FMQB: Schadenfreude and Karma
Oh…My…God! We had 2 Overtime games for Championship weekend! Never before had there been 2 OT playoff games in the same day, in any round! But when it was all on the line, both games more than delivered!
I will try my best not to show my Rams bias here, but would like to point out how unbelievable this moment is for me. 2 seasons ago we had traded away the farm for a college QB with a losing record, and we finished 4-12 that year. Things were looking bleak, but 2 years later we’re in the freaking Super Bowl! As always, this week is the Divisional Round, next week is Super Bowl preview.
I went 0-2 last week, putting me 4-6 for the playoff run. Not good, so Go Patriots!!! Haha.
Rams vs. Saints:
Let’s not focus on the no-call…yet. First, credit to the Saints fans. The noise was insane, and clearly was messing with the Rams in the 1st quarter. But as McVay said, he knew the fans couldn’t keep that up the entire game (although the screaming after the game has lasted 5 days and counting…). The Rams only giving up 2 FG’s to start after strong Saints drives, and only giving up 13 points in the first half felt like a victory in itself, but they struggled to get the offense going. Once again, a fake punt seemed to change the tide for a team and kept the Rams in it.
The game was surprisingly close despite the Saints scoring and the Rams punting. I have to admit I was surprised McVay opted to kick a field goal to tie the game at 20 vs. going for it on 4th and inches. Seemed conservative, but it also would have been devastating to not convert.
It got exciting with the game tied and Brees with the ball with 5 minutes left. They drove down, and here is where I put play calling as the reason the Saints lost. It’s 1st down at the 13 at the 2 minute warning, Rams with 2 timeouts. At this point the Saints are guaranteed to score at least something to take the lead. Instead of working the clock, the Saints threw incomplete, ran, and then threw on 3rd and 10 where the odds of converting are very small. Granted, this is the controversial no-call, but they basically stopped the clock for the Rams twice AND let them have their final drive with a timeout remaining. Instead, at the 13 they could have run 3 times and kicked a FG, giving the Rams the ball with about 70 seconds left but no timeouts.
Anyway, after the no-call, that seemed to take the wind out of the Saints. The Rams drove down and kicked a very scary winding FG to take it into OT. After the INT in OT, I truly felt the Rams would win it. Even the 57 yard FG felt like it was destined to go in, and dang it looked like it would have been good from 70.
Patriots vs. Chiefs:
The first half seemed to fly by in about 50 actual minutes! Mainly because the Patriots dominated the time of possession and ran the ball like crazy. The Chiefs had 3 total yards of offense the first 23 minutes of game time, and ended the half with only 37 total yards. The 2nd half would improve dramatically, and despite the Patriots seeming like they were dominating, it was shocking to see the Chiefs go ahead. The last 8 minutes of the game was about the best you’ll see in the NFL, with 4 lead changes and a tie in that time frame. When the Patriots took a 3 point lead with 39 seconds left, even with Mahomes you had to think the Pats punched their ticket. But 2 plays and 48 yards later, the Chiefs were able to kick a tying field goal.
Overtime here was exciting yet anticlimactic. Reminded me a bunch of the Falcons Pats Super Bowl, where they simply drove down the field and scored so KC wouldn’t get the ball. They did convert 3 3rd downs though, and the interception turned defensive offsides was heartbreaking. IF Dee Ford literally lines up 4 inches back, the Chiefs are in the Super Bowl.
Stat of the Week:
The Patriots are only 3rd team to make 3 straight Super Bowls
Stat of the Week #2:
Todd Gurley had a career low 5 touches on Sunday. This is the same player that Jeff Fischer guarded like a QB in Hard Knocks saying “DO NOT TOUCH #30!” during training camp.
Stat of the Week #3:
Andy Reid is now 1-5 in Championship games
Stat of the Week #4:
The last 12 home teams had won Championship games, and home teams were undefeated since 2012. Ironically that year, both road teams won (49ers beat Falcons and Ravens beat Pats on the road).
Thought of the Week:
After a season of drama with LeVeon Bell and Antonio Brown, it was interesting to watch Todd Gurley. FOX did a good job showing Gurley and pointing out that he wasn’t mad or throwing tantrums, but letting his coach use him when needed. He will be fresh for the Super Bowl.
Missed call rant:
As a Rams fan, my first reaction even before anybody saw a replay was “oh no, that’s a flag.” So yes, I am also admitting a blown call. But you also can’t peg that play as the outcome of the game. The refs blatantly missed at least 6 other calls that would have tilted the game in the Rams favor. There were 3 awful delay of game misses where Brees essentially got 42 seconds, and a facemask on Goff’s run that makes it 1st and goal down by 3 in the 4th , , a facemask on Cooks’ run, and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles kick to the face (see meme below). The Saints also got the ball to start OT and had their chance to drive down again but couldn’t. So don’t tell me that one play makes or breaks it.
Why isn’t the uproar on the Brady roughing the passer? The guy literally nicked his facemask, and Brady flinched moreso because his hand was 4 inches from his face vs. the fact he barely got touched. That also extended a drive that, had the call not happened, would have decided the game in the Chiefs favor.
People always seem to bash and make fun of the announcers, and while I see some of it, I still think Chris Collinsworth and Tony Romo are the best the industry has seen. The AFC Championship game was made that much more exciting by Tony Romo’s insight. He was correctly picking plays again, telling the audience what the QB was thinking during audibles. “Tom is watching the safety, if he drops down watch for the throw to Gronk!” I found myself several times shifting my eye from the QB/Center to the Tight end, or the Safety, or even to see if the Left Tackle would pull and run to the right. It made the game more enjoyable, and he deserves the new CBS contract coming to him.
Feel free to tune out lol, but I have to talk about what it’s been like being a Rams fan. Since the 2001 Super Bowl Loss, it has been tough as a Rams fan and want to show the records I have dealt with.
That’s 3 winning seasons in 17 years, only 3 playoff appearances (only 1 in the 15 years prior), 6 last place finishes, and two #1 overall draft picks. 111-160-1 in that timeframe. I’m sure many St. Louisians felt the same way, but I considered bailing when they moved to LA. I love football and love being a fan, but I also started out in life a Vikings fan, and then a Panthers fan for about 4 years before getting onto the Kurt Warner train due to a personal relationship. I’ve been a Rams fan for 20 years now. And truthfully, I thought about jumping to Green Bay, but decided to stay. And this seriously makes it this much sweeter.
Speaking of Fandom and Karma:
What was up with the Saints whistle guy? I thought I heard a non-stop whistle during the game but they played on. Only later did I see that the annoying whistle was noticed by a ton of people. And as for the Chiefs, there were 2 fans who got into it. First, you had Snowball guy, and Andy Reid actually had to walk over and say something because the Chiefs would take a penalty if it happened again (wouldn’t that be a way to lose). And then days later there’s video of a green laser pointer hitting Tom Brady in the face.
I find it utterly hilarious that the Vikings fanbase is backing the Rams and essentially saying the Saints deserve what happened to them because they can’t let go of 2009. This schadenfreude (getting pleasure by someone else’s misfortune) has shifted the focus of the Saints attacking the Refs, Rams, and Roger Goodell, to now Saints fans and Vikings fans are getting into fights on Twitter, I love it! I have never seen a fanbase come to the defense of another fanbase when they really have no business being in the discussion. The closest thing was when Bills fans were donating money to Andy Dalton, but they had a reason to be thankful for him, the Vikings have nothing to gain! Even Vikings LB Anthony Barr said “Take your L,” and he didn’t even play on that team! I feel this also justifies my hatred of the Patriots. I’ve literally been told that I need to “let 2001 go” but I just can’t. Now that the Pats are in it again against my Rams, it will either be sweet redemption or something that will turn into a lifelong issue for me haha.
This sign is in Minnesota, not LA
Super Bowl is 18 years to the Day from when Tom Brady and Belichick beat the Rams back in 2001
There’s a lot of people saying Brady is 3-0 in OT in the playoffs, but all 3 times the Pats won the coin toss and he drove down and scored (thus the other team never had a chance to possess the ball). I think this is a shame and the NFL should truly adopt the college rule already.
Memes of the Week: