It was quite a weekend to start off 2008, and here's what went on during that time...
NFL Wild Card Weekend
- The Washington Redskins were the sympathy favorite going into the playoffs with the death of Sean Taylor, but the Seattle Seahawks had some other ideas. The 'Hawks got two late interceptions from Marcus Trufant and Jordan Babineaux (78 and 57 yards, respectively) to cap a rally which saw them go from 14-0 down to a 35-14 win. Look for them in Green Bay next weekend...
- The Saturday nightcap was the game of the entire weekend; the Jacksonville Jaguars managed to withstand a Pittsburgh Steelers fourth-quarter rally, and got help from a long David Garrard run and a forced fumble out of Ben Roethlisberger's hands to hang on for a 31-29 win and a trip to New England next Saturday.
- After two consecutive first-round exits, New York Giants fans were wondernig which Eli Manning would show up this year. Well, the third time was the charm for Eli and Big Blue as Peyton's little brother threw for 185 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-14 upset of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their first playoff win since the 2000 NFC Championship. Good luck in Dallas on Sunday...
- Speaking of Peyton, he and his Indianapolis Colts will play host to the San Diego Chargers. Just like both the Seahawks and the Jags the night before, the Bolts had to overcome a deficit and won their match-up with the Tennessee Titans going away, 17-6.
FA Cup (or March Madness in January...England style!)
England's answer to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament reached the always-exciting Third Round Proper; here are some highlights:
- Defending champion Chelsea will keep that title with a 1-0 shutout of Football League Championship side QPR, Blues didn't need to use their feet to score the only goal; Hoops goalkeeper Lee Camp put the ball in his own net.
- Chelsea's opponent from last year, Manchester United, ousted the Fighting Alexs (Aston Villa) in what would've been a scoreless tie hadn't it been for two late goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.
- There will be two replays next week, thanks to a 1-1 draw between Luton Town and Liverpool and a 2-2 draw between Spurs and Reading.
- The exciting aspect of the FA Cup is the possibility that one of the smaller clubs can knock off the big boys; further edification came with League One club Oldham Athletic's 1-0 upset of Premiership club Everton.
Setting the pick
- The Boston Celtics retained the NBA's best record (29-3) and extended their winning streak to nine games thanks to an unlikely source; Glen Davis played Mr. Inside by scoring 20 points in the C's 92-85 win over the Detroit Pistons. Going in, the titans of the Eastern Conference combined for 54 wins.
- Memphis remained undefeated and second-ranked in the nation with a 90-53 win over Pepperdine. Doneal Mack scored 23 points in the Tigers' 40th straight win at home, a school record). Meanwhile, top-ranked North Carolina needed overtime to defeat Clemson – and a prayer. Wayne Ellington delivered with a game-winning field goal to seal the Tar Heels' 90-88 win and their 15-0 record.
Odds and Sods
- If you out there have parents who grew up in the 1970s, they'll probably remember seeing Dorothy Hamill performing many a figure skating routine. Famous for her hairdo, Hamill announced late Friday that she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Our prayers that she pulls through, from the grandson of a two-time breast cancer survivor (and the son of an ex-colon cancer patient)
- Two more college football games, which were pretty much static between the big stations, were also played on the weekend:
- While Ray Rice clinched a 2,000-yard season (thanks to 280 yards on 35 carries), there were some rumors about whether he'll turn pro. The Rutgers running back may be NFL bait after his performance in the Scarlet Knights' 52-20 rout of Ball State in the International Bowl in Toronto, Canada.
- Where was the defense?! Tulsa clinched the GMAC Bowl with a 63-7 beatdown royale against Bowling Green on Sunday.
Former MLB pitcher Roger Clemens: How can you tell if an over-40 player on the Mitchell Report is lying? His lips are moving...
Happy New Year once again
And, as always, there'll be more next week. Until then, let's all be good sports...