Weekend one of the playoffs has come and gone, and gone are a pretty good teams.
RAMS…Defense carried the day, the sacks, the pressures, the disruption of the Seahawks…That entire Rams front, Aaron Donald, Leonard Floyd, Michael Brockers and the guys of the bench chased Russell Wilson all over the field. 5-sacks, 10-hits and a bunch of tackles for losses. Cannot have confidence in the ailing Jared Goff after the (9-19) passing day, but any given play to Robert Woods or Cooper Kupp can make a difference. The Rams live for at least another week.
SEATTLE…What was once a red hot MVP candidate on a team that was rolling, sure didn’t look like that. Wilson had no time, no pocket, nowhere to run. First home loss in the post season for Pete Carroll’s team since 2005. They have to make changes in that offensive front and get healthy on defense.
COLTS…A good season, a revival led by Philip Rivers. They ran out of opportunities in Buffalo because the Bills defense got better and better as the game wore on. Rivers drove them to the 4-20-40 and they never came away with points in what turned out to be a 1-TD game. They get heavy duty RB-Marlon Mack back next year to join hot shot rookie Jon Taylor. All the young players will be a year older too. Look for Rivers to return next season to take care of ‘unfinished business’.
BILLS…Tremendous quarterbacking from Josh Allen, the big plays of the wide receivers, a rugged defense, and an injury free season. Very good team as they go to the second round next weekend. This is a completee team, playing at home.
TAMPA BAY….Tom Brady can still do it but he is so much more dangerous. The difference, he plays for Bruce Arians and the Bucs have given him firepower to throw the ball too. You ever seen the likes of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, , or Ronald Jones wearing Patriots colors? Arians attacks down the field, and gives Brady the weapons to do that.
WASHINGTON…A season of upheaval ends but better days are ahead. Ron Rivera’s cancer fight; Alex Smith’s courageous comeback from near amputation; the disgrace of Derrius Grice; the mess with owner Daniel Snyder. A great defense could not do it by themselves, but that front is very good. Maybe they found a quarterback in Taylor Heinicke. They have high draft picks.
TITANS…It was a disappointment, the loss to Baltimore, but it was Big Boy football, a street fight, and somebody good was going to lose. Derrick Henry had nowhere to run, the pressure was strong on Ryan Tannehill. Tennessee’s defense, which gave up lots of yards all season, needs upgrades.
RAVENS….Lamar Jackson makes plays every game, every way. Think what they would be like, if they had more wide receiver help. And that defensive unit, a perfect fit for John Harbaugh’s personality, always angry. They are rock solid tough, still a bit short on offense aside from the quarterback, and their hardball personality style of play means you will have to be ready for a war.
SAINTS…Drew Brees had his hands full, people in his face, getting hit, pressured, not getting much protection. The same situation for RB-Alvin Kamara because the Bears defense was so rugged. But the Saints defense is rugged too, but unsung, and they choked off virtually every facet of the Bears offense. Not sure we have seen the best the Saints have to offer till Micheal Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Jaed Cook can do when they are all on the field together. That is finally happeing. Brees is likely headed to retirement. Next week could be his farewell game.
BEARS…They had the fast start, the six game losing streak, then the late season win streak. The quarterbacking of Trubisky-Foles has been abysmal. The defense plays so hard and is so tough and athletic. Wasting away a bunch of talent.
STEELERS…You cannot start a playoff game any worse than Pittsbugh did, bad snap-for a Browns TD…an errant Ben Roethlisberger interception that results in a TD…a big play rushing TD…and another Roethlsiberger pick, all in the first 12-minutes of the night….(28-0) out of the gates…So much for that 17-game losing streak Cleveland dragged into that stadium…The quarterback looks done..cannot move the pocket…arm slot looks different-bad throws-bad timing-bad decisions. Bad loss. Lots of questions about what happened the last month of the Steelers season..not the same team
BROWNS….Cleveland sets an NFL record for all time, scoring in the playoffs…28-points in the opening quarter…taking out decades of bad losses on Pittsburgh in the opening quarter of that game.. Who needs practice-because of the Covid outbreak, head coach Kevin Stefanski and 4-other assistants, did not make the trip..the Browns roared to that avalanche of points at the start. They had 1-walkthru in the dark on Friday, that is all in a 7-day span.
Here comes weekend number two. and the best will be playing the best.