Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Dennis Dixon: 2012 Year in Review and 2013 Fantasy Football Outlook

Former Oregon Ducks QB Dennis Dixon Joins the Philadelphia Eagles

With the former Oregon Ducks Quarterback Dennis Dixon joining the Philadelphia Eagles, it would seem that Michael Vick has some competition.  After being behind Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger and Charlie Batch and with Michael Vick’s lackluster performances during this past season, it is Dennis Dixon who might just take the job away from him — as Michael Vick took the job away from Kevin Kolb and Donovan McNabb.  But is everything as bright as it seems or is Dennis Dixon merely motivation or a stepping stone for a future franchise quarterback?  Time to check the numbers and see…

2012 Year in Review

With the Pittsburgh Steelers 2009 and 2010 season being the two applicable NFL bearings for Dennis Dixon, he has made a total of 34 of 58 attempts those past two seasons for an average of 58.6 percent and 399 passing yards.  He had an average quarterback rating of 70 which is mediocre.  On the bright side, he had 8 attempts rushing for 59 yards and an average of 7.4 yards per attempt.

While Dixon was an Oregon Duck in his 2007 season, he performed much better with a 161 quarterback rating with 2,129 passing yards, but then again, he was facing much lesser competition and age was still in his favor.

2013 Fantasy Football Outlook

This might be the season Dennis Dixon finally takes over the reigns as starting quarterback if he performs and exceeds Michael Vick in the training camp.  But this is a big might

It’s too early to tell, but given a chance, he should be capable of performing below Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and definitely below San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick.  If Dennis Dixon does start, he should place with a ceiling of QB2 at best and bench — and maybe waiver wire fodder — at worst.

Advertisements

NFL 2012-13 Season in Review: The ABCs of the NFL

Baltimore Ravens Joe Flacco After the Super Bowl Win Over the San Francisco 49ers

With the Baltimore Ravens winning Super Bowl XLVII over the San Francisco 49ers 34-31, the NFL season has offiically come to an end, and Ravens Joe Flacco and Ray Lewis finally got their rings.  With it, the 2012-13 season of the NFL brought in some interesting twists and turns as the free-agency system has finally matured and transformed the NFL into a season of instability and chaos.  The inclusion of the 2011 rookies also helped as they have created a NFL, a mixture of the old guard and the new.

  • A is for Andy Dalton. Cincinnati Bengals Andy Dalton may have the Donovan McNabb curse.  For the second time in the playoffs, he once again fell flat with the Houston Texans.
  • Y is for Young Guns.  Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck, Washington Redskins Robert Griffin III, Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson and San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick all changed their teams for the better.  At least for this season. They all have potential to become elite quarterbacks in their own right in the future.
  • A is for Adrian Peterson. Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has always been a a workhorse for the team like the St. Louis Rams Steven Jackson.  But this season he proved himself more than ever.
  • P is for Peyton Manning.  Even though he’s not with the Indianapolis Colts anymore, he is still an elite quarterback who makes something out of nothing.  While he’s with the Denver Broncos, he’s going to keep the team competitive, if not better.  He’s already taken advantage of Demaryius Thomas, Denver’s equivalent to Reggie Wayne.
  • R is for Rex Ryan. For the most part this season, he stayed out of the news this year. Surprisingly.  No more supposed Super Bowl parades, and the quarterback controversy between Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow was kept to a minimum.  However, there was some questionable choices during the mid-season involving his roster of injured quarterbacks.  
  • R is for Read-Option. With the Wildcat formation going the way of the Tim Tebow comes the resurrection of the read-option in the NFL.  This is not a long-term gimmick for the NFL as the Super Bowl showed, but it has served well this season.
  • E is for Elite. The New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers earned their spots in the playoffs. Again.  With both Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay and Tom Brady of New England, both quarterbacks are performing at a high standard.
  • S is for Second Tier. The Atlanta Falcons, the Baltimore Ravens, the Houston Texans, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Seattle Seahawks all earned their spots in the playoffs this season as well.  These teams don’t have elite quarterbacks, but they are excellent as a team. Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco did rise above when it counted against New England Patriots Tom Brady….
  • D is for Defense. Like in previous seasons, stout defenses win games when the games remain tight. The Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers have proven that.
  • F is for Fundamental. Those teams who planned ahead finally got their due — the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks.
  • A is for Andrew Luck.  Well, the Indianapolis Colts got their Andrew Luck, a quarterback that is decisively better in the long-term than Washington Redskins Robert Griffin III in my opinion.  However, he buckled under the Baltimore Ravens defense and rookie jitters.
  • R is for Robert Griffin III. Robert Griffin III has proven himself to be Washington Redskins’ franchise quarterback.  But with him participating in the Wild Card game against the Seattle Seahawks with an injured knee was a bad idea transformed into a worse idea.  
  • C is for Coaches. This was a dismal season to be an NFL coach. The firings of coaches from some teams, like the Cleveland Browns and the Kansas City Chiefs, was expected.   These teams don’t have a record of keeping coaches — and keeping their teams in competitive shape.
  • H is for Harbaugh. The Harbaugh brothers are remarkably intelligent, and neither of them particularly cater the media.
  • J is for Joe Flacco. Despite winning the Super Bowl, in my opinion, he is still a second-tier quarterback.  He is lucky to have a stiff defense helping him when he needs it most.

This season was indeed intriguing as the elite fell to some of the second-tier teams.  Now onto next season…

Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles: The End of an Era

Former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid gets handed a gameball in his last press conference as a head coach

It’s officially the end of an era for former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid with a devastating record of 4-12 for the 2012 regular season.   Eagles owner Jeff Lurie stood by his word as he bid Andy Reid farewell after an 8-8 record for the 2011 season.  For those fans clamoring that we should not have let Andy Reid go since he was the Eagles franchise most successful coach to date, the Eagles organization is still a business.  And if Jeff Lurie kept Andy Reid for another season as a coach or otherwise, Lurie would be made to be nothing more than a paper tiger at best and a pushover at worst.  In as much as some of us criticize Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder for being a pushover, Jeff Lurie would made to look much worse.

Former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens and quarterback Donovan McNabb

Andy Reid became head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles on January 11, 1999.  It was not without criticism upon arrival in Philadelphia after he was lured from the Green Bay Packers. In 2000, the Philadelphia Eagles reached the playoffs with a 11-5 regular season record.  In 2001, the chain of playoff wins came.  With quarterback Donovan McNabb, running back Brian Westbrook and safety Brian Dawkins coming to maturity, the Philadelphia Eagles was the team to beat in the NFC East with conference championships in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004.  In 2004, with the acquisition of wide receiver Terrell Owens, the Eagles were at this time the cream of the crop of the NFC East and decisively the NFL.  The Eagles made it to Super Bowl XXXIX but was ultimately defeated by Tom Brady and his New England Patriots 24-21.  Donovan McNabb simply cracked under pressure in this Super Bowl, and with the Eagles essentially without a functioning quarterback, the New England Patriots won.

Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jeff Garcia on the Sports Illustrated cover

After the stream of successes prior to 2004, the wheels of the truck began to fall off in 2005 as the disputes between Terrell Owens, Donovan McNabb and David Akers tore apart the team in the locker room. In 2005, the Eagles ended with a regular season record of 6-10.  In 2006, with the season-ending injury to Donovan McNabb in October, backup quarterback Jeff Garcia took over the reigns and nearly led the Eagles to another Super Bowl after defeating the Carolina Panthers, the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins. However, as Jeff Garcia led them closer and closer to the Super Bowl, Donovan McNabb came out of the woodwork and became disruptive from the sidelines in a sense.  This antagonism ultimately led to Jeff Garcia being released — and Donovan McNabb as well.

In 2008, the Eagles made their way to the NFC Championship game whereupon they lost to the Cardinals 32-25. The Eagles traded Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins in 2009, and after McNabb’s departure, then backup quarterback Michael Vick was named starting quarterback in 2010.  Vick’s most notable game as a Philadelphia Eagle was the decimation of Donovan McNabb and his  Washington Redskins on the night of November 15, 2010. On that night, Michael Vick was unleashed as he had four passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns with a passer rating of 150.7.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick after another loss

After Michael Vick’s spectacular run in 2010, the wheels began falling off the truck again.  Most teamis had developed a gameplan for Vick’s weaknesses and tendencies as the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys both built sufficient defense gameplan templates the season before.  The other teams in the NFL basically followed suit, adjusting their templates as needed.  And with Michael Vick not holding much better himself in the 2011 and 2012 regular seasons, the Philadelphia Eagles demise was gradual and climaxed in this regular season with compounding losses with ridiculous amount of turnovers.

Juan Castillo as Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator

With the loss of defensive coordinator Jim Johnson on July 28, 2009, the Philadelphia Eagles defense never was the same.  Sean McDermott took over, but he could never build the Eagles defense as Jim Johnson could.  Soon, even he was released to the Carolina Panthers on January 5, 2011.  And with the acquisition of Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie in the 2011 season, it seemed like a recipe for success.  Perhaps under the traditional defense of Jim Johnson.  With Juan Castillo and his implementation of the Wide-Nine defense, the defense collapsed unto itself as there were no leaders, only highly-paid players.

Andy Reid should be remembered for the successes he bought to the Philadelphia Eagles organization.  With few notable candidates currently to fill the void, 2012 Maxwell Coach of the Year Penn State’s Bill O’Brien seems to be the leading candidate.  Quite possibly, in my opinion, the former Chicago Bears Lovie Smith would be a potential option as well.  In either case, the options are not particularly tempting.  Reid went over his head with the promotion of Juan Castillo as a defensive coordinator, the firing of Sean McDermott and the wholesale acquisition of free agents. These are perhaps what did him in as a head coach.  Most likely, he will be acquired by the Arizona Cardinals as Ken Whisenhunt was recently fired.  A change of scenery will do him good.  Will it bring him as much success with the Philadelphia Eagles?  Perhaps, but I remain skeptical.

Philadelphia Eagles 2012: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (The Post-Turkey Edition)

It's About Time For Change. Definitely.

It’s About Time For Change. Definitely.

With the Philadelphia Eagles season pretty much officially drawn to a close after the horrendous 30-22 loss to the lowly Carolina Panthers, it’s time to take a honest look at the Eagles organization. Or the Turkeys organization. Seriously.

THE GOOD

  • Die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fans. You’ve got to give them props for still able to tough it out.  The few that still attend the games should be given a nod, if anything else.
  • Backup quarterback Nick Foles. We now know what he’s made of — and more of what he isn’t.
  • Backup running back Bryce Brown.  On the bright side, the Eagles finally know how to use running backs.  However, it took a losing season for them to recognize it.
  • Running back LeSean McCoy. He has demonstrated he is one of the stellar parts of this team.  Although he had fewer touchdowns to date than when he was a rookie, he was on pace to beat his yardage total.
  • Tight End Brent Celek. Brent Celek has been one of the stalwarts of the Eagles organization. Tough, classy, and  respectable.  He was on pace to exceed his yardage total over the previous seasons.

THE BAD

  • Backup quarterback Nick Foles. At this point, he’s not worth much in trade value after seeing what he’s capable of performing in the national spotlight.  At best, he’s no worse than Kevin Kolb; and at his worst, he’s no better than A.J. Feeley.
  • Quarterback Michael Vick. Even though he had a phenomenol 2010 season, it is no longer 2010.  The league has changed while Michael Vick hasn’t.  Michael Vick is no elite quarterback.  He does not have the intellectual prowess nor the pocket presence on the field as with New England Patriots’ Tom Brady or Denver Broncos’ Peyton Manning. He never did. And he never will.
  • Running back LeSean McCoy. Well, his touchdown production is worse than when he was a rookie.  In fact, he had only two touchdowns to date compared to four in his 2009 season.  And he doubled his fumbles since his 2009 season.
  • Tight End Brent Celek.  Well, like LeSean McCoy, his touchdown production this season matched his rookie season with only one.
  • The Defense as a Whole. By the numbers, the defense has only gotten slightly worse than the previous seasons. The Eagles defense currently ranks about middle of the pack, and it hasn’t changed much over the past few seasons with or without Sean McDermott.

THE UGLY

  • The Yankees The Eagles Ain’t. Andy Reid got a bit too ambitious perhaps and over his head these past few seasons.  He sought to buy talent like the New York Yankees, but that was not the prize-winning formula for the Eagles during their winning seasons.  Reid always found ways to find diamonds in the rough and transform them into generally great players.  Jeremiah Trotter was one example as he was a mess in the beginning but eventually became a four-time Pro Bowler.
  • Head Coach Andy Reid. He’s unable to energize the troops.  He’s unable to have decent play-calling. He’s an impotent coach.
  • Juan Castillo and His Wide-9 Defense. After Juan Castillo was let go, unfortunately, the defense improved very little.  The Wide-9 defense requires highly talented players at the end/corners who are consistent.  Unfortunately, the Eagles defense does not possess either in Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie or Nnamdi Asomugha.  One more point, the Eagles should return to 46 defense or the 4-3.
  • Turnovers. We can only wish these were the breakfast kind. The Eagles have one of the worst turnover ratios in the entire league this season.

With five games left, and potentially three or four more losses ahead, the regular football season is drawing to a close. With yet another potential loss to the Dallas Cowboys,  the charade of the Philadelphia Eagles may finally come to an end.

2012-13 NFL Season Preview for Fantasy Football: Chaos in Motion

With most of the fantasy football leagues already in tow with their drafts and the preseason games closed, it’s time to see how this season will fold.  Now onto my predictions for the NFL 2012-13 regular season:

  • Rookie Quarterbacks.  After the Wildcat, rookie quarterbacks are the new sensation in football.  With Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford and Cincinnati Bengals’ Andy Dalton both performing well, given their short tenure in the league, now it’s time for others to shine — and collapse under the burden of the NFL.  Washington RedskinsRobert Griffin III is a hot commodity to be sure, but you better count your eggs before your chickens in his case.  Otherwise, he might leave your basket half-empty.
  • Chaos, Chaos Everywhere.  With veterans already injured, like Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson, fantasy football players will be scrounging early and often.  Waiver wire will be the godsend and disaster for many, many people.  Whereas in earlier seasons, the waiver wire was fundamentally for backups and gamblers.  EVERYONE will be scrounging.
  • Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck vs. The World.  Andrew Luck has high expectations on his shoulder in the Indianapolis Colts locker room.  He has almost the same quality weapons that now Denver BroncosPeyton Manning has, but will he live up to expectations?  He should get close and surpass Robert Griffin III.  Anything beyond that, I won’t risk.
  • Denver Broncos‘ Peyton Manning vs. New York Giants’ Eli Manning.  The Mannings have already done their commercial work.  I don’t think Peyton Manning won’t be driving his Buicks through any goal posts this season.  He should do a better-than-average job as quarterback for the Broncos.  He should be capped as a low-end QB1/high-end QB2.  Eli Manning should be capped as a high-end QB2.  Both will average each other out.
  • Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick and Nick Foles: The Jeff Garcia Effect.  You know how history repeats itself.  The Eagles will repeat history again.  Vick will get injured, and Foles will indeed take the Eagles at or near the playoffs with his leadership and ability.  Once the Eagles get into the playoffs (or near it), Vick will miraculously return and take the reins.  However, the wheels will fall of the Eagles truck — once again.
  • New York Jets’ Tebow Wildcats and His Jesus-Voltron.  Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan created a combustible quarterback situation.  How long do you think Tim Tebow will take a backseat in the Wildcat formation?  Hmmm, not too long, I think.  Once Mark Sanchez fails even slightly, Sanchez will be pulled.  If Ryan doesn’t pull him, the angry New York fans will.  The clock is ticking…

This is a short taste of what’s to come during the NFL 2012-13 regular season of fantasy football in my honest and blunt opinion.

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.

Related articles

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…