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Not much going on tonight and my fiance, Kate, is asleep.
This means I have the remote and I'll attempt my first Live Blog-NFL Red Zone host Scott Hanson said NFL Network was doing a rehearsal tonight. Figured, I'd try my own.
On the TV tonight: NFL Preseason with the New York Giants hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers-Ben Roethlisberger takes his first snaps-and two aces, Tim Lincecum and Chris Carpenter, battle it out in St. Louis as the San Francisco Giants visit the Cardinals. Both teams need wins to keep pace for a post-season spot.
Lets see how this goes.
7:24: The NY Giants first possession didn't go so well and Pittsburgh starts its first possession, which ended after a first down and an amazing play by defensive end, Justin Tuck, tackling wide receiver, Antwaan Randle El, for a big loss. The score is 0-0 after each team touched the ball.
In St. Louis, the San Fransico Giants didn't score a run in the top half of the first. Lincecum, the back-to-back NL Cy Young winner, headed into the game allowing 14 earned runs in his last 14 innings pitched. He's 0-3 in that stretch.
7:35: The NFL Preseason is very interesting.
So many fans, analysts and players dislike it. However, people watch it religiously-at least the first two quarters.
As much as I hate meaningless games, I still watch Buffalo Bills' pre-season games. I must, considering each season the Bills are showcasing a new offensive scheme, which is always implemented by a new coach or offensive coordinator.
Roethlisberger was just picked off by Giants' defensive back, Corey Webster. Giants' first-team, minus Eli Manning, is still on the field. Still 0-0 with about five and a half minutes to go in the first quarter.
Still 0-0 in St. Louis. Entering the bottom of the second.
8:08: The local NBC crew, which is doing the Steelers-Giants game, brought up Eli Manning vs. Ben Roethlisberger (I have Roethlisberger on "copy". Didn't want to spell that all night).
Each were drafted in 2004 draft, Manning (first overall by the San Diego Chargers then traded to the Giants) and Roethlisberger (11th overall), and have had successful careers; Roethlisberger has two Super Bowl rings and one Pro Bowl appearance, Manning a legendary Super Bowl ring and a Pro Bowl appearance.
Other quarterbacks selected in the first round that season: Philip Rivers (fourth overall by Giants then traded to Chargers) and J.P. Losman (22nd overall by Buffalo).
Hint to any organization, DON'T SELECT the fourth quarterback in the first round! He may not be the best one out of the group.
Each quarterback has seen a lot of TV time during the off season.
Manning has appeared in many commercials with big brother, Peyton Manning, while Roethlisberger has been featured in many Outside The Lines shows about his college-bar shenanigans, which led to him being banned for six games.
At the New Meadowlands Stadium, Giants' running back, Ahmad Bradshaw, scored on a running play inside the red zone. Giants lead 7-3 with about six minutes to go in the second quarter.
In St. Louis, it's still 0-0 after three innings.
Lincecum has allowed no hits and stuck out one. Carpenter has allowed three hits and stuck out two.
8:39: The Cards are supporting Carpenter, who shutdown the Giants in the top half of the fifth, by scoring a run in the fourth and two in the bottom of the fifth.
Pedro Feliz, who was traded from Houston Thursday, and Brendan Ryan each had run-scoring hits in the bottom of the fifth.
Cardinals' outfielder, Randy Winn, broke a 0-0 score with a lead-off homer in the bottom of the fourth.
Winn has played for 13 seasons for five different teams-Tampa Bay, San Francisco, Seattle, New York Yankees, St. Louis.
He's never been a star but has always torn up the bath path averaging 21 stolen bases a year.
Currently, the game has finished five innings and at the one hour, 30 minute mark. I like!
This is how baseball should be played. The tempo of the game is great. There has been a dinger and a couple exciting plays with GOOD pitching. This is baseball at its best!
Back in NY, Steelers' wide receiver, Mike Wallace, just caught a long touchdown pass from "second-string" quarterback Byron Leftwich. Leftwich is battling former Oregon University quarterback, Dennis Dixon, for the Steelers "starting" job.
One of my favorites, Charlie Batch, is behind both of them! Batch has been in the league 9 years! Most of those years were serving as a Steelers backup but he become "legendary" in Detroit where he started three seasons for them going 19-18. Not bad. (My other favorite all-time backup is Shaun King.)
After a Steelers interception with less than two minutes to go, Leftwich led Pittsburgh inside the red zone with a scrambling first down-no he didn't need help from offensive linemen-and a bullet to Wallace.
However, the Giants defense holds and it's 10-7 at halftime.
9:09: Dixon started the second half for the Steelers and leads them on a touchdown drive, capped with a running TD by running back Isaac Redman. Pittsburgh leads 17-7.
Dixon went 4-of-4 for 54 yards on the drive.
Leftwich finished 3-for-6, 95-yards passing, 11-rushing yards and one passing TD.
I have a feeling the "starting" job is Leftwich's to lose. I can't see Mike Tomlin starting a quarterback who doesn't have an NFL start-Leftwich has started 49 games in seven seasons.
Back to St. Louis as Albert Pujols led off the bottom of the sixth with a single, stolen second, advanced to third on a wild throw during the pick off attempt then scored on a single by rookie outfielder, Jon Jay-entering the game, Jay was hitt .353 and is a legit NL Rookie of the Year candidate.
It's now 4-0 Cards after six innings.
The Giants replaced Lincecum, who allowed six hits, four earned-runs and struck out four, after one out in the sixth.
That means in Lincecum's last-four starts he's allowed 18 ER in only 19.1 innings. That's not what San Fran needs from its ace, especially in a pennant race.
Lincecum's ERA (3.72) is now a run higher than the previous two years. OUCH!
Carpenter is still cruising allowing only four hits and striking out three.
9:30: The score is now 24-14 at the New Meadowlands, Giants' running back, Andre Brown, scored on a one-yard run, early in the fourth quarter.
At the end of the third quarter the Steelers lead, 24-7.
Dixon, again, led the Steelers to a touchdown. This time the drive was finished by running back Dwayne Wright, who ran-in from two yards. Dixon completed two passes on the drive.
He's now 6-of-6 for 77-yards passing and added a 22-yard run.
The Giants secondary has not covered anyone all night. I know this was an issue last season.
It doesn't look as things have improved much as Dixon, who has only played in one regular season game in three season, is tearing them apart.
Giants' QB, Rhett Bomar (a rookie from Sam Houston State), is not fairing well, either. He's, currently, 9-of-19 for 111 yards and an interception.
Bomar is getting all the snaps because Manning's bell got rung last week against the Jets and second-stringer, Jim Sorgi, is out with a shoulder injury.
That's it for NFL Preseason updates. Things are in a tight situation in St. Louis. I'll update what's going on there, next.
10:13: In the top of the ninth, Cards' closer Ryan Franklin allowed just a runner to reach first base and helps St. Louis win, 5-1. Franklin earns his 22nd save of the season.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Cards scored one run as Feliz hit a two-out, run-scoring single-his second RBI of the night.
However, in the top of the eighth, the game got tight after Carpenter, who pitched 7.1-innings, allowed five hits, an earned run and struck out four, exited with one out.
Giants' rookie-catcher, Buster Posey, and third baseman, Aubrey Huff, collected back-to-back hits, respectively, to put runners at the corners.
After outfielder Pat Burrell struck out, outfielder Jose Gullien hit a run-scoring single past Ryan, playing shortstop, to make it 4-1.
However, the threat ended when Pablo Sandoval made the innings' final out with a grounder to Ryan.
Sandoval, who last season hit .330, 25 home runs and 90 RBI, has really struggled this year with a .265 average and 10 homers.
The Giants could slip six games behind NL Central leader, the San Diego Padres, depending on if they win or lose in Milwaukee.
With the victory the Cards snapped a five-game losing streak and, currently, sit four game behind NL Central leaders, the Cincinnati Reds, who are playing at the Los Angeles Dodgers tonight.
The talking point in this game has to be Lincecum, who struggled, again.
Luckily, the Giants have other pitchers-Barry Zito, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Jonathan Sanchez-who can carry the load while Lincecum finds out what's wrong.
However, September is almost here and there's no way the Giants can chase down the Padres or compete for the NL Wild Card without its ace.
Baring a skip in the rotation, Lincecum will probably start next Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
At the New Meadowland, the Steeler beat the Giants, 24-17.