Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Conference Championships

  • The weekend was pretty boring without the Green Bay Packers. There are going to have to be a lot of superfluous Jordy pictures in this post to keep my interest.
I couldn't be bothered to come up with a real title for this post.

  • Both of the championship games were rather surprising. I definitely would not have picked the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning’s lifeless, noodle arm against the reigning champion New England Patriots. That said, I’m ECSTATIC the Pats lost!

  • The dominant Denver defense made it a long and rough day for Tom Brady. The New England quarterback was sacked four times and hit 20 times!! Brady had 310 yards, but completed fewer than half is throws, and threw two interceptions. (Goodbye, offensive line coach.)

  • The Broncos weren’t any easier on the run game. Tom Brady is not exactly known for his mobility but he led the entire Patriots team in rushing!

  • The Denver offense was exactly lights out -- with only 244 TOTAL yards -- but they didn’t need to be. The defense carried them all the way to the Super Bowl.
dancing nfl up storm denver broncos

  • Poor New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski bore a lot of the blame for the two-point loss. He missed an extra point after New England scored in the first quarter, a miss that would force the Pats to go for two after their fourth-quarter touchdown, which they failed to convert. And there are your two points. Gostkowski has been one of the league’s best kickers in the league, and the miss ended a streak of 523 straight extra points made. Poor guy.

  • You want to know what makes it even more painful for the Patriots? This screenschot that shows Rob Gronkowski open on the failed two-point conversion.

  • Awww, look how cute Peyton Manning’s son is! He came with his dad to the post-game press conference, but got a little shy.

  • I had to get off Twitter after the game to avoid the schmaltzy Brady-Manning tributes. They play football; let’s stop pretending that they’re Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant or something.
These two stout-hearted men haveth set upon the iron o' grid
in many a great engagement. Whither these great souls shall
meet again henceforth, we trust only the Almighty knoweth.

  • Last week, New England Patriots backup linebacker (and Notre Dame grad!) Darius Fleming played with 22 stitches in his leg, which he got while rescuing a woman trapped in her car. There was a car accident that left the woman’s car without power, and she was unable to escape her car. Fleming kicked out the window and helped her out of the car. What a good guy! Way to go, Darius!

Rescuing a woman in distress is just the kind of thing Jordy would do!

  • The Carolina Panthers-Arizona Cardinals game was painful to watch, so I’ll cut to the chase: Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer had six turnovers on the way to a 49-15 soul-crushing defeat.

  • I have, have, have to think that Palmer’s injured index finger on his throwing hand played a part. He injured the finger in Week 15 against Green Bay, after which he had a terrible game against the Seattle Seahawks (lost 36-6), a not-very-good-until-the-freaking-fourth-quarter game against Green Bay last week, then the stinker this week. The guy had 11 interceptions and four fumbles through 16 games in the regular season, and four interceptions and two fumbles on Sunday alone! It just has to be the finger injury. I can’t fathom another reason why the number one offense in the league and the quarterback with the third highest passer rating in the regular season suddenly looked so terrible.

  • Although I really wanted the Cardinals to win, it was hard not to be impressed by the Panthers. Look, for example, at Carolina receiver Ted Ginn, Jr. on this Cam Newton interception. The guy absolutely flies down the field to stop the pick from becoming a pick-six. (In fact, the Cardinals didn’t gain any points off the turnover because on the next possession, Carson Palmer -- you’ll never guess -- threw an interception.) Keep in mind as Ginn is streaking down almost the entire length of the field that his team was up 17 points at the time.

  • With five-and-a-half minutes left in the game, up 34-15, Carolina scored another touchdown …. and decided to go for two. Perhaps it was because Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians had reportedly called Carolina the worse second-half team in the league at halftime, but I don’t really care what anyone said --  if you go for two when you’re up 25 points, your kicker’s foot better be broken, otherwise you guys are being @$%holes. Poor show.

  • The Panthers suffered a couple of tough injuries. Safety Roman Harper left the game with an eye injury after a hit to the head. The safety has had Lasik eye surgery, and the hit caused the corneal flap over his eye to shift, temporarily obscuring his vision. Harper says the injury won’t keep him out of the Super Bowl, but still.

  • Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis also says his injury won’t keep him out of the Super Bowl, except, I’m not totally sure about that because his injury is a broken arm. I totally understand wanting to play in the Super Bowl -- it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity -- and I admire his toughness,  but, uh, buddy, a broken arm is a really, really good reason to sit out a game that includes a lot of violent contact. I’m no doctor, but I would really strongly suggest cheering your team on from the safety of the sidelines.

  • When asked what nickname he would give himself if he could, Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly responded, “I don’t need a nickname. My name is Luke.” I think I’m going to go buy the mynameisluke.com domain and put a copyright on that same line for a book title (with a movie option) because that would be the coolest title ever.

My Name Is Luke

  • Kuechly’s pretty cool, right? So you can sorta understand this guy who really, really, really wanted to high-five Luke.

  • I guess Carolina deserves to go to the Super Bowl, but I still feel really bad for Carson Palmer. He seems like such a nice guy. Seriously, watch this commercial of his and try to not like him.

  • I like the above video, but really it was just an excuse to segue into Jordy’s own commercial. He’s so adorable! He’s a great dad, he spends his offseason farming, and he substitute taught with his new-found free time. (Those lucky third-grade bastards!) Isn’t he so awesome and sweet and manly and cool??

  • Let’s just jump back a week and remember how Andy Reid titanicked the Kansas City Chiefs with his clock management late in the game. Remember how the Chiefs had the ball with 6:29 left, down two scores? And remember how, despite the previous sentence, they took 5 minutes and 16 seconds to score and refused to use their timeouts? And didn’t let the time crunch dissuade them from huddling on offense on the drive? And were essentially betting their postseason lives on recovering an onside kick? Well, after having a week to think on it, Andy Reid reiterated that the clock was “handled right” in the game.

  • In Packer news, head coach Mike McCarthy had his season-ending press conference, and he didn’t pull any punches. He said what we were all thinking when he singled out Richard Rodgers and Davante Adams as players who “definitely need to step up.” But it was his comments on running back Eddie Lacy, who had weight issues all season, that caught the most attention: “Eddie Lacy has a lot of work to do. I think I’m stating the obvious. His offseason last season was not good enough. He has to get it done. He cannot play at the weight he did this year.”

  • There are also rumors that McCarthy is “fed up” with Ted Thompson’s extreme reluctance to sign free agents. This has long been a bone of contention for impatient Packers fans who disagree with Thompson’s rigid adherence to a draft-and-develop philosophy. Now, I understand the frustration when Green Bay has a crying need and they do nothing about it. But free agency is crapshoot with low odds. The players worth getting usually require overpaying, and the ones that don’t require overpaying … well, they’re free agents because other teams don’t want them. The Indianapolis Colts are a prime example. They were listed as early “winners” in the offseason, but few, if any, of their signings worked out. Here’s an excerpt from Bill Barnwell’s NFL teams’ Christmas wish lists article:

    • Indianapolis Colts: Store credit or a full refund for Ryan Grigson's veteran shopping spree. Andre Johnson's 418 receiving yards are good for 97th in the league. Trent Cole has just three sacks. Frank Gore is averaging 3.6 yards per rushing attempt, the worst figure he has posted by a full half-yard over a professional season. And Todd Herremans lost his starting job after two games. Kendall Langford's snaps as a decent two-way defensive end might represent the best move Grigson made this offseason.

  • Another example: Vernon Davis. The Packers, completely devoid of a reliable tight end -- Richard Rodgers was our #1, for Pete’s sake -- looked to be a reasonable landing place for Davis after he was released by the 49ers. Many Green Bay fans expressed frustration when Davis was snatched up by the Broncos. However, in 10 regular season games with Denver, Davis had 20 catches, 90 yards, and zero touchdowns. In his last four games, including two playoff games, Davis has zero catches. It’s not fun or exciting, but I do tend to see things Thompson’s way as far as free agency goes.

  • Speaking of free agents, it looks likely that the Packers will let free agent cornerback Casey Hayward leave this summer, which makes me very sad. I love Casey, but the team has too much talent at cornerback, including two impressive rookies in Quinten Rollins and Damarious Randall. In fact, of all rookie corners, Rollins was top in opposing quarterbacks’ ratings. Yay, Q!  Way to go!
applause celebrate yay clap cheering
This gif is from Power Rangers. I didn't have to look that up or anything.
I just recognized them on sight. Pink Ranger, Blue Ranger, Green Ranger. 

  • By the way, did we already talk about how amazing it is that Rollins only ever played one year of football in college?? That’s crazy! He was a basketball star at Miami, played one season of football, was named the MAC defensive player of the year, and then was drafted in the second round of the NFL draft.

  • The most outrageous thing I read this week was Jordy Nelson telling the story of how his future wife dumped him when they were in seventh grade. What could she have been thinking? Did she think she could do better?? Did she not see the future Sideline Ninja in him? Was she so convinced that she could get him back? What! what could have made her do something so foolish? SHE NEVER DESERVED HIM!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Aaron Rodgers & the Practice Squad Defeated by Officiating Crew in Overtime Thriller

  • Okay, okay, fine, maybe there was more to the game than that. Maybe that’s not 100% totally and absolutely accurate, but allow me some sour grapes. In particular:
    • On the final Arizona Cardinals touchdown -- the ridiculous tipped pass -- there was no offensive pass interference called on John Brown (#13), who was bullrushing Casey Hayward into the back of the endzone. (Also, it royally sucks that good defense leads to this touchdown.)

    • There was no defensive pass interference on Arizona on the first play of the hail Mary drive when the defender pinned Jared Abbrederis’ arm to his body. Abbrederis -- surprise -- wasn’t able to pull in the catch with only one arm.
    • Two plays later, Jeff Janis was “defended” by Jerraud Powers, who wrapped himself around Janis like a shoulder holster. Again, no flag was thrown.

  • As far as the last two points go, however, the Packers did score on that drive, so my complaints are somewhat moot. The Packers had their chance in overtime, but one stupid blown coverage and some bad tackling angles -- while trying to collapse on Carson Palmer, who was 1/100th of a second away from getting sacked -- on a single play undid all of the exceptional work the Green Bay defense did on Saturday night.

  • (No, I don’t think the overtime rules need to be changed -- defense is half the game, too. If you can’t stop a team from scoring a touchdown, you don’t have a particularly strong claim to victory. And no, I don’t care about the “controversy” surrounding the coin flip. I understand Rodgers being irked about not getting to recall -- he always chooses the side that’s not facing up -- in such a tight game, but that’s a silly thing to worry about. A coin flip is a matter of luck, and the Packers can’t say the game hinged on that. Yes, I think they probably would have won the game if they won the coin toss, but there’s no guarantee, and your defense has to show up..)

  • That’s now two absolute gut-punch playoff overtime losses to the Arizona Cardinals for the Green Bay Packers. I might have to start hating those bastards on principle. Another heartbreaking statistic? Aaron Rodgers is 7-6 in the postseason. Of those six losses, four occurred on the last play of the game.
sad pain michael j fox heartbreak misery

  • The Packers played a really, really excellent game. They were facing a top-five defense with a hobbled offensive line and without their FOUR top receivers -- Jordy, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, and Ty Montgomery. They were also going up against the top offense in the league, which they held to 75 first-half yards and against which they forced two turnovers. (Sam Shield also dropped two interceptions - gah!) The defense -- which played most of the game without starting safety Micah Hyde -- didn’t allow Arizona to score any points off Green Bay’s sole turnover (a Rodgers interception), twice forced the Cardinals to settle for field goals in the redzone, and held a team that averages 118 rushing yards per game to 40 rushing yards. All of this for a team that, frankly, looked like a disaster heading into the postseason.
Well done, DBs. Well done. *Tear*

  • Despite Shields’ two dropped interceptions (gah!), it was wonderful to see him back on the field after he missed four weeks with a scary concussion. (I was very worried about him.) Cris Collinsworth pointed out how having Shields back really allowed Dom Capers to expand the defensive playbook, and Sam's coverage allowed them to get pressure up front that they had struggled to get without him.

  • A lot of criticism has been (rightly, I think) leveled at head coach Mike McCarthy this season for his playcalling, but he deserves a lot of credit for this game. There were a couple of slow-and-steady drives before the half that really put Green Bay in a great position. Although those drives only resulted in two field goals, they each ran nearly eight minutes off the clock and kept the ball out of the hands of the Arizona offense.

  • Dear, sweet, beautiful Green Eyes suffered a painful injury on a spectacular catch that ended up not counting. Cobb was seen on the sidelines coughing up blood after the catch and had to be taken to locker room. He spent the night in a Phoenix hospital with a bruised lung (ow), and was released the next day. As far as the actual play goes, I wish -- I really, really, really wish -- the NFL could explain to me how, when one team gets one penalty on a play, and the other team gets two penalties on the same play, all the penalties &$%^ ing “offset.” Poor Randall’s pretty little lung was injured for nothing.

  • Another electrifying play that didn’t count was Patrick Peterson’s 100-yard pick-six of Aaron Rodgers, which was called back for an illegal use of hands penalty on Arizona. So Rodgers still has just one pick-six in his entire career. I’m sometimes a little harsh on running back James Starks, but I cannot say how much I love him for trying to chase down Peterson to the very end here.

  • Even if the ending was the worst possible outcome in the entire world, it was entertaining to see two such evenly-matched teams (for this game at least) go at it. Green Bay had 386 yards to Arizona’s 368; the teams were within 40 seconds of each other on time of possession; Arizona had 20 first downs to Arizona’s 18; and each team had 5.8 yards per play.

  • The best part of the game was the insane, hang-on-to-the-edge-of-your-seat final drive of regulation. Thanks to a positively shocking decision by the Cardinals to throw the ball rather than run time off the clock -- when the Packers had no timeouts left, no less -- Green Bay got the ball back with 1:55 left in the game, down seven points. Thanks to the aforementioned no-call on the Abbrederis incompletion and a 10-yard sack the next play and the aforementioned no-call on the Janis incompletion, Green Bay was facing an almost impossible 4th-and-20 from their own four-yard line. Rodgers took the snap and was almost immediately put on the run. He rolled out, escaped the pressure and THREW A 60-YARDER TO JANIS!!!!!!!!!

  • We all thought we had seen the most impressive throw of the game, BUT WAIT. The Packers burned 34 seconds getting the next play off, but then got a penalty because 34 seconds wasn’t enough for Richard Rodgers to get set. An incompletion later, the Green Bay Packers had four seconds left, still down seven, and 41 yards to go. Packers fans immediately thought of the Detroit Lions game in Week 13. There’s no way the Packers could pull off two successful Hail Marys in the same season, right? EXCEPT THAT WE HAVE AARON RODGERS!!!!!!

  • What other quarterback in the league can make those throws??? And how bout little-used fan favorite Jeff Janis?? Janis had 101 yards on that drive alone!

  • I can’t decide if it’s more or less painful that this loss came at the end of a rather disappointing season. On the one hand, I really didn’t expect them to win a single playoff game so it’s not like my hopes had gotten very high. On the other hand, it would have been all the more amazing if they had made it to the conference championship when they were so bedraggled and downtrodden! It would have been such a Disney story! Alas!

  • Even when their team isn’t playing, Minnesota Vikings fans still lose. 
He bougt that ticket all 4 naugt.

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers were in something of a similar situation as the Packers against the Denver Broncos. They had a ton of injuries -- quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was being held together by duct tape (supposedly), wide receiver Antonio Brown was out with a concussion, running back DeAngelo Williams was out with a foot injury, and the team had already lost running back Le’veon Bell for the season -- but nearly pulled off the upset, holding onto a slim lead before a fumble early in the fourth quarter allowed Denver to take the lead for good.

  • The running back who fumbled, Fitz Toussaint, was beside himself after the game, shouldering the blame for the loss. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and the rest of the team, however, all publicly shared the blame. Tomlin found Toussaint in the locker room after the game to give him a hug. (Awww.) Take note, Mike Zimmer.

  • I always appreciate a great downing at the goal line, so I have to give Denver a shout-out for this play.

  • While this was a positive play for Peyton Manning and the Broncos, it’s still awfully sad to watch, like watching your grandpa fall, but then refuse any assistance in getting up.

  • You’d hardly know that the Steelers were even in a game this weekend, because the NFL is too busy drooling over the BRADY-MANNING MATCHUP!! THIS COULD BE THE LAST TIME!! TWO LEGENDS MEET! THINK OF THE RATINGS!! THINK OF THE MONEY!! I didn’t watch the entire Pittsburgh-Denver game, so I was trying to see what I missed, but I didn’t learn much from this ESPN recap of the game which literally spends the first 12 paragraphs talking about next week’s game.
Piercing stares like this only increase the tension!

  • Speaking of the New England Patriots, their game against the Kansas City Chiefs was fairly predictable. The Chiefs tried to make a game of it, but when New England was leading 14-6 at halftime, history told us it was all but over. This might be the most incredible sports stat I’ve ever seen.
Make that 93-1.

  • History wasn’t the only thing standing in the way of a Kansas City comeback. There was another obstacle: coach Andy Reid.
One of the NFL's most epic rivalries.

  • With seven and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter, things were looking bleak for KC. They had just turned the ball over on downs, and New England was holding a 27-13 lead. When the Patriots went three-and-out on their next possession, the Chiefs got the ball back with 6:29 on the clock, three timeouts, and the two-minute warning. All of sudden, a comeback wasn’t totally out of the question! Chiefs (and Eagles) fans, however, know how this plays out. Reid’s team led a slow and methodical drive down the field which eventually resulted in a touchdown. The bad news was that they took more than five minutes to do it!! And -- of course -- Reid kept his three timeouts firmly in his back pocket.
"Slow and steady wins the race..."

  • Even more baffling was Reid’s staunch refusal to admit to any degree that maybe there was another way to go about it. "We didn't want to give the ball back at any point back to New England after we go ahead and score that next touchdown," he explained. Riiiight, but you have to actually score that next touchdown before worrying about giving the ball back. What coach with six and a half minutes and four clock stoppages immediately -- and apparently only -- thinks “onside kick”?

  • Poor Alex Smith.

  • Somehow, I get the feeling that this is something he’s had to deal with this before.

  • The Seattle Seahawks almost comeback was much more impressive than the Chiefs’ auto-sabotaged almost comeback. Things started out very rough for the Seahawks (cue discussions of West coast teams having to play early games). Their first half possessions looked like this: pick-six, punt, interception, punt, downs, missed field goal, which led to a 31-0 Carolina Panthers lead.

  • The best part of the first half was this touching moment -- well, several moments -- shared by Greg Olsen and Richard Sherman.

  • Credit to Seattle, they came back strong in the second half with 24 unanswered points. Luckily for Carolina, they built up a big enough lead that it didn’t matter that their final six possessions were five punts and a kneel down. I guess I’m glad that Seattle lost, but Carolina winning seems like a necessary evil.

  • Luke Kuechly had a great game with 11 tackles and a pick-six, as well as this nice pass defense late in the game. (Why can’t any of our linebackers do that??)

  • Luke Kuechly is almost impossible not to like. I think it's because he reminds me of Luke from Friday Night Lights. They even look alike!

Best show ever, btw.

  • As he was walking off the field, Cam Newton took the time to rip a “12th Man” flag from a Seahawks fan, crumple it up, and throw it away. (Cam has a thing about signs for the opposition.) Yeah, this is why everyone hates Newton and the media’s obsession with him.

  • I’m sure he got fined thousands of dollars for it, but how cool is Thomas Davis’ visor??

Green Bay needs some of these.

  • I guess I’m cheering for Arizona because I dislike them the least of the remaining four, but if I really have to, I’ll cheer for Carolina. I’ll cheer for whomever has the best chance at beating the Patriots.

  • The only thing keeping me together right now is knowing that the next time I see my Green Bay Packers suit up, Jordy will be with them.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016


  • AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!! We won a playoff game!! It was just like old times! GO PACK GO!! (It should be noted that the Washington Redskins have the one of the worst defenses in the league and did not beat a single team with a winning record all season.) The Green Bay Packers are the best team in the woooorld! Woo hoo!

  • I was pretty doleful after last week’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings, but I regained my faith as the week went on. Listening to interviews of Green Bay Packers players and coaches, I thought, Yeah, this game is winnable! I was a bit discouraged by the week’s injury report, which hosted 18 Packers, but still felt good going into the game. Then the first quarter happened. It was an exact repeat of the previous ten games. After gaining 11 yards on the first play, the Packers gained -4 on their next 12 plays, which produced a punt, a safety, another punt, and another punt to start the game. It was shaping up to be a loooooooong day.

  • But then, the clouds broke and the sun shone through. After breaking off of 34-yard pass to James Jones, the Packers suddenly looked sharper. Aaron Rodgers was more decisive than he’s been in a long time, and receivers actually caught the balls thrown their way! Green Bay scored on their next five drives as part of a 32-7 run.

  • Not only did Rodgers embrace the “let it fly” mentality, it also seemed to me that the playcalls were (slightly) more diverse. Not as varied as I’d like to see, perhaps, but Cobb was in the backfield, and he caught some quick darts to the sideline -- both of which utilize what Cobb does best -- plus the Packers were back in no-huddle, something we’ve seen far too little of this season.
"Hmm let's try not doing the exact same thing every down. Just
might be crazy enough to work."

  • A game ball has to go to JC Tretter. The backup center was called into duty at left tackle, and, after giving up a safety in the first quarter, settled down and kept Rodgers clean for the rest of the game. The protection was a huge improvement over recent weeks and gave Rodgers good time.

  • The defense was once again impressive, getting six sacks on Kirk Cousins and forcing a fumble as well. They made a fantastic goal stand, forcing Washington to kick a field goal after having the ball at 1st-and-1 after DeSean Jackson’s almost touchdown, and held the Redskins to just seven points in the final 43 minutes.

  • Jay Gruden’s wearing a fat suit, right? He looks very much like a skinny man in an SNL skit.

  • Washington’s punter’s name is Tress Way. Which is obviously an alias. Which he obviously had to come up with on short notice.
There's also a strong possibility that it's an investment
firm or something. If so, I think would invest with
them. They sound very trustworthy.

  • You know who has some serious swagger? Official Gene Steratore. He’s always super casual when he strides onto the field to make a ruling, as if this is all NBD, and he's got places he's needs to be after the game.

  • I’m so worried about Sam Shields. The Green Bay cornerback has now missed four games with a concussion. That’s scarily long for a head injury -- career-implications kind of scary. I hope he’s okay!

  • The already depleted backfield lost cornerback Quinten Rollins to a quadriceps injury on Sunday. Damarious Randall, who was playing with a groin injury, reaggravated the injury but was able to return to the game. Backup cornerbacks Demetri Goodson and Ladarius Gunter played well, particularly this key third-down breakup by Gunter late in the game.

  • Typing the above made me realize how good a year 2015 was a for Green Bay corners. Rollins, Randall, and Gunter are all first-year players and have played very, very well. (Gunter has hardly played this season, so it’s a small sample size, but he had an incredible preseason.)

  • I have to say that I’ve become something of a Kirk Cousins fan this season. I watched his SoundFX -- how likable is he? Also, some internet genius discovered what “KC” from KC and the Sunshine Band stands for:

  • Awwww, look at the Green Bay playoff captains photo! What adorable little nerds they are. They all look like their mothers combed their hair for them. (Well, not Clay…). I love the Olan Mills portrait posing.
"Yep, just casually clench your fists and rest them on your
knees. Thumbs out. Perfect!"

  • All four road teams won in the Wild Card round for the first time ever! This crazy stat might have a little something to do with that:

  • It was indeed a wild Wild Card round. Let’s talk about the Minnesota Vikings-Seattle Seahawks game. HOW DO YOU MISS A 27-YARD FIELD GOAL?!?!?!?!

  • Laces in or laces out, that’s a huge choke, but poor Blair Walsh!! He was so sad after the game! I just want to fly to Minnesota and give him a hug. Walsh, as you can imagine, is being raked over the social media coals. His coach didn’t exactly support him after the game, even though Walsh was responsible for every single point the Vikes scored. At least he got some kind words from former Vikings and Detroit Lions receiver Nate Burleson.

  • It would have been so, so, so, so wonderful if Pete Carroll and the evil Seahawks had been knocked out of the playoffs in the divisional round. There would have been much rejoicing throughout the lands. It just stinks extra because I have a hard time foreseeing Seattle playing that badly again.

  • Minnesota had “home field advantage,” but I wonder how much an advantage it is when the temperature at kickoff is -6 degrees. And that’s for a team that usually plays in a dome. I feel like the Vikings beating the Packers in the final week of the regular season was kind of the worst thing they could have done for their chances.

  • Whenever punters do anything other than their strict job description, they always get injured. Such was the case with Seattle punter Jon Ryan who, given a low snap, had to make the (probably smart) decision to pick up the ball and run. Unfortunately, he was tackled and landed on his face. Don’t ever ask punters to do anything athletic!

No, but seriously, the injury was pretty bad.

  • I can’t feel too bad for Minnesota, however, because if you don’t score a single touchdown in a playoff game, you can’t very well be surprised you lost.

  • Speaking of not scoring, how ‘bout them Houston Texans? Gosh, they’re awful. They lost 30-0 to the Kansas City Chiefs, averaging 3.6 yards a play and turning it over FIVE times!! How did all those turnovers happen? This man was playing quarterback:
I wanted to put an interception video here, but
I couldn't decide which one to choose! 

  • Can you imagine the deep, deep depression Texans fans must feel when they find themselves screaming, “Put Brandon Weeden in!!at their tvs? And can you imagine how bad backup Brandon Weeden must feel about himself that, after Hoyer turned the ball over four times in the first half, they still didn’t put Weeden in?
"Please play me. Please?"

  • I can’t read lips exactly, but it appears that receiver DeAndre Hopkins is suggesting that perhaps the coaches consider removing Hoyer from the field of play.

  • You can’t really blame Hopkins for being upset. When you can make catches like this, it’d be nice to have a real quarterback to throw to you.

  • Head coach, Bill O’Brien, you’ve had absolutely no problem benching quarterbacks this season. You even benched Brian Hoyer in the first game of the season (coincidentally, against the Chiefs). Do you have any possible explanation for why you didn’t bench Hoyer after his four-turnover first half?

  • Normally I would take a team's fans to task for leaving a playoff game before the conclusion, but I'll take pity on the Texans "fans" this time.

  • I know KC won 30-0, but I can’t be impressed with a team that was only up 13 points at halftime after a touchdown return on the opening kickoff and -- I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this -- four opponent’s turnovers in the first half. If another team gifts you the ball four times in a half, you should probably be able to manage more than six points if you want to play with the big boys.

  • Okay, what the heck was going on in the Cincinnati Bengals-Pittsburgh Steelers game? The rivalry got way out of control. Here are some of the lowlights:
    • Here’s Pittsburgh coach Mike Munchak trying to throw a Cincinnati player to the ground on the sidelines. Munchak received a penalty on the play.

    • Here’s Pittsburgh linebacker Ryan Shazier putting his helmet right into Bengals running back Giovani Bernard’s chin. Inexplicably, there was no penalty called on this, and the fumble stands.

    • Here’s Cincinnati fans throwing things at Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as he’s carted off the field after suffering an injury.

    • Here’s Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict concussing Antonio Brown’s with a shoulder to his head.

    • And here’s Pittsburgh coach Joey Porter illegally on the field talking trash to the Bengals players, provoking Adams Jones -- primarily known for his bad decision making -- into a scuffle. Jones pushed a ref and got the penalty.

  • The last two plays pretty much decided the game. With 1:36 left in the game, Cincinnati holding on to a 16-15 lead, the Bengals fumbled the ball! The Steelers recovered, and a few plays later, Pittsburgh had the ball to the Cincinnati 47-yard line with 22 seconds left and no timeouts. That’s when the last two penalties -- the Burfict hit and Jones push -- occurred. That gave the Steelers 30 yards in penalties, putting them into easy field goal range, and Pittsburgh kicked for the win.

  • I am the only one who does not think the Burfict hit is objectively dirty. It’s hard for a defender to predict how a player is going to fall, and he hit him with his shoulder, not his helmet. That said, Burfict is a dirty, dirty player who has a history of intentionally trying to injure opponents, so he’s used up any benefit of the doubt that I may be inclined to give. His history is the main reason he was suspended three games for the hit on Brown.

  • Likewise for Jones. Porter had no business being on the field and should not have been allowed to stand there trash talking the Bengals. Pacman, however, is a headcase who has also used up his goodwill. Many are talking about the lack of discipline on the part of the Bengals players, but I find it more unforgivable that two Steelers coaches behaved the way they did on Saturday. All in all, it was a bad mess of a game.

  • There were some highlights, my favorite of which is this insane, physically improbable, somersaulting, pin-the-ball-to-the-back-of-his-legs touchdown by Martavis Bryant.

  • The Packers next face the Arizona Cardinals. Yes, the Cards just beat Green Bay 38-8 a few weeks ago. Yes, they won 13 games this season. Yes, their defense is #5 in the league and their offense is #1. But … but … but … anything can happen in the playoffs!! Right??
Oh, Jordy. Things would look so much brighter if you were suiting up.