2011 NFL Playoffs Results: Conference Championship Sunday

The "Terrible Towels" battle the "Cheese Heads".  Sounds like the title for a bad B movie.  But even though I don't really care for either team, In fact I dislike them both, the NFL fan in me can't help but appreciate two of the most storied franchises in NFL history meeting in the Super Bowl.  The team that had the Lombardi Trophy named after their former coach will be going up against the team that's won more of those trophies than anyone else.  Plus, there's the added bonus that in the year Brett Favre finally decided to call it quits, the Packers are back in the SB proving they made the right choice by letting him go and that the football gods really do have a sense of humor. 

Jets 19, Steelers 24

Against Peyton Manning and the Colts, a team Rex Ryan's Jets had never beaten while Manning played, it was personal.  Against Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the hated Patriots, a team that had crushed them 45-3 on Dec 6th, it was personal.  But against the Steelers it wasn't.  They were playing in the AFC championship game so how much motivation did the Jets really need?  Apparently, a lot. 

The Jets came out flatter then Keira Knightley's chest and the Steelers jumped out to a 24-0 lead.  What was even more amazing was how the Steelers did it.  Against the NFL's 3rd ranked rush defense, the Steelers gained 135 yards on the ground in the first half, with 95 of those yards coming from Rashard Mendenhall.  Meanwhile, the Jets 4th ranked rushing attack could only manage 1 yard in return, making even a Jimmy Raye offense look like the second coming of the greatest show on turf.

Luckily for the Jets, in the second half the Steelers went into what can only be described as a prevent offense as they desperately tried to milk the clock.  After cutting the lead to 24-10, and with only 1 quarter to play, the Jets drove 80 yards to the Steelers 1 yard line, where OC Brian Shcottenheimer called a series of plays that will have Jets fans wondering "what if" all off-season long.  On 2nd and 3rd down, after a run heavy drive, Shcottenheimer called back-to-back  pass plays to the front of the endzone.  One fell incomplete and the second pass would have been intercepted if the defender had a hand in the middle of his chest.  Then on 4th down he brought everyone in and had LT, not the stronger Shonn Greene, run right up the middle into a brick wall.  When asked about the play calling in that situation, Rex Ryan said, "We were trying to score."  Funny, Big Ben said something similar when he was asked about locking the girl in the bathroom.


Packers 21, Bears 14

The Packers let Brett Favre go even though he still had a couple good years left because they felt they had their QB of the future with Aaron Rodgers. The Bears traded 2 first round picks, 2 other picks, and a player for Jay Cutler with the belief he could be their QB of the future.  Before this season, neither one of them had ever won a playoff game.  Now Rodgers is off to the Super Bowl and Cutler is left with people not only questioning his big game ability, but also questioning his heart. 

Early in the 3rd quarter Cutler left the game with a knee injury but was also seen riding a stationary bike and could walk to the locker room without cruches. "There is no medicine for a guy with no guts and heart," tweeted Buccaneers LB Derrick Brooks.  "If I'm on the Chicago team Jay Cutler has to wait 'til me and the team shower [and] get dressed and leave before he comes in the locker room," tweeted Darnell Dockett.  "Cutler...wat a sissy!"  tweeted Seahawks DE Raheem Brock.  My own thought is that this Twitter thing sure seems like it's here to stay. 

But his teammates were quick to come to his defense.  "They should turn that [insert swear word of choice here] twitter off," said center Olin Kreutz.  LB Brian Urlacher said, "Just jealous guys sitting at home watching on TV."  Who Urlacher will now be joining.

Not that Cutler was having a good game. His 31.8 QB rating was the fifth worst rating by a QB with at least 14 pass attempts in a playoff game over the last five years.  "Kinda wish they would have had Jay in there the whole time the way things were going," said Packers LB Clay Matthews.  Which is probably why he was pulled and the injury was just an excuse.  Now the Packers are back in the SB and the Bears are left wondering if they're able to find the receipt, could they at least return Cutler for some store credit. 

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