could be a huge play, keeping the game at least within one score going into the half.  Especially since the 'Boys are getting the ball in the second half.

And Donovan gives the ball back to the Cowboys deep in the Birds territory.  Five hasn't looked impressive this evening.

Things are looking bleak for the Birds as the Cowboys punch in another TD on the shoulders of Marion Barber. 21-7 Dallas.

And that's how the first half ends.  Donovan McNabb and company trot to the locker room with their tail between their legs.

Click here for our thoughts on the second half.

Instant Replay: Celtics 107, Sixers 106

Instant Replay: Celtics 107, Sixers 106

BOX SCORE

Rewind 24 hours.

The Sixers were walking off the court Friday night after a dismal blowout loss to the Magic that left Brett Brown reflecting on Saturday, “Here in Philadelphia, at home, that’s not good enough.”

The Sixers had lacked fire and grit, especially with Joel Embiid on the floor against a sub-.500 Magic team that had played the night before in Memphis. 

They had a day to turn it around. A playoff contending Celtics squad was coming to town and Embiid wasn’t available because of his back-to-back limitations. The shorthanded Sixers (see below) had a tall task ahead of them. 

The Sixers reacted by jumping out early and kept the Celtics at bay in the first half. Even when the Celtics cut their lead to three midway through the second quarter, the Sixers responded with an 8-0 burst to go up by a game-high 11 points. 

The Celtics exposed the Sixers' defensive void in the paint without Embiid in the third. With the Sixers up 65-58, Isaiah Thomas drew a foul against Jahlil Okafor. That play sparked a 9-0 Celtics run over the next two minutes, in which Thomas scored six of those points (including four at the line). The Celtics took back the lead during that stretch and forced the Sixers to play catchup.

The Sixers cut the Celtics lead to one in the fourth with a three from Dario Saric, who played one of his most aggressive games of his short NBA career. After the Celtics jumped back up by seven, the Sixers kept fighting and tied the game 100 apiece. The Celtics were able to pull away and finished with a one-point win, 107-106, after Ersan Ilyasova drained a three at the buzzer. 

Inside the stats
Thomas exploded for 37 points (11 for 19 from the field, 2 for 3 from three, 13 for 15 from the line), four rebounds, and seven assists.

Saric recorded a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds off the bench, both tying career-highs. 

Ersan Ilyasova dropped 18 points, including three treys, and six rebounds.

Okafor and Sergio Rodriguez scored 15 apiece, with Rodriguez adding eight assists. 

Avery Bradley dropped 20 points and nine rebounds. 

Stauskas starts in place of Covington
Brown turned to shooting guard Nik Stauskas to slide over to the three spot in place of the injured Robert Covington (see below). 

“Boston’s perimeter defense is as good as it is in the NBA,” Brown explained. “I think you need to have more ball handlers, people who can make a play, on the perimeter … I feel that Nik has that ability to put it to the floor and disrupt that aggressive pressure that the Celtics backcourt can put on you.”

Broken ankles
Saric came up with the Sixers' highlight play of the game when he did this to Jonas Jerebko in the third quarter for an instant highlight reel moment. 

Always a student
Not playing, still learning. Embiid has been praised for being an eager student of the game. During warmups he sat courtside to watch film on a laptop even though he wasn’t suiting up. 

Injury updates
Joel Embiid is not playing in back-to-back games and sat out the back end of this home-home series for rest … Robert Covington sat out with a sprained left knee he suffered on Friday after colliding with T.J. McConnell chasing a ball out of bounds … Jerryd Bayless missed his fourth straight game with left wrist soreness. 

Up next
The Sixers host the Nuggets on Monday night.

Eric Semborski, from Temple club hockey to NHL goalie for a day against Flyers

Eric Semborski, from Temple club hockey to NHL goalie for a day against Flyers

Eric Semborski woke up Saturday and drove to work in Voorhees, New Jersey.

It was just an ordinary morning for the 23-year-old, a Temple graduate with a bachelor’s degree in sports management.

Little did he know, in a couple of hours his world would turn upside down.

Semborski, who works for Snider Hockey and at Flyers Skate Zone running goalie clinics and roller leagues, hadn’t played competitively since suiting up for the Owls’ club team in the spring of 2015.

That was until Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center, where, someway, somehow he was draped in a Chicago Blackhawks jersey and squaring up blazing shots off the sticks of Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith, just to name a few.

Quite the promotion, huh?

“It’s surreal, really,” he said. “I can’t explain it.”

Could anyone?

“I couldn’t imagine the rush,” Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling said.

Incredibly and astonishingly, Semborski turned into an NHL goaltender for a day as Chicago’s second string to Darling, who suffered a 3-1 loss to the Flyers.

How Semborski was found and summoned by the Blackhawks is still somewhat of a mystery, even to the Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, native himself. Once Chicago received word that regular starter Corey Crawford had to suddenly undergo an appendectomy at a Philadelphia hospital, the Blackhawks started scrambling for an emergency backup to Darling.

“I was at work, at the rink in Voorhees just coaching,” Semborski said. “My boss called me and I missed it. I walked off the ice and started talking with someone from the Flyers, he started asking me, ‘Where’d you play hockey, what’s your playing history?’” 

Semborski was confounded.

“I didn’t even know what he was getting at,” he said. “I asked, ‘Why are you asking me this?’ And he said, ‘Oh, Chicago needs a goalie.’ I just lost it. He said, ‘Go home, get your stuff and if they’re going to use you, they’ll call you.’ I left right away.

“I was like, OK, this probably isn’t going to happen, there’s no way.”

Ten minutes later …

“I’m in the truck and I got a call from Chicago,” Semborski said.

Who was it?

“I just know his name’s Tony,” Semborski said. “That’s all I know.”

How the heck did the Chicago Blackhawks, winners of three Stanley Cups since 2010, find a regular, hard-working guy living in Manayunk to be their reserve netminder?

“No idea,” Semborski said, still in awe talking after the game outside the locker rooms. “I think it had something to do with me working with Snider Hockey, working at Voorhees. They asked around and people just threw my name out I guess. I really don’t know how it happened. I’ll have to get to the bottom of that and thank some people. I have no idea who gave them my info, but whoever did, thank you, because it was awesome.”

So Semborski hustled from Voorhees to Manayunk, packed up his gear — including his old Temple mask, sporting the words “Philly Proud” and “Temple Tuff” — and quickly made his way to the Wells Fargo Center. He arrived around 12:30 p.m. before puck drop at 1.

“I hit some traffic on 76 (Schuylkill Expressway), of course,” Semborski said. “I got here as fast as I could in my street clothes. No time to put on a tie.”

Once Semborski signed his amateur tryout, it became real. He walked into the visiting locker room and there were the Blackhawks and his NHL jersey, a makeshift uniform with Crawford’s No. 50.

“It was hanging up when I got in there,” he said. “I guess they took Crawford’s and threw a name on it and made it work.”

Prior to hitting the ice for warmups, Semborski got acquainted with his teammates.

“Dream come true,” he said. “That was so cool, just hanging out with those guys. They made me feel welcomed right away, started joking around.

“When I got there, they put my number on the board and said I’m throwing in $200 for the holiday party. That was pretty good. I told them, ‘You better take credit because that’s all I got.’”

What about his big-money contract?

“No, I should be paying them for this,” Semborski said. “That was awesome.

“I signed some stuff when I came in, I don’t know what it was. I’m happy with a hat and the memories.”

Especially taking the net in warmups.

“I was a bit rusty, but no matter how much I play, I’m not going to be ready for them,” he said. “It was fast and I couldn’t even catch my breath because I was trying to take it all in. That was the best 20 minutes of my life out there skating with them.

“You’re playing against the best guys in the world. I knew I wasn’t going to stop most of them. I was lucky if it hit me.”

As for the game, Semborski didn’t play.

“Well you almost saw it,” Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville said, referring to his frustration with a three-goal second period by the Flyers.

“That probably would have been a big mistake,” Semborski said with a laugh.

“That would have been so cool, but I wouldn’t change a thing. The experience was awesome.”

What did Quenneville think?

"That’s part of the process with all of the teams, they have the local amateur guys or sometimes guys who have played pro before," he said. "But with our cap situation, we needed an amateur, so he fit all the criteria and it was a good opportunity for him. ... It’s kind of a cool experience for the kid."

So Semborski sat on the bench, padded and ready. He smiled and watched, supporting his new team.

He, of course, is a Flyers fan, but …

“Not today,” he said with a smile. “Every other day, yeah, but not today.

“When I first got out there, I was like, ‘All right, if [the Flyers] score, don’t stand up. Just relax.’”

Semborski admitted to Chicago breaking his heart in 2010 when it beat the Flyers in the Stanley Cup Final.

“That was one of the hardest things I ever watched,” he said. “But today, that’s all forgotten. I’m a ‘Hawks fan today.”

Afterward, Semborski said his phone was flooded with 70-something text messages and 20-plus phone calls.

“I’m going to have to start calling some people,” he said.

His first will probably be to a special loved one.

“It’s my dad’s birthday,” Semborski said. “So, happy birthday, Dad. Best present ever for you.”