What We Learned in the NFL Divisional Playoff Weekend:
- Peyton is truly back to his old self
- Harbaugh’s risk on Kaepernick might just pay off
- Atlanta outlasts Seattle for first playoff win for Ryan
- Patriots win, big whoop
Ever have that kind of morning where nothing seems to go right? Yeah that was me this morning which is why you’re reading my Monday Morning Quarterback much later in the day than you’re accustomed to. My apologies for the delay. Anyhow if anyone is wondering what that icky feeling you’ve been feeling since Saturday evening is that is the feeling of getting hosed for the second year in a row in an overtime game in Denver. I’m not sure when it’s going to go away. Being a football junkie and apparently a glutton for punishment, this weekend, which is usually one of the best weekends of the year, didn’t disappoint the appetite for football with some nail-biting games. Being a Steeler fan and having to watch these games knowing the Black & Gold couldn’t get the job done to even get into the post season makes me saltier than a bag of potato chips. Let’s get on with some cheap shots, shall we?
Going into Saturday afternoon’s game against the Broncos, the Ravens were the biggest “underdog” according to Vegas for the whole weekend. No one was giving them a shot against Peyton and that stellar Denver defense, especially given the fact that the Broncos had already worked the Ratbirds in the regular season in Baltimore. Unfortunately, those odds makers in Vegas didn’t account for Champ Bailey blowing his coverage every friggin chance he got. Also, Peyton is back to his old ways of blowing it in the big games. I remember vividly watching him blow game after game way way back when he was at Tennessee. That old Peyton popped up again in the second possession of the second overtime when Peyton made one of those “you just know this is going to get intercepted” throws and sure enough landed in the arms of Ravens CB Corey Graham.
Now I realize that we live in a “Now” society. Whatever is newest and freshest is the best thing ever and I can get caught up in that just as much as the next person. However, hearing Joe Flacco’s 70-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones being compared to the “Hail Mary” or “Immaculate Reception” in terms of NFL immortality makes me want to puke. The name it has been given is even worse. Brace yourselves; they’re calling it the “Flacco Fling”. Now after you’re done cleaning up maybe you’ll remember that pass was basically a rainbow Flacco threw up in the hopes someone could catch it and was more the inexplicable inability of Broncos safety Rahim Moore to stay in stride with Jones and jumping at the worst time possible than it was Flacco’s mastery and precision that made that catch possible. Don’t be fooled into thinking this makes Flacco “elite” now no matter how much his agent rants on Twitter about it. No one thought Tebow was “elite” for that throw to Thomas last year against the Steelers, besides Skip Bayless of course. Busted coverage is busted coverage. While we’re talking about things that will make us sick, let’s all have yet another week of the “Ray Lewis Retirement Tour” shall we? I just haven’t gotten enough of that yet, gimme some more please!
How in the hell did we end up with a possible Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh Super Bowl ahead of us again? Seriously? Mid-season while the 49ers were already leading their division, Jim Harbaugh took the opportunity with Alex Smith going out with a concussion to switch to the kid Colin Kaepernick and he never looked back. Well, he kind of didn’t officially commit to the switch immediately, with a couple of awkward press conferences, but you get the idea. His decision to switch to Kaepernick is showing successful as the young QB had a record-breaking performance while beating the reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. First things first, the Packers defense stinks. They’ve stunk for years. Their basic strategy has been to see if Rodgers can outscore the other team. Not taking away anything from what Kaepernick did with 263 passing yards and 181 rushing yards but he did that against a really, really crappy defense. Anywhoo while most of the NFL experts are spending the day congratulating Harbaugh for making the switch and sticking to it I just have two observations: 1. they’re in the exact same position they were last season with Alex Smith at quarterback so the switch didn’t exactly pay off yet and 2. Kaepernick kissed his own bicep following scoring a rushing touchdown and I’d just like to say that I don’t know Kaepernick personally but if that’s not the international sign for being a douchebag, it should be.
The Falcons won their first playoff game under Matt Ryan in more than dramatic fashion. In what initially looked like a rout, the Falcons saw their 20-0 lead over the Seahawks diminish to a 1 point deficit with 31 seconds left on the clock. Just when you thought the show Russell Wilson and the Seahawks have been putting on would continue them onto the NFC Championship Matty Ice and the Falcons were getting themselves into field goal range. Ryan connected a quick 29 yard pass to Harry Douglas and then a 19 yard pass to Tony Gonzalez before Matt Bryant got on the field to kick the game winner. Naturally, Pete Carroll called a timeout just as Bryant was kicking in his attempt to “ice the kicker” and the kick sailed to the right. Then when Bryant kicked again for realizes, the kick was good. Attention NFL head coaches: stop doing that! No one is going to say after the game, “Gee I don’t understand why they didn’t try to call a timeout and ice the kicker, it almost always works!” Unfortunately Falcons fans can’t be too confident right now in their chances for the Super Bowl. Sure they will host the NFC Championship, but they just barely survived the Seahawks and even though they came away with the victory, they did still blow a 20 point lead.
For the finale of the divisional weekend we were all treated to Phil Simms calling the Patriots game. Aren’t we so lucky? Not surprising the Patriots easily handled the Texans, who showed more signs of life than in their earlier regular season meeting, but didn’t make nearly enough plays to amount to a competitive game. So now we’ll have a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game with the Ratbirds heading to New England in the hopes the kick will be good this time. Can anyone get ahold of that Bane guy to just blow up the stadium like he did in Batman? Bring it on Conference Championship Weekend!
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