Saturday, September 1, 2007

It's over

IU beats Indiana State 55-7. A thorough thrashing.

In other news:
  • Auburn beats Kansas State 23-13
  • Minnesota and Bowling Green are tied at 24 and going to overtime, according to CBS Sportsline.
  • USC is now up 21-0 on Idaho.

I'm signing off. Enjoy the win and the rest of the weekend. Western Michigan is next.

Counting down to 1-0

Back in the real world...Hurricane Felix now is in the Caribbean.

Auburn just took the lead on Kansas State with less than 2 minutes to go. It's 16-13. With 1:11 left, Auburn is up 22-13.

IU continues to rush on just about every play. They score again with about 5 minutes to go to make it 54-7. The extra point is good and its 55-7.

More garbage time

ESPN stats have Kellen Lewis with 292 yards passing and 50 yards rushing. He threw for 3 touchdowns and rushed for another. Lewis also had one interception. Maybe he should be considered for a game ball. Hopefully that will scare some other teams when they see the game film.

The IU defense has given up 117 yards passing and 30 net rushing yards. That's pretty impressive. Only giving up one touchdown is probably the best stat, at least for the first team. ISU still has its first team in the game against the IU second team defense.

ISU is driving deep into IU territory early in the fourth quarter. IU picks it off near the endzone and runs it back to near mid-field. Joe Kleinsmith runs it to the 47 yard line, but steps out of bounds after suffering an injury.

Tennessee is within 7 of Cal now, 38-31 with 14 minutes to go.

Garbage time

IU gets the ball again on an interception, but there's a penalty after the IU player spikes the ball.

Minnesota just tied the game against Bowling Green, 21-21, with less than 9 minutes to go in the fourth quarter. The gophers have the ball in the red zone again...

There's a timeout...on the field as they say at Soldier Field.

Second team in the game...

That means find something else to talk about. Here are some scores...

  • Cal continues to lead Tennessee 38-28 nearing the end of the third quarter.
  • USC just scored again, and now is up 14-0 on Idaho.
  • Georgia beat Oklahoma State 35-14.

On the way to 1-0

IU recovers a fumble on the kick-off and gets it at the ISU 21.

The Hoosiers continue to pound the ball...Kellen Lewis comes out and Ben Chappell, a red-shirt freshman from Bloomington South High School takes over. The second team offense is in the game now and they go nowhere. IU kicks a 41-yard field goal, making it 48-7 with about 2 minutes to go in the third quarter.

Texas beat Arkansas State 21-13, not very impressive in my book. Kansas State still hanging on 13-9 over Auburn.

Purdue won 52-24.

IU running some clock...

The Hoosiers have the ball and are working on their rushing attack. Sears is in there now, with Lewis still at QB. On third and short, Lewis throws incomplete and its a quick three-and-out.

Minnesota is down 21-14 against Toledo in the fourth quarter.

ISU gets the ball back on its own 37. The team moves to about the 42, then has to punt.

Southern Cal has just started its game against Idaho in the Coliseum. It took them a little more than 6 minutes to score a TD.

IU is on the move again. A completion by Lewis on a busted play gets the ball to the 47 yard line. Then Lewis is caught in the backfield on a designed running play. ISU got called for a face mask penalty and IU Left Tackle Roger Saffold was down, but leaves the field under his own power, according to the radio call. After the penalty, IU fumbles the ball, but Lewis picks it up and runs it back to the line of scrimmage. Under 6 minutes to go in the third quarter now.

Lewis runs for another first down to about the ISU 20 yard line. After a couple runs for a few yards, Lewis hits tight end Nick Sexton for a first and goal. Then Bryan Payton runs for a 7-yard TD. Extra point is good. That makes it 45-7 Hoosiers.

The rout is on...

My prediction for this game was 42-17 and it looks like IU is going to eclipse that. IU has 312 total yards now. Let's hope no one gets hurt. We're nearing garbage time.

ISU returns the kick to its 32 yard line after receiving it around the 3. K-State is up 13-9 on Auburn...Cal has taken a 38-21 lead on Tennessee.

ISU moves the ball to about mid-field, but the IU defense stiffens and punts on 4th and 17. A delay of game penalty makes it 4th and 22. ISU punts, but the Hoosiers are called for illegal block in the back. That starts the IU offense at the 19 yard line.

Purdue is up 52-17 with about 9 minutes to go.

The second half

IU gets the ball to start the second half. After a great kick return to the Indiana State 35, IU begins pounding the ball. Marcus Thigpen eventually runs the ball inside the 5. Sears takes the next hand-off for about a yard, making it 2nd and goal. Lewis takes it on a naked bootleg for a TD. The extra point is good...its 38-7 Hoosiers.

Halftime...IU is looking good

Stats are being updated and available here even though it says IU is winning 25-7. Kellen Lewis is having a monster game, and he still has 30 minutes to go. He's 10 for 17 for 243 yards, 3 TDs and an interception. Two of those touchdowns came on one-play wonders to James Hardy. He has 3 catches for 153 yards.

I really liked how the Hoosier defense tightened following the first couple Indiana State drives. They figured out the no-huddle and now are looking for the quick shovel passes out of the spread formation. The last offensive drive wasn't all that stellar, but that may have been because they were in hurry-up mode. Either way, they still scored 31 points in the first half.

The rushing game has to get on track. Lewis is the only player with more than 6 yards rushing (he has 23), but I suspect that has to do with the quick strikes to Hardy. If the game gets out of hand, I think they need to work on that.

ESPN just gave notice...the Red Sox have a no-hitter going into the 9th inning. Clay Buchholtz throws a nasty curve for strike three to get the last out. He's the first Red Sox rookie to throw a no-hitter.

Kansas State also is up 10-6 on Auburn about half way through the third quarter. Purdue is up 38-14 now in the fourth quarter.

Nearing halftime...

Here comes the kick-off...ISU takes it at the 39 yard line. ISU downs it to end the half. IU leads 31-7.

On the goal line with a few seconds left...

The radio says IU still has one more timeout. I thought they said there were only two. Maybe they didn't call one two plays ago like I thought...

Lewis throws to Bailey in the endzone, but it's incomplete. Third down, with 21 seconds left. Lewis throws a timing pass at Hardy, but he is hit early and the flag comes out. First and goal from the 2. 18 seconds left.

I-formation on first down...Lewis gives to Sears who gets into the endzone. The extra point is good. IU leads 31-7 with 14 seconds to go.

Cal kicked a field goal and now leads Tennessee 31-21 at halftime.

After the turnover...

ISU gets it at its 18. The first down run goes for 9 yards. On second and short, the run goes for a loss. It's third and three now. The third down pass falls incomplete and ISU has to punt again. The pass was too high. Less than 2 minutes to go in the half. IU has 2 timeouts.

Porter returns the punt to the ISU 45 yard line. its a 17-yard return. Lewis fumbles the snap, but recovers and runs for 5 yards. Lewis throws to Bailey on second down for a first down near the ISU 31. He stepped out of bounds to stop the clock. 1:07 to go.

Lewis throws to Ray Fisher who gets to the 19 yard line. It's a first down, 53 seconds to go. Lewis in the shotgun, throws it away with pressure coming. 49 seconds to go, IU still has 2 timeouts.

Lewis throws to Fisher who gets to the 6 yard line and IU calls time-out. Lewis fumbles the ball, but recovers it and IU calls its last timeout. 25 seconds to go.

We're getting closer to halftime...

The kick-off is returned to the ISU 23 yard line.

It's 21-0 Bowling Green over Minnesota, and Cal just scored again to make it 27-21 with the extra point coming. Pitt beat Eastern Michigan. My dad will be happy.

On first down, an incomplete pass. On second down, ISU tries that shovel pass, but it's almost intercepted. The D is learning as we move along in the half. That makes it third down. Another shovel pass, but he is short of a first down. ISU has to punt again. Under 5 minutes to go in the half.

The punt is not fielded and downed inside the IU 30. Lewis runs on first down for about 6 yards, making it second and 4. Second down...a hand-off for about a yard. Third and 3. Lewis makes a quick pass to Bryan Payton for a first down at the ISU 43.

Lewis went deep on first down, and it's intercepted. He threw into double-coverage.

Great field position for IU

IU starts at the ISU 17 and Lewis runs for about 1 on first down. Lewis throws incomplete, he was trying to hit Hardy. It's third and 9 now.

Lewis throws to Hardy again, but it is overthrown. IU decides to go for a field goal. Lewis has missed four passes in a row now, after starting 6 for 6. The field goal is good. Its 24-7 Hoosiers with less than 7 minutes to go in the half.

Not the best offensive series there. I bet the coaches wanted 7 points there instead of 3.

ISU begins a drive deep in its own end again...

On first down, an ISU fumbled the ball forward and out of bounds for a loss of 6. It's second down and real long now at the ISU 3 yard line. The Hoosier D makes the play on a QB sneak for no-gain. Third down and real ISU catch, but its short. ISU decides to punt on 4th and 1 on the ISU 18. The catch is being reviewed...officials say the ISU receiver didn't catch the ball. The punt is coming from their endzone.

The punt is shanked and it is marked at the ISU 17 yard line. It's a 14-yard punt.

No wonder the Hoosier D is having trouble with the ISU offense, they have been going with no huddle most of the game, according to the radio.

If you haven't noticed, I don't have satellite TV, which means I don't have Big Ten Network. And I'm not at the bar watching the game.

Purdue is up 31-14 on Toledo now. Bowling Green just scored to make it 20-0 over Minnesota.

A quick-strike offense...

would be an under-statement at this point in the game. There are "well over 30,000" in the house for the game. And the student section is almost full, according to the radio call.

Less than 10 minutes to go in the half. I wonder whether the offense can sustain this kind of pace.

On first down, a pass to Thigpen for no gain. On second down, the throw is to James Bailey for a first down. Lewis just misses on another long bomb to Nick Polk, it's his first incompletion. On second and long, the pass is deflected and incomplete. Third and 10, Lewis runs to the 49, but it is short of the first down. The Hoosiers punt and ISU takes the ball at their 9 yard line.

Auburn is leading Kansas St. 6-3 at halftime.

The defense is going to get tired...

because the offense only needs one play to score.

ISU can't cover James Hardy. He's got two long touchdown catches and 153 yards receiving with three total catches. The kick-off went out of bounds again, ISU starts at the 35.

First down is a pitch outside for a gain of one. Maybe the defense is starting to figure these guys out. On second down, ISU is penalized for false start. It's second and 14. ISU gains almost nothing again on a quick pass. Third down and long...IU flushes the QB, who throws incomplete. ISU punts and the Hoosiers take the ball at the 34.

Cal just went up 21-14 on Tennessee on a punt return for a TD, I think. I just saw the replay of the Cal receiver running by a bunch of defenders for a TD.

IU offense back...that was quick

First quarter stats are available here.

First down for Kellen Lewis and the Hoosiers. He's thrown for 96 yards on 3 for 3 passing. Hardy makes the catch at the 30 for another TOUCHDOWN!!! He's got three catches, two for long touchdowns. The extra point is good...IU's up 21-7. Lewis is 4-4 for 175 yards passing.

Second quarter underway

ISU starts the quarter on its own 38 yard line. A stop here would be nice...

On first down a swing pass goes for about four yards. Second and six...another pass and catch for another first down on the ISU 49.

It wouldn't be good to get into a shoot-out with these guys. ISU loses 4 after a sack. Second and 14...another sack for a loss of 10. On third and long, ISU gets back to its 42, which forces a punt. IU takes the punt at the IU 21 yard line on a fair catch.

That was a good series for the defense. Just what they needed. Now the offense needs a good drive for a touchdown.

ISU starts deep in its own end

ISU goes for no gain on first down. A three-and-out here would be good for the defense and give the offense good field position. But ISU gains 7 or 8 on a second down pass. It's third and short, the crowd is getting louder, but ISU runs for a short gain and a first down.

The IU defense seems to be having problems with the speed of the ISU offense. They seem to be taking advantage of it by out-quicking the Hoosiers.

ISU has another first down and is nearing IU territory. The first quarter is over. IU 14-ISU 7.

The next Hoosier drive

Cal is back up on Tennessee 14-7.

IU takes the kick-off to the 25 after a mix-up on the kick-off. Two IU players ran into each other trying to catch it. The radio call indicates the kick was going out of bounds.

IU has the ball...first down is a run of 3 yards by Marcus Thigpen. Second down is a slant route pass, but a flag is down. It's pass interference against ISU and an IU first down. Now the ball is at the 43. First quarter nearing its end, we're under 4 minutes.

Thigpen gains 2 yards on a first down run. IU gets into ISU territory on a run for 6 by Josiah Sears. On third down Sears is stopped for no gain. It's fourth down and IU will punt. ISU gets the ball inside the 15 yard line after a 43-yard punt.

The defense didn't get much rest...

IU has to kick-off from the 20-yard line after the penalty. ISU takes the kick to the 44, even though the ball landed inside the 20.

Scoreboard update:
Purdue leading Toledo 28-14
Bowling Green leading Minnesota 14-0

ISU starts the drive with an end-around and it gains 8. A hand-off up the middle gets them the first down. The defense is getting some pressure on the ISU quarterback. They forced him to throw it away on first down. ISU is trying to combat the pressure with little shovel passes out of spread sets. Another one of them gets the Sycamores inside the IU 30.

Another run gets ISU inside the 10 on a gain of 16. The IU defense knocks away a pass into the end-zone on first and goal from the 9. A QB sneak gets ISU to the 1 yard line. But it's third down. ISU quick counts...there's a fumble, but ISU picks it up and gets the TD. Extra point is good. It's 14-7.

A one-play wonder

Tennessee just tied the's 7-7.

The offense needs only one play, it's a 58-yard TD pass from Lewis to Hardy. IU gets flagged for excessive celebration after James gives some love to Coach Hep. He puts a knee down and lifts his hands toward the sky. Now it's 14-0.

The penalty will come on the kick-off.

Defense back on the field

IU's first drive took less than 3 minutes. ISU has the ball again. They start the drive around the 25 yard line. The first two plays yield 6, it's 3rd and 4. The pass is incomplete, and IU forces the punt.

Tracy Porter picks it up at the 40 and gets to the IU 42. The offense is back on the field.

Away we go...

I'm in college football heaven...I'm listening to the Hoosiers on the radio and there are a ton of games on cable that I'm watching at the same time. Georgia-Oklahoma State is on ESPN2 and Kansas State-Auburn is on ESPN. And Tennessee-Cal is now underway.

We're ready for kick-off. IU is kicking after ISU won the toss and took the ball. IU is wearing crimson jerseys and crimson pants.

Hep's widow and children appeared before the game as part of the tribute. According to the radio call, the scene was very emotional.

Here's the goes out of bounds. ISU takes the ball at the 35.

The first play for ISU is a gain of 6 on a four-wide-out formation. On second down, ISU false starts. The IU defense stopped them with no damage.

A phone call caused a delay, for which I apologize.

In the meantime, the Hoosiers took the ball back down the field, thanks in part to a pass interference penalty on a long pass intended for James Hardy. Marcus Thigpen ends up catching a TD pass from the Kellen Lewis. It's now 7-0.

Let's play 13...

It all starts in about 90 minutes. The road to 13 begins with Indiana State at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington. Expect some updates here once the game begins. You can find the Internet gamecast here. Click on "2007 Gameday" on the right side of the page.

Hopefully the Hoosiers will fare better than Michigan.

How could this happen?

Michigan did not start the season well today. They lost to Appalachian State, a D-1AA team, 34-32. Probably the worst part was they had a field goal attempt to win the game and had it blocked. Or maybe it was that they lost the game at home in the Big House. Looking at the box score, it's hard to see how Michigan lost. They ran up 479 total yards, including 188 from running back Mike Hart. Chad Henne threw for 233 with a touchdown and interception. Appalachian State was the D-1AA champ the last two years, so Michigan shouldn't have been considering this a blow-out game.

No rest for the weary, the Wolverines play Oregon next week in Ann Arbor.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Big Ten opening day

All the Big Ten teams open their season Saturday. About half of the games will be one some network other than the Big Ten Network. The fun begins at noon: Michigan State plays UAB on ESPN2. Wisconsin will play Washington State at 3:30 p.m. on ABC and Illinois will play Missouri on ESPN2. ESPNU, the ESPN college sports channel, will have the Iowa-Northern Illinois and Purdue-Toledo games, scheduled for 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively.

The other six games, including Indiana-Indiana State, will be on Big Ten Network, which still is not available on Comcast cable. The new channel launched Thursday.

Those of you who are outside Indiana and don't have access to the radio, I am planning some live blogging of the IU game. I don't have satellite TV, so I'm going to need some help from the Internet and radio broadcasts.

Are you ready...Part II put it another installment of its NFL preview Thursday, this one about game film. Another decent read, it describes Matt Hasselbeck's routine, which includes film study with the team, and when he is at home in Seattle, with his TiVo.

There is an interesting anecdote the Seahawks' QB mentioned about how he noticed something about the Carolina defence that helped him in the 2006 NFC Championship game. By the way, the Seahawks won that game, but lost Super Bowl XL to the Steelers.

The View from Fort Wayne

My office just got a web cam to show the downtown skyline. It also happens to be what I look at everyday when I'm not staring at the computer screen or talking on the phone. Today is such a perfect day (upper 70s, sunny and clear) that I thought you might like to see the view from Fort Wayne. The picture is refreshed every 15 seconds or so.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Are you ready...

The NFL season is nearing ever closer and has started its preview coverage. They had an interesting story today about the playbook, its importance to rookies and veterans as well as its complexity. It's an interesting read, but my favorite part was the pdf file of a snippet from the 2004 Arizona Cardinals playbook. The story challenged readers to read it and understand it, and I failed. Most of it, I'm sure, was because of the symbols and lingo that NFL insiders know and laypeople like me don't.


Monday, August 27, 2007

The 13th game

At 8-4, with a 4-4 conference record, IU should be in the middle of the Big Ten pack. Last year, it would have been 6th place. That means the Insight, Champs Sports, or Alamo Bowl. Who will they play? Who knows, but at least we'll have a game to watch in late December. The Alamo Bowl matched Big Ten and Big 12 last year, Champs Sports was ACC-Big Ten, and the Insight Bowl was Big 12-Big Ten.

Play 13? I think so... Part II-conference play

After a 3-0 start, the Hoosiers begin Big Ten play. We're halfway to a December or January game...
  • Week 4 IU v. Illinois: Illinois was rated near the bottom of Division IA and Indiana should have no trouble exposing that. The game is at home and Illinois is not very good, but expected to be improved over last year's 2-10 effort. Ron Zook is a capable coach, but IU should have the edge in this game. IU 28, IL 14
  • Week 5 IU v. Iowa: This will be IU toughest game of the season so far. The Hawkeyes are a tough team this year, and even tougher at home. ESPN prediced Iowa would bounce back from a 6-7 season to finish 10-2. Iowa will be too tough for the Hoosiers, even without Drew Tate. IU 17, Iowa 27.
  • Week 6 IU v. Minnesota: It is the fourth home game of the first six. Minnesota is expected to be better this year as well. IU is going to have a chip on its shoulder after last year's embarassment. IU 35, Minn. 24. The team is 5-1.
  • Week 7 IU v. Michigan State: The Hoosiers aren't ready for prime time yet, and I don't think a win in East Lansing is likely, even though Michigan State is expected to be down lower than they were last year. It's too much to hope for an MSU meltdown like against Notre Dame. IU 21, MSU 31.
  • Week 8 IU v. Penn State: It's Homecoming and IU enters the game against the highly touted Nitnany Lions 5-2, one win from bowl eligibility. The sexy pick will be an upset here, but Joe Paterno is too good a coach. IU loses a heartbreaker 34-31. The bowl game will have to wait a week or two.
  • Week 9 IU v. Wisconsin: IU is on a two-game losing streak and there is no help upcoming. The Hoosiers must travel to Madison to face the Badgers, who are expected to be a Rose Bowl contender and start the season #7. IU has had Wisconsin's number in before (upsets in 2001 and 2002) Unfortunately, the Hoosiers' losing streak hits three in a row. IU 14, Wisconsin 31.
  • Week 10 IU v. Ball State: IU has dropped to 5-4 and there is some doubt in B-town. Enter our friends from Muncie, who have served as a wondeful season-opening whipping boy in the past. This team is different, with a hot quarterback that gave Michigan all it wanted last year. The Hoosiers take the game, and the bowl game invitation. Students storm the field as IU wins 35-21 and moves to 6-4.
  • Week 11 IU v. Northwestern: The problem here is IU has to travel to Evanston, Ill. The good news is there are a lot of IU grads in the Chicago area. Northwestern is expected to be a bowl-eligible team this year because of a soft schedule, but that is a mask of their real talent. IU wins another surprisingly close game 28-21.
  • Week 12 IU v. Purdue: The Battle for the Old Oaken Bucket. IU is looking for some revenge after losing in West Lafayette last year. And an 8th win would be the most since the Hoosiers last bowl appearance in 1993. Purdue is a good team and should have six or seven wins going into this game. In this game you throw out the records. The IU grad in me says IU will win it 31-28.

IU will finish 8-4, more than enough to get a bowl bid.

Play 13? I think so...

While we're waiting a few months for basketball season to start, the attention now turns to football. I enjoy college football and sometimes I enjoy Hoosier football, but since I started my freshman year at IU (1994), the team has finished with a winning record once --6-5 in 1994, but no bowl game. This is in stark contrast to my fiance, who went to Michigan. She sat in a stadium that fits TWO Memorial Stadiums in it and is part of a fan base that wants the coach fired because he can't beat Ohio State and has lost the Rose Bowl three years in a row. IU has only been to one Rose Bowl EVER.

IU has a lot of catching up to do. And this year is expected to be a step forward, at least in Bloomington. The death of Coach Hoeppner aside, the team still is talented and should have a shot at winning 6 games and qualifying for the post-season. Here is my prediction for what could be a fall to remember in Bloomington.

The key will be for the Hoosiers to win the games they are supposed to win. No hiccups like last year against Minnesota -- a 63-26 loss in Minneapolis. The Hoosiers were 5-4, one game away from the all-important 6th win, and would not get it. There also has to be some defense this year. Kellen Lewis and James Hardy will put a lot of points on the board, but the Hoosiers have to be able to hold them now and then.

  • Week 1 IU v. Indiana State: The game is in Bloomington and Indiana State isn't even a Division 1A team. They are a D-1AA team, a member of the Gateway Conference. This game should be a laugher. The Sycamores won one game last year. They lost to Purdue that year 60-35. This game will be emotional, Hoep will be honored before the game. IU 42, ISU 17
  • Week 2 IU v. Western Michigan: The Hoosiers begin their annual tour of the Mid-American Conference. This one will be tougher. It is on the road, and Western Michigan is coming off an 8-5 season. IU could have an advantage in this game. WMU plays #3 West Virginia on the road in its opener. That should be a thorough thrashing that could leave them in the dumps. Or it could be a rallying cry -- the team is expected to be among the best in the conference. WMU is experienced with 15 seniors, but IU beat this team in Bloomington last year. I'll give the edge to the Hoosiers, but it's a tight game. The defense will have to come to play. IU 24, WMU 21.
  • Week 3 IU v. Akron: The Hoosiers are 2-0, and back at home after a big win against Western Michigan. The Zips can play too. But they will stumble into Bloomington after an expected beat down in Columbus against Ohio State. Akron was 5-7 last year will have 15 seniors and any Michigan fan will tell you they can play football in Ohio. The Hoosiers should win this game by a decent margin. IU 28, Akron 10.

Conference season is next...

Advice for the aspiring college athlete

If you want to play serious college basketball, you have to go to class...and study. That is the price you pay for the scholarship and a real shot at the NBA.

This news came out of Indiana University over the weekend, from the Indianapolis Star:

Ratliff to miss 1st part of season

Not the best thing to do when the best recruiting class in many years is beginning to practice and you are trying to secure a starting role in your senior season. Ratliff is a guard, which is prized freshman Eric Gordon's position. At least he still can practice.

Remember, it's about getting your education. You can't play basketball and shirk the academics.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Offense, offense, take that football all the way up the field

John Madden says there's nothing like a confluence, while speaking of the three rivers. It was a real show-stopper.

After a 6-yard run and bomb that is incomplete, it is 3rd and 4. The incompletion is tipped and Cedric Wilson has a chance at it, but it drops. Fourth down. The second punt is much better, about 40 yards, but the Eagles will start in Steelers territory.

Sorry fans, but I have to sign off. I need to hand over the computer. Enjoy the game. If you need a game-cast, you can get it here.

I would like to point out...

The NCAA still does not allow live blogging at its events. Why is that?

I'm having fun doing this. It is sort of an experiment for me. I may not go much longer though. My fiance is looking at me weird, like she wants the computer.

The second quarter is underway...

Ike Taylor limped off the field and is trying to walk it off.

The Eagles are moving the ball somewhat. It's 3rd and 4 after a 6-yard run, but the Eagles false start again. Now it's 3rd and 9. The penalties really have to hurt the play-calling in this situation.

The Eagles run it, but are 3 yards short. The punting unit comes out.

The punt is muffled and the Steelers start from the five.

First quarter stats...

are available here.

I'm not impressed with the offense. Two promising drives are thwarted by turnovers. Parker has five carries for 8 yards, not exactly stellar, especially from a fantasy perspective.

The defense, however, has looked good in spite of being backed up in their own end. McNabb has thrown for 75 yards and the team has 17 yards rushing. The two Steelers turnovers were killers. They should have at least 7 points, probably 10 or 14 if the first drive is allowed to continue. And the Eagles field goal came because a turnover.

After the fumble...

A Steelers player hit the official.

From the two, McNabb looks for the big play, but it is thrown too far.

My fiance just handed me a piece of beer bread. It is wonderful. Pretty good for her first attempt. I love bread that is still warm when you eat it.

Second down...a run to the six. It's a gain of four yards.

Third down and 6 ... a pass to Reggie Brown for about 8. First down.

On first down, Eagles are called for unnecessary roughness. Half the distance to the goal. The first quarter is over.

Offense knocking on the door...

The first quarter is almost over. On first down, Ben fakes the hand-off and gets forced to throw toward Miller. The rush was on that time.

Second down, Parker gets stood up at the goal line. The Eagles run an apparent fumble back about 30 yards and an official is pummelled. As Parker is hit, he drops the ball. The Eagles get it inside the five.

Steelers offense is back for drive three

This drive starts well, with Ben hitting Krieder for a big gain of about 20. Ben hits Parker on a screen for about four. Ben seems a little sharper on this drive, but they are in much better field position than on the last drive. A run for a yard makes it third and five. Ben from the shotgun hits Heinz Ward for 13 yards and the first down.

From the Eagles 34...the Steelers false start. That makes it first and 15.

Heath Miller makes a great catch for a 38 yard gain and is tackled at the one. He fumbles the ball, but is ruled down. Miller looks great on the play, he makes the catch as the defender hits him hard and bounces off. Miller watched as the smaller defender hits the ground, then turns and runs to the goal line.

Steelers-Eagles...defense second drive

The Eagles end up with a chip shot field goal. That could be considered sort of a victory. It's 3-0 Eagles now.

Steelers-Eagles...offense second drive

Three runs equal a net loss of 4 yards. And the punt was awful. The Eagles are inside the 20 after a couple runs.

Steelers-Eagles...defense first drive

McNabb zips one out to the outside for about 11 yards on first down. They were giving the receiver a big cushion.

Westbrook doesn't get much on the second play of the drive. On 2nd and 8, another pass--looks like a screen, which goes for 9.

First down again, and the Eagles run for about 4 yards. On second down, Clark Haggans forces a fumble on a near sack, but the Eagles recover it. Nice pass rush that time, and it's 3rd and long.

Eagles false start to make it 3rd and 18. Polamalu and two other Steelers blitz and get the sack, taking the Eagles out of field goal range. Nice play and nice recovery following the lousy start.

Eagles punt and it is fair-caught at the 5. But the Eagles are flagged for an illegal formation and must re-kick. This time, another flag, this time the Steelers are offsides. The Eagles decline the penalty and the Steelers start at their 9 yard line.

Steelers-Eagles...defense first drive

Coach Tomlin challenged whether the Eagles could advance the ball on the interception. The call is reversed and the ball is spotted near mid-field. It looks like on the replay that Ben's throwing hat was hit as he tried to throw it. Steelers defense is now on the field.

Steelers-Eagles...first drive continued

Ben's first pass is a check-down to Parker. He is free for a big gain because the linebacker slipped. A good-looking play.

Ben make a HUGE HUGE mistake on first down. Ben is under pressure and nearly in the grasp, tries to throw it away and it goes right to the Eagles.

Steelers-Eagles...first drive

Steelers offense on the field first...starting from the 20. Ben is expected to play about a half.

First play--end around the Cedric Wilson for 9 yards. Not bad, but the play was almost blown up in the backfield. Parker runs for up the middle about 7 to get the first down.

Greatest ever?

Does the Aaron Boone home run to beat the Red Sox in the 2003 ALCS rank among the greatest home runs in MLB history? I don't think so.

It got the Yankees to the World Series, which they lost to the Marlins. I don't think it carried the significance of the others on the list, such as Kirk Gibson in the 1988 World Series or Roger Maris hitting number 61.

It looked like that one was a tip to the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry more than it was a significant home run. I'm not even sure the Buckey Dent home run deserves to be on the list. Can you think of any that are more deserving?

One I could think of:
--Joe Carter wins the 1993 World Series over the Phillies
--Scott Podsednik homers to win Game 2 of the 2004 World Series, his second of the season

Coming up...

The Steelers play the Eagles at 8 p.m. You can watch it on NBC or here if you are confined to the Internet. I'll be offering some opinions while the starters are in.

NFL Experiment solved

Here is a response from Lake Affected on the infamous green dot:

The green dot is the in-helmet communication link between the QB and the offensive coordinator.I heard it was brought about because the Seahawks also used backup QB Seneca Wallace as a wide-out on occasion and when they did, both he and Hasselback had in-helmet communications on the field at the same time.Only one player is allowed to have the earpiece on the field at a time.
Thanks for the tip Jason.

A new NFL experiment?

Maybe I just missed the explanation on this...What is with the green dot on the back of the NFL quarterback's helmet? It is easy to spot if you watch the TV coverage. In most cases it is just above the bottom of the rear of the QB's helmet. All QBs seem to have them, even the back-ups and third stringers, and I haven't seen any other position players (running backs, receivers) with them.

My guess is the dot is supposed to show up on video for some reason. But I have yet to see a broadcast where they have explained it.

Can anyone help me with this?