Photo Credit: thecomeback.com
Super Bowl 50:
It was a sloppy game. Both teams combined for 6 total turnovers, 12 sacks, 15 Punts, 16 “three and outs,” 5 FG attempts, and barely 300 yards passing combined. But that style of play was exactly what Denver wanted.
To start, the pageantry surrounding Super Bowl 50 was awesome. In fact, it was kind of the highlight of the game. Bringing back every surviving Super Bowl MVP to be recognized was an awesome idea. It gave me chills to see them listing off Bart Starr, Joe Namath, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, Joe Montana, Troy Aikman, John Elway, Kurt Warner, etc. I’m such a football nut that I started guessing each one (correctly) from 1980 on. I did find it amusing that Tom Brady got extravagantly booed, granted that was mostly the Denver crowd. But nonetheless that was very cool. I don’t normally talk about the “extracurricular activities,” but Lady Gaga shocked the world. One of the better Anthems I remember seeing, hands down. The Blue Angel flyover was also cool, they were low, close, and fast. Not like the helicopters they’ve been doing recently. And then, the game started.
Photo Credit: ESPN
It’s finally here! It’s weird how round numbers or even numbers seem to invoke excitement above and beyond the norm. But I think I’d be doing it injustice if I didn’t talk about the fact that we are at the 50th Super Bowl! We’ve had crazy moments so far, Scott Norwood’s wide right, Malcolm Butler’s interception, the Giants ruining perfection, the ’72 Dolphins achieving perfection, John Elway’s helicopter, Kevin Dyson coming up a yard short, Namath’s guarantee, Vinatieri’s game winning FG, Montana’s game winning drive, and the Bills’ 4 losses in a row. To name a few….We’ve had 50 amazing years, which tend to culminate in some of the best games of the season with everything on the line. There’s a reason this day is like Christmas for me, and I can’t wait to witness the next 50!
Super Bowl Stats:
- In 49 Super Bowls, we have yet to see an OT game. There were 21 OT games in 2015, meaning about 12% of games go into OT.
- The 13 year old age difference between Manning and Newton is the largest ever in Super Bowl history
- The 3 oldest QB’s to start a Super Bowl are Peyton Manning (39), John Elway (38) and Peyton Manning (37)
- Manning is the only QB to make the Super Bowl multiple times with multiple teams
- This is the first Super Bowl where both QB’s were drafted #1 overall.
- This is the 3rd straight year that the #1 seeds have made the super bowl
- If the Panthers win the Super Bowl, they’ll be the 4th team to win 18 games in a season
- Manning is 1st NFL player to go to the Super Bowl with 4 different coaches
- Teams that lead the league in defense are 9-2 in Super Bowls
Photo Credit: NFL.com
The Broncos and Panthers played to their style on Sunday, with the Broncos winning their 11th game that was decided by 7 or fewer points, and the Panthers getting out to a fast lead and blowing out a team by 10 or more for the 8th time this season. One game wasn’t over until the final play of the game, while the second felt over in the 1st quarter yet.
Manning vs. Brady XVII:
As was predicted, this wasn’t QB vs. QB, but more “will the Broncos defense give Brady fits” vs. “Can Manning’s arm hold up enough to let the run game win it for them.” The Patriots shocked all by electing to receive the kick, but had to punt on their first possession. The Broncos then scored a TD on their opening drive which was rare for them this season, and ultimately hold the lead until the end of the game. When the Patriots scored to finish out the 1st quarter, the amazing happened. Stephen Gostkowski, arguably the most accurate kicker in the NFL right now, missed an extra point! The year the rule was changed and everybody was clamoring on how great the rule change was, he missed the extra point!!! Arguably more people are in favor of this rule since it cost the Patriots the game, but I digress….it truly made the difference in the game. The Patriots were down by 8 for most of the game because of it. It also didn’t help that Brady seemed to be getting hit every single play. He looked frazzled. In the 4th quarter, on 3 consecutive drives, the Patriots faced 4th down tries while in FG range. The first 2 failed and they turned the ball over. The final drive of the game they went 3 and out at the 50, and faced 4th and 10 with 1:34 left. Brady amazingly hit Gronkowski for a 40 yard gain, and all of a sudden it was a game with 1st and Goal with a minute left. A few plays later it was 4th and 4, the 4th time the Patriots had a 4th down in the 4th quarter (sorry for all the 4’s). Brady seemed to throw the ball away, in between two Denver defenders, but miraculously Rob Gronkowski jumped through the middle and caught the ball for a TD! It was then 20-18 and the Patriots had a chance to tie the game with a 2 point conversion. Their entire season had come down to one play, only needing 2 yards. You could cut the suspense with a knife! Brady threw the ball to Edelman, it got tipped and intercepted, icing the game for Denver. It was a game for the ages between two of the best QB’s of all time.
Photo Credit: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
With all the Wild games from the first week, with road wins and crazy calls, we have a bit of a normal playoff set, with the #1 and #2 seeds facing off in both conferences. Perhaps a bit boring, but we had another great week of games.
Race against the Clock:
Despite dominating the Patriots in time of possession, yards, and even first downs, New England held the lead the entire day. The first drive, the Patriots had an 11 play scoring drive. What was telling about this is what has plagued the Patriots recently; all 11 plays were passes, not runs. I’ll get into that later, but the lack of a running game proved to be an issue. The Pats ran 14 times for 38 yards, but Brady was efficient enough to win the game for them. The story of the game however came down to clock management. The Chiefs got the ball back with 6:29, all 3 timeouts but down by 2 TD’s. This is feasibly plenty of time, as you can even take your time and score in 4 minutes, then use your timeouts and get the 2 minute warning. Inexplicably, they get down to the 1 yard line with about 2:53 left, but it takes 5 plays to punch it in and the Chiefs huddle for every one. Their score came at 1:13 left in the game; or 5:16 after they got the ball. That’s inexcusable, and they didn’t even give themselves a chance. In true Patriots fashion, needing one first down, Brady throws it to Gronkowski who tips the ball up and into Julian Edelman’s hands getting the perfect amount of yardage for the first down and the win.
Photo Credit: NFL.com
FMQB: The ShopVac Heard Round the World:
After Sunday’s amazing comeback win (twice), the Bengals are sitting pretty. They are now 3 full games up over the Ravens just 3 games into the season, the Browns aren’t seeming to pose much of a threat, and the closest team just lost their starting QB for 6 weeks. It’s almost not too early to crown them division champs with it hard to picture any other team coming close. Granted the only thing Bengals fans focus on nowadays is what happens in the playoffs (which have been ugly the last 4 years). The Bengals scored 2 go ahead TD’s on late 4th quarter drives on Sunday, in a hostile Baltimore environment.
Just 3 weeks after the Buccaneers dreadful blowout against the Falcons, Lovie Smith must have been thinking “Not Again!” Joe Flacco got off to 4 TD passes in the 1st quarter, 5 in the first 17 minutes of regulation. By halftime they were up 38-0, though they had already put the Cruise Control on at the beginning of the 2nd quarter. It wasn’t as bad as going down 56-0 against the Falcons, but to have 2 awful blowouts in 3 weeks is horrible.
Effect of New Overtime Rules:
In 2012 the new overtime rules were put into place, where a TD wins the game but a FG gives the other team a chance to match it. And yes, every older football fan remembers how cheap it was to have the coin toss pretty much decide the game, so I’m giving the new rule an overall thumbs up.
However, we’ve had an interesting side-effect on this new rule; an increase in ties (ugh, that’s worse than kissing your sister). Take a look at this crazy stat! From 1990-2011, there were only 4 ties in those 22 seasons. There has now been 3 ties in the last 3 years with the new rule change. The reason why is due to the FG aspect of the rule. The Bengals had the ball for 6 minutes and banged home a FG. The Panthers then had the ball for 6 minutes themselves with an equal result. All of a sudden, the Bengals only had 2 minutes of regulation to avoid a tie. Yes, I hear all of you saying “they missed the FG.” But that alone is almost asking for ties to happen! NEW RULE PROPOSITION: They should say that if both teams score in OT, then it’s sudden death with no game clock.
I feel like the purpose for having a tie is to avoid 6 hour games where teams can’t score (ala some NHL games, or the Steelers Dolphins 3-0 hurricane game). But if teams have proven they can score (twice), then give them a chance to play it out. Better yet, just switch it to College rules.
Welcome to a special Super Bowl Sunday edition of FMQB! We are finally here! Why there are 266 games prior to this one will all be decided in ONE…FINAL…GAME. Last week was FMQB’s bye week (perhaps a mistake), but hey, I only have 3 things to talk about. The Super Bowl and the 2 games last week, so let’s take a look at 2 of those games which decided how we got here.
Patriots at Broncos:
There were a few key points to why the Broncos won this game. The epic matchup between Brady and Manning soon turned into Peyton making plays and Brady making mistakes. Right away, Brady missed on a wide open receiver downfield, overthrowing a sure TD. It happened at least 3 times that game, and those minor mistakes alone killed the Patriots. The Broncos defense also showed up this game, holding LeGarrett Blount to 6 yards rushing (after a 166yd and 4 TD game last week). But the most telling stat of the game was the pressure on the quarterback. Brady was hurried 6 times, and sacked twice. Manning had an incredible stat line, with 0 hurries, 1 hit, and 0 sacks! That dominance by the offensive line is how Peyton was able to complete 32 passes for 400 yards. Continue Reading
For the second straight week, FMQB has turned into Saturday Morning Quarterback. Sorry for that, but had another weird holiday week. To make it up to readers, I have decided to “live tweet” (if you will, but not on Twitter) during both NFC matchups! Like me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/fmquarterback to see my thoughts live in action. I talk a big talk, here’s your chance to see if my strategies and predictions are actually true!
We’ve made it to the home stretch. 11 games remain before we find the ultimate champion. But before we talk about the beauty of the NFL playoffs, let’s take a look at an amazing Week 17 and how we got to where we are.
A Surprising Fight
Before Sunday, yours truly was wondering if NBC was regretting throwing in the Dallas vs Philly game before finding out that Tony Romo was out for the year. But I was pleasantly surprised at the fight the Cowboys put up. It was a back and forth affair, with Dallas scoring in the 4th and missing a 2 point conversion. But they got the ball back with time left, and I really thought Kyle Orton was going to pull it off. Of course he threw an interception on the first play which makes you feel bad for the guy, but very exciting game in the end. Cowboys need to figure out a way to make it over the hump, it’s been 3 straight years with a “Win and In” game the final game of the year, and they are 0-3 in those games. Continue Reading
A Tale of Two Primetimes:
The first primetime game was easily one of the better ones of the season between Denver and Indianapolis. Not only was Peyton Manning returning to Indy for the first time, but it was 2 strong teams and 1 undefeated record. First off, loved seeing the tribute to Manning before the game. It looked like Peyton truly stopped to enjoy the moment, the fans were great to him, and it almost made you want to cry. And then the most hyped regular season game that you can remember started. Overall great game. Surprised that Indy was able to play very strong defense against Manning for the 2 middle quarters, which led them to a 19 point lead going into the 4th. Even with Manning struggling, you felt that the crowd was nervous, because only Manning could pull off this comeback. And he almost did! Denver pulled within 6 points with 7 minutes left. Even with an interception, and then a long drive with no points because of a fumble, Denver still had a chance. If that’s what it seriously takes to beat Denver, then the rest of the league is in trouble.
The second primetime game had to average out the excitement created from the night before, because this was by far the worst game I have ever seen (except maybe that hurricane game in Miami where I think the Steelers won 3-0?). The Giants looked completely inept, dropping 3 sure TD’s in the endzone. The revived Peyton Hillis was by far the best player on the field, and that’s truly saying something since he averaged 2.0 yards per carry! I’ll discuss Freeman soon, but that was the worst performance I’ve ever seen from a QB, hands down. The Vikings failed to score on offense, in fact only getting past the 50 yard line twice. All the Giants had to do was put 10 guys in the box to stop Peterson, because there was no way that Freeman was going to beat them with his arm.
Bit of a longer post today, but with the season in full swing, I have a lot to say. I would like to apologize ahead of time for the dissertation, as well as all the Broncos talk…
What’s Going on in Cleveland?
I’m truly confused with what’s going on in Cleveland. They started 0-2, and decided to trade away Trent Richardson (they traded up for him last year, easily their best player). They have since gone 3-0, which is great. Well they just lost Brian Hoyer for the season, which is a huge disappointment. But 2 days after this happens, they start shopping around Josh Gordon their #1 Receiver. The Browns are tied for 1st in their division, but it’s like they’re stockpiling draft picks for next year already. Why are they trying to throw the season?
Brady Hits a Wall:
Have we found the new DiMaggio record for the NFL? As readers remember, there is a slew of QB’s who didn’t even come close to Johnny Unitas’ record of 48 straight games with a TD pass. Brees passed this record last year, but only by a few games to reach 54 straight games. Tom Brady was the only other QB close enough to pass it, and his streak ended at 52 games on Sunday. To put this into perspective, this means that Brady threw a TD pass in every game since late 2009. As I mentioned last year, all it takes is one fluke game where your RB gets 3 TD’s instead, or a crappy weather game like last week. But I find it hard to believe we will see any QB’s get close to this record anytime soon. Continue Reading