Monday, January 17, 2011

The NFL is Poop - Divisional Playoffs

Look Who’s Talking Now
The Jets backed up all their trash talk by beating New England 28-21 in New England. The key was the pressure the Jets were able to get on Tom Brady. It wasn’t only the 5 sacks, it just seemed like they really rattled him. Even in situations where the Jets didn’t get pressure on him, he still wasn’t able to hit the big play. Revis of course was Revis, but Cromartie didn’t get burned as they thought he would. The Jets meanwhile were able to ride a very balanced offense to the victory. While Mark Sanchez will get (and deserve) a lot of credit he owes his receivers a debt of gratitude. Great plays from Santonio Holmes (sick catch in the corner) and Jerricho Cotchery (hurdle along the sidelines) helped Sanchez look a lot better.

This Isn't Nazi Germany
Bill Belichick is a hardass. He has his way, and he rigorously sticks to it. And of course he thinks his way is best. And he was willing to hurt his team in a playoff game to prove his tight-lipped policy is superior to Rex Ryan’s open mouth. He benched Wes Welker for the start of the game because of his pre-game press conference.

I thought that was quite funny, “foot soldiers,” “quick feet,” and “toe in the water.” Cheesy puns but under the circumstances quite funny.

My Favorite Moment of the Weekend
Bears cornerback Charles "Peanut" Tillman's self-inflicted punishment after dropping a sure interception. Tillman gets down and gives me 20 push-ups, like Willie Mays Hayes.

The Bears Don't Suck
All season long I have derided the Bears as being a bad team that got lucky. This assumption was based on the controversial win over the Lions in Week 1, another win over the Cowboys in week 2 in which the offensive line got destroyed, the offfensive line getting historically demolished against the Giants, and a turnover laden mess against the Redskins. Somehow, some way the offensive line improved, Jay Cutler stopped taking bad chances and the defense reasserted itself as a championship caliber unit. Now the Bears are hosting the NFC championship game.

I Don't Believe in Momentum, But...
The interception return for a touchdown by Tramon Williams at the end of the first half was the closest thing I've seen to a game-changing play. The Falcons seemed likely to cut the Packers lead to 21-17 at the half, trailing, but definitely still in the game. That play made the lead 14, silenced the crowd and turned the Falcons desparate. 48-21 seems like a game the Falcons had no chance to win, but they did, until that interception.

Play to Win the Game
We saw a few plays this weekend (the above pass by Matt Ryan, the fake punt by the Patriots) that showed teams thought taking big chances was necessary to win these games. While some of them didn't work out, either for imprudent decision-making or poor execution, the Pittsburgh Steelers put their victory away with a huge gamble. About two minutes left, 3rd and 19 on their own 38. Instead of trying to kill time and punt the Steelers went for the jugular with Ben Roethlisberger nailing a 58-yard pass to Antonio Brown setting up the game winning touchdown.

Play to the Whistle
One of the most bizarre plays I've ever seen occurred when Terrell Suggs knocked the ball out of Ben Roethlisberger's hand from behind, sending the ball flying forward, and appearing to anyone who didn't see where it came from, to have been a forward pass. That's why a couple players on each team looked down at the ball and didn't fall on it. Cory Redding was aware and scored a touchdown that did turn the game -- for a while -- until the Ravens own turnovers turned the game back.

Play The Game the Right Way
The Ravens-Steelers game was marred by two things, turnovers and penalties. Nearly every play of the game was followed by pushing and shoving by the two teams. No one was more guilty of chippiness than Hines Ward. He is a dirty player and is always involved in something.

1 comment:

jleary said...

The best part of the Welker interview was his dead pan delivery....never cracking a smile was great