The final four teams have been decided. Green Bay and Atlanta face off in a warm soon to be destroyed dome to determine the NFC champion and Pittsburgh and New England face off in a wintery Foxborough to decide the AFC champion. All four teams had to defeat good teams (minus the Patriots) to reach the final round of the playoffs and only one of the divisional games finally produced a good NFL playoff game.
The Saturday games were duds. The Patriots didn’t play great but with the help of a Dion Lewis return and Brock Osweiler being Brock Osweiler, the Patriots were still able to cover the spread and win by 18 points. The Patriots will need to play much better to beat the Steelers, or will they? The Steelers didn’t look great either. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have now made their 11th AFC Championship game and their 6th straight. That’s dominance.
Atlanta crushed the Seahawks. The only memorable moment of that game is Russell Wilson getting stepped on and tripped by his guard forcing him to fall backwards in their own end zone for a safety.
The Green Bay/Dallas game was an all-timer featuring lots of scoring, high stakes, and unbelievable plays. The Packers were rolling early up 21-3 in the 2nd quarter and the Cowboys rallied back a bit making the score 21-13 at halftime. The Cowboys fought back even more in the 4th quarter tying the game at 28 with a touchdown and a 2 point conversion. Then the Packers drove far enough for Mason Crosby to make a 56 yard wobbly field goal to go up 31-28. Then the Cowboys got close enough for Dan Bailey to make a 52 yard field goal bringing the score to 31-31 with just 35 seconds left. Just enough time for Rodgers.
The Packers had one time out and a long way to go to get into field goal range. Rogers completed a 17 yard pass to Montgomery who smartly ran out of bounds. Then Heath, who had a great game for Dallas (SVSU alumni, my alma mater) had a huge blind side sack on Rodgers on second down forcing the Packers to use their last timeout after losing 10 yards (it’s surprising Rogers didn’t drop the ball as he was only holding it with one hand). An incompletion later and the Packers were on their own 32 yard line with just 12 second left on a 3rd and 20 with no time outs.
The next play is where Rodgers made one of the best throws of his career which is filled with astonishing throws. He took the snap from the shotgun, avoided the rush running to his right, threw across his body to Jared Cook who caught the accurate pass on the sideline dragging both feet and falling out of bounds. This 36 yard completion put the Packers on the 32 yard line with 3 seconds left. Mason Crosby strolled out, got iced by Jason Garrett, and then kicked a 51 yard knuckle ball that barely squeezed inside the uprights. What a fucking finish.
Rodgers is a G, we all know that, but a blown op picture of that pass to Cook should be placed behind his bust or shrine in canton 20 years from now. The image of Cook dragging both feet with an out of focus Rodgers in the background is a marvel to stare at. What Rogers is doing with such a mediocre team is incredible. Its proof that a good quarterback can carry a team and a scorching hot quarterback can win a super bowl.
The Steelers won their road playoff game without scoring a touchdown. Chris Boswell, most famous for kicking the worst onside kick of all time earlier this season, broke a playoff game record converting on 6 field goals. The Alex Smith lead Chiefs couldn’t penetrate the Steelers defense consistently scoring only 16 points. They converted on a two point conversation late in the game to tie the score at 18, but Eric Fisher saved Alex Smith’s life by holding the rushing James Harrison on the play. The conversion was called back and the Chiefs couldn’t convert a second time.
Antonio Brown made a 17 plus minute facebook live stream after the game just staring at his attractive face while Mike Tomlin addressed the team. Tomlin was fired up shouting stuff about the Patriots which is pure sports writer heroin. This could have been a lot worse and Brown is lucky that Tomlin didn’t say other “locker room” talk that the public would have been horrified by. What was Brown thinking?
Also not surprising is that the Steelers/Chiefs game was pushed back to a 8:20 pm start as Kansas City was expecting bad weather. In an effort to protect the fans safety, the game got pushed back to allow road crews to clear the road ways. Or the NFL and NBC wanted the game to be played in prime time the night before a holiday. The NFL is a greedy transparent operation. They don’t care about the safety of the commuters.
The Championship games take place on Sunday. Both games will be interesting as I want to see if the Patriots can recover from a bad game and I want to see if the score board in Atlanta will explode due to all of the scoring.