Jan 20, 2013; Foxboro, MA, USA; Baltimore Ravens fans hold up a doll of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after the AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium. The Ravens won 28-13. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Quick Thoughts On The Conference Championships: The HarBowl, Mike Jones, and SuperBrady’s Kryptonite


 

With the start of the NHL season and the NFL Conference Championships, there were more than enough games on television this weekend to fill even the emptiest of sports fans. By Sunday it seemed as though to gust from the Manti Te’o and Lance Armstrong stories had finally lost some wind, which was a relief to most, leaving open to spotlight for some extremely entertaining championship matchups. Here are Ramblin’ Fans quick thought on the games…

 

1. If you would have told me three weeks ago that Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick would be the best quarterbacks in the playoffs this postseason, I would have laughed in your face, as would most anyone. The two have combine for 1,349 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, and only one interceptions. More impressive is the fact that Kaepernick has more rushing yards than anyone in the playoff, outside of Arian Foster, Ray Rice, and his teammate, Frank Gore. Crazy!

 

2. It is hard to put your finger on exactly why Tom Brady has had so much trouble with the Baltimore Ravens in the last couple of years, but it is amazing to see the drop in his performance when he goes head-to-head against the Black and Purple. Earlier in the season, when the Patriots first lost to the Ravens, Brady went 28 of 41 passing (68.3%) for 335 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions; not the worst, but certainly not the Brady-esque performances we have grown accustom to seeing. On Sunday, Brady went 29 of 54 (53.7%) for 320 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. Maybe it is the physicality of the Baltimore front seven, or the ability of the Ravens to turn a team one-dimensional early in the game. Whatever it is, it sure seems to be SuperBrady’s Kryptonite.

 

3. For those who were touting the “much improved” Patriots’ defense as superior to the Ravens’ D…. *crickets*

 

4. It may just be natural skepticism of an NFC West rival, but I still am waiting to see how Colin Kaepernick will respond if he is truly pressed to beat a team throwing the football. Analysts from around the league have been dropping the stellar numbers that Kaep put up throwing on first and second down, but, in the second half, it was the HUGE dose of Frank Gore that propelled the 49ers from behind. Trailing by three points at the beginning of the third quarter, San Francisco handed the ball off to Gore on three consecutive plays: 6 yards off the end, 11 yards off the left guard, and 2 yards off the left end. The Falcons stacked up, and Kaep gutted them for 37 yards on two completions before Gore pounded it through for the touchdown. Not that Kaepernick CAN’T win the game RELYING on his arm, but we have yet to see him do it…

 

5. With that being said, Baltimore and San Francisco should be an interesting matchup. Baltimore lost both games to teams with quarterbacks who would be considered a “running threat”;  those being Michael Vick in Philadelphia and Robert Griffin III in Washington. Kaepernick, after setting the NFL playoff record for rushing yards by a quarterback against the Green Bay Packers, would likely also fit into the category. So, how will Ray Lewis and Co. handle the rising star?

 

6. Regardless of the outcome of the Super Bowl, I would pay almost any amount of money to have a video camera in the senior Harbough living room as they watch their two sons face off in the largest sporting event in the United States. Would also like to see the first family Thanksgiving after the big game…

 

7. With San Francisco’s win over Atlanta, each team in the NFC West has now, or at least will have, appeared in the Super Bowl at least once since 2000. However, our division has not had much luck once getting to the big show. Aside from the St. Louis Rams victory over the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV (2000), the NFC West has gone 0-3 in prime time. Coincidentally, both the Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks lost to an AFC North foe (both loses coming to the Pittsburgh Steelers). A San Francisco 49ers’ win in a couple of weeks would break a bad luck streak that has plagued the West since Mike Jones and “the Tackle.”

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Tags: Atlanta Falcons Baltimore Ravens New England Patriots San Francisco 49ers St. Louis Rams