The NFL Divisional Weekend is wrapping up and has already featured one of the most intense games (and sloppy!) in playoff history. Two favorites have fallen and a few players have made their bones. Here is what went down:
Game 1: Ravens vs. Broncos
Two Word Analysis: Blown Coverage
This game seemed to be in the bag for Denver and Peyton Manning, but, just as we thought it was over – Joe Flacco and the Ravens did exactly what they had done three other times during the game; they went deep. Denver, after bizarrely running on three straight downs, put the game on their defense. They were obviously in prevent coverage and there is no way the Ravens should have had any chance to get in the end zone (after all they had been burned twice already on deep passes) and yet… Baltimore completed a hail mary with forty seconds left because of the single worst pass coverage I have ever seen in my life. The Denver safety mistimed a jump for a pick and Jacoby Jones caught the Flacco pass and walked in to the endzone. Forget the pick attempt and just remember that the Denver safety was not between Jones and the endzone but was in front of him. It was easily the worst possible place the safety could have been. The most surprising turn was still to come: instead of attempting to drive down the field and kick a field goal with the NFL MVP runner up and two timeouts…the Broncos simply took a knee. Game over. Overtime looms. As the game got later and later the Broncos gameplan became slightly more conservative than the Amish (Was Peyton falling apart?) which eventually led to a pick and a loss. Brutal end to Manning’s season and the perfect time for me to remind everyone again his lifetime playoff record is 9-11 and he is 1-2 in Super Bowl appearences.
Game 2: Packers at Niners
Two Word Analysis: Colin Kaepernick!
Unreal performance by Colin Kaepernick. There is really not much more to say about this one. He rushed for more yards than any QB ever has and it all seemed vaguely effortless. His throws were on target and his arm electric. Jim Harbaugh looks less like a complete dick for benching Alex Smith and more like a genius. As I wrote, Smith wins games, but Kaepernick wins Championships. He is transcendent and he showed it last night.
Game 3 Seahawks vs. Falcons
Two Word Analysis: Finally? Finally!
Yes, stop the presses: The Atlanta Falcons have actually won a playoff football game against a very good team (it is worth noting however that neither team who came into the playoff incredibly hot: the Broncos and Seahawks are playing to go to the Super Bowl) and will now host an incredibly meaningful game. This one featured a furious comeback by the Seahawks after a dreadful first half, then a lead change and a furious comeback by the Falcons. You have to give it up for the Falcons because truly no one believes in them and they went out and won a playoff game. That said, as a Niners fan I would much rather play Atlanta than Seattle.
Game 4 Texans vs. Patriots
Two Word Analysis: Routine Drubbing
Ho hum the Patriots handed one of the best defenses in the league their butts again. Oh well. The major part of this game was Gronkowski injuring his arm again – the guy cannot stay healthy in the Playoffs. Additionally: how happy is Brady that he does not have to face the Giants at any point? As my brother said: “Have fun getting beaten by the Patriots in the Super Bowl”.
Not sure but this just might be our year: Kaepernick feels a little like Kurt Warner and the Rams or Brady and the Pats.