As I remarked yesterday, watching football the day after your favorite team is eliminated from the playoffs seems like the equivalent of going to Sea World the day after a whale ate your family.
Everyone is having a great time and all you want to do is jump in the tank and murder Shamu with your bare hands. The normally delightful sights and sounds of an NFL Sunday made me feel like I was going to hurl. Every time I would see a fan getting excited it was a painful reminder that my 2012 football season died on Saturday night in San Francisco (#firstworldproblems). But despite this feeling, I’m still able to objectively say that it was an amazing weekend of playoff football. Let’s discuss it before I jump off a bridge!
So the Falcons won, right?
At the conclusion of the first game yesterday, if you were to skim twitter you might get the idea that the Falcons actually lost that game. Everyone was taking shots at Matt Ryan and the rest of the team for choking, and every other tweet in my feed was some kind of praise for Russell Wilson. Even though it was a near disaster for Atlanta, as they blew a 20-0 lead, it was a far more impressive win than I think a lot of people are giving them credit for. In the first half the Falcons showed how high their ceiling is, dominating what was maybe the hottest team in football for thirty minutes. And in the second half they showed that they have some guts too. After the Seahawks took the lead with under two minutes left, it would have been easy to fold up the tent and start having flashbacks to all the other eggs they have laid in the playoffs recently. But Matt Ryan calmly got the team into field goal range, and Matt Bryant took care of the rest.
This is not to say that they shouldn’t be concerned about blowing that lead. Of course they should. But given their recent history, there are probably a lot of things to be more upset about than the time they almost lost a playoff game. On the other side, no one was more devastated by the loss than Richard Sherman, who in order to get his shit talking fix will now have to just start bothering people at the grocery store.
“I thought we were playing Alex Smith” – Dom Capers
It might be an exaggeration to call the Packers’ Saturday night coaching performance the worst I’ve seen in all my years watching football. It’s easy to over dramatize things that recently happened. But regardless of where it ultimately ranks, it was atrocious in a way that I am not talented enough with the English language to describe…but here goes my feeble attempt.
Giving up the playoff quarterback rushing record is one thing, but allowing Kaepernick to more than double it? Well that is another. By the end of the night he had 181 yards on the ground and the all-time record. The Packers outside linebackers looked completely clueless as how to handle the zone read (hint: stay at home), and the play calling was even worse. In the middle of the game there were three consecutive third downs where the Packers would blitz the house which let Colin step up in the pocket and run for first downs all three times. Early in the game Kaepernick struggled on third and long when he had to throw for it, yet continuously the Packers coaching staff bailed him out.
The offensive side of the ball was not too much better for Green Bay. They averaged 6.5 yards per rush and despite the game being close for 3 quarters, DuJuan Harris only had 11 attempts.
For as much blame as I want to hand out to the Green Bay coaching staff, the 49ers deserve just as much credit. They once again made Aaron Rodgers uncomfortable throughout, their defensive backs only allowed one huge play, and on the offensive side of the ball they dominated the line of scrimmage. The only solace I take as a Packer fan is we won’t have to play them anymore until next season. I have already begun stocking the liquor cabinet.
-If you are a Denver fan that is missing Tim Tebow, please do us all the common courtesy of never talking about football ever again because you are an idiot. Peyton Manning played great all year, and had a bad playoff performance…it happens. While last year they won a playoff game, they were never a threat to go all the way like they were this season.
-If you are a reporter that covers the Patriots, why would you even show up to a Bill Belichick press conference? What kind of sound bite are you actually going to get? Darth Hoodie has made trolling the media and saying as little as possible an art form.
-After the Texans returned the opening kick to the 12 yard line and had to settle for a field goal, didn’t the game already feel like it was over?
-For most of the season, the early part especially, Russell Wilson looked like a game manager. Well after Sunday’s game you can permanently remove that title. The rookie threw for almost 400 yards in what was almost one of the biggest comebacks in playoff history.
-I know I’m supposed to be blown away by Flacco’s box score on Saturday, but when you actually watched the game it didn’t feel as impressive. He missed a few deep throws that could have changed the course of the game completely early on.
-If Adderall wasn’t a banned substance, Ray Lewis would be giving a pep talk for one straight week.
-The Gronk injury doesn’t feel like nearly as much of a big deal at it did a few weeks ago. The Patriots offense is a machine, and continues to put up obscene stats without him.
Well I’m going to go back to crying in the corner now. Enjoy your Monday everyone!