Jan 13, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll reacts after losing the NFC divisional playoff game at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons won 30-28. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Quick Thoughts On The Second Round Of The Playoffs


 

Unlike last week, this weekend was filled with some amazing games, between teams that looked like they should have been playing in the playoffs. Upsets, surprises, comebacks, and failed icing attempts reminded us why football is the most exciting game in the United States. So, without further ado, here are Ramblin’ Fans quick thoughts on the games…

 

1. A ton of people lost money this weekend, especially if you happened to live outside of Baltimore. Few expected the seemingly desimated Baltimore Ravens’ defense to be able to slow down Peyton Manning on his quest for the Super Bowl. Even less would have guessed that the Baltimore offense would steal the show, lead by a 331 yard, 3 passing touchdown performance by Joe Flacco and a 131 yard rushing game from Ray Rice. Manning threw two costly interceptions in the game, which were the only two turnovers for either team. Rookie sensation, Justin Tucker, would eventually send the Broncos home with a loss, nailing a 47-yarder in overtime to cap an emotional, Ray Lewis-driven Baltimore win.

 

2. Albert Breer dropped this number earlier this morning, but we thought it was astonishing enough to re-write here in this article. If Joe Flacco were to win the AFC Championship, then follow it up with a win in the Super Bowl, he would have more playoff wins than Peyton Manning. Not saying that either will happen, especially considering that road is guarded by the New England Patriots. Still, the fact that Flacco could “out-win” the, arguably, greatest quarterback to ever play the game of football is a remarkable thought. Also, for those who had doubted Ray Lewis’ effectiveness, having rushed back from a torn tricep, the man is playing out of this world in the playoffs. Having only averaged 9.5 tackles per game in his six regular season matchups, Lewis has already tallied 30 combined tackles in a two-game playoff stretch. He also has 2 tackles for a loss and a pass deflection, equaling this total numbers from the regular season. “Big Ray” clearly wants to end his career on a high note, and appears to be willing to carry the defense on his back in order to do it.

 

3. All those that were sickened by the injury to Robert Griffin III and potentially losing the opportunity to watch an explosive, playmaking quarterback, have no fear. Enter Colin Kaepernick, who piled on 444 yard of offense BY HIMSELF. Going 17 of 31 passing for 263 yards would be right on par with the quarterbacks’ usual statistics, but to add 181 rushing yards is just ridiculous. No one in the NFC West wants to see the 49ers advance in the playoffs, but making a “healthy” Packers’ defense look like Notre Dame in the National Championship was pretty fun to watch. It’s not often that you see a team put up nearly 580 yards and 6 touchdowns on a team in the second round of the playoffs…

 

4. On the other side of the game was the Packers’ offense, the team that everyone expected to drop 30+ points in the game. They did, led by Aaron Rodgers two touchdown throws and a Sam Shields’ pick-6. However, the glaring hole at running back has never been more evident for a team, forcing Green Bay into even more of a one-dimensional offense. DuJuan Harris is not the long-term, or even short-term answer for the Packers at running back. One would have to suspect that finding a competent tailback in the draft or free agency will be the team’s number one priority in the offseason.

 

5. Ever turn off a game at halftime, knowing full well that it is over… then realize that it is the Seahawks, who have rampaged back into games on numerous occasions this year. Aside from being late on a potential touchdown throw to Roddy White in the endzone, and an ill-timed interception, Matty Ice played a near perfect game in the first half on Sunday. Tack on the fact that Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers were stampeding through the Seahawks “superior” defense, and you would have thought the game might end with a 30 point margin. Russell Wilson played OROY-esque in the second half, ending the game with a 67% completion rate, two touchdowns, and nearly 400 yard passing. He was also the only offensive player performing on the ground,  with the Atlanta early surge forcing the ‘Hawks to play catch-up through the air, limiting Marshawn Lynch’s touches. In the end it wasn’t enough, but Seattle has to like what it saw from Wilson, who proved that the offense can rely on his arm, if necessary.

 

6. There are few in Rams Nation that are on the Pete Carroll bandwagon, and likely not that many that cheer for him at all, outside be the greater Seattle area. Even fewer may like the idea of “icing the kicker,” with a delayed time-out call allowing the kicker to go through an entire kicking simulation, and then getting another shot. So, naturally, Carroll would use that tactic in, likely, the biggest game of his coaching career. After watching the first of Matt Bryant’s attempts sail wide, it was only right that the second attempt fit perfectly between the uprights, handing the Falcons a 2 point lead as the final seconds drained from the clock. All of St. Louis was smiling at that moment… each and every person.

 

7. Tom Brady…

Tags: Atlanta Falcons Featured Green Bay Packers Popular San Francisco 49ers Seattle Seahawks St. Louis Rams

  • http://twitter.com/Spokanedad Spokanedad

    You’re such a homer. The Hawk D line was ravaged. Clearly effecting everything downstream from there.

    • :)

      There is a big difference between losing Chris Clemens, a single player, and being “ravaged.” Red Bryant has been a starter all season, and Bruce Irvin is a 1st round draft pick, so I doubt anyone will give your line any pity.

      John Abraham is as big a part of the Falcon defense than Chris Clemens is for Seattle, and he left the game almost as quickly as he stepped on the field. The difference is that the Falcons have little to no depth at defensive end…

      So, where is this “homer” stuff coming from? It was explicitly stated “with the Atlanta early surge forcing the ‘Hawks to play catch-up through the air, limiting Marshawn Lynch’s touches. In the end it wasn’t enough, but Seattle has to like what it saw from Wilson, who proved that the offense can rely on his arm, if necessary.” There was no ripping on Lynch, who while hurt, still only ran for 2.9 yards per attempt. In fact, there is much more praise in this article for the Seahawks than there ever should be on a St. Louis Rams sports page…

      Am I a homer because I didn’t fill the page with excuses for why the Seahawks lost? Sorry. Falcons deserved to win the game and they did.

      • ricefield

        Nathan, your defense of your remarks on the Hawks D line is at best a lack of research or at worst incompetence. DT Jones was lost for the game and Red Bryant has bee battling plantar fasciitis. What does Irvin’s draft pick status have to do with his current effectiveness? If draft pick status meant anything your qb and de Long should be All Pros .

        Do you proof read what you write? what does “John Abraham is as big a part of the Falcon defense than Chris Clemens is for Seattle” mean? Is Abraham as big a part of the D line or is he a bigger part of the D line than Clemens?

        I don’t get the homer stuff either but I also don’t get your no one loves Carroll either. Does anyone love the Harbaughs or Belichick? The only people a head coach needs to please are his bosses and his team’s fans in that order. Who cares if you or any Rams fans like the Hawks coach. Your team got lucky when Fisher became available. Only an owner who thought he knew more about QBs than his coaches would have let him go.

        • :)

          No sorry, I do not “proof read my comments,” because they are, in fact, just comments. Wouldn’t expect anyone to troll through and check for grammatical errors, but I guess I was mistaken.

          My apologies, but I don’t count losing a rotational defensive tackle or having a starter with a mild foot injury as “ravaged.” That would be like the St. Louis Rams complaining about when Eugene Sims or Williams Hayes were injured; everyone plays hurt. Jones may be important in your rotation, but sub-400 snap players aren’t going to draw much pity from anyone when injured. If Mebane or Branch were injured (on top of Clemens), then I would gladly hand you the ravaged title, but that is not the case.

          Irvin’s draft spot has nothing to do with his effectiveness, but it is important to remember when considering who would be filling in for Clemens as a replacement, especially in comparison to the Falcon’s loss of Abraham. When you draft someone in the first round, I would hope that you consider that player to be of “starter” caliber. Everyone knows that Irvin is extremely raw, having not played organized football for any significant amount of time. However, anyone taken that high in the draft should be able to handle taking on the starting role.

          … oh, and Chris Long should at least be considered a Pro Bowler, if not an All-Pro, especially in ’11. Led the NFL in QB hurries and tallied double digit sacks for the second consecutive season. Suck to be on a small market team that is rebuilding!

          You’re right no one love either of those coaches, but most respect them. Carroll arrogance after the Green Bay “win,” plus running up the score against the Bills and Cardinals has drawn a ton of negative reaction, not just from Rams fans, but from around the league. No one has to care if I like him or not, including you! But, since they were my thoughts on the game, I am entitled to express whatever my feelings are about the coach.

          Remember, this is the St. Louis Rams fan page. If you want someone that will feel sorry for the Seattle Seahawks or slob all over Pete Carroll, you are definitely in the wrong place. I am, usually, fair in my criticism of NFC West teams, and have done my fair share of picking apart the St. Louis Rams after losses.

          Go troll in someone else’s comment section ;) but thanks for the read anyways

  • Jarod R. Martin

    As a Hawks fan I take no issue with your article, our line was hurt but I’m sure with the lack of injuries the Seahawks dealt with all year, one or two (Jones and Clemons) major injuries all year a Rams fan will not be giving us an sympathy! I also will say I look forward to the continued resurgence of the Rams and the fact that the Rams, Niners, and Hawks could lead the NFC West to be THE division in football no one wants to play (nice change from two years ago huh?). I do have to question one thing in your article though, Peyton is aruguably the greatest QB of all time? It’s amazing as you pointed out that Flacco could pass him in wins this year. He’s also gone one and done 8 of 12 times he’s been to the playoffs. I know not all were his fault but to me that’s amazing he’s done so great as a regular season QB but can’t figure out the playoffs. I personally would have to say his playoff record keeps him from being in the discussion of greatest ever. As a lifelong Braves fan it feels very familar! And I still would have been happy had he signed with the Hawks this year! I’ve enjoyed following your articles tracking the NFC West and look forward to more “friendly” discussions on the merits of our teams.

    • Nathan Kearns

      Yea, the playoff record is tough to overlook, but his body of work is
      pretty impressive. You could make the same arguement against Brett
      Favre, who I personally consider to be the greatest quarterback to
      ever play the game.

      I think that the NFC West will undoubtedly be the best division in the
      NFL next season, if it isn’t already. The 49ers and Seahawks are
      already Top 10 teams, and the St. Louis Rams are knocking on the door.
      Even the Arizona Cardinals are a quarterback away from being a
      contender in the league, and with a draft and free agency, should be
      able to figure it out. Alex Smith? Michael Vick?

      Should make for some good games, although I will miss the idea of
      potentially making the playoffs with an 8-8 record! Cheers to
      divisional dominance… Thanks for the read man