Paulie Pigskin's Sideline Notebook: A win in Philly
Giveth & Taketh Away: What did John Skelton do after throwing the pick-six to Asante Samuel? He worked the sideline. He individually approached every starter on offense, beginning with the O-Linemen, smacking ‘em on the shoulder pad and vowing: "We'll get it back, we'll get it back."
So, what happened on the next possession? He got it back. A scoring drive of 10 plays, 84 yards. Tie game: 7-7. Talking to players afterward, they noted it's not just that Skelton said it. It's how he said it (or didn't say it). Meaning, he didn't shout it or rah-rah it. He simply said it. And meant it.
Everything Goes Good on a Fitz: What did Larry Fitzgerald tell Skelton following the Cards second possession? Remember how Skelton fired that third down pass out of the end zone? Well, as Fitz reminded his rookie QB: don't throw it away, throw it up. As in, throw it up for grabs - Fitz will get it. Hence, it's not surprising that Fitz wound up being targeted 13 times, with a pair of catches coming off deflections in traffic.
What Now?: So, what does Calais Campbell have this season that DRC does not? An interception. (Note: Calais made sure his "Vick Pick" football made the trip back to AZ.) A moment to savor? Ding! Blocked field goals? Been there, done that(4x). But a pick for a 6-foot-8 lineman? Well, that's once-in- a-career stuff. One problem, though. Still beaming on the bench after the pick, Calais told his teammates that his biggest problem was figuring out what to do next, thinking to himself in the heat of the moment: "Should I run? Should I run?" (Note II: he did make a run for it, but the official stats read - no gain.)
Dis/Respect: To some players, it was somewhat surprising that the Eagles had no problem punting the football to Patrick Peterson. And every time they did, the sidelines swelled. Apparently, nobody wants to miss P-Twice in action. Not the fans, not the players. No doubt, one of the ultimate signs of respect in any sport is when your teammates get off the bench or jockey for position when your time arrives - ding.
Close Call: What does it feel like to get smashcaked by a bullet train named Michael Vick? Someone on the Cards sideline nearly found out the hard way. Me. Indeed - in my closest brush with sideline dismemberment in years - Vick and Darryl Washington pinballed off each other at full speed, nearly steamrolling Paulie Pencilneck into an instant blooper highlight. (Final Note: some players say they aim for sideline reporters in order to cushion their fall. Not funny. Not cool.)