Things haven’t been good at the column.
While UCLA football has mercifully sunk into the powder-blue abyss of the offseason there has been a lot of UCLA basketball.
Thankfully, my editor has forbidden me from writing about that until John Wooden’s likeness appears on someone’s Diddy Riese sandwich ala Mother Theresa.
However, there still are the Cowboys who have been hurtling toward my Christmas spirit like a planet-killing asteroid.
I believed all week that there was going to be a vicious ground game unleashed at AT&T Stadium Sunday when the Rams played the Cowboys. I just thought it was going to be the resurgent Todd Gurley replicating last year’s playoff thrashing of the Boyz’ defense.
But the Boyz actually showed some fight. A defense that couldn’t stop the run all season was stout. Sean Lee, an aging middle linebacker, played like a kid again recording a sack and interception in the same game for the first time in his career. And the offense was explosive for the first time since September.
This all added up to the Boyz recording their first win over a team with a winning record and my hopes being momentarily resurrected. The 44-24 beat down of the Rams was, in the words of the team’s omniscient owner, “Just what the doctor ordered.”
As the season draws to a close, NFL cities will either swell with the buzz of a playoff berth or sink into the silence of the offseason. I’m hoping to be part of that swole patrol.
Some teams will go down fighting, scratching and clawing for a chance to play for the Lombardi Trophy and others (both Los Angeles teams) will get blown out by a cumulative 52-point spread, Sunday.
The great thing about Los Angeles not having an NFL franchise since the 1990s is that playoff fever will always be alive in the city. There are bars throughout Southern California dedicated to teams from Pittsburgh, Minnesota and Philadelphia. Heck, I live across the street from an establishment loyal to the Green Bay Packers.
The Cowboys and Eagles will slug it out Sunday afternoon for one of those coveted spots in an NFC East showdown that will crown a division champion.
Sure, both teams are 7-7 and, yes, both teams have been desperately trying to not win this division all year. But come Sunday, someone will have to win, like it or not.
The NFC East is a slippery division. No team has repeated as division champs since the 2004 Eagles, and with the Cowboys having won it last year it doesn’t bode well if recent history continues to not repeat itself.
From 2011-2013 the Boyz lost their last game of the season with a chance to advance to the playoffs with a win. It aged me and turned my heart harder than the frozen tundra at Lambeau Field.
But I’ve grown since then, becoming gentler and wiser. So now, I’m praying for a Christmas miracle.
Santa, if you can hear me, when you’re out on your practice runs this week, please make sure to mow down some birds when you fly over Philly.
Support our journalism.
Hyperlocal news is an essential force in our democracy, but it costs money to keep an organization like this one alive, and we can’t rely on advertiser support alone. That’s why we’re asking readers like you to support our independent, fact-based journalism. We know you like it—that’s why you’re here. Help us keep hyperlocal news alive in Long Beach.