Quick Thoughts On The Second Round Of The Playoffs

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
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 /

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…