FMQB: Ghosts of Playoffs Past
We had our excitement, we had our duds, we had our duds that turned into excitement. That pretty much sums up this past weekend. BRIEF analysis below.
Titans at Chiefs:
The first half made this game look like a dud. Alex Smith had a dominant first half, going 19-23, 231 yards, 2 TD’s and 1 secret admirer with John Gruden. They took a 21-3 halftime lead and yours truly almost went to do something productive for the weekend. Unbelievably, the Titans didn’t give up and held Smith to only 33 yards in the 2nd half while racking up their own points. They botched two 2 pt conversions but took a 22-21 lead. The play where Henry fumbled the ball and the Chiefs ran it back would have been one we saw on replay for years to come had it actually been a fumble. But they shocked the Chiefs with a wicked comebackon the road to advance.
Falcons at Rams:
I’ve told many people that I distinctly remember being depressed in 2005 when the Rams lost to the Vick led Falcons, but this time I feel really good about where our team is and where we are going. The Rams should have done two things and they could have won that game. First, Gurley averaged 7.2 yards per carry, yet only got the ball 14 times. Still enough for 100 yards, but what the heck? He found a major weakness in the defense and they didn’t exploit it at all! Second, for the love of God stop Julio Jones! Only 3 WR’s caught passes in the game; Jones, Sanu, and a guy nobody’s heard of had 1 catch.
Buffalo at Jacksonville:
If there ever was a dud of a game it was this one. Holy crap! The final score was 10-3, and Blake Bortles looked like a high school quarterback out there. At one point the guys were talking about the wind and how it shouldn’t affect like a 23 yard field goal. A graphic popped up saying 3mph. Two plays later Bortles was missing guys like crazy and the booth was saying “Boy, that wind is really affecting the ball.” Seriously? This was the lowest scoring playoff game since 1970. The Jags were gutsy in their 4th down play from the 1, especially not running it and leaving it in Blake Bortles wild arm, but that was the only TD of the game. Buffalo could have had one, but they threw it 3 times from the goal line (Pete Carroll’s new favorite team.
Panthers at Saints:
At least this game made up for it. The Saints led the entire game, but Carolina nearly pulled two separate comebacks. Christian McCaffrey actually has some wheels, he outran (barely) the Saints entire defense on his lat TD. Was cool to see the ex-Panther Ted Ginn get an 80 yard score. Total yards was CAR 413, NO 410. How Graham Gano misses a 25 yd FG is beyond me, and had he made it the Panthers could have won with a long FG at the end. Also, I think even casual fans immediately realized that on the 4th Down long bomb the Panthers should have knocked it down instead of intercepting it, cost them about 30 yards of field position.
Quote of the Week:
“Tony Romo was just being nice because he’s doing the game, but Bortles is terrible” Boomer Esiason
Stat of the Week:
Bill Belichick will be coaching his 37th postseason game, which will become the new record. That’s 2 full seasons! He is 26-10 in those games, which gives him a 6 win lead over Tom Landry.
Stat of the Week #2:
In the history of the NFL, only 4 teams have blown an 18 point lead at halftime. It literally happened in consecutive games (Super Bowl with Falcons, and then the first Wild Card game the Chiefs did it). Also, Andy Reid and the Chiefs have 2 of those 4 blown leads.
Stat of the Week #3:
Falcons are the only NFC team who made the playoffs last year.
Stat of the Week #4:
Nathan Peterman had more INT’s than Tyrod Taylor on 405 fewer passes. In fact, he had 4 snaps on Sunday. They resulted in a bobbled snap, a fumble, an intentional grounding, and an interception.
Stolen Stat of the Week #5:
Replay system, final 22 seconds of the first half in the Rams game took 8 min and 22 seconds. NBC came back to commercial to hear Ed Hochuli’s ruling, and he said “We are reviewing the play.”
Picture Stat of the Week #6:
Vikings Ghosts of Playoffs Past.
I know I have Vikings fans who read this, but I’m seriously wondering when the other shoe is going to drop. Do they throw an interception late in the game against the Saints? How about a missed kick against the Falcons in the Championship game? The Vikes have a chance to do something rare, exorcise 3 demons from bad playoff beats. Their last two NFC Championship games (2009 and 1998) were against the Saints and Falcons. And the closest they came to winning a Super Bowl was against the Steelers, who they could meet up with again. But where does it fall apart? Who knows, maybe this year, with their franchise RB released and a backup QB playing all year; maybe this year when expectations were so low will it really happen.
I’ve finally realized what QB Case Keenum reminds me of, and why nobody is giving him respect. It’s a different generation, but Case Keenum is the Kurt Warner of today. Undrafted (like Warner), already bouncing from team to team (Warner started with the Packers). It took who a team saw as a franchise QB to get injured early in the season. People didn’t believe the team could succeed with their backup until all of a sudden going 13-3 (just like the Rams). And both QB’s led the league in completion percentage!
Get your football fix in, because there’s more games this weekend than are left in the entire season. Down to 7 total and then a long 7 months off.
Falcons at Eagles:
For the first time in NFL History, a #6 seed on the road is favored to beat the home team #1 seed. That’s because Nick Foles hasn’t proved he’s the QB of 3 years ago. The one weakpoint to the Falcons is there run defense, so I could see the Eagles winning if they use Blount and Ajayi 35 times in the game and keep the ball out of Ryan’s hands (this is the formula). But if they try to throw it 20+ times with Foles, they’ll lose. I have Falcons winning 27-13.
Titans at Patriots:
I think there’s only one way the Pats don’t win, and that’s if Mariota beats them with his legs on 3rd downs. Belichick is too smart, as his formula is to always take out their top player (like they did to Julio Jones in the Super Bowl). One could argue that they’ll do the same to Derrick Henry, who looked incredible on Sunday, but expect a spy on Mariota. I would love so much to see them lose though, because all the questions about the bombshell story of the 3 person power struggle between Kraft, Brady and Belichick would haunt them all offseason. It could be enough to break up that bunch, but that’s likely wishful thinking. I have Patriots dominating, 31-17.
Jaguars at Steelers:
Should be another interesting game, although not super excited if the Bortles from last week shows up. Last time they played this game, the Jags picked off Big Ben 5 times and there were serious talks of him not being “the guy” anymore. I don’t want to say that was a fluke, but I highly doubt they get him another 5 times, or even another 3. I think they come back with revenge, and while it won’t be a blowout, the Jags will never really be in it. 24-9 Steelers.
Saints at Vikings:
Probably the game I’m most excited for. Last time these two met in the playoffs, it was OT in the NFC Championship game. They played in Week 1, but this will be a completely different game. Sam Bradford and Dalvin Cook were the main threats for MIN, and the Saints were aenemic to start the year, Adrian Peterson was stealing touches for Kamara. We now have two explosive offenses in completely different places than they were 17 weeks ago. I’m calling shootout on this one, last team to score wins. Saints 37, Vikings 34.
Meme of the Week #1:
Bonus Meme of the Week #2:
Bonus Meme of the Week #3: