Don’t worry, I’m getting there, I’m getting there.
Let’s take it one game at a time, since in reality the weekend was just a big crescendo to one of the best plays you’ll ever see in playoff history. I would first like to point out, that I didn’t see any of this coming, and went 1 for 3 on my picks. To be fair, there were 4 QB’s who have made it to and/or won Super Bowls against QB’s with extremely little playoff experience, and somehow the New QB’s went 3-1 in this weekend’s matchups.
Falcons at Eagles:
Little bit of a weird game, didn’t really seem like either team could get much going. The Eagles defense looks legit though. I was also surprised at with how much Foles seemed to be struggling early, he ended up going a respectable 23-30. The Falcons had a shot, drove down 74 yards and had 4 plays from 1st and Goal. But it was painfully obvious who Ryan wanted to go to, throwing 3 of the 4 passes to Julio. It came down to the final play from the 2 yard line, but they couldn’t punch it in. Good ending to a defensive game.
Titans at Patriots:
The Patriots proved once again that they can outplay you on offense, outplay you on defense, and outcoach you all-together. You basically need a perfect game AND have the Patriots make mistakes in order to beat them. Brady threw it a whopping 53 times to become the oldest QB ever to win a playoff game. But the Titans looked outmatched nearly the entire game despite actually scoring first.
Jaguars at Steelers:
As much as I’m in shock about the Diggs play, this was the surprise of the weekend. I was with about every Steeler player looking ahead to the Patriots and thinking this was going to be an easy game. The 21-0 lead they took had the entire crowd deflated. The Steelers actually made it an interesting game. Steelers went for it on 4th down 4 times, did not convert either 4th and 1, but converted a 4th and 11 and a 4th and 6. How did the Jags, known for their defense and their struggling QB, put up 45 points against the Steelers? And also for being known for their D, they gave up 42 points in 3 quarters. To be fair, 3 of Ben’s TD passes were absolute dimes, and I mean perfect throws. The one handed catch by Brown, he didn’t even have to move his arm, it just fell in there.
Saints at Vikings:
And we’re here, one of the best playoff endings you will ever see folks. The first half was rather uneventful. Drew Brees’ 1st quarter was dreadful, he had 3 possessions and went 1-6, 3 yds, and an INT. At halftime with the Vikes up 17-0, it looked like another dud of a game. The Saints scored twice though, and by the beginning of the 4th it was a 3 point game. Then with 3:01, the Saints surprisingly took the lead! The Vikings drove down and lined up for a 53 yard field goal. I turned to FFMQB and said “This is where the Vikings’ heartbreak happens.” But as seems to be the norm this year, I was wrong and Forbath drilled it with 1:29 left. There was a moment of “holy crap, maybe this is their year!” That was quickly dashed when the Saints drove down and kicked a field goal of their own with 25 seconds left. Through the TV, it sounded like you could hear a pin drop in that stadium. Being 4 miles away, it’s like I could feel the letdown too even not being a fan. And then, it happened…
The Minneapolis Miracle:
For what was about to come, the Vikings actually screwed up that final drive in my opinion. They had a false start, a nice 20 yard game, but then two incomplete passes. It was down to 10 seconds left. Realistically the final play to gain yards, because you get out of bounds and then only have the field goal try. I won’t try to describe the play because the rest is history and words can’t do it justice. What an awesome ending, for a team with a beleaguered fan base who never has games like this go their way. There were 4 lead changes in the last 3:01. I will ask though, how many years did Paul Allen have the “Minneapolis Miracle” line in his repertoire, waiting for the right time to use it. It’s a bit cheesy and ridiculous how these plays get names, but kind of amusing too. You can literally say 2 words and have an entire scene painted in somebody’s head. Like “The Catch,” or the “Immaculate Reception.” See? You’re picturing that grainy video right now of both plays!
It is so loud in the Vikings stadium, that you can see the flash of the fireworks go off but can’t hear them over the crowd noise. This one gives me chills.
One of the greatest playoff victories of all time. Sorry, the link does take you down memory lane but is riddled with ads. But I agree with their ranking, nothing is beating the Immaculate Reception or the Music City Miracle. But this HAS to be #3 on the list. Was surprised that the end of the Rams/Titans Super Bowl wasn’t on there, but otherwise it’s a fun list.
The other thing I’ve heard that drives me nuts, is that there are multiple reports of people leaving early. One story about a “diehard fan” who left once the Saints were up 21-20 and made it home to watch the final play. I’m sorry, but if you’re more worried about traffic than your team, then you deserve to miss stuff like this.
Here’s the win percentage during Sunday’s game, which basically looks like a heartbeat monitor:
Jaguars at Patriots:
Although not in a coaching capacity, it’s amazing what Tom Coughlin did with the team his first year back. They went from 3-13 to the AFC Championship game. The question is, can they knock off Goliath. Coughlin has had Belichick’s number, but he’s not on the sideline anymore. I initially thought that the Patriots would dominate this game, but as the week has gone on, I’m starting to think the Jags actually have a chance. Tom Brady can’t beat top notch defenses, especially if he starts getting hit. I’m strongly considering picking the Jags, but I just can’t do it. Patriots 28, Jaguars 17.
Vikings at Eagles:
In my opinion, Vikings Saints was the NFC Championship this year. I know I’m going to jinx it, but if I were the Vikings, I’d much rather play the Eagles on the road than the Saints at home. I just can’t back Nick Foles being a Super Bowl QB. This is going to be a weird game, I’ll give you that. Very low scoring, and we all see what can happen if the game is in reach on the final play, but I strongly give the Vikings the edge here. Defensive battle, but my pick is Vikings 16, Eagles 10.
- The Patriots have made 7 straight conference championships, and 12 since 2001. That’s just sickening.
- Just think, had the Jesse James non-catch not have happened in Week 15, it would have been the Titans at Pittsburgh and the Patriots likely taking on (and taking out) the Jaguars.
- I know ratings were down, actually down dramatically. But 37 of the top 50 shows watched in 2017 were NFL games.
- We could literally have a Blake Bortles vs. Nick Foles Super Bowl. Just think about that for a second…
- Blake Bortles has more wins in 2018 (2) than Tom Brady has (1). He also has 0 postseason losses, compared to Brady’s 9.
- How the heck does the Titans head coach leave after this year?
- 16 years ago today, the Tuck rule happened. Still remember that night vividly, still etched in my brain.
- 2 years ago, Keenum and Foles played on the same team and only managed a 7-9 record.
Stat of the Week #1:
Blake Bortles’ .344 winning percentage is the worst ever by a QB entering the Championship round.
Stat of the Week #2:
Coming into Sunday’s game, Mike Zimmer had lost 10 straight playoff games as either a head coach or assistant
Stat of the Week #3:
Vikings with 20 playoff wins and Eagles with 16 are winningest teams in playoffs without a Super Bowl victory
Stat of the Week #4:
The Jaguars have lost 63 of their past 80 games coming into this season
Stat of the Week #5:
Brady has as many Super Bowl wins (5) as the remaining QB’s have playoff starts (Bortles, Foles, and Keenum with 5 starts combined)
Stat of the Week #6:
The Minnesota Vikings are 0-5 in Conference Championship games since their last Super Bowl appearance in 1977. That’s the most losses without a win in the last 40 years
Stat of the Week #7:
Tom Brady has appeared in 12 AFC Championship games in his 16 year career (75%). Black Bortles career completion percentage is 59%. Brady literally has a better chance of getting to an AFC title game than Blake Bortles has of completing a pass.
Stat of the Week #8:
The Minneapolis Miracle was the only 4th quarter walkoff TD with no time remaining in NFL postseason history
Stat of the Week #9:
Leonard Fournette had more rushing TD’s at Heinz field this year (4) than LeVeon Bell did (3).
Stat of the Week #10:
The age gap between starting QB’s Brady (40) and Mariota (24) was the largest gap in NFL playoff history.
Stat of the Week #11:
Eagles and Vikings are the only teams to meet in championship game where both QBs didn’t start week 1
Picture Stat of the Week #12:
Quote of the Week:
I think the one thing Vikings fans are forgetting is that they have 1 if not 2 more games to get their hearts broken- Minneapolis radio station
Quote of the Week #2:
“Who is Marcus Williams tackling here? Manti Te’o’s girlfriend???” – Costaki Economopoulos
Super Bowl Possibilities:
Patriots vs. Vikings- Probably the best overall matchup out there, and probably the best storylines. This is what I’m rooting for.
Patriots vs. Eagles- Rematch of Brady’s 3rd Super Bowl win. I can’t picture Nick Foles remotely having a chance against Belichick. History has this as the likely outcome.
Jaguars vs. Vikings- This could be intriguing based on the defensive matchup, but could also turn into an ugly game.
Jaguars vs. Eagles- I think this would be just a terrible game: like a 10-9 affair. Just yuck
In a world where politics, hate, being offended, and racism is somehow still a thing, it’s nice to see some feel good stories out there. Heck, we’re 19 days into the new year and our biggest issue as a country is adults eating laundry detergent packets, so anything will help! But it’s cool seeing the sports world and fandom pick out an opposing team/player and donate to their cause. It’s an acto of complete unselfishness and sportsmanship since it’s not even their own team. Was cool to see Andy Dalton get so much love from Bills fans after knocking out the Ravens. Now Bengals fans are donating to Blake Bortles’ cause since they took out the Steelers. Even after the Vikings’ emotional win, they are donating to the Saints punter’s cause, simply because he gained Minnesota fans’ respect after playing hurt. His total is over $150K!
Meme of the Week #1:
Bonus Meme of the Week #2: