What We Learned In The Divisional Playoff Games in the NFL:
- 49er’s outlast the Saints in a thriller on Saturday
- Tebow got the beat-down the Steelers should have given him
- Ratbirds ride their defense to the AFC Championship
- Eli and the G-Men ruin the Packers season
How’s everyone in Steeler Nation doing? It still sucks, it’s a little easier now but it still sucks. Hopefully enough time has passed so that we are all moving on, and that one guy at work stops “Tebowing” in front of me while I fill up my coffee mug. If you’re like me, you still can’t do anything else with your weekends besides watch football. We were treated with some awesome games this weekend, and some horribly painful to watch games.
The Niners took control of the game against the Saints right out of the gate, thanks to some uncharacteristic turnovers by Drew Brees. They jumped out to a 17-0 lead and you thought this game would be a dud. Another time an “east coast” team travels west and falls short. Well that’s kind of what happened but it was a bit more exciting than that. The Saints turnovers proved to be too much to overcome. Brees coughed up the ball twice and the Saints lost three fumbles. The 49ers defense rose to the occasion to stop the previously potent Saints offense. Alex Smith connected with Vernon Davis on a 14 yard touchdown pass with 9 seconds left on the clock, causing Davis to run off the field crying like a baby knowing he sealed the Niner’s spot in the NFC title game. Anyone know if this is acontract year for Davis? Not wanting anyone named Harbaugh within a game of the Super Bowl had me cheering for the Saints on Saturday, but this was a damn good game no matter what the outcome.
Unfortunately the latter game on Saturday was not quite as competitive. The Patriots, known for their mediocre defense, sacked Tebow 5 times while Brady put on an offensive show the likes of which no one has ever done in the playoffs before. Brady threw for six friggin touchdowns and even punted the ball 48 yards. Tebow-Mania was shot and killed and then shot again in Foxborough. Tebow was 9 for 26 for 136 yards. Makes you almost sick doesn’t it? The Patriots did everything the Steelers needed to do to stop Tebow from being able to run or connect on long plays. Besides the fact the Patriots scored on damned near every possession they had in the first half. Tebow would have absolutely needed divine intervention to overcome that kind of deficit. Who knows how this game would have turned out if it were the Steelers trying to contain the hot arm of Brady, but it seemed as though the Patriots were hell bent on breaking their 4-year playoff win drought no matter who was lining up against them. Who knows how ESPN will fill their time without chronicling the “magical ride” of Tebow this year. Oh yeah, they’ll probably just go back to talking about Brady nonstop.
Flacco spent the last week bitching about not getting enough attention and not being regarded as a better quarterback. Well he’s absolutely right. He’s not a great quarterback. The Ravens defense basically controlled the game with the Texans and made just enough plays to get the win. Maybe it’s his ridiculous Fu Manchu mustache or the fact that he’s so reluctant to assume his role as the next Trent Dilfer but I just can’t stand this dude or his facial hair. If you’re riding a defense like the Ravens and have Ray Rice to depend on running the ball and each time you try to win a game by throwing the ball you fail miserably, you’re a game manager dude. Deal with it and hope that it’s enough to get you passed the Patriots next week. It should be an interesting matchup with Baltimore’s defense going up against Brady. What will be the most interesting will be to see if Baltimore’s offense is enough to exploit New England’s crappy defense. Clearly they have to score more than 20 points to get passed the Pats because there’s no way they are holding Brady to 13. Reluctantly, I’m backing the Pats. Mostly because my hatred of the Ratbirds far exceeds my hatred for the Patriots, but also because the Steelers beat the Pats this season, so at least we can hold onto that.
The Packers literally dropped the ball when it came to their shot to repeat as Super Bowl Champs. There were so many dropped passes in that game you would have thought the ball was covered in ice or something. The Giants are looking like the hottest team in the playoffs coming off essentially a shut out of the Falcons the previous week. Eli was on point and so were the Giants receivers. The Giants collectively Discount Double Checked the Packers, whose starters were playing their first game since Week 16 after choosing to rest in the final game of the season. Rodgers was intercepted once, lost a fumble, and was sacked 4 times. The Giants took away the possibilities for big plays from the Green Bay offense, even recovering an onside kick with just over 4 minutes to play. The Packers became the first team in NFL history to win 15 games in the regular season and lose their first playoff game.
So going into the conference championships we have the Giants traveling to San Francisco and the Ratbirds heading to Foxborough. With no horse in the race, it’s hard to root for anybody so we are all left to just root against the Harbaughs. I doubt that the Ratbirds have it in them to take down New England in their home field considering they were about as good of a road team as the Steelers were this season. The NFC Championship could be very unpredictable and hard to call. Let’s just hope for Jim Harbaugh’s sake that the game doesn’t come down to a hail mary. I never would have guessed San Fran would turn out the performance they did on Saturday and no one saw the Giants not only taking down the Pack but doing it in the dominating fashion they did. I know the Pats are in a scoring roll right now but it looks like the better teams this season are in the NFC. Bring it on Conference Championships!
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