EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Courtney Davis has no idea what her house looks like because her town of Sea Bright was washed away by superstorm Sandy.
Yet she was at the Meadowlands on Sunday for Steelers-Giants.
“We need this,” Davis said. “We could really use this game and having a good time.”
Davis and many other fans tailgating outside MetLife Stadium said they were thankful NFL commissioner Roger Goodell did not postpone the game or order it moved to Pittsburgh. And Goodell stopped by to do some tailgating himself, then meet on the field and congratulate first responders, calling them “heroes.”
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Asked about concerns for playing the game, Goodell said:
“I sure didn’t hear that here. I didn’t hear it out in the parking lot. In fact, exactly the opposite of that ... ‘We want to be able to get away from what we have been dealing with all week for a while,’ and a couple of guys said, ‘This re-energized us. We’re ready to go back.’
“That’s a nice sense.”
Davis described a beach town that looked more like the desert, with sand dunes piled 8 feet high and bulldozers trying to level them “just like you see in a blizzard.”
“Debris everywhere,” she added. “We have no idea when we can go back.”
Earlier in the week, seeing the game didn’t enter her thoughts. But as the weekend began, she decided the Meadowlands was the right place to be.
So while the parking lots filled up and smoke rose from barbecues, people who lost power but not resolve found their way to a football game. And to each other.
MCFADDEN HURTS LEG
Running back Darren McFadden left the Oakland Raiders’ game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday with a leg injury.
The team said X-rays on McFadden’s leg were negative and he did not return.
Oakland’s leading rusher went to the locker room late in the second quarter. He ran for no gain up the middle on his final carry, but it was unclear how he injured his leg. McFadden finished with seven carries for 17 yards.
Making matters worse for Oakland, backup Mike Goodson hurt his right ankle on a 12-yard catch in the fourth quarter. Goodson limped off the field but later did some light high-stepping on the sideline.
The referee in the Carolina and Washington game says there was an inadvertent whistle by the line judge on the first-quarter play when Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams scored on a 30-yard run.
According to a pool report, referee Carl Cheffers says the touchdown stood Sunday after the officials discussed the play because, “We just felt when the whistle blew, that the player would have already scored.”
Redskins linebacker Perry Riley says he heard the whistle during the play “and I pulled off.”
Williams, for his part, says he didn’t hear a whistle and it “didn’t seem like” the Redskins heard a whistle either, adding: “I don’t think anybody stopped playing.”
Raiders defensive tackle Desmond Bryant was taken to a hospital because of a fast heartbeat. ... Packers linebacker Clay Matthews hurt his hamstring injury after a failed sack, and teammate Jordy Nelson injured his ankle. ... Steelers receiver Antonio Brown left in the first half the Giants with a banged-up left ankle. ... Redskins receiver Santana Moss sustained a concussion in the fourth quarter. ... Falcons defensive tackle Peria Jerry left the Dallas game with a knee injury.