2013-14 Philadelphia Eagles: Rebuilding for a Better Tomorrow

With the off-season already in tow and Chip Kelly as now the Philadelphia Eagles head coach, here’s my blueprint for the Philadelphia Eagles:

  • Quarterback Michael Vick. With San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick and Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson rising, it would seem that Michael Vick would be a logical choice to remain a quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.  But Vick is actually quite outdated compared to either of those. Vick is comparable to a old-school Corvette versus a modern Saleen S7 in Kaepernick and Wilson. As sleek as Vick may be, his engine would burn out long before he reached the finish line. Vick is outmatched and outdated in this new era of quarterbacks.
  • Quarterback Nick Foles. Nick Foles is no Jeff Garcia nor will he ever be.  Nick Foles has slight potential, but he lacks an upside. Foles is far too predictable.  I would gladly barter both Michael Vick and Nick Foles for San Francisco 49ers Alex Smith, even as a backup.  Smith is an intellectual quarterback, but he lacks mobility.  Still though, he would be a good option for the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • Return to 4-3 and Contain Defenses. The Eagles used to be the best at containing the quarterbacks under Jim Johnson, and the Eagles should return to the 4-3.  What the Eagles had in talent in 2012-13 they lacked in mentality and preparation. With Robert Griffin III and his Washington Redskins in their division, the Eagles defense must adjust properly.
  • Running Back LeSean McCoy. He’s one the few bright spots of the Eagles organization.  Talent and skill-wise, he’s been better than Brian Westbrook.  He should be kept.
  • Tight End Brent Celek. He’s another of the few bright spots of the Eagles organization.  He should be kept.
  • Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson. His free lunch with Andy Reid is officially over — and should have been over a while back.  If Coach Kelly wants him to play as kick returner, he plays kick returner.  If he wants him to play cornerback or safety, he plays cornerback or safety.  Otherwise, he gets traded and exchanged for someone more than willing to play, like soon-to-be free agent Green Bay Packers Greg Jennings.
  • CEO Jeff Lurie. Well, he should keep his reins on Chip Kelly.  At least for now.
  • Head Coach Chip Kelly. Chip Kelly must instill discipline of the Eagles team from the start.  However, he seems like a pushover which does not seem to bode well.  Kelly could play favorites like Reid did, and the house of cards will again crumble.

21st Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly: The Deconstruction of the Off-Season

With the hiring of Chip Kelly, the former University of Oregon Ducks and a brilliant mind for college offensive schemes, as the 21st Philadelphia Eagles head coach, he has his work cut out for him. Not only will he be in one of the toughest sports environments as fans can easily bastardize him one moment and praise him the next, he will have to rescue a flogging offense, a porous defense and two quarterbacks reeking of mediocrity. The pistol and read-option offenses have come to a smashing success this season, and the Philadelphia Eagles and the rest of the league will adapt defensively — and change their offensive gameplans accordingly during the off-season. So before everyone in Philadelphia decides to burn the man at the stake before he even has the first opportunity to make a decision of any consequence…

With all this in mind, Chip Kelly has made a good impression — at least with the media.  He has that so-called “winning” personality — smiling, boisterous, catering to the media and knows exactly what to say in a soundbite. In reality, he has established himself as nothing more than Jeff Lurie‘s overpaid $32.5 million lapdog already — to be brutally honest.

Chip Kelly will hopefully remove some of the malignant parts of the Philadelphia Eagles in his attempt to please everyone.  With him already baiting Michael Vick, however, it is not good.  Michael Vick is an outdated and fragile (physically) player even in the new read-option offense.  Vick couldn’t survive another season of punishment.

All in all, Chip Kelly is one interesting choice.  Not one that I would have made, but then again, I am not Jeff Lurie.  I think that Jeff Lurie believes Chip Kelly can produce him the success of Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, and he possibly might.  However, I would have personally opted for former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley or San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman myself.  I would have preferred Greg Roman myself for an offensive-minded coach, but he probably couldn’t endure the Philadelphia frenzy.

I am not so quick to crucify him.  Not just yet.

New York Giants vs. New England Patriots: Super Bowl XLVI Post-Game Analysis

After the singing of the national anthem by Kelly Clarkson, it’s time for the Super Bowl.  It’s a rematch of of Super Bowl XLII in which the New York Giants performed the 2007-2008 playoff run and ultimately a Super Bowl championship with a 17-14 win.  With New England Patriots Tom Brady third in quarterback rating in the playoffs with 105.8,  New York Giants Eli Manning is not far behind with 103.1.  On the Giants offense, the tandem running backs of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs are presently second and fifth in the postseason in terms of running yardage, and their wide receiver corps of  Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are ranked first and fifth.   With the offense as hot as it is, the Giants look like the team to beat, but the Patriots Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick are fired up and out for revenge and blood.

Now to the post-game analysis:

  • After a decent drive established by Giants Eli Manning via rushing of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, Eli Manning got sacked twice during the series by Patriots defensive ends Mark Anderson and Brandon Deadrick.
  • After an  intentional grounding call on Patriots Tom Brady in the end zone, the Giants get a safety to bring the score 2-0 with 9:00 in the first quarter.  The pressure from Giants defensive end Justin Tuck forced the call.
  • Sticking with the run by Ahmad Bradshaw, Eli Manning threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz for a Giants touchdown to bring the score 9-0 with 3:29 in the first quarter.
  • After a 17 and 19-yard pass to Patriots wideout Wes Welker, Tom Brady’s drive stalled, and their kicker Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 29-yard field goal with 13:52 in the second quarter.
  • After defenses contested each other for most of the second quarter, Patriots Tom Brady threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Danny Woodhead to bring the score to 10-9 Patriots with 15 seconds left until halftime.
  • The Madonna halftime show was incredibly average, but then again, this is Roger Goodell’s iron-fisted NFL.  Madonna has matured and become incredibly outdated and boring.
  • Led by a 21-yard pass to his wideout Chad Ochocinco and a 17-yard run by BenJarvus Green-Ellis, tight end Aaron Hernandez 12-yard touchdown reception brings the score 17-9 Patriots with 11:25 in  the third quarter.
  • With the Giants drive stalled at the Patriots 20-yard line, Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes kicked a field goal to make the score 17-12 Patriots with 6:47 in the third.
  • After steadily moving down the field with Brandon Jacobs, Bear Pascoe and Hakeem Nicks, the Giants drive stalled at the Patriots 9-yard line, and Lawrence Tynes kicked a 33-yard field goal to bring the score 17-15 Patriots with 4o seconds left in the third quarter.
  • After defenses contesting each other throughout much of the fourth quarter, with the New York Giants burning two timeouts and the drive led by Mario Manningham, running back Ahmad Bradshaw ran for a 6-yard touchdown to bring the score 21-17 Giants with 1:04 in the last quarter.

The first half was unusually subdued as both offenses could not gain any sort of rhythm.   However, it was the New England Patriots looked out of sync on both sides of the ball in the first half.  The safety from the end zone was perhaps the most pronounced mistake of the Patriots.  The first half of this Super Bowl mirrored the rematch of Super Bowl XLII — again, slow and low-scoring.

Unfortunately, the second half was much the same.  Both offenses were methodical as they moved down the field without any demonstration of their offensive firepower.  Both the Patriots and Giants had a few spurts of offense, but nothing of any significance until the last couple of minutes. It became a matter of tactics on both sides.  With Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s blessing, Giants Ahmad Bradshaw was allowed a free run for a touchdown with a minute left. Stunningly, the New England Patriots Tom Brady and his wide receivers faltered when it mattered most.

If you were watching this Super Bowl, you possibly burned through a lot of pizza, pretzels, chips and beer for your guests and yourself as slow as this game went generally.  It was like two trains in a wreck Matrix-style without Morpheus and the Twins on the roof…that is, until the last two minutes of the game.  The New York Giants won the game 21-17, overcoming Tom Brady and his New England Patriots once again.

Pro Bowl 2012: Reeling the Regulations and Needed Changes

With the Pro Bowl 2012 over, the Pro Bowl in of itself needs several changes.  Although I realize that the NFL does not want any of the players hurt, it does not mean they should play glorified flag football for the fans.  The fans paid hard money in this depressing economy, and they deserve the players to actually show up for the game.  Unfortunately, the NFL players got most of the fans’ hard earned money for this charade of a game.

Here’s my list of approved changes to the Pro Bowl in 2013:

  • Make tackling relevant.  The NFL All-Stars on defense showed up for a reason — to tackle.  Illegal tackling, such as horse-collar tackles and spearing, should be avoided, but everything else should be legal.
  • Tight End Formation. Having a tight end on each down is good, but the tight ends should participate more as blockers and tacklers like they do during the regular season.
  • Needs More Twists.  Seriously, the linebackers need to allow to twist.
  • Needs More Gadget Plays.  As gimmicky as this sounds, the NFC and the AFC for the 2012 Pro Bowl did this well.  At least, the  coaches were allowed to reinvent the wheel and experiment.  Hopefully, this opens up more varied tactics during the upcoming regular season.
  • Running Backs Need to Rush More. As inclined as say the New England Patriots Tom Brady and New Orleans Saints Drew Brees might be to pass instead, running backs need to be on display again.  They barely showed up in the first half of the 2012 Pro Bowl.
  • Needs More Touchdown Celebrations.  The referees should withhold their excessive celebration flags and allow the players to use props and celebrate however way they like when they score a touchdown.
  • Cornerbacks and Safeties Should Play Hard on Coverage.  They should be permitted to close down the breathing room of wide receivers like they do during the regular season.
  • Overload Blitzes Should be Permitted. C’mon, dude.  The defense should allow overload blitzes more often to sack the quarterback.  With the quarterbacks this elite in the Pro Bowl, they should be permitted to manhandle the offensive line like they do during the regular season.

These are my suggestions for the next Pro Bowl.  With that, it might make the game more exciting to watch.  Although high offensive scoring might appease some of the crowd, it does not appeal to fans who actually watch football instead of being an armchair quarterback.

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2012 Pro Bowl Post-Game Analysis

After an interesting emo-pop presentation by Hot Chelle Rae, it’s the NFC’s best against the AFC’s best this season at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Super Bowl lies a week away, but for now, we have got NFL football players playing some glorified backyard flag football.  It’s mildly entertaining, but it’s no Super Bowl.  (With the Pro Bowl scoreboard at http://www.nfl.com seemingly hacked or bugged, it is definitely not the Super Bowl.)

Now to the post-game analysis:

  • After San Francisco 49ers David Akers kicked the ball, Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger‘s drive went into a quick three-and-out for the AFC.
  • With Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers at the NFC’s helm, after passes to Atlanta Falcons Tony Gonzalez and Green Bay Packers Greg Jennings, Arizona Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald scores off a 10-yard reception to bring the score to 7-0 with 9:20 in the first quarter.
  • After an onside kick by David Akers and recovered by Chicago Bears Charles Tillman at the AFC 44-yard line, Aaron Rodgers threw a 44-yard pass to Larry Fitzgerald for yet another touchdown to bring the score to 14-0 with 9:14 in the first quarter.  A trick play paid off big for the NFC!
  • After an entertaining series of events involving an interception by Green Bay Packers Clay Matthews and lateral to Chicago Bears Charles Tillman, Ben Roethlisberger launched the ball to Cincinnati Bengals A.J. Green for a 34-yard AFC touchdown to bring the score 14-7 with 7:01 in the first quarter.
  • After a fumble by Philadelphia Eagles LeSean McCoy, Ben Roethlisberger launched the football to Miami Dolphins Brandon Marshall for a 75-yard touchdown reception to tie the game.
  • After a batted-ball recovery by Aaron Rodgers, the NFC drive stalled in the closing minutes of the first quarter.
  • With New Orleans Saints Drew Brees in for the NFC in the second quarter, Brees steadily made it down the field with Larry Fitzgerald and Tony Gonzalez.  Brees capped off the drive with a 1-yard pass to New Orleans Saints Jimmy Graham with 9:47 in the second quarter.
  • On the other side, San Diego Chargers Philip Rivers made it down the field with passes to San Diego Chargers Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates.  He capped off this drive with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall to tie the game 21-21.
  • After a drive led by several passes to Jimmy Graham, Saints Drew Brees threw a 11-yard touchdown pass to Green Bay Packers Greg Jennings to bring the NFC up 28-21 with 5:22 in the second quarter.
  • AFC’s Philip Rivers answered quickly with passes to San Diego Chargers Vincent Jackson and ultimately finished the drive with a 27-yard touchdown to Antonio Gates with no time left.
  • After the interception of Carolina Panthers Cam Newton, Cincinnati Bengals Andy Dalton steadily moved down the field, but the drive stalled at NFC’s 19-yard line.  Oakland Raiders Sebastian Ganikowski booted a 37-yard field to bring the score 31-28 AFC with 12:23 in the third.
  • With 12:09 in the third quarter, Cam Newton threw a 55-yard touchdown reception to Carolina Panthers Steve Smith to bring the score 35-31 NFC. Cam Newton certainly has the physical assets of a great quarterback for that pass.
  • After another onside kick by David Akers, an interception by Houston Texans Johnathan Joseph and his 26-yard return, Jacksonville Jaguars Maurice Jones-Drew 39-yard rush, the drive ultimately stalled, and NFC is forced to punt.
  • In a split second, Cincinnati Bengals Andy Dalton threw a  47-yard touchdown reception to Brandon Marshall with 3:53 in the third quarter to bring the AFC up 38-35. Marshall had an amazing  juggle catch as he tumbled onto the ground.
  • After the 36-yard return by Pittsburgh Steelers Antonio Brown off the kickoff, Baltimore Ravens fullback Vonta Leach rushed for 1-yard touchdown rush to bring the score 45-35 AFC with 11:40 in the last quarter.
  • Cincinnati Bengals Andy Dalton threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall to bring the AFC up 52-35 with 8:25 left in the game.
  • Denver Broncos Von Miller gets an 8-yard sack on Cam Newton and the first and only in the game with 8:25 in the fourth.   Cam Newton gets his second sack by Von Miller with 6:16 left in the game.
  • NFC’s Cam Newton was intercepted by San Diego Chargers Eric Wheddle with a 29-yard return who lateraled to Kansas City Derek Johnson for a 60-yard touchdown run to bring the score of the AFC up 59-35.
  • Newton’s redemption came in a 36-yard touchdown reception to Larry Fitzgerald to bring the score 59-41 AFC with 2:37 in the last quarter.
  • Saints Drew Brees drop-kick field goal is no good with 2:37 left.

The first half was a match of offenses trading blows through the air.  Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger could not find any rhythm, but Philip Rivers did.  New Orleans Saints Drew Brees played like he usually does and performed well with a 144.3 quarterback rating, only above Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers with 140.1 in the Pro Bowl. All of the running backs on either the NFC or AFC side ran very little.

In the second half, the defenses for the NFC and AFC became more relaxed and began playing hard.  Cam Newton certainly began feeling the pressure as he had two sacks by Von Miller and an interception return for a touchdown by Eric Wheddle and Derek Johnson.  To release the pressure, both teams began rushing from running backs and fullbacks.

In this Pro Bowl game, AFC’s Cincinnati Bengal Andy Dalton was the best performing quarterback with a 152.5 quarterback rating with New Orleans Saints Drew Brees as second-best with his 144.3 rating.  The best running back performer was Jacksonville Jaguars Maurice Jones-Drew, and lastly, the best wide receiver of this Pro Bowl was Miami Dolphins Brandon Marshall with his 177 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns.  His four touchdowns broke a Pro Bowl record, and Marshall rightfully deserved the Pro Bowl MVP award.  On the NFC side, Carolina Panthers Cam Newton performed miserably with a 44.8 quarterback rating with 193 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in a Pro Bowl game nonetheless which means he won’t be getting any MVP awards.

This game was won easily by the AFC 59-41, and this game is the highest scoring Pro Bowl game, not that it means much in light of the regulations.  After this charade of a game, the Super Bowl will be coming with the New York Giants and the New England Patriots meeting at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.  This will be a Super Bowl rematch with Giants Eli Manning facing the Patriots Tom Brady, and the game should be more entertaining than this Pro Bowl game. Get the pizza, beer and chips ready!

Out with the Old, In with the New: The Indianapolis Colts, Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck

With the firing of Jim Caldwell and the change in staff, Indianapolis Colts (former?) quarterback Peyton Manning is feeling the heat.  He had to undergo rehabilitation during the 2011 season, and with his departure from that season, the Colts fell to 2-14, and Matt Schaub and his Houston Texans clinched the division with a 10-6 record in the AFC South without the usual pressure of Peyton Manning and his Indianapolis Colts.  The Houston Texans, however, could not take advantage of Manning’s departure.  They decimated the Cincinnati Bengals 31-10 in the wild card playoffs, but the Baltimore Ravens posed a problem or two for Matt Schaub and his Houston Texans.  The Ravens defense ultimately won at the end of the day with a 20-13 win over the Texans.

This was the season of quarterbacks as several quarterbacks broke records in the regular and post-season.  New Orleans Saints Drew Brees, New England Patriots Tom Brady and Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford all three over 5,000 yards with the Super Bowl-bound New York Giants Eli Manning coming in close with 4,933 during the 2011 regular season.  If Peyton Manning was in the lineup  with the Indianapolis Colts, he could have kept up.  However, he was sidelined with rehabilitation for his neck.  Now he gets to watch his brother Eli perform against one of his rivals, Patriots Tom Brady, in a rematch of Super Bowl XLII.  The Giants no longer have David Tyree, but they have a talented corps of wide receivers from Victor Cruz, Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks.

When the Super Bowl comes to a close, Peyton Manning will have to contend with owner Jim Irsay about his contract.  From the initial whispers about potential draftee Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning realized that his future with the Indianapolis Colts would seemingly be coming to a close.  During his last two seasons as a Stanford Cardinal, Andrew Luck threw over 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns or more.  Luck certainly has the mental capacity and physical assets to be a great quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts.  However, the question remains: is he good enough to replace veteran Peyton Manning?  As close as Andrew Luck has been with Peyton, I am certainly not too quick to endorse him quite yet.  Cincinnati Bengals Andy Dalton proved that a rookie quarterback can take a team to the playoffs, but it also showed the failure of a rookie in the playoffs.  The tension of the game and the increased defensive pressure can certainly take its toll on a young rookie.

In my opinion, it would be a shame to let Peyton Manning go for the Colts sake. Manning is an elite-caliber quarterback even with his neck injury.  The Arizona Cardinals or the Seattle Seahawks both would want a quarterback of his caliber to lead them, but for now, it’s dependent on the next move of Jim Irsay, and Irsay won’t trade his prize horse, no matter how injured, so quickly without compensation.

New York Giants vs. San Francisco 49ers: NFC Championship Playoff Post-Game Analysis

This NFC Championship game between the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park should be determined by their defenses.  However, we have the Giants second-ranked quarterback in rating in the post-season, Eli Manning, with 121.8 against the San Francisco 49ers fourth-ranked Alex Smith 103.2.  On the Giants red-hot defense, defensive end Osi Umeniyora and linebacker Michael Boley have five sacks combined in the post-season.  However, Eli Manning is facing the fourth-ranked defense overall during the regular season.  Who will win out in the end?  Will 49ers tight end Vernon Davis pull Alex Smith out of the fire and into Indianapolis for the Super Bowl?  Or will the Giants talented wide receiver corps overpower the 49ers defense?  Super Bowl or bust…

Now to the post-game analysis:

  • With a 73-yard touchdown reception by 49ers tight end Vernon Davis from quarterback Alex Smith, the San Francisco 49ers put the first touchdown on the board with 7:21 in the first quarter.  Smith’s clutch tight end performed his magic again. Simply amazing catch and run!
  • On 4th and 1, New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs was stuffed on the 49ers 34-yard line.  The 49ers defense proved their mettle against the run.
  • After a 36-yard pass to wide receiver Victor Cruz, the Giants finally score a touchdown to tie the game with a 6-yard pass to tight end Bear Pascoe with 11:21 in the second quarter.
  • After several receptions by wideout Victor Cruz, Lawrence Tynes booted an easy 31-yard field goal with 5 seconds until halftime.  The Giants take the lead 10-7.
  • After a 24-yard reception by running back Frank Gore, 49ers Alex Smith threw a beautiful 28-yard touchdown reception to his tight end Vernon Davis to bring the score 14-10 with 5:26 left in the third.
  • After a Frank Gore 10-yard rush and an unnecessary roughness 15-yard penalty by Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty, the 49ers drive stalled on the Giants 46 yard line as 49ers running back Anthony Dixon could not break the first-down line on a 3rd and 1.
  • After a loose punt hit wide receiver Kyle Williams, New York Giants wide receiver Devin Thomas recovered the football on the 49ers 29-yard line. With this turnover, Eli Manning threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Mario Manningham to a Giants three-point lead of 17-14 with 8:41 left in the game.
  • After a 17-yard rush by Alex Smith and a 18-yard rush by running back Kendall Hunter, 49ers kicker David Akers boots a 25-yard field goal to tie the game 17-17 with 5:43 in the fourth quarter.
  • In overtime, 49ers wide receiver Kyle Williams fumbled on a kickoff with Devin Thomas recovering the ball on 49ers 24-yard line with 9:42 left.  Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes kicked the 31-yard field goal with 7:10 in OT.

The first half was a battle of defenses, as expected.  Although the Giants defense broke down initially with the 72-yard touchdown reception by 49ers tight end Vernon Davis,  the Giants defense clenched down afterward.  On the other side of the ball, however, San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVarro Bowman was in Eli Manning’s grill constantly and a factor in almost every 49ers defensive play. Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz made his impact felt as he had 125 receiving yards into the half.

The second half was one of receivers and defenses once again.  For the New York Giants, wide receiver Victor Cruz made his mark, and for the San Francisco 49ers, tight end Vernon Davis made his impact once again.  The New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers defenses were stalwart when it counted.  In this half, 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith was consistently in Eli Manning’s grill.

This game was not quite as action-packed as when New England Patriots Tom Brady was against the Baltimore Ravens or the Denver Broncos.  However, Brady and his Patriots are going into the Super Bowl to face Eli Manning and his  New York Giants.  This is going to be one of the better Super Bowls as Brady’s offense will have overcome this red-hot Giants defense.  Patriots Tom Brady avoided Peyton Manning this season, but he got his younger brother instead — again.  A rematch of Super Bowl XLII from 2008 coming soon to a television near you…

Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots: AFC Championship Playoff Post-Game Analysis

After the snow that cruised through the Northeast yesterday, New England Patriots Gillette Stadium finally got cleared as they host the Baltimore Ravens.  The Baltimore Ravens defense has their work cut for them as they are facing the first-ranked post-season quarterback in rating with 137.6, New England Patriots Tom Brady. Can the third-ranked Ravens defense during the regular season stem the second-ranked offensive juggernaut?  Can we have a post-drug-filled rock star in Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler not sing the national anthem in a post-season game?

Now to the post-game analysis:

  • With receptions to his wideout Julian Edelman, establishing the run with running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis and an unfortunate penalty for the Baltimore Ravens, Tom Brady’s drive stalled on the Ravens 11-yard line, and kicker Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 29-yard field goal to bring the score 3-0 at 5:52 in the first quarter.
  • After an interception of Tom Brady by Ravens cornerback Ladarius Webb and a hearty 40-yard pass to his wideout Torrey Smith, Joe Flacco‘s drive stalled on the Patriots 3-yard line.  Their kicker Billy Cundiff booted an easy 2o-yard field goal to tie the game 3-3 with 14:23 in the second quarter.
  • After a 20-yard pass to his tight end Rob Gronkowski and a facemask penalty on the Baltimore Ravens, BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran in for a 7-yard touchdown to bring the score 10-3 with 10:40 in the second quarter.
  • After a 20-yard pass to Lee Evans and a 37-yard pass to Anquan Boldin, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco established rhythm against the Patriots defense and threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to his tight end Dennis Pitta to tie the score 10-10 with 6:11 until halftime.
  • With yet another drive stalled for the New England Patriots, Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 35-yard field goal to bring the score 13-10 with 3:04 left in the second quarter.
  • Continuing the same theme from the second quarter and much of the game, Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 24-yard field goal to bring the score 16-10 with 9:09 in the third quarter.
  • With a quick 29-yard touchdown reception from wideout Torrey Smith, the Baltimore Ravens took a one-point lead 17-16 with 3:48 in the third.
  • With a fumble by running back Danny Woodhead on a run-back from the Ravens kickoff that is recovered on the Patriots 28-yard line, kicker Billy Cundiff kicked a 39-yard field goal to bring the score 20-16 with 55 seconds left in the third quarter.
  • After a slow and steady drive to the Baltimore 1/2-yard line, Tom Brady finally got into the endzone with a rushing touchdown to bring the score 23-20 with 11:33 in the last quarter.
  • With the interception by linebacker Brandon Spikes and a 19-yard return and tip-interception to Ravens rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith in the endzone, these two interceptions were a show of defenses with eight minutes left in the game.
  • With a 4th and 6 at the Patriots 33-yard line, Patriots nosetackle Vince Wilfork snagged Joe Flacco and forced him to throw the ball away with 2:53 left in the game.  What a gamechanger!
  • With the clock ticking away and Joe Flacco at the helm, the drive led by the 29-yard reception by Anquan Boldin stalled at the New England’s 14-yard line, and surprisingly, Billy Cundiff missed the 32-yard field goal with 15 seconds left in the game.

With the first half in tow, the Baltimore Ravens were seemingly ready for New England Patriots Tom Brady had an interception.  Baltimore Ravens Joe Flacco demonstrated that he can throw against the porous Patriots defense and keep up with Tom Brady.  It was a great first half as both teams traded blows without letting up. Surprisingly though, Joe Flacco outperformed Tom Brady as Flacco had a 122.4 quarterback versus Brady’s 58.7 into the half.  The Patriots had the lead 13-10 at halftime, but the Patriots could not dominate the Ravens like they did with the Denver Broncos previously.

The stiff Baltimore Ravens defense imposing itself on New England Patriots potent quarterback Tom Brady and their offense in the second half.  Despite the tide turning in the Ravens favor several times, the New England Patriots kept it close, and the defense clinched down when it counted most with 2:53 left in the game on Ravens 4th and 6 on their 33-yard line.  Tom Brady and his New England Patriots squeaked this one out past the Baltimore Ravens 23-20.  However, Brady’s difficulties with the Ravens defense won’t go any easier with the San Francisco 49ers or the New York Giants.

The next game is already up as the New York Giants face the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC Championship game.  Tom Brady will have will the Super Bowl win past either defense in Indianapolis.  With 49ers quarterback Alex Smith and his clutch tight end Vernon Davis on one end and the Giants quarterback Eli Manning and his talented wide reciever corps on the other, this upcoming Super Bowl will be one to watch.

AFC Divisional Playoffs: Top 10 Things We Learned

With the New England Patriots squashing the Tim Tebow miracle out of the Denver Broncos with their 45-10 rout, Tom Brady and his Patriots accomplished in destroying the Broncos morale in the postseason. Denver Broncos coach John Fox was simply out-coached. The Houston Texans and the Baltimore Ravens fought each other tooth-and-nail, but the Baltimore Ravens defense stepped up when it counted to win 20-13. Now the Patriots will host the Ravens in the AFC Championship game, and this Ravens defense will be put to their ultimate test against the offensive firepower of Tom Brady at Gillette Stadium nonetheless. It doesn’t look pretty for the Baltimore Ravens, but there’s a glimmer a hope.  If the 49ers can topple the offensive powerhouse of the New Orleans Saints, anything can happen.

Now to the top 10 list of the things we learned in the AFC Divisional playoffs:

  1. New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady is a Beast.  With six touchdowns against the Denver Broncos, he broke a previous postseason record, and he came out a 136.1 quarterback rating on that game.
  2. Denver Broncos Tim Tebow Was Out of His Element.  With the Denver Broncos going to the Patriots home, Gillette Stadium, you knew from the outset that it was going to be bad. How bad…how about 136 yards, no touchdowns and a pitiful 55.7 quarterback rating bad.
  3. Denver Broncos Head Coach John Fox Was Outfoxed. Continuing from the previous, facing Patriots head coach Bill Belichick alongside  the offensive coordinator-in-training Josh McDaniels, Denver Broncos head coach John Fox had too many chess pieces to contend with, no matter how prepared he was or how much he thought of Tim Tebow.
  4. Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens Are Fumble-Prone. Given that the Houston Texans and the Baltimore Ravens both had three fumbles each, I would say ball security should be a focus in the postseason.
  5. Houston Texans Quarterback T.J. Yates Needs Some Work…A Lot of Work.  Replacing Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart was difficult enough, but dealing with the Ravens defense was beyond this rookie quarterback.  Ending the day with 184 yards, 3 interceptions and a pitiful 28.8 quarterback rating won’t earn him a bonus this next season.
  6. Houston Texans Running Back Arian Foster is a Beast. Considering he dealt with the third-ranked defense overall during the regular season, he produced well with 132 yards rushing and a touchdown.
  7. Baltimore Ravens Quarterback Joe Flacco Will Never Be Elite. Although he’s been at the helm of the playoff-driven Baltimore Ravens over the past four seasons, he has never developed into an elite quarterback.  Considering he had 176 passing yards and 2 touchdowns, he’ll never reach the elite status of either Tom Brady or Drew Brees.
  8. New England Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez is Versatile.  Considering he produced 61 yards on the ground and 55 yards and a touchdown through the air, Aaron Hernandez is definitely the iron-man of the New England Patriots.  His 61 yards surpassed both BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead with their 28 and 25 rushing yards in their game against the Denver Broncos.
  9.  New England Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski is a Beast.  With his 145 receiving yards, he has shown he is one of the better tight ends in the league, if not one of the best.
  10. Defense Wins Games.  Again, like with the NFC Divisional playoffs, it’s the defense that ultimately wins games.  The Ravens capitalized on turnovers when it counted.

NFC Divisional Playoffs: Top 10 Things We Learned

After the New York Giants impressive 37-20 win over the Green Bay Packers and the stunning 36-32 win by the San Francisco 49ers over the explosive offense of the New Orleans Saints, the NFC Divisional playoffs was where it was at.  The New York Giants are going to face the San Francisco 49ers at the NFC Championship game at Candlestick Park.  It will be a battle of defenses as the Giants are simply red-hot and the 49ers are simply consistent.  Both Tom Coughlin and Jim Harbaugh are conservative-minded coaches, and this next game will quite possibly be decided in the trenches.

Enough about that…now to the top 10 things that we learned:

  1. San Francisco 49ers Tight End Vernon Davis is Clutch.  He caught the touchdown passes from his quarterback Alex Smith when the team needed it the most.
  2. New Orleans Saints Drew Brees is Still Awesome (Despite the Loss). Let’s see…462 passing yards, 4 touchdowns and a 93.5 quarterback rating is impressive in their playoff game against the 49ers.
  3. New York Giants Eli Manning is Awesome.  He ended the game with 330 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, an interception and an impressive 114.5 quarterback rating.
  4. Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is One Dangerous Running Threat.  Even against the Giants defense,  he accumulated 66 yards on the ground.  In fact, he more than the Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw with 63 rushing yards.
  5. San Francisco Giants 49ers Running Back Frank Gore is a Beast. His 89 rushing yards marks him currently as fourth in the postseason.
  6. New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Marques Colston is a Beast.  He ended the postseason as second in receiving yards with 256.  He is one dangerous wide receiver.
  7. San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Alex Smith is Impressive.  He had 299 passing yards, 3 touchdowns and a 103.2 quarterback rating in the game against the New Orleans Saints.
  8. Slow and Steady Wins the Game. Conservative-minded coaches in Giants Tom Coughlin and San Francisco 49ers Jim Harbaugh ultimately won with their slow-and-steady gameplay.
  9. Top-Ranked Offenses Count for Nothing. Despite having the New Orleans first-ranked offense and Green Bay Packers third-ranked offense during the regular season, they tanked when it counted.  Not good at all.
  10. Defense Wins Games. Despite all these broken offensive records in the postseason, the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants defense stepped up when it counted.  It’s all a matter of timing…