Delenda Est Carthago

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!

16.1.06

What have we learned - Divisional Playoffs

Now that my last few teams that I don't want to see win the Super Bowl (Indianapolis, Washington) are out, I can relax and enjoy the football. I don't care who wins anymore. I'm rooting for Seattle, but I don't really care. But what a strange weekend of football we had!

Washington at Seattle. Darryl Johnston used to play football, right? Fullback for the Super Bowl winners (blech) Dallas Cowboys? Nicknamed "Moose," which is a nickname given only to ex-football players? During this game, he said something to the effect that everyone knew Shaun Alexander's loss (to a concussion early in the game) would have an impact, but the impact from Ray Brown's loss (I can't remember why) was surprising. What a moron. Most of Johnston's career was spent blocking for Emmitt Smith, and he was surprised that the loss of one of Washington's best offensive line men would have an impact? Listen, I like Shaun Alexander, but it's pretty nice for him to run behind that offensive line, especially Walter Jones. Maurice Morris isn't in Alexander's class, but he had a nice little thing going at the University of Oregon and he has plenty of talent. If you don't get blocking, you're not going to run well (Portis didn't) or throw well (Brunell didn't). Poor offensive line play loses more games than people give it credit for. Just look at a certain game with a certain overrated quarterback on Sunday. Seattle won another game and already most "experts" are picking Carolina. Go Seahawks!

New England at Denver. If anyone says the refs lost the game for the Patriots, they should shut up. If any "expert" says the "better team" lost, they should shut up. I hate when people say that. Listen: the better team always wins. That's the definition of "better." New England, while a great team, has gotten some questionable calls over the past few years. This time they didn't. They committed only six turnovers in their 10 straight playoff wins. This time they committed five in one game. That's the way the world works. And if I'm Mike Shanahan, I'm fining Champ Bailey for his lollygagging the last five yards on that interception return. That was, potentially, the worst play of the year. It just shows why the Patriots are champions. He's supposed to be the fastest player on the field and he was run down by a tight end. A tight end! I've always hated Champ Bailey, and this is just another reason to dislike him. I didn't want to see New England win, but it would have been worth it if that ball had been a touchback and they rallied from there.

Pittsburgh at Indianapolis. Lots of fun here. Last week I said I would have picked the Colts but I wouldn't be surprised if the Steelers won. Then all last week all the "experts" were picking Indy by two or more touchdowns. At this point in the year, with these teams, I'm always more surprised by blowouts than close games. The teams are just too good. That said, I was surprised by how dominant the Steelers were. It was nice to see. All year (and for several years) the Colts have been successful because of their offensive line. Everyone talks about Manning's "weapons" on offense. Not a lot of weapons when you have no time to throw, right? And I've mentioned it before - get pressure on him and don't stop! The Steelers didn't blitz the house, but they did bring a lot of pressure, and when they stopped putting pressure on him, the Colts got back in the game. So they pressured him again, and won the game. Manning, like every quarterback in the game, can pick you apart if he has time. Only a few quarterbacks can win without the benefit of all that time. Manning is not a great quarterback yet because he can't win games on his own. There. I've said it. As for the call at the end of the game, when they handed it off to Bettis, I don't have an issue with it, but why was Jerome waving the ball around so much? Here's what they should have done: given it to Bettis and told him to get two hands on it, put his helmet down like a battering ram, and gone straight into the line. If you score, great. If you don't, the Colts take a timeout, and you do it again. And again. And maybe even on fourth down, because if you don't score, the Colts are at their 1-yard line with 30 seconds left and no timeouts. Why he was getting all fancy is beyond me. The Colts are a loser team because they cannot adjust to adversity. New England has been very good at this. Occasionally the Eagles can (but not in the Super Bowl last year, which is why they lost). Teams that can adjust are the teams that win. Indianapolis got behind, panicked, and never adjusted. And then Peyton Manning blamed it on his offensive line. Classy.

Carolina at Chicago. Speaking of not adjusting, the Bears might have wanted to cover Steve Smith differently. Just a suggestion. I knew the Bears were going to get smacked around. I do like how all the "experts," who a few months ago were comparing this defense to the 1985 Bears one, are all saying that anyone who said that was foolish. Look in the mirror, guys. The Ravens 2000 defense wasn't as good, nor was this one. Carolina is the sexy pick this week, but except for Smith, I didn't see much from them. Of course, Smith is huge, but still. Should be an interesting game.

As for the officiating - it was awful. I'm glad the NFL has come out and said the Polamalu interception should have counted - any imbecile could have called that. In fact, they got it right initially, then overturned it. Unbelievable. I don't think there was a conspiracy to get Manning into the Super Bowl, as Joey Porter said, but I do think those refs should never work a playoff game again. Just awful across the board. But, interestingly enough, I don't think it cost any team that should have won the game. You can make the case for the Patriots, but Denver was already in Patriot territory and probably would have scored on the drive anyway - it might not have been so easy, but they were still close. And the refs didn't throw that horrible pass into the end zone - that was all Brady. So the officials were terrible, but at least it didn't cost anyone. The teams that should have won did.

Next week, I think I'm picking the home teams. But like last week, I wouldn't be surprised by anything. It's too wacky in the NFL these days!

3 Comments:

Blogger Roger Owen Green said...

Moose Skowron- ex-baseball player with the White Sox and Yankees. FYI.

17/1/06 2:57 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Skowron was apparently big enough to be a football player, though. At least back in the day.

17/1/06 8:14 AM  
Blogger tomthedog said...

There were some TREMENDOUSLY bad calls this weekend. The Polamalu call was bad, but the Colts got equally screwed on an earlier call.

And let's face it, the Colts offensive line WAS terrible. But Manning wasn't much better, until the 4th quarter. Too bad he didn't show up during the first 3 quarters. And too bad the Colts didn't watch footage from the San Diego game, the way the Steelers obviously did. All game, I was saying, I can't believe they haven't compensated for what happened to them in the Chargers game. You'd think they would've been prepared this time. Nope!

Still, the Colts game and the Bears game had the most crazy, exciting 4th quarters I've seen in a long, long time.

19/1/06 9:02 AM  

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