The 2011 regular season will be remembered as the year of the QB. Drew Brees and Tom Brady both broke Dan Marino's 27 year old single season passing record of 5,087 yards and Matthew Stafford came close finishing with 5,038 yards. It was the first time 3 quarterbacks finished the year with over 5,000 yards passing and 10 quarterbacks finished with over 4,000 yards. Of course their numbers are greatly helped by the fact defenders are penalized if they hit the quarterbacks head, or go down low on his legs, or hit him too late after he throws the ball, or even if they hit him legally but were thinking about hitting him illegally, and the same is also becoming true towards receivers, but it's still an impressive stat.
Yet in the divisional round all those high powered offenses didn't seem to help their teams much. Brees and the Saints number 1 ranked offense? Gone! Aaron Rodgers and the Packers 2nd best all time scoring offense? Eliminated! Tim Tebow and the Broncos super powered...uh, their high octane...wait, their ummm...their offense that's led by a really super nice guy? Crushed!
Meanwhile the 49ers and Ravens have had two of the top defenses all season, and the now healthy Giants defense has also really stepped up their play of late. Only the Patriots remain of the juggernaut offenses. I guess the old adage about defenses winning championships is true. Unless the Patriots win it all in which case maybe the Mayans were on to something after all with this whole 2012 thing.
Giants 37, Packers 20
After a franchise best 15-1 regular season, the loss at the hands of the Giants has the Packers feeling blue. No, too literal. The Packers loss to the Giants certainly felt like déjà blue. No, that won't work either. They may like cheese in Wisconsin but they hate it in their salad dressing. You know, because they don't like blue cheese.
The Packers defense will get blamed for this loss but it should be put on their offense. After all, their defense has been giving up yards all season long. You can't expect them to change now that it's the playoffs. Their offense however scored the second most points in the history of the NFL. I'm still trying to figure out where that team was on Sunday. They dropped 6 passes after averaging less than 2 a game for the season. On two separate occasions Rodgers missed wide open receivers, one which would have gone for a TD and another that would have given the Packers a 1st down around the Giants 30-yard line. And they turned the ball over 5 times, I'm sorry*, they turned the ball over 4 times after turning it over only 14 times in their previous 16 games.
Now the Packers become the first team in the history of the NFL to win 15 games and not win at least 1 playoff game. I wonder if State Farm can somehow work that into their next Discount Double Check commercial.
*I just learned if a player losses the ball and the other team recovers and runs it 10 yards down the field before the fumbling player's knee hits the ground, it's too close call and therefore not a fumble.
The rest of the divisonal round games after the jump...
Texans 13, Ravens 20
It might have been an ugly win for the Ravens but they'll gladly take it. According to Terrell Suggs, "There's a right way to do things, there's the wrong way to do things, and there's the Ravens way to do things." Does the Ravens way includes quothing "Nevermore" repeatedly?
Texans RB Arian Foster ran for 132 yards and a TD while the Texans defense held the Ravens to only 227 total yards including an impressive goal line stand, but they couldn't overcome two huge turnovers early on that led to 14 quick points for the Ravens. It was a good thing too since the Ravens went 3-and-out in 8 of their 15 offensive possessions. By the end the Ravens won the turnover battle 4 to 0 and the Texans are left wondering what could have been if they only had a healthy Matt Schaub and Mario Williams. "I'm not going to get a lot of sleep tonight," Foster said. "It's what we do for a living, it's how we defend our legacy, how we write our story." Does that mean my legacy is spending 40 hours a week in a 6x6 cubicle and falling asleep on the coach most nights with the TV on after having one too many beers? Wow, not that I'm reading this my life looks pretty depressing. Anyone know where I can get some Zoloft?
Broncos 10, Patriots 45
What a ride Tebow has taken fans on. It was thrilling, exciting, unbelievable, and it ended with a giant thud. Much like the last time I took a girl home with me from the bar or Chad Ochocinco's career has gone after he played only one play in this game. Tebow completed 9 of his 26 passes for 136 yards and rushed for just13 yards on 5 carries. Meanwhile Tom Brady reminded everybody what a superstar QB is supposed to look like as he sliced apart the Broncos defense for 363 yards and tied an NFL playoff record with 6 touchdowns. The Patriots even had more rushing yards than the Broncos and showed just how far the Broncos still need to go if they want to be considered an elite team.
"A lot of ups and downs," Tebow said of his season. "There's a lot of things we're proud of. Obviously it's hard to see them all right now." Well you were crushed by 35 points, allowed the Patriots to move the ball for 509 total yards, only managed less than half as many yards on offense with 252 yards, while turning the ball over twice. You're right. It is hard to see them. I guess you can still feel proud knowing you won the AFC West which is a bit like being proud you're the tallest pigmy in the village were all the pigmy's live, or something like that. You get the point.
Saints 32, 49ers 36
I love all the comments I read on the message boards. "There's no way the 49ers D can stop our QB and high powered offense." "We're the hottest team in the NFL right now so the 49ers won't stand a chance." "Alex Smith is a huge steaming pile of crap who can't lead the 49ers from behind." And those were just a few of the comments made by Giants fans after they beat the Packers. Funny how they sounded so similar to what I heard from the Saints fans.
I said this before but I want to say it again. To all the haters who said the 49ers were pretenders and didn't stand a chance, SUCK IT!