Archive for the 'Wild Card Playoffs' Category

12
Jan
08

Seattle Won’t Win, Won’t Play

With :15 second left in the first half and his Seattle Seahawks down 28-17 in their road playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, Mike Holmgren showed why he is a coach who was lucky to have won any Super Bowls, and why he likely will not win another no matter how talented of a team he is coaching. By taking a knee to run out the clock after his team had squandered an early 14-0 lead on two scores that came as a result of Ryan Grant’s two early lost fumbles, Holmgren once again demonstrated that he sometimes forgets football fundamentals and has almost no clue about the very existence of a small thing called time. They ran out the clock – with time-outs to spare.

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I don’t know how to better express what a mistake this is, so I’ll quote Gregg Easterbrook from ESPNs Page 2:

“Then again, maybe Spenser, my 12-year-old, had the explanation. Trailing 10-0, the Redskins took possession on their 9 with 47 seconds remaining in the first half, holding three timeouts. Washington ran up the middle to kill the clock, not using its timeouts, and this led to some interesting tactical maneuvering in the closing seconds to prevent Seattle from attempting the extremely rare free kick after a fair catch. Anyway, when Spenser saw the Redskins had no intention of trying to score, despite a zero on the scoreboard and all three timeouts, he scoffed, “They’re sure to lose now.” And yea, verily, it came to pass. I don’t care if you are backed up on your 9, it’s a playoff game and you have no points. Try to score!”

Ever since the Super Bowl that Seattle lost to the Steelers, when they appeared to not realize there was even a game clock, Holmgren has seemed to have lost his edge. Unfortunately for his team, it gives them very little chance to live up to their potential.

The Yardstick for this game finalized favoring the Packers to win by six points. They have outscored the Seahawks 28-3 since going down by fourteen. Make the score 35-17 now. I could not even finish this piece before the Packers scored again. Seahawks…get rid of him.

***Update: Wow, is Babineaux ever fast. He just took Ryan Grant down from behind in almost blizzard conditions on a run where Grant set the Packers post-season record for rush yards in a game. He now has 167 on 20 carries, with two touchdowns. Talk about making up for those two fumbles.

In Holmgren news, the offense, backed up in their own end and with 18 yards to go on first down, called an Alexander run, which got maybe a yard. Dumb call, if you are trying to get a first down, anyway – which is the point isn’t it. Green bay allowed seven runs of 20+ yards in 424 attempts during the season. That’s less than one in sixty. Might as well try, though, hey what?

Oh…make it 42-20 and give Ryan 169 and three scores. If Grant had celebrated his third score by making a snow angel, would he get fined by the NFL for using a prop?

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11
Jan
08

NFL Playoff Predictions: Chargers at Colts

The last time these two met, in San Diego in Week 10, the Colts were without sure-handed targets Dallas Clark, Anthony Gonzalez and Marvin Harrison and Peyton Manning threw six interceptions. The Chargers stormed out to a 23-0 lead halfway through the second quarter and even LaDainian Tomlinson looked a little bit happy on the sidelines. Most of the points, by the way, came from one punt and one kickoff return each for touchdowns by Darren Sproles; his first two NFL touchdowns. Then, Norv Turner coaching kicked in and the Chargers watched helplessly as Indianapolis began coming back.

 

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At 23-7, Adam Vinatieri missed a 42-yard field goal to end the first half. A Kenton Keith touchdown in the third made the game 23-13 and the Colts attempt to covert for two was successful as well, making it 23-15. Just fifteen seconds later, Philip Rivers was sacked; the line of scrimmage was his own 8-yard line. He dropped the ball going down as he had seen Antonio Gates get free in the flat and tried to pass the ball as he was getting sacked, forgetting for a split second about the rain that was pouring down, making his hands and the ball too slippery to grip together. The resulting fumble was recovered by Indy in the end zone, making the score 23-21 with 14:28 to go in the fourth quarter. The Chargers stuffed Joseph Addai as he tried to run up the middle for the two-point conversion.

Somewhere around this time, Philip Rivers went to sit beside what appeared on television to be a sulking and pouting LaDainian Tomlinson as LT sat near the end of a bench on the sidelines. As soon as Rivers pluncked his butt down, LT jumped up and stormed off. It looked for all the world like he pretty much was disgusted with Rivers and wanted nothing to do with him. After the game, however, LT had this to say about the apparent rift: “I saw why it looked like that,” Tomlinson said. “But the crazy thing is that was the time I just got done talking to (Lorenzo Neal). I didn’t realize Philip had sat down.” He should run for office.

Then, with just 1:34 on the clock, Vinatieri lined up for a 29-yard chip shot field goal to complete the Colts comeback. Shockingly, he missed that one as well.

“I should make that kick every time,” Vinatieri said. “There are no good excuses. I just missed it.” Yeah, we saw…twice.

After holding the Chargers to three-and-out, Manning got the ball back with :22 seconds, but threw his sixth interception to seal the unlikely and very lucky Chargers victory, and Indy’s second straight loss.

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So what happened? Well, even with six Manning interceptions, the Chargers were able to score just one offensive touchdown and almost lost the game, were it not for a missed 2-point convert (which would have tied and given either team a chance), or either of two missed field goals by Vinatieri. At home.

This week, the Colts may still be without Harrison, but they are use to that now. The Chargers will be without Antonio Gates – something they are not use to at all. And the Colts are at home and well-rested. And Norv Turner is still coaching the Chargers. And Tony Dungy has rumors of his impending departure from the Colts swirling about, perhaps giving the team a little extra incentive to win more games for the man they have grown to love and respect.

Something about this looks for all the world to me like a big-time Indianapolis victory.

The Yardstick for this game is calling for a 10-point Colts victory, but I think it will more likely be around an absurd 21 point win; a wholesale slaughter. The only real intrigue, I suspect, will be watching to see LT explode on the sidelines. Hopefully, he and Turner will actually get into a hockey fight on the sidelines.

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05
Jan
08

Saturday Wild Card NFL Playoff Weather

The weather report for game time in Pittsburgh and in Seattle is almost the same report. The temperature at Heinz Field will be hovering somewhere just above freezing, while it should be a few degrees warmer in the Emerald City. Winds will be around 8-9 mph and it will be blowing SSW in both Wild Card games.

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According to meteorologists, there will be light rain showers for both games today, which should make for some interesting plays, especially on that thing they call a field in Pittsburgh.

The Yardsticks for today’s NFL Wild Card playoffs call for a slim Redskins road win and a field goal victory for the Jacksonville Jaguars.