After the second week of the NFL playoffs, I can now say the upsets seemed to have stopped. I think going back to Week 13-14 of the regular season at least, there were at least two big ones per week, now that the post season is two weeks into it, the upsets seem to have come to a halt. Now we are heading to the Super Bowl semi finals, now there are only four teams left, now there are only four games to write about each Monday, and obviously Monday Night Football is now a thing of the past.
Now all I know is that I would not want to be the NFC team right now, whoever wins the NFC is going to have to go up against one of the most experienced quarterbacks the league has ever seen (Brady or Manning).
Seattle 23 New Orleans 15
This result may have been an upset 2-3 years ago but not now. Somehow though, Drew Brees threw for over 300 yards and still lost. Russell Wilson only threw for 109 yards, no touchdowns accounted for, and he still won. Seattle dominated the entire first half, that is probably why they won this game, after a scoreless third quarter, New Orleans scored all of their 15 points in the fourth quarter but could not convert to tie the game. The Seahawks had only lost one game all season long, that was on Dec. 22 when (speaking of upsets) lost 17-10 at home to Arizona.
New England 43 Indianapolis 22
Andrew Luck’s good luck had to come to an end sooner or later, this game proves that Tom Brady will continue to be a force to be reckoned with even at this stage in his career. Mind you it wasn’t his arm that did all of the damage in this game it was rusher LeGarrette Blount who had 24 carries and scored four touchdowns totaling 166 yards. Like Seattle, New England is good at home, in fact they are a perfect 8-0.
“Once I get into the open field, they’re going to have to chase me,” Blount said. “And if they catch me, they do. And if they don’t, they don’t. They usually don’t.”
I hate to keep using stupid luck puns but his good luck stopped with his first four-INT game possibly ever, his interception total was double his touchdown total. Why does this result remind me of the days when the Pats used to dominate the Colts when they had Manning at the helm?
“I’m just disappointed in myself,” Luck said. “I can’t commit that many turnovers and have a chance to win against a great team like this.”
Luck threw 3 picks a week ago against the Kansas City Chiefs in the wild card game but led the Colts from a 38-10 deficit to win.
San Francisco 23 Carolina 10
For the third year in a row, San Francisco is heading to the NFC championship game. Carlina made it tight in the second quarter, yet could not score at all in the second half and there goes the season. For a team that dominated through most of the year to the point that they got to host a playoff game (rather than go on the road), a 12-4 record for a team that doesn’t usually accumulate numbers like that, it was a pretty good season, but apparently SF is a slightly better team. Back on Nov. 10, Carolina celebrated its skinniest margin of victory with a 10-9 win over these same 49ers. In yesterday’s game, both QBs Kaepernick and Newton had so-so outings. Kaepernick had only 196 passing yards, Newton had 267, both only had one touchdown pass, mind you Newton’s was a beauty after the Niners defense stopped Carolina dead in their tracks on two red-zone visits, one of which forced a turnover on downs. Carolina was held scoreless for in the second half.
Denver 24 San Diego 17
Most of our eyes should have been on this one from start to finish. If one of these four weekend games was marked for overtime, it very well could have been this one. Denver took a 17-0 lead into the fourth quarter but Phillip Rivers nearly completed the comeback performance of his life reminiscent of Baltimore’s shocking win at Mile High last year.
On that night Jacoby Jones hauled in a 70-yard pass from Joe Flacco to tie it with less than a minute left then Denver coach John Fox had Manning take a knee so the team could regroup in overtime. Then Manning threw an interception and we all know what happened after that.
This time Manning connected with a couple guys to secure huge first downs and sent Denver to the AFC championship game where they will host New England.
Get ready for Manning vs Brady once more.
“It’s the Broncos versus the Patriots and certainly Tom and I have played against each other a lot,” Manning said. “But when you get to the AFC Championship, it’s about two good teams that have been through a lot to get there.”
In winning the game last night, Manning hit receiver Julius Thomas for a 1st down on a 3rd-down-and 17. Then near midfield, on a 3rd-down-and 2, he handed off to Knowshon Moreno who ran for five yards with 1:12 remaining and the Broncos ran the clock down.
“When they got that first down I was jumping up and down,” Broncos defensive lineman Malik Jackson said. “It was delightful.”
San Diego got back into it after scoring a TD to come to within 10 points, then they recovered an onside kick and scored a field goal. If they had done it again, they very well could have tied the game, but they didn’t.
San Diego missed a 53-yard field goal by a few inches in the first half, that could have been big had that counted considering the way the rest of the game went. Denver was presented with two opportunities of 1st-and-5 in the game, on back-to-back plays after the Chargers defense was called for neutral-zone infractions.
“If we got it one more time, I believe deep down we would’ve tied that thing up,” Rivers said. “But we didn’t. Those are all a bunch of what-ifs.”
San Diego defenders were also dropping like flies through the game Marcus Gilchrist was hit in the head by his own player. Rookie LB Manti Te’o (Notre Dame) was also out with a concussion.
Some analysts were predicting Manning to have another outbreak of a game last night, but that didn’t happen. He did complete 25 of 36 passes for 230 yards and was a pleasure in interview after the game and his two TD throws weren’t quite up to the standards he set during the regular season where he established new records for TD passes (55) and 5,447 yards. On key stat from that game was Manning was able to control the ball for 35 ½ minutes last night.
GAME NOTES: Denver’s Eric Decker may have put the game out of reach in the first half after a kick return for 47 yards but he tripped at the San Diego 30-yard line. Decker also missed a TD catch in the end zone that bounced into the arms of Charger LB Donald Butler, resulting in Manning’s first red zone interception of the season.