One of the best things about being home is the newfound ability to watch sports without any sort of academic distractions hanging over my head. I’ve tried multitasking at school before, and no luck. There is simply no way I can concentrate on words on the page when linebackers are blitzing untouched from the outside on a television screen within 50 feet of my head. I’m starting to think that it’s actually physically impossible, like my retinas have field-goal-upright-shaped sports receptors, which activate a cascade of proteins which eventually shut down my cognitive brain functions, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Here at home though, no distractions, and it’s amazing. Actually, I just remembered that I have a 15 page report on the summer research that still needs writing, and of course there’s the whole packing thing, but there’s no urgency in either (yet), so I don’t feel completely guilty about spending this entire weekend watching playoff games.
Indianapolis 15 @ Baltimore 6
Not a pretty game to watch, but sort of disturbingly engrossing at the same time. Outside of the state of Indiana, and Peyton Manning fanboys who bandwagon with winning teams, doesn’t everyone enjoy watching this guy get picked apart by defenses flying all over the field? Bill Simmons’ “Manning Face” is absolutely crucial towards my enjoyment of a Colts game, and we got to see plenty of it during this game.
In the end, the Colts move on to the AFC Championship, but I wonder why all the talk is centering upon how the defense ‘saved’ Manning. Is it really the Colts defense, or was it more like an incompetent Ravens offense? As good of a leader as he is, nobody can really argue that McNair is a great quarterback anymore, and he just doesn’t have a supporting cast around him to make it work. I think that most defenses in the NFL could probably intercept McNair twice and not give up any touchdowns, the difference for the Ravens being that this time, the Ravens defense weren’t able to get the offense good enough field position off turnovers, and on the rare occasion that it was given to them, some sort of McNair blunder or penalty would push them back.
So now, we get to watch Manning choke in one more round. I will be stunned if he ever wins a Super Bowl, which makes me laugh. Statistically, he’s one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks of all time, but he just doesn’t have the right attitude for a championship winner. I’m not picturing any sort of late-career Elway-like resurrection either. Can you picture Peyton as a grizzled old veteran, making tough throws when it counts, and running for the first down on aging legs when the pocket collapses? The answer is no, Peyton the grizzled veteran will sit in the pocket too long until he’s swallowed up by the defensive line, or he’ll lob passes to safeties sitting in coverage. You can just picture it. He’s just that kind of quarterback, and that’s greatly amusing to me.
Philadelphia 24 @ New Orleans 27
I still don’t like Reggie Bush’s play in the NFL. His contributions to this game will largely be remembered by that spectacular 20-yard gain where he completely reversed field, outrunning several Eagles along the way, and for the touchdown run where he got stuffed inside and somehow bounced it outside where he beat Dhani Jones to the pylon. The thing that both plays had in common was that Reggie almost got stuffed by going straight ahead, so he decided to try for the Big Play by heading across the field and turning the corner.
That is not how you play in the NFL. Just look at how Deuce McAllister played this game: he hit his holes hard, and drove through the initial contact, and fought for yardage. I would argue that at this point, Reggie Bush is playing like a coward. He’s afraid of contact, he fights for yards with his fleet feet instead of with his considerable strength, and he doesn’t have the patience to wait for his blocks to develop. The fact that he keeps making these huge plays is kind of cool I suppose, like we’re supposed to be amazed by this kid’s athletic ability and imagination, but they almost seem like accidents to me. And the fact that he keeps succeeding is only going to encourage him to do it more. How much longer can he keep this up? I remain unconvinced that Reggie Bush will make a consistent every-down back in the NFL, he just doesn’t have the ability to run between the tackles like a traditional runningback. He either gets tackled for massive losses, which everyone seems to forget, or he madly dashes past confused defenders and gets praised as a genius on the scale of Leonardo DaVinci or Thomas Edison.
Great game though. Unless you live close to Philadelphia, you just had to root for the Saints on this one. They’re definitely America’s Team at this point. I have to say though: my favorite play of the game was early on, where Brees lobbed a soft toss to Bush in the flat, only for Bush to just..get…destroyed…by Sheldon Brown. That was the hardest hit I have ever witnessed live in a NFL game, it was incredible. I wish I was at a bar in Philly high-fiving everyone in sight, that was just the best hit. I’m glad that it’s on Youtube already. I liked how they went to commercial by playing that ‘Here Comes the Boom!’ song, it made me lol. Also, why the hell did Andy Reid decide to punt on 4th-and-15 on the last drive? Sorry Andy, that false start did not also add 3 minutes on to the clock, it’s just 5 yards, that’s it. Stupid, just plain stupid. Not one of the better coaches in the NFL.
Seattle 24 @ Chicago 27
Of course, all the pregame talk centered on the inconsistent Rex Grossman, and which side of Mr. Grossman we’d see in this game. The last time we saw him, he had a quarterback rating of…0. 0. That is a zero. Not the letter ‘o’ which I believe comes between the excellent letters ‘n’ and ‘p’. That is a 0. He completed more passes to the Packers defenders than he did to his own team. That is correct. Incompetence on a completely historic level. And wait, this team is in the playoffs?!
What most commentators seemed to forget was that we could get both sides of Grossman in a single game, like he’s schizophrenic or something! Incredible! So yeah, he made some amazing throws, for example that excellent deep ball to Berrian on the touchdown, yet there were some inconceivable decisions made under pressure as well. This time then, his inconsistencies were intra-game, rather than inter-game. Amazing.
Oh, and once again we’ve got a close game decided by a late field goal. Shaping up to a be a good round of playoffs so far, I gotta say. Chicago deserved this one, their defense stepped up at just the right times.
New England 24 @ San Diego 21
I have no idea what’s going on in that photo. I know it’s Kevin Faulk celebrating his 2-pt conversion to tie the game, but what is everyone else doing there? I can’t figure out what happened in this celebration at all, there’s just too many possibilities, none of which seem conceivable at all. I may have nightmares about this photo, so I thought I’d share it with you all!
Anyways, New England did not deserve this win. Even my token Patriots-supporting friend agrees! The number of San Diego mistakes is just too long to have allowed the Chargers to pulled it out, through no real intervention on the Patriots’ part. There’s was Parker’s bone-headed attempt to pick up and run with his own muffed punt, McCree’s interception stripped away by Troy Brown, Rivers’ soft lob intercepted by Colvin, and all the drops by those receivers. You can’t win when you make those kind of mistakes, and the Patriots did just enough to capitalize off them.
Meanwhile, this Gostkowski character is a monster. Remember when he got drafted, and everyone was just like, wtfwtfwtf? Mel Kiper didn’t even have the dude on his draft board of kickers or something! Of course, I laughed when one commentator said something to the effect of, “Well, let’s see, Bill Belichick is probably the greatest genius operating in the NFL right now, and he’s won three Super Bowls. How many Super Bowls has Mel Kiper won? Wait, zero? So maybe this Belichick guy knows what he’s doing?” Apparently so, apparently so. I can’t wait until Renaldo Balkman suddenly turns into Gilbert Arenas in five years, and starts dropping 35 on his hapless opponents on a nightly basis. If I were a Chargers fan right now though, I’d probably be all like
Let’s get to a few links then: