I’d like to take the time to admit something. I generally am happy with my life and, really, I wouldn’t want anything to change or any aspects that I truly care about to be removed from my life but sometimes, I just wish the whole world would leave me alone to watch sports or play video games or read. That sounded bad in my head but looks worse in print.
Lemme explain. When you write about football, you should probably watch the games. Otherwise, you end up sounding like Gregg Easterbrook with the arrogance and snobbishness turned down. But when you’re trying to have a life? It gets a bit trickier. I didn’t get to watch the Niners/Packers game until about 2AM on Saturday night for these reasons. I had fun doing what I was doing but not having the time to sit down and watch the game on DVR (which takes all of like an hour and a half at most) was frustrating. Thank you for loving me, family and friends, now please go away so I can watch sports.
Let’s get to the “thoughts”.
Broncos/Ravens Delivers Classic Peyton — This game was a slugfest from the start. Kick returns for touchdowns, long touchdown passes, you name it and this one had it. You know what else it had? Classic Peyton. In the second overtime, Peyton rolled out and threw an ugly, wobbly pass across his body that was picked off. It eventually set up the winning field goal for the Ravens.
It’s funny: most people couldn’t get over the fact that Manning had a tremendous regular season. And the fact that he came back with a robo-neck makes it that much more impressive. But you all forgot. Oh yes, you all forgot. Manning would do this all the time when healthy, get to the playoffs and forget who he was supposed to throw to. Combine that with the fact that the game was played in freezing cold weather (where Manning was 0-3 under like 40 degree weather) and you had a recipe for failure.
None of that will matter, though. The announcers probably never saw a thing in terms of bad plays from Manning because they were too fixated on his glove, mentioning the fact that he’s never worn a glove before only 7,353,674 times during the broadcast. If there were an all-time glove power-rankings, I’m pretty sure it would go: 1.) OJ Simpson’s glove, 2.) Michael Jackson’s glove, and after Saturday’s performance, 752.) Peyton Manning’s glove. We get it. He doesn’t wear gloves.
Not really helping the Broncos is the fact that Torrey Smith absolutely ABUSED Champ Bailey. Bailey is a perennial Pro-Bowl player and he looked like me trying to cover Smith, especially on that ridiculous catch where Smith went over the top of him to snare his second touchdown catch of the day. Denver needs to fix its defense ASAP and tell Peyton who to throw to before their championship window closes.
Still, John Elway should get “Executive of the Year” for this year and next not only for what he did in getting Manning but in ruining Tim Tebow’s career. That’s how you do your job, people.
Colin Kaepernick Is Good At Football — Which you would’ve never guessed coming out of college considering he went to Nevada. But there he was on Saturday night, absolutely SHREDDING the Packer defense. The way the linebackers were spinning in all different directions, they looked like they’d never seen the read option before. Kaepernick got 178 of his 181 yards rushing without even being touched. That is absolutely, positively insane and I’m fairly certain Kaepernick is actually a witch.
Remember when there were certain sect of people (old-school football players who still think you’re a pussy if you don’t play through a severed spine) who were saying that it wouldn’t work out; that Smith was a steady had and you go with the steady hand? Yeah, those people are about fifty years behind the time and shouldn’t be listened to. Ever. I’m specifically looking at you, Mike Ditka. Go back to doing radio interviews where you interrupt the hosts and never answer the question they asked you like some senile nursing home patient.
Kaepernick was obviously the right call in hindsight. He runs like few others in the league, gives the Niners a vertical passing threat that didn’t exist with Alex Smith, and just makes them more dangerous even when they’re not executing. Sometimes, all you need is the threat of being dangerous.
Packers Need Fixin’ — Not much, obviously, as they’ve won more games in a couple of years than my beloved Bills have in the thirteen years since the Music City Miracle. But the fact of the matter is that they’ve been favorites to make the Super Bowl the last two seasons and have struggled once they hit the playoffs.
“What’s the deal with the Pack”, you ask? I’MA TELL YA. Firstly: they don’t really have a running game. Not an effective one, anyway. Yeah, they try to run from time to time because they kind of have to but an NFL team can’t run the ball for 3YPC and expect to be successful offensively. But most teams don’t have Aaron Rodgers so it’s been working out fairly well for the Packers. Getting a complimentary threat to take some of the heat off of Rodgers would be a start.
You know what else helps? Protecting your quarterback. Pretty novel concept, no? You think a guy with a chip on his shoulder like that won’t remember that one game in October where you let him get sacked three times? You’re wrong and now you have to feel the wrath of his angry gaze. Shore up that line, keep him on his feet, where he’ll harvest on defenses.
The defense is the reason they failed, according to everybody. Is it a GOOD defense? No, not terribly but they’re also not giving up a ton of points. They finished in the top twelve in points per game allowed but when you give up buckets of yards, people tend to notice that a bit more. Injuries hurt them (they lost Charles Woodson to a broken collarbone and Clay Matthews to various ailments throughout the year) but even with those two in, it was spotty at best. Adding a piece or two should theoretically help them next year.
Does Anyone Have Confidence In The Falcons? — If you stopped watching their game after the first half, you do. They dominated the Seahawks, getting every momentum swing they possibly could en route to a 20-0 halftime lead.
The second half, however, was rough. Yes, Russell Wilson played out of his mind again and will no doubt be the subject of breathless fapping by analysts and talking heads over for the next seven months as we build up to next year. But did the Falcons look like they were trying to win at any point in the second half as opposed to playing it as safe as they could and hoping to not lose?
When Marshawn Lynch scored to put Seattle up 28-27 with :31 left, you just know everyone in the Georgia Dome had that “of course this happened” feeling running through their brains. Yes, Matt Ryan led them down the field and got them in position for the winning Matt Bryant field goal. But after the way they openly tried to give this game away does anyone think they have a shot in hell against the juggernaut 49ers this weekend?
Naturally, this will end up being a super tight game in which the Falcons nearly pull it off because the whole world thinks their due for a beating. This is just how things work, apparently.
Pats Cruise Again – Ah yes, the Patriots. Remember how I talked about the need for balance on offense and protecting your quarterback. Just ask the Patriots how that works because they’re one game away from their sixth Super Bowl appearance since 2001. That is absurd, impressive, and depressing all in one. CHOWDAH heads of the world will not be silenced.
Their win over the free-falling Texans did not come without a steep price, though: Rob Gronkowski re-broke his injured forearm and will miss the rest of the playoffs. Mike Shanahan is yelling at his television somewhere at all hours, telling the people in the television that can’t hear him that everyone plays injured players and it’s not his fault. Then the voices in his head asked him why he had to run his one-legged quarterback using the read option and he suddenly goes quiet.
Listen, before this debate starts again, it seems pretty simple: Gronkowski was cleared to play and probably lobbied like hell to make sure he did. If you’re a coach, what more do you need to hear? “Yeah, he’s medically cleared but let’s sit him a few more weeks because I really care about that young man right there.” GIVE ME A BREAK. Bill Belichick, and any coach for that matter, would slit the throat of any player that got in the way of him and a championship so you can best believe they’ll play anyone available. As they should.
Join me next week when the entire nation goes back to questioning Matt Ryan and then shifts its focus on rooting for Tom Brady to lose.
Enjoy Championship week, folks.
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