Friday, January 21, 2005

End of the Wild run

After an unprecedented divisional championship weekend when three wild card teams triumphed- incredibly all on the road- to repeat a cliché, sanity was restored to the NFL playoff proceedings. The New York Jets nearly upended the top seeded Steelers and most of the pundits, but in the end Doug Brien’s inability to put away field goals cost them the game, a place in the AFC Championship and of course, the Superbowl pursuit. Boomer Esiason said he thought the Jets were best placed to upset the seedings, even though a majority of commentators favoured the Vikings to keep the Eagles out of the NFC title game. Ultimately the Steelers prevailed – but they know they had tons of good fortune to thank and will no longer be the runaway favourites against the New England Patriots. Speaking of the Patriots, what is it about Manning and the Colts that bring out the best out of the Pats? True, this game was more about the Pats’ pride and self-belief than it was about the powerful Indy offense. The Colts were generally considered the favourites for this game, despite Manning’s miserable record at Foxboro. Instead, another nightmare endured. But even those who thought New England were better may have never imagined the scale of the disaster! Not a single touchdown pass for an offense that had the record setting Manning, three wide receivers who each had more than one thousand yards and an outstanding back in Edgerrin James. For those who hoped that this would be Manning’s vindication and his crowning glory, it is a bitter pill to swallow. Indy has to do it all over again next year and come back even harder – that is the only way. After all, John Elway had to wait 14 seasons. The Rams and Vikings were just beaten by better teams, although in the Rams’ case, words like crushed, thumped, walloped etc. would fit better. The Falcons’ DVD (Dunn, Vick and Duckett) pounded the Rams’ defense all day and in the end the Rams offense had to do too much to even keep within striking distance. The Falcons’ defense looked just as mean as they have all season, with Patrick Kerney outstanding. Allan Rossum had a record setting night in the special teams, which have been stellar. The Vikings continued to make mistakes as they have all season and against this Eagles defense there simply was no way back. Now Donovan McNabb gets another shot at taking them to Superbowl, and nothing less would suffice for the Eagles fans, even without Terrell Owens.

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