It’s Wednesday again! which means it must be time to talk about stuff that everyone else stopped talking about like yesterday morning! The divisional round of the NFL playoffs more than made up for the sad display from wild card weekend, and we saw the two remaining unbeaten teams in college basketball go down.
The past weekend featured one epic NFL playoff game, (Broncos vs. Ravens) one game with an almost epic collapse, (Falcons vs. Seahawks) one game decent game that just couldn’t measure up to the previous contest, (49er’s vs. Packers) and one snore-fest (at least by comparison, Patriots vs. Texans).
The game between the Bronco’s and Raven’s included 5 ties, 5 lead changes, below zero temperatures, and enough officiating mistakes to give fans reason to complain for months. The game also featured two kick returns for touchdown’s by Denver’s Trindon Holliday, an amazing heave by Joe Flacco/horrible coverage by the Bronco’s, and questionable clock management by Denver who let the game go into overtime with 31 seconds, two time-outs, and one of the greatest QB’s of all time on your side. While the game itself was amazing, some of my favorite moments came after the game ended. During his post game interview Ray Lewis kept mumbling about no weapon and God before finally responding to questions asked of him (did anyone else think the old Ray Lewis might be coming back). The other great post game moment was Peter Tebow’s (Tim’s brother) response to Denver losing on twitter, shortly after the game ended he posted the tweet: “Am I the only one in Denver who’s happy right now?” He did later apologize, but also pointed out that Tebow got the Bronco’s further than Manning in the playoffs, gotta love a family who sticks together.
The second game Saturday night helped prove to any doubters that while benching Alex Smith in favor of Colin Kaepernick wasn’t very nice, it was the right move. Kaepernick was 17-31 with 2 td’s and one pick throwing the ball, but where he really makes the difference is in the running game. Kaepernick ran for 181 yards and two scores, including one for 56 yards half way through the third quarter. At the time of Kaepernick’s 56 yard td the game was tied at 24, but it seems that run might have broken Green Bay’s spirit because San Francisco would go on to push the lead to 45-24 before a late touchdown by Aaron Rodger’s made the game a slightly more respectable 45-31 final.
The early game on Saturday between Atlanta and Seattle was another thriller. The Falcon’s, who have gained a reputation for choking in the playoffs with quarterback Matt Ryan, had a comfortable 27-7 lead heading into the 4th quarter. The Seahawk’s managed to come all the way back, scoring three touchdowns in the 4th. The Seahawk’s final score was on a two yard run by Marshawn Lynch, Lynch fumbled the ball on the way in but was ruled to have broken the plain before the ball was loose, at the time this lead Seattle fans to cheer that they had a game winning fumbled to go with their game winning interception from earlier in the season. Atlanta then managed to put a drive together to get within field goal range (I really enjoy the audio on the video above, from the ‘oh boy’ to the NO, NO! screams, I wish I’d had that for my first viewing of the play). Atlanta tried one more time to give the ball away, failing on a squib kick that barely made it past the 50 yard line, but Seattle failed to capitalize on this final mistake and Atlanta moved on much to the delight of their tortured fans.
The final playoff game was arguably the least exciting (some member’s of my family would probably beg to differ). The Patriots lead from late in the first quarter on, and were leading 38-13 in the fourth quarter before two Texans scores made the final a somewhat more respectable 41-28. The big news out of this game for New England fans was the loss of tight end Rob Gronkowski, who re-injured he previously broken arm and will miss the rest of the post season. To cheer up those fans I’ve including my favorite clip from the game, a Brandon Spikes dance to try to win over the officials (I’m guessing that’s why he did it, “that guy is dancing, they must have the ball”) during a fumble scrum.
To be honest, I’m kind of tired, I don’t even really feel like talking about the basketball part anymore, but I’ll cover some key moments. Duke suffered its first loss, always a happy moment for every none Duke fan around the country. NC State got big performances from Richard Howell (16 pts, 18 rebs) and from star CJ Leslie who not only lead the team with 25 points, but also carried the fan in the wheelchair that Dick Vitale was so worried about off the court after he was almost trampled.
The other remaining undefeated team, Michigan also went down over the weekend, falling to rival Ohio State 56-53. Michigan went on a 13-2 run to tie the game at 46 apiece with just under 6 minutes remaining, but couldn’t hold the momentum and was the victim of several bad three pointers late in the game that lead to their demise.
The final college basketball news from the weekend I’ll cover is the ineligibility of Syracuse’s James Southerland (the third leading scorer on the team at 13.6 ppg). A statement from the school released before the Villanova game on Saturday read as follows: “Due to an eligibility matter, senior James Southerland will not participate in competition until further notice, given university policy and federal student privacy laws, we are unable to provide any further details at this time.” Coach Jim Boeheim gave fans a sliver of hope in an interview with ESPN’s Hannah Storm, saying the issue “could be resolved” (whatever that’s supposed to mean) and that it’s a process James is going through. As a Syracuse fan, I generally don’t mind Boeheim’s lack of discipline towards his players and appreciate his defense of them to the media, but with this new incident after everything last season it sort of feels like just getting kicked in the teeth over and over. The Southerland situation appears to be very similar to the Fab Melo case from last year, but there is always hope ‘the process’ will work out better this time. Syracuse got by Villanova this weekend 71-62, and has the week off before facing a much harder test in newly #1 ranked Louisville on Saturday. In theory some combination of Trevor Coney and Jerami Grant should be able to equal Southerland’s production, but both players are inexperienced and the loss of Southerland certainly makes the bench much thinner. So going forward, as a long time Syracuse fan, I’m begging you Jimmy, find some way to keep the players on the court, that’s all I want (and possibly another title).
Well I think that’s all I’ve got for the past weekend. This coming weekend features a slew of great match-ups between ranked opponents in college basketball on Saturday: #6 Syracuse at #1 Louisville at 4 pm, #17 Missouri at #10 Florida at 2 pm, #11 Ohio St. at #18 Michigan St. at 6pm, #21 Oregon at #24 UCLA at 4 pm, and #8 Gonzaga at #13 Butler at 9 pm. Sunday will be dominated by football with the conference championship games, 49er’s vs. Falcon’s at 3 pm and Ravens vs. Patriots at 6:30. So a lot of good games (hopefully) to look forward to, see you next week (I’m aiming for Monday this time but who knows) to recap all the action.