Home > Uncategorized > Divisional Round Saturday: Unforgettable, That’s What You’re Not

Divisional Round Saturday: Unforgettable, That’s What You’re Not

I guess good things come to those who wait while watching the NFL playoffs this year. Another playoff Saturday, two more matchups that looked good on paper and six more hours of my life, forever wasted. There wasn’t even some good college basketball on to distract me. I just ended up watching “From Dusk ‘Til Dawn” for the majority of the Ravens-Colts second half. With the low expectations I already have for Sunday’s Jets-Chargers game, it looks like we are now depending on Dallas and Minnesota to put on the classic that some expect. We’ll see in a few hours. Here’s what I took away from today’s bombs.

Cardinals vs. Saints

  • The Cardinals spent extra time this week concentrating on tackling after getting scorched by the Packers. Good to see how that practice paid off.
  • It was great to see Reggie Bush just go nuts for a couple of reasons. First, no matter how big of a draft bust he is — because he will go down as a big one due to that insane hype — he’s still fun to watch. He has the smoothest hips of any running back and just makes some crazy cuts. He’s an athletic freak and it’s fun to watch him when he’s healthy and on his game.
  • But this performance also gave Bush’s supporters more reason to overrate him. This is still a running back who has never run for more than 600 yards in any season and who has missed 12 games due to injury over the past three years. This game alone raised his fantasy stock in the minds of many. But let’s not forget who Reggie Bush really is: An electrifying and fragile running back who shares carries with at least two other guys and is not a consistent producer. He’ll be drafted too high in almost all standard leagues next year. Bush’s potential always tantalizes fantasy players. The Saints’ offense and his body will always hold him back.
  • If you missed the first play of this game, you missed the only time when Cardinals fans were actually happy. Then, Antrel Rolle suffered a concussion and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie probably blew his knee out. Yeah, let’s see what happens when a questionable secondary takes on Drew Brees. Now, let’s subtract two Pro Bowlers from that secondary. You know what? I don’t think those injuries helped Arizona. That’s my expert analysis.

    Get out with your health

  • Despite rumors in the past couple of weeks that Kurt Warner would retire when the Cardinals’ season ended, he didn’t confirm anything after the game. “I want to get away,” he said. “I’ve thought about it a lot, and have over the last couple of years. I have some ideas in my head. But you want to get away from the season a bit.” I think Warner was just confused after that vicious hit he took before halftime. His Hall of Fame career is over, folks. Drop a hundy on it.
  • Initially, it appears that Anquan Boldin will be staying in Arizona for another year, but if he is dealt, Early Doucet becomes a player to watch. Just by judging from these playoffs, he has surpassed Steve Breaston’s as the team’s No. 3 WR — or at least he should. Doucet fights through tackles, runs intermediate and deep routes and has shown some good hands. Of course, expectations for every Cardinals receiver should be tempered since Warner is likely gone. That includes Larry Fitzgerald.
  • I can’t find much news on it, but Pierre Thomas limped off the field in the third quarter. Considering he is already playing with three broken ribs, it would have to be quite an injury for him to miss the NFC Championship game.

Ravens vs. Colts

  • This one ended on the Colts’ final drive of the first half. First of all, the Ravens set up the drive perfectly for Indianapolis with two incompletions — including one drop — which gave Peyton Manning 86 seconds to get some points before halftime. Now, the Colts were already up, 10-3. The Ravens knew that they couldn’t afford to fall behind by two possessions with their impotent passing game.  But with the help of some penalties, including an absolutely horrible unnecessary roughness call on Ray Lewis on second-and-10 at the 14, the Colts scored a touchdown with three seconds left and I basically lost all hope for a competitive game after that.

    Peyton Manning knows the difference between four and seven seconds. Don't worry, Dan

  • Dan Dierdorf said it was a risk for the Colts to run a play from the Ravens’ 3-yard line with seven seconds until the half. He thought they should just try the field goal on third down, take the points and go up, 13-3. But I didn’t see it that way. Where is the risk? Passing plays from the 3-yard line don’t normally take seven seconds. A quick slant, a cut-in, a fade route. All of those are quick throws. Hell, on the prior play, the Colts threw an incomplete pass and that took just four seconds. The Colts would have taken a risk if Manning was sacked. But he wasn’t pressured much during the game, so that wasn’t a huge concern. Oh, and it helps that it’s Peyton freaking Manning! I think he understands which plays take four seconds and which take seven. He’s a pretty decent quarterback and he knows how to count time.
  • This game would have been realistically over at the end of the Ravens’ first drive if Antoine Bethea didn’t drop an interception at the Colts’ 1-yard line. It would have been an easy pick-six.
  • More than just stupid penalties, the Ravens were doomed by turnovers. One of them occurred because Ed Reed, no matter how good of a safety he is, has absolutely zero ball-handling skills. He always has. It was a great hustle play by Pierre Garcon, but for as often as Reed touches the ball, you would think he would learn. If he’s not carrying the ball away from his body or palming it as he runs down the field, he is trying to lateral it to a teammate. I can’t tell you how much that frustrates me. JUST HOLD ONTO THE BALL! TAKE WHAT YOU CAN GET! This time, Garcon punched it out from behind. Knowing Reed’s past displays of ball security, you could see that fumble coming 20 yards away.
  • Baltimore’s coaches aren’t spared either. On the play before Reed’s interception-fumble, the Ravens went for it on fourth-and-3 at the Colts’ 45. They had to go. Trailing by 17, halfway through the third quarter, the Ravens had to roll the dice. So why wasn’t their best offensive player on the field? The Ravens split out three wide receivers and tight end Todd Heap. Willis McGahee lined up in the backfield. Ray Rice? Just chilling on the sidelines, I guess. It certainly was a situation that you think would require his services. I have no clue what happened there.
  • Rice was compared to Emmitt Smith all night long, but I have to disagree slightly. I kind of see it, but Rice is thicker than Emmitt. He runs with a lower center of gravity and is also a better receiver.When I look at Ray Rice, I see Maurice Jones-Drew and I know I’ve said that somewhere on here before.
  • Ray Lewis will be 35 years old this spring and Reed may be done for good. We are reaching the end of an era for defense in Baltimore.
  • Joe Flacco surpassed his yard total from last week within the first nine minutes of this game. But I’m pretty sure 35 drop-backs aren’t something the Ravens wanted to see from Flacco. Baltimore was 3-7 this season when Flacco threw at least 30 passes.

A dubious end to Ed Reed's possibly final NFL interception

I was concerned about the Saints and Colts coming into Saturday’s games. I fell into all of the rust talk. Some of the times, it’s warranted. But both of those teams showed that they were superior. I don’t see the Saints falling short of the Super Bowl now. I think they are much better than Minnesota and there is no way that Dallas beats them in New Orleans twice in five weeks. San Diego can get past Indy, but the Chargers need to take care of the Jets first. Of course, here’s hoping they do so while keeping audiences interested for four quarters. We barely got a good half from each game today.

  1. January 17, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    That interview with Reed was just sad.

    You know, I don’t think I realized that he was 31. When did that happen? I mean, I guess I realize that he has been one of the top three safeties in the league for about 10 years, but it never really hit me that he was actually aging.

    Although I was surprised to learn that Ray Lewis was 35. I really thought he was closer to 40.

    The lesson here: I cannot tell time. Tom Brady is still just a third year player out of Michigan, right?

    • spokes310
      January 18, 2010 at 11:01 pm

      I think Drew Henson is still the QB in Ann Arbor, right?

      But I can completely relate! Chad Ochocinco will be entering his 10th NFL season next year. So will Drew Brees. Dallas Clark will be 31 in five months. There are many more examples that I can’t think of right now, but time just flies in sport.

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