- 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.
- 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.|