By: Joe Quinn
Although I'm typically not one to brag, I have to make sure I point out that Ken and I had went 3-1 with out picks for the games over the weekend, while Jimmy B finished 2-2.
I do feel bad that Ken's Broncos went down, but playing teams with retiring superstars can do that to you. Plus, now we get the "Flacco Fling" to put alongside the "Hail Mary" and the "Immaculate Reception" as some of the greatest pass plays of all time. A second-by-second look at the play, from the NYTimes:
Some thoughts on this weekend's games:
The Patriots just keep on rolling...
Shane Vereen...where has this cat been? Photo Credit: Getty Images
It may have seemed like a tough start for the Pats - give up a 90+ yard kickoff return to open the game, then lose Gronkowski to a broken arm (again), and Danny Woodhead to a thumb.
But, no need to panic, this is New England after all. Enter Shane Vereen. Three TD's and 124 all purpose yards later, Patriots fans are saying, "Rob who??"
The weapons this team has are just incredible...it sort of makes you wonder who else is wandering around on their sidelines waiting to score multiple TD's.
Welker was fantastic, despite several drops in the first half, Aaron Hernandez is every bit the TE that Gronk is (although the two are lethal in the game together), and Vereen looks like Welker 2.0 to me - fast, elusive, and can play out of the slot, wide, or out of the backfield.
Plus, there's that Brady guy under center that's not too shabby in the postseason.
The biggest thing I took away from the Pats game - the New England defense is much better than in years past. Between Hightower's power bomb, and Ninkovich being too much for the Texans to handle, it was quite a showing.
It's New England's best offense...probably ever...this season, and a top two defense. Brady and company look to have the Lombardi Trophy clearly in the crosshairs again.
I don't think anyone can dispute the performance of the QB's this weekend. Matty Ice finally got his postseason win, Tom Brady cemented himself as one of, if not the greatest postseason QB of all time, and rookie Colin Kaepernick took a big step into the spotlight.
Just for fun, take a look at the following stat lines, and see if you can guess which QB from this past weekend belongs to which career postseason stat line... (answers below)
1. 17-6, 41 TD, 20 INT (should be pretty easy...)
2. 7-4, 13 TD, 8 INT
3. 1-3, 6 TD, 6 INT
4. 1-0, 2 TD, 1 INT (and 181 rushing yds with 2 rush TD...)
5. 9-11, 32 TD, 21 INT
6. 5-3, 18 TD, 5 INT
7. 1-1, 3 TD, 1 INT
8. 1-1, 2 TD, 2 INT
Down go the Broncos
Is anyone really that shocked (outside of Jim Brinson). The Ravens are team playing with house money which makes them extremely dangerous, and with all the karma right now - see: Ray Lewis retirement party.
Manning didn't have an awful game, but I'll bet he sure wishes he had that INT back. In a game where defense was supposed to be king, it was the offenses that ended up putting on a show.
As good as Manning has been throughout his career, the postseason has never been his brightest time. Remember, little brother Eli has more rings than Peyton. I'll also contend I'd rather have the other QB in this game in the playoffs...
The Case for Flacco
The answers of the little QB quiz from earlier:
1. Tom Brady
2. Joe Flacco
3. Matt Ryan
4. Colin Kaepernick
5. Peyton Manning
6. Aaron Rogers
7. Russel Wilson
8. Matt Schaub
Based on those numbers, maybe we shouldn't be as hard on Flacco - he's made the postseason each year in his five year career, and hasn't been bad.
Dig a little deeper, and its even more impressive - the past two seasons, Flacco has thrown for at least 2 TD in each of his postseason games, with just one total INT.
Flacco's overall rating is just under 80.0, but is hampered by some real clunkers early in his career. The past three postseasons, Flacco's average rating is over 100 (101.8), and the past two its even higher (108.6).
A look at the three year average for another player, last name Brady, shows his average rating to be 98.0, with a two year average of 100.3.
Although QB rating is certainly not the only, nor the best, way to determine a QB's worth in the postseason (I prefer to look at his hands and see how much bling he's wearing...), It's hard to dispute the Flacco has been more effective than most when it counts.
Falcons win, finally get the monkey off their back
Well, Mike Smith and Matt Bryant certainly did their best to deny Matt Ryan his first playoff win, but in the end, the Dirty Birds prevailed.
Why Smith called a timeout with :13 seconds left instead of running it down to :02 is beyond me. To follow that up, why Matt Bryant suddenly decided a squib kick and an onsides kick are the same thing is just as mind boggling.
I'll be honest - if there were 5 more seconds on the clock, Seattle wins the game and advances to the NFC Championship Game. I have no doubt that Wilson could throw a ball down the middle of the field, and take a timeout with just a few ticks left on the clock to kick the game winner.
Yes, Atlanta did win, and thats what counts, but I still don't feel good about this team moving forward. Give credit to Matt Ryan for throwing two gutsy passes right down the gut when it counted, but they got lucky in this one.