There were four games this past weekend. Both NFC games were decided before the second half even started while the two AFC games came down to the wire. Both 2 and 6 seeds will advance to the championship round in each conference, where the winners will head on to the promised land. Make the jump to see how it all went down.
Quick Recap: Considering these two teams are known for defense, this was a high scoring game. Consider this: the two regular season games between these two teams had a total of 54 points of offense. But this game alone had 55 points. The Steelers opened the game with a touchdown on their opening drive, after a pass interference penalty set them up. After a few changes of possession, the Ravens were able to get the ball in for a score thanks to a Ray Rice run. However, the Steelers then began to give the game away. The first mistake being a fumble on the Steelers own goal line, where no one seemed to realize the play was still live. Cory Redding would be the only one to grab the ball, running into the endzone for a TD. Then on the ensuing possession by the Steelers, Rashard Mendenhall fumbled the ball at the Steelers 15-yard line, which would be recovered by the Ravens. The Ravens would score a touchdown on that possession, making it 21-7 at halftime.
After the half the momentum completely shifted toward the Steelers. A fumble by Ray Rice, his first of the season, led to a Steelers touchdown almost immediately. Later in the 3rd quarter, Joe Flacco would throw the ball to the wrong team and the Steelers would score just as quickly to tie the game at 21. Then at the end of the quarter, Ravens center Matt Birk fumbled the snap and the Steelers recovered. They settled for a field goal and the lead.
Then, with six minutes left in the game, Lardarius Webb ran a punt back for a touchdown but was reversed when a Steelers player made a NBA/soccer-like flop that forced a holding penalty against the Ravens. Flacco was unable to get the ball into the end zone and the Ravens settled for a field goal to make the score 24-24. The Steelers drove down the field, but a Roethlisberger sack left a 3rd and 19 for the Steelers on the 38-yard line. On the play, Big Ben heaved the ball 58 yards to Antonio Brown for a helmet catch after running past all Ravens defenders. The Steelers would put the ball into the end zone with 1:33 left to make the score 31-24. The Ravens got the ball back, but went a quick 4 and out to lose the game.
Playoff Impact: The Steelers advance to the AFC Championship Game. The Ravens are eliminated.
Quick Summary: I have to give my personal opinion: this game made me giddy. The Packer's punter never came on the field. Not once did the punting unit walk on to the field. Packers got the ball first and on 3rd down Greg Jennings caught the ball, ran past the first down marker and then fumbled the ball to Grimes. The Falcons took advantage of this and got the ball into the end zone behind Michael Turner. Aaron Rodgers would then get the ball and lead his team down the field for the tying score. On the following kickoff, Eric Weems ran 102 yards for the go ahead score to make the game 14-7. Rodgers got the ball back and (shockingly) led his team down the field for a score. Matt Ryan was intercepted in the end zone and Rodgers led his team down the field for, you guessed it, another score to take the lead 21-14. Ryan started driving again but his worst enemy, Tramon Williams, intercepted the ball with :10 seconds left and ran it all the way for six to make the score at halftime 28-14.
After halftime the game got boring from a football standpoint, and was only interesting just because Aaron Rodgers looked scary good. The Packers converted 8 of 12 third downs and Rodgers was 31 for 36 and 366 yards for 3 TDs and a rushing TD. It's offical, Aaron Rodgers is a fantasy football god.
Playoff Impact: Packers advance to NFC Championship Game. Falcons are eliminated.
Quick Summary: The score makes it seem like this was a good game in which the Bears were just the better team. What really happened was the Bears dominated the Seahawks, who were able to take advantage of a Bears' defense in prevent/don't-give-a-crap mode late in the game. I actually fell asleep watching this one, and I feel sorry for you if you watched this game too. Matt Hasselbeck's line: 26/46 for 258 yards and 3 TDs. Jay Cutler's line: 15/28 for 274 yards and 2 TDs. 8 rushes for 43 yards and 2 rushing TDs.
Playoff Impact: The Bears will host the Packers in a NFC Championship Game for the ages. The Seahawks are eliminated. How did the Saints lose to the Seahawks?
Quick Summary: A week after toppling Peyton Manning and the defending AFC champions, the Jets knocked off Brady and the almost unde'feet'able Patriots. On the Patriots opening possession, Tom Brady threw his first interception since the Ravens game in Week 6. The Jets missed a field goal after going three-and-out and were unable to score even though they started inside the 30-yard line. The Pats drove down the field and had to settle for three points.
In the 2nd quarter the Jets were able to score a touchdown following some big plays by LaDainian Tomlinson and Braylon Edwards to make the score 7-3. Toward the tail end of the half the Pats faced a 4th and 4 from their own 37-yard line when a fake punt direct snap to Patrick Chung was fumbled and failed. The Jets took advantage after the possession change and were able to put the ball in the end zone. Score at halftime was 14-3 in favor of the Jets.
The third quarter started off incredibly boring, as both teams could not muster any offense. Then as the third quarter began to wane, Brady was finally able to put together a drive and lead his team to a touchdown. A direct snap two-point conversion by Sammy Morris pulled the Pats to within three points. The Jets were able to respond, however, with a big play from Jericho Cotchery for a 58-yard catch and run and then this amazing play from Sanchez to Holmes for the touchdown, putting them on top 21-11 with 13:00 left to play.
The Pats then went on an incredibly long drive that ended when they were unable to convert a 4th and long play. The Jets ran some clock off before giving the ball back to the the Patriots, who were forced to kick a field goal just a few ticks after the two-minute warning. On the ensuing onside kick, the Jets recovered and were able to return it to the Patriots 25-yard line. Two plays later, LT was in the end zone to make the score 28-14. The Pats would get the ball back and drive down the field to score yet again but were unable to recover the onside kick.
Playoff Impact: Jets advance to face the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game. The Patriots are eliminated.
So CSC, which game did you think was the most exciting this weekend? Which game did you like the most? Now that the field is a bit more limited, which team are you supporting?