Tag Archives: nfl playoffs

NFL Playoff Week 1 Recap

I was actually in town for the first weekend in about a month, and I took full advantage by catching all four playoff games this weekend. We might as well start with Tebow. Arguably the most anticipated game of the weekend, it certainly lived up to the hype – as did Tebow. Once again, he, at times, looked like one of the worst quarterbacks I’ve ever seen. But he actually made a few more big plays than he usually does, especially with his arm. With the odds stacked against Denver late in the game, it looked like the Steelers got it together just in time to steal the game. They forced overtime, but Tebow magic struck again, on the first play of the extra session no less. Tebow’s long TD pass to Thomas clinched a Broncos win and set up a 2nd round showdown with the Patriots at Foxboro next weekend.

The Giants had an even stronger showing today. Atlanta got on the board early with a safety and took a 2-0 lead. Shockingly, those were the only points the Falcons would score all day. The Giants played surprisingly good ball on both sides and dominated from beginning to end. It was a disappointing finish to the season for the Falcons, and I’m thanking my lucky stars that Michael Turner and Julio Jones waited until the fantasy season was over to put up lackluster numbers.

The Saints did what everyone expected and lit up the scoreboard en route to a matchup with San Francisco next weekend. The Lions hung around longer than expected – long enough for me to think they had a chance. But, in the second half, Detroit stopped scoring and the Saints kept, well, marching in.. to the endzone. I can’t wait to watch Brees and co. take on the NFC’s best defense.

The Houston Texans took advantage of their first ever postseason by disposing of the Bengals. Andy Dalton played pretty well, but appeared to come a bit unraveled toward the end of the game. The other young quarterback, TJ Yates, however, never wavered, and the Texans ran away with it in the second half. It’s amazing to think the team could lose their top two quarterbacks and still find themselves in the second round of the playoffs. It’s too bad they have to go into Baltimore, but they may be able to grind one out in what should be a low-scoring affair.

Is The Patriots Dynasty Dead?

Despite continued regular season success, the New England Patriots have now lost their last three postseason games. Yesterday’s loss to the Jets has prompted me to officially declare the Patriots’ dynasty dead. Players had come and gone, but the team remained pretty successful. With the exception of Tom Brady, everyone else has been pretty dispensable. They’ve won regardless of who was in what position. Corey Dillon, Kevin Faulk, Laurence Maroney, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, it really didn’t matter. Yesterday, though, when the starting lineups were announced, I was literally thinking, who are some of these guys? It’s almost as if Bill Belichik got bored with a level playing field and wanted to make it more difficult. It’s like when you win the Super Bowl on Madden so you start the next season on All-Madden difficulty instead. I’ll even go so far as to say he deliberately picked up Danny Woodhead just to show the Jets that he could make him a great player, while they weren’t even using him. Sure, he looked pretty good all year, but it didn’t help them win in the postseason. I expect a major retooling offseason for the Patriots.

I’m not so sure that upgrading the roster is going to help at this point though. The Pats have lost their swagger. Like Jets’ linebacker Bart Scott said, the media fell for the Patriots’ act, believing that they were just confident, but not cocky. Anyone who doesn’t have a mancrush on Belichik or Brady can see right through that. Rex Ryan outcoached Belichik though, and Brady through a key pick early on that pretty much changed the tone of the game. So maybe they’ll reload their roster for next year. I’m almost positive they’ll need to add a legit receiver or two. Deion Branch is not the answer, no matter how much he cries about classless Jets players. Sure, the “act like you’ve been there before” line comes into play, but the Jets haven’t been there. Patriots players have been telling them how much better they are for years now (and allegedly Branch was saying as much during the game yesterday), so when they finally got over the hump, of course they went batshit crazy. Fingers to the New England fans? I’m all for it. Yesterday will most likely go down in history as the day the Patriots dynasty died. I’ve long said that in order to be the best, you have to know you’re the best. I just don’t think they know they’re the best anymore.

NFL Weekend Wrapup Part II

Steelers Rally Back On The Ravens – Well this game certainly didn’t disappoint. After the Steelers got on the board first, Baltimore ran off three straight touchdowns to take a 21-7 lead into halftime. As the title suggests though, the Steelers rallied back and ended up winning 31-24. I still don’t like the holding call on that potential go-ahead punt return, but of course this game was going to have it’s share of close calls. The real interesting part in this game for me was the winner would be who I’d root for to come out of the AFC, since they’d likely go on to play the Patriots the following week. ……or would they?!?!

Packers Run Away From The Falcons – It’s a pretty fine line between whether the Falcons played that bad or the Packers played that good. The pivotal second quarter was the difference maker, where Matt Ryan killed both of Atlanta’s drives with costly interceptions. Aaron Rodgers became the star of the Joe and Troy Show. Buck and Aikmen displayed a level of mancrush that I haven’t seen on a broadcast since Brett Favre was in Green Bay. But honestly, why wouldn’t they? Rodgers is the only quarterback in the NFL who was fortunate enough to come from Chico, California, home of the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. The only other big headline here is this sets the stage for a possible NFC Championship IN Seattle, home of the 7-9 Seahawks.

Bears Shut Down Seahawks – This game wasn’t nearly as close as the 35-24 score suggests. It was 28-3 after three quarters, and Seattle had to punt on their first 8 drives. At least they weren’t turning the ball over! The best part about this game being a blowout was it gave me a chance to make the hour drive back home from Walnut Creek in time to catch the start of the late game. It also gave me some time to reflect on the night before, where I paid my last respects to one of my favorite clubs in San Francisco, Gravity, on its last night in operation. I guess it’s fitting that the Bay Area backfield of Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett seemed to have an extra dose of gravity, and never really got off the ground, combining for just 11 rushing yards.

Jets Shock The World – Or me, at least. I gave the Jets zero chance to win this game and I was thoroughly impressed with their overall performance. They didn’t necessarily come out of the gate rolling, but they controlled the ball and once they pushed across two touchdowns, they never looked back. Sanchez seemed to be on a pretty tight leash to start the game, but he finished with a solid game of 194 yards and 3 touchdowns. He may just be the ultimate game manager, since he boasts an impressive 4-1 postseason record in his two year career. Not taking away from a solid Green Bay – Chicago showdown in the NFC, I can’t wait for this Jets-Steelers matchup next weekend. If you didn’t know from my Adrian Murrell RFP of the Day a while back, I was a huge Jets fan from 1995-1997. Having said that, I’m really excited to see Neil O’Donnell’s former teams battling it out. I’ll probably even have to bring out the Keyshawn #19 jersey…. again.

NFL Weekend Wrapup

Seattle Stuns New Orleans – Not a lot of people saw this coming, but the popular argument was that it was unfair that the Seahawks got home field advantage. Then the other three home teams proceeded to blow that ‘advantage.’ The highlight of the game for most will no doubt be the return of Beast Mode. For me it will be Bones Roadhouse in Gualala, CA. I decided to take a drive up the coast to Mendocino County to catch the game and wound up enjoying quite possibly the best brisket I’ve ever had, but at least top five. Throw in a couple of the finest offerings from the region’s best breweries (Hop Stoopid Ale by Lagunitas and Scrimshaw by North Coast) and this was a pretty solid game!

Folk You, Vinatieri – Peyton did it again, then Adam Vinatieri did it again. After what seemed like yet another game-winner for the future Hall of Fame kicker, as Al Michaels pointed out, Mark Sanchez and the Jets drove down the field for the improbable upset in Indianapolis. I feel like the Colts would’ve have a better chance against the Patriots. Sure the Jets were one of the two teams to beat New England, but we all saw what happened in Foxboro on Monday Night, when it mattered. This one matters even more, and Tom Brady will surely be out to prove to Rex Ryan that he’s a better quarterback than Peyton Manning.

Ravens Chop Down the Chiefs – The lone blowout of the Wild Card weekend, this one started promising for the Chiefs, especially when Jamaal Charles put them ahead 7-3 with a 41 yard TD run. It was all Ravens from there though. I kept saying last weekend that the Raiders were absolutely shutting the Chiefs down – how in the world were they supposed to move the ball against Baltimore? Well ultimately they didn’t, and Cassel threw three more interceptions and the Ravens earned themselves a showdown with the Steelers next weekend.

Eagles Pack It In Early – Michael Vick and company simply didn’t show up today. The Packers didn’t particularly dazzle on offense, but their defense kept the Eagles pretty well bottled up for the majority of the game. Watching Vick survey closely-covered receivers and dance around the pocket all day, I couldn’t help but think of Tyrod Taylor hopelessly trying to keep his Virginia Tech team in the game against an overpowering Stanford. The only difference is Taylor was making things happen.