What We Learned in Wild Card Weekend in the NFL:
- Todd Haley yet to agree to interview with Cardinals
- The Bungles playoff win drought continues
- Adrian Peterson cannot replicate the magic against Packers
- Ray Ray’s last dance successful for Ratbirds
- RGIII not so great on one leg
Wild Card Weekend and the Divisional Weekend are two of the best weekends of the year for a football fan. Unfortunately, for a Steeler fan this year it was tough getting into the games without a little bit of bitterness creeping in. The weekend was not uneventful for Steeler Nation, or maybe it was considering reports surfaced Thursday morning that the Arizona Cardinals had requested permission to speak to Steelers OC Todd Haley in regards to their vacant head coaching position and the rumor mill started cranking. The questions of will/should Haley go and who could/would replace him spread over Steeler Nation like wild fire. So far it’s all turned out to be moot because as of Monday morning Haley has yet to even agree to be interviewed. Apparently Haley wants Arizona to show their cards a bit more in respect to what exactly they might be offering him as he views just an interview for the head coaching position not worth his current situation which apparently he enjoys. Who knew?
One thing we all knew was that no matter how “hot” the Bungles were heading into the post season after winning 4 of their last 5 regular season games that they were destined for an early exit. It looked like they might have had a shot with Matt Schaub throwing a pick 6 to Leon Hall in a very similar spot where Hall picked Roethlisberger off win Week 16 for the first touchdown of the game. It looked for a while as though the Texans weren’t going to get into the endzone as they didn’t score a touchdown until Arian Foster, who rushed for 140 yards, ran it in from the 1 yard line in the 3rd quarter. That proved to be just enough as the Houston Texans walked away with at 19-13 victory and will head to New England next week to take on the Pats in the divisional round. The last time the Bengals won a playoff game Wilson Philips was popular and Home Alone was all the rage in the movie theaters. To put it even more in perspective, the Pirates have won a playoff game more recently than the Cincinnati Bengals. Suck on that Bungles.
During the Cincy @ Houston game reports started surfacing out of Green Bay that Viking’s QB Christian Ponder was going to be unable to start and will be replaced by Joe Webb for their Wild Card matchup. Not that Ponder was going to play a huge role in the game as most of the Vikings hopes for an upset would rely on Adrian Peterson’s amazing comeback season continuing with running success over the Green Bay Packers defense. Now in spite of how many commercials Clay Matthews does where he states he will “eat” perfect strangers, the Packers have never been considered a defensive juggernaut as of late. Their basic defensive strategy has been to let Aaron Rodgers try to outscore the other team. Unfortunately for Minnesota, with Joe Webb under center they looked a lot like a top ten defense. Webb was sacked three times and was off target the entire night as Peterson was held to 99 rushing yards and was a non-factor in the game.
Sunday morning up until kickoff there was a national love-fest for Ray Lewis on every network available as he was gearing up for his final home game and his final interpretive dance out of the tunnel of M & T Bank Stadium. Lewis announced earlier in the week that this would be his “last ride” mostly to try to steal the emotional momentum the Colts have been riding on all season long as well as because Lewis is one of the biggest media whores in the league. The anticipation to Lewis’ dance out of the tunnel was more than ridiculous and just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse the dance started with Nelly’s “Hot in Here” blasting in the stadium (I’m not even kidding) and Ray rubbing a part of a patch of grass over himself and then starting his final stabby shuffle. After the “what in the hell did I just watch?” moment was over, the game began with what looked like a defensive battle that neither team was able to score until Anquan Boldin was unable to not catch anything that was thrown his way. Seriously, someone needs to check his gloves for stick’em. Boldin caught five passes for 145 yards and a touchdown in a 24-9 Ratbirds victory. The purple ones will now travel to Denver to await their playoff destiny at the hands of Peyton Manning and a much superior defense to their own. Looks like we’re in for yet another week of “this will be the last time you see Ray Lewis____” crap all over the various sports news outlets. Awesome.
The weekend started with three rookie quarterbacks starting with a chance to advance their team in the playoffs and it ended with only one of them moving on to the next round. The one moving on is the last one picked in the bunch, the tiny Russell Wilson took his Seahawks on the road and outplayed a one-legged Robert Griffin III for a chance to play Atlanta next week. RGIII entered the game with a knee injury that appeared to be reaggravated in the second quarter. He never looked right the rest of the game and eventually in the fourth quarter took a bad snap, lost his footing on the sloppy field and the whole world saw his knee buckle and you could almost hear the ligaments snap into a million pieces. First off, what kind of playoff field was that? That turf looked worse than Heinz Field did after Bane blew it up. Second, the controversy over whether or not it was right to keep RGIII in the game and whose ultimate call it was to allow him to continue to play will be debated over and over again but this is just another example of the hypocrisy over injuries in the NFL. Players who take themselves off of the field when injured are almost always called “soft” while players who play visibly hurt are always lauded as “heroes” or “warriors”. Nevertheless the Seattle Seahawks played a great game and will definitely give the Falcons a tough matchup next week. Bring it on Divisional Round!
Follow me on Twitter @Kimmy_KimKimM and follow all of NPC’s posts @NicePickCowherC