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.

Andre Blake the Union's first MLS Best XI team member since 2010

Andre Blake the Union's first MLS Best XI team member since 2010

Andre Blake continues to rack up the accolades.

A couple of weeks after being named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, the rising Philadelphia Union star was named to the MLS Best XI team as one of the league’s top players in 2016.

The rest of the team included:

• Forwards Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), David Villa (New York City FC) and Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls)
• Midfielders Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact), Sacha Kljestan (Red Bulls), Mauro Diaz (FC Dallas) and Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy)
• Defenders Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Axel Sjoberg (Colorado Rapids) and Jelle Van Damme (Galaxy)

Blake’s inclusion on the Best XI is not a surprise considering he already took home top goalkeeper honors. Even though he didn’t have the best numbers in the league, he made the spectacular look ordinary in his first full season as an MLS starter.

But it is unique for the Union, who haven’t had a player make the Best XI since Sebastien Le Toux was included for his 14-goal, 11-assist effort in Philly's 2010 expansion season.

Union winger Chris Pontius, who recently won the 2016 MLS Breakout Player of the Year award, made Best XI while with D.C. United in 2012. Former Union players to be honored on the prestigious list were Bakary Soumare with Chicago in 2008 and Justin Mapp with Chicago in 2006.

Another big honor like this will likely only increase the chatter that Blake could be sold to a big team in Europe soon. But a couple of weeks ago, the Union goalkeeper insisted his only focus for 2017 is on Philadelphia.

“From a personal standpoint, I’m hoping to have an even better season than 2016,” he said at the time. “To be able to go in and be consistent and do everything I can for the Union — and maybe be the goalkeeper to get them their first [MLS] Cup.”

Steve Mason named NHL's 1st star after strong week

Steve Mason named NHL's 1st star after strong week

There’s a number of reasons why the Flyers have a five-game winning streak, why they’re playing better hockey, and why they own the No. 1 wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
 
Perhaps the biggest reason of all is goaltender Steve Mason, who has won four of those games, compiling a 1.71 goals against average and .945 save percentage during that span.
 
Mason was named the NHL’s first “Star of the Week” on Monday. St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko and San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones were second and third stars.
 
“The team is on a roll right now and I’m a benefactor of that,” said Mason, who needs a win Tuesday against Florida to tie his career-high streak of five set Dec. 17-30 in 2013, during his first, full season as a Flyer.
 
“There’s strong play in front of me. The team is playing a little tighter in our defensive zone of late and making the goaltender reads that much more simple. 
 
“Right now, there’s a comfort level with the guys in front of me … Winning five in a row is nice and we’d like to keep making ground in the standings.”
 
His four victories last week were tops in the NHL. Among them, he had a season-high 45 saves in a 3-2 shootout win against Boston. 
 
Like many goalies, Mason prefers action. Games such as the 3-2 overtime win at Ottawa last week when the Senators only fired 21 shots, bother him.
 
“Those games, when you are not getting a lot of shots, the ones you do get will be a high-grade scoring chance,” he said. “And when you’re sitting around a few minutes not seeing the puck and all of a sudden see a chance like that …
 
“It’s more difficult to play [those games] than the games where there is a constant workload and you’re not thinking, but just playing. For myself personally, those are the games I enjoy the most. When I see a lot of pucks.”
 
The Flyers have seen dramatic improvement over the past month in their overall defensive play, from both their defensemen in down-low coverage in the slow and with their forwards on the backcheck.
 
Mason said the team has gone through “growing pains” with trying to integrate some younger bodies to the lineup this season – Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny, and Nick Cousins  come to mind.
 
“You have to familiar with everybody,” he said. “Have a constant lineup where guys go out  shift after shift and night after night, you know what to expect from one another. When you have that kind of confidence in guys, it makes playing easier.” 
 
Mason’s 4-2 victory at Nashville on Sunday saw him go over .500 for the first time this season with a 9-8-3 record. 
 
His GAA is coming down at 2.76 while his save percentage has risen to .904.
 
“I was aware of it obviously, just because of the way the year started,” he said. “It’s taken a lot of work to get it above the .900 level.
 
“We’re obviously going to continue to work at getting it even better. The way the team’s playing right now and the way everybody’s clicking, we’re going at a good pace right now.”