Do you now see why everyone loves NFL football? We had a weekend chalk full of exciting games with huge upsets, defensive dominance, and exciting plays. With the exception of the Bears taking care of business against the Seahawks fairly easily, there was excitement to be found all weekend long. Let’s take a look at each of these games.
Pittsburgh Steelers over Baltimore Ravens 31-24
It was supposed to be a low scoring, grind-it-out game, but what we got instead was an veritable offensive explosion between these two teams. I’ll admit, being a Steelers fan, that I thought the game was as good as over when the Ravens took 21-7 halftime lead but when that third quarter started going their way, starting with the Ray Rice fumble, I have to admit I haven’t been so pumped watching a game since Big Ben found Santonio Holmes in the back of the end-zone with 35 seconds left to win their SuperBowl back in 2008. Hats off to the Steelers defense who held the Ravens to -4 yards in the pivotal third quarter and forced 3 turnovers. They gave the offense some short field to work with and they delivered in spades.
Green Bay Packers over Atlanta Falcons 48-21
I know this really wasn’t that close but it was exciting to see Aaron Rodgers slice up that Atlanta defense like he was playing Madden football set on rookie. He is two wins away from making Green Bay say “Brett who?” and is playing at an elite level. For Atlanta, a tweet I received Saturday sums it up best; Matt Ryan should just be called Matt from now on (as opposed to Matty Ice). He is 0-2 in playoff games, the games that count, so any nicknames about how ‘cool’ he is under pressure has to be chucked out the window till he actually does something. I’m thinking Aaron ‘Ice’ Rodgers has a good ring to it.
Chicago Bears over Seattle Seahawks 35-24
This game was basically over the moment the coin was tossed. The Bears cruised to an easy 21-0 lead in the first half and made it 28-3 through three before Seattle woke up for a 21 point fourth period that was basically too little, too late. The game ball goes to Jay Cutler who, despite never playing in a playoff game, came out and looked cool and calm in the pocket. Cutler accounted for 4 of the Bears 5 touchdowns, two through the air and two on the ground, in a performance that makes you rethink how you ranked Cutler among current starters in the NFL. If he can pull off the win next week against one of the most dangerous teams left in the playoffs, then you have to start putting him up there as one of the top 10 QB’s in the league.
New York Jets over New England Patriots 28-21
Rex Ryan and his Jets talked all week about how personal this game was. They talked, talked, and then talked some more leading up to this game. But then they showed up and backed up their talk with a decisive win over the best team in the league heading into the playoffs. The Jets defense got inside Patriots star QB Tom Brady’s head early with an interception, his first since man found fire or something like that, and then set up an easy chair there with repeated sacks and pressures. In the end, Sanchez, the Jets signal caller, looked more like the league MVP than Brady, and that’s why they are advancing to face the Pittsburgh Steelers next Sunday.
Speaking of next Sunday, it’s rematch central with the Steelers looking to avenge a week 15 loss to the Jets and the Bears/Packers getting to fight it out for the third time this season. Both should be thrilling games and we will break them down later this week, so make sure to check back to see who we pick to go to the SuperBowl.