We ordered pizza tonight and watched the Saints play the Eagles. Before the game my loyalties were slightly divided. The Eagles were led by veteran quarterback Jeff Garcia. I saw Garcia play quite a bit in the CFL when he was with the Calgary Stampeders (he took over as the primary quarterback after Doug Flutie left Calgary to join the Toronto Argonauts).
When the game started, my loyalties were no longer divided. I was a Saints fan. So were Alana and Logan.
It was not an easy game to watch. I thought the Saints had the upper hand in the game, but as usual their big weakness is the big play. Two of the Eagles' touchdowns were from the Saints' defence giving up a big play.
In a way this reminded me of the 1997 Eastern Conference final between the Toronto Argonauts and the Montreal Alouettes. I was reminded in the sense that the favoured team was at home for a playoff game, and I was emotionally attached to the team. I seem to remember that game being close, too, though it wasn't as hard to watch as this evening's game. Maybe because Toronto didn't fumble the football, turning it over with enough time for their opponent to score to tie or win the game.
That happened tonight, when Drew Brees pitched the ball to Reggie Bush, only to have Bush fumble it and an Eagle recover it. I was so ready to pull my hair out at that point!
But, in the end the Saints' defence stopped the Eagles (though I thought it was a mistake for Philadelphia to gamble on stopping the Saints when they could have tried one more play on 3rd and 11). The Saints took over, got a first down, and ran out the clock. Saints won 27 to 24.
This was only the second playoff game the Saints have ever won, and the first time they got to a conference final in their 40 year history.
I'm cheering on Seattle and the Chargers tomorrow. Seattle because a win over the Bears will give New Orleans home field advantage next week for the NFC final. The Chargers because I would really like to see the Saints and the Chargers in the Super Bowl, particularly with the Saints' quarterback coming from San Diego.
For now, New Orleans, Louisiana, and surrounding areas can celebrate a tough game that was far more exciting than I was hoping it would be. Geaux Saints!
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