Monday, January 25, 2010

It's Colts vs. Saints

- It's funny that I have to spill so much virtual ink covering the regular season, but then we get to the Conference Championships, and, well, there's only 2 games to cover so its just kind of like here it is. However, I have decided in my mind that the goal of this site is that it can be a place where somebody can log on for 10 minutes, get caught up on the NFL and the wide wide world of soccer from a non-mainstream point of view, and maybe have a giggle while they are at it.

So that said, we've got our Super Bowl Matchup, and for the first time since 1993 I think they said, both of the #1 seeds in the conference playoffs have gone on thru to the Super Bowl.

In the early game, it looked at the beginning as if it would be a continuation of the magical story of how a Jets team that went 1-6 thru one stretch of this season all of a sudden could do no wrong come playoff time, and it was making me want to barf. The Jets got out to a 17-6 lead over the Colts thanks to a long TD pass from Mark Sanchez to Braylon Edwards, in which the rookie corner covering Edwards looked like he was on roller skates, and to a wildcat pass thrown by Brad Smith to Jerricho Cotchery that set up a touchdown.

It looked like the roof was caving in on the Colts, as it has so many times in the postseason, especially when Joseph Addai fumbled the ball away on his own 29 yard line with the Colts already trailing 14-6.

The Jets couldn't manage anything other than a field goal out of that opportunity though, and when the Colts answered with a 4 play TD drive that consisted of nothing but passes to Austin Collie, I kind of had a feeling that Colts had taken the Jets' best shot, and were still standing, and that for the rest of the game it would be all Colts. I was right, and I promise you I really thought this at that point in time and am not just saying that.

Manning did exactly what you should do against the Jets defense, which is hit the slot receiver when they blitz (Collie, who had 7 catches for 123 yards), and throw a lot to the end who is not being covered by Darrell Revis (Pierre Garcon, who had 11 catches for 151 yards). Manning threw for 377 yards, 3 TD and no picks against the vaunted Rex Ryan and his giant belly, leading the Colts to a 30-17 win and their second AFC Championship in 4 years.

The NFC Championship game wasn't a perfectly played or even very well played game. I think I counted about 15 fumbles between the two teams. However, it was intense, hard hitting, high scoring, dramatic, and when all was said and done, easily one of the 10 most entertaining football games I have ever seen. I can't remember the other 9 off the top of my head, but I'm sure I will have to make a feature out of it at some point to keep the content rolling here.

The Saints and Vikings traded touchdowns and turnovers pretty much the whole game. Brett Favre absorbed hit after hit after hit (and of course let you know about it too, limping around like he just had bunyon surgery one minute and twirling around like a ballerina and diving after fumbles the next like the drama queen he is). Adrian Peterson, despite running for over 100 yards and scoring 3 TDs, scuttled a number of Vikings drives with a severe case of the Fumblys, the Vikings had an over 200 yard advantage in total offense over the Saints, and ran 27 more plays than the Saints, and still lost.

How could that happen? Well, 5 turnovers to start. In addition to AP's numerous fumbles, Brett Favre threw an incomprehensible Rex Grossman like pass very late in the game when the Vikings were driving for what could have been the winning FG. With less than 20 seconds remaining and the Vikings on the New Orleans 38 yard line, Favre rolled to his right, threw across the field to his left, and was picked off by Tracy Porter, who added a Jared Allen TA DAAAA after it for good measure. So a characteristic late in a big game brain fart by Favre. But, I let him off the hook here, because that play was only necessitated because the Vikings got called for 12 men in the huddle on the play before that. This pushed them back 5 yards, out of Ryan Longwell's field goal range, and necessitating them trying to pick up more yards instead of just positioning the ball for Longwell to attempt a 50 yardish game winning field goal.

So we've got the Colts and the Saints. Peyton Manning trying to crush the dreams of the team his father played for most of his career and the team he grew up rooting for. Not a bad storyline. I'll take it, considering the alternative was two weeks of Brett Favre and Rex Ryan, which would have caused me to set myself on fire.


- Ivory Coast was the favorites in the African Nations Cup, but they are now out in the quarterfinals. They were ousted 3-2 by Algeria yesterday with the deciding goal coming in extra time. The host nation, Angola, is also gone following a 1-0 loss to Ghana. Algeria and Ghana advance to the semifinals. They are both going to be playing in the World Cup this summer, as will Ivory Coast.

- Real Madrid moved back within 5 points of undefeated Barcelona in La Liga after a 2-0 win over Malaga. Cristiano Ronaldo was a madman, scoring two goals and then getting a red card after elbowing a defender in the face.

- Forgot to mention this yesterday somehow, but on Saturday Wayne Rooney, who is having the best season of his career, scored FOUR goals to put Man U on top of the Premiership with a 4-0 win against Hull City. Rooney leads the Premier League with 19 goals, 5 ahead of his closest competition.

- The marquee matchup of the day saw Inter Milan pretty much salt away yet another Scudetto with a 2-0 win over archrivals AC Milan. Inter now has a nine point lead over Milan in Serie A, and they won this match despite playing a man down for most of it after Wesley Sneijder was sent off early in the match. Alberto Diego Milito put Inter up early in the match, scoring in the 10th minute, and Goran Pandley hooked in a free kick in the 65th minute to put the game out of reach.

- In case you were wondering, Jay-Z is an Arsenal fan.

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