“Stunners on Saturday and Sunday”
We’re headed to the AFC and NFC Championship weekend with one superstar quarterback and 3-posers. Tom Brady will head the teams into next weekend, but who could have imagined Case Keenum..Nick Foles…and Blake Bortels being the other signal callers…in a league where you must have star quarterbacks to win.
It is surely not what we expected when the playoffs began, but it proves if you play defense you can win when it really counts.
EAGLES-FALCONS……Fletcher Cox and friends were fierce…3-sacks and 9 hits on Atlanta QB-Matt Ryan…How good is Jim Schwartz”s group, they held the Falcons to 1-TD in 9-possesions….Nick Foles survived a shaky-shaky start, bad passes, fumbled handoffs and snaps to go (23-30) to do enough to compliment the midnight green defense….Atlanta just never looked the same team of year ago…or maybe Philadelphia is becoming that team.
STEELERS-JAGUARS…What a tough day for Ben Roethlisberger having to deal with the Jaguars defense and his coaches decisions…..Big Ben throw for (469) and 5-TDs, including 2-TD bombs on 4th down plays…. but all the postgame talk was about Todd Haley’s 4th and 1… and 4th and 2 play calls…throwing long or not just running the ball for the first down….and then Mike Tomlin’s decision to onside kick after getting within 1-TD…He had the 2-minute warning and 2-timeouts in hi pocket…why would you not put Blake Bortels on along field…hope you hold..make em punt..and get another shot for Roethlisberger….Onside kick fails-game over…This will haunt them because that was a pretty good team.. …Jacksonville’s personality is like their leadership, Tom Coughlin and Doug Marina, scowls and slugger shots….Yes it was a shootout, but the Jaguars did it their way and withstood a 500-plus yard Steeler day…Everyone still doubts Blake Boatels-Nobody should have any doubts about that Jags defense…Credit the Burgh for coming back from a (21-0) deficit..
PATRIOTS-TITANS….Tom Brady was Tom Brady and that’s all you need to know…his career playoff record at home is (18- 3)….and overall (108-18)….Marcus Mariota has yet to string together 4-quality quarters of football and maybe that will just be a growth process for the Tennsee QB…Lost in all the talk of the Patriots front office, relationships;, they possibly losing both their coordinators, is that Bill Belicheck’s defense, especially the front, has gotten better and better from week one to where are now…..And that’s coaching-coaching-coaching.
VIKINGS-SAINTS…. Drew Brees would not be denied, but neither would a journeyman quarterback and a Division II wide receiver-Case Keenum and Adam Thielen…What a day….Just when it looked like the season was over. With 90-year old Bud Grant in the house, the Vikings defense pitched a shutout for the entire first half, bringing back memories of the Purple People Eaters…That ended in the second half as Brees went wild…That Viking defense had not given up a TD in 30-possessions, and then it all changed thanks to Brees… .2-TD’s in a 3-minute span…then a late 4th quarter touchdown…then the game ending field goal drive….Sean Payton burned 2-timeouts on replay challenges in a 3-play sequence….Minnesota’s pedestrian offense with Case Keenum at the controls had to hit big plays, and thanks to Thieien, from tiny Mankato State, the Vikings came back with 49 and 53Y-field goals.,.and then Keenum threw a desperation 61-yard TD pass to Stefan Diggs on the final play for the win….Players screamed..players cried…and the Vikings won after 4-lead changes in the final 3-minutes