Choose the debate over sports last night? Then you missed some big doings – a pennant being won, a classic NFL rivalry being staged on Monday Night Football – if not done in the most dramatic possible fashion. Was it any less dramatic than horses and bayonets and the candidates basically agreeing on things and trying to act like they didn’t, though? Catch up on what happened in sports below, and make the call.
The Giants won the pennant. The Giants won the pennant.
Sorry, can’t replicate the excitement of one of baseball’s most famous calls when the game was no contest. The Giants completed a huge NLCS comeback in overwhelming fashion, topping the Cardinals 9-0 to earn a spot in the franchise’s second World Series in three years. The Giants put it away early, with seven runs in the first three innings, and thanks to Matt Cain’s 5 2/3 scoreless innings and an equally untouchable performance from the bullpen, there was hardly any doubt about the result, even though the Cardinals had to come back from a huge deficit in an elimination game to even reach the NLCS at all.
Indeed, if the Giants’ comeback from down 3-1 was notable for just one thing, it’s how convincing they were. These weren’t nail-biters: the Giants outscored the Cardinals 20-1 in the final three games of the series. It was reminiscent of 1996, when the Braves, also down 3-1, stormed back to win the final three games by a combined margin of 32-1. Their opponent that year? The Cardinals.
The series marked a stunning end to the Cardinals’ near-mystical ability, dating back to last season, to pull out wins when they most needed to. They rallied at the end of last year to win the wild card. They pulled out a Game 5 against the Phillies in the Division Series. They were on the brink of losing the World Series several different times in Game 6. They pulled it off, and won Game 7. They won the wild card play-in game this year. They came back from 6-0 down to beat the Nationals in Game 5 of this year’s Division Series. But when they just needed one more game to finish off the Giants, they couldn’t get it.
And that’s because the Giants have been unbeatable themselves in elimination games this year – they’ve had to play six, and they’ve won ‘em all. Someone’s magical playoff vibes had to give last night – unfortunately for Cards fans, it’s now the Giants’ turn. As for the World Series… I have no idea what’s going to happen. The Tigers looked invincible in the ALCS, but did that have more to do with them, or the Yankees? And the Giants looked pretty damn tough themselves in these last three games against St. Louis. Not long until we start finding out.
World Series Game 1 TV info: Wednesday, 8 p.m., Fox.
The Bears won.
Not that much else to say, really. Week 7 in the NFL was bookended by defensive battles with nearly-even scores. After the Niners beat the Seahawks 13-6 to open things up on Thursday, the Bears finished off the action by holding off the Lions last night, 13-7. The Bears were in total control early, leading 13-0 at the half, but didn’t score quite enough to keep the Lions totally out of it, so the Lions added a bit of last-ditch drama with a last-minute touchdown to make it a one-score game. The Bears recovered the onside kick, though, and that was the end of that.
Bigger-picture: the Lions aren’t doing so hot. Yeah, last year they looked like they’d finally broken the curse of being the Lions, but now they’re 2-4 and Matthew Stafford isn’t matching his level of play from last season. The Bears, meanwhile, are sitting pretty. They’re 5-1. Their defense is one of the league’s best. Hell, during a postgame interview last night, Jay Cutler (who played hurt for much of last night’s game) even smiled. I saw it myself. And if his body language is good, whose wouldn’t be?
Photos via Getty