The “icing” of Matt Bryant didn’t go so well for the Seahawks yesterday. For something that has no real statistical support, it’s surprising that it’s still so prevalent. Imagine if left-handed pitchers didn’t fare significantly better against left-handed batters, but managers still kept making those changes–outcome be damned. That’d be weird, right? That’s where we are with icing the kicker. The new incarnation of it, where the kicker actually kicks the ball makes eve less sense. Making the guy wait is one thing, but a practice kick is another. If he makes the 1st kick? He thinks, OK, I just made it. If he misses it? He’s thinking, “PRAISE MORTEN ANDERSEN! I get another shot at this.” Not only that, it’s horrible to watch. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen again this weekend, though. Here’s 10 more things from the divisional round, five that surprised me and five that didn’t:
1. Colin Kaepernick’s speed. There are different levels of mobile quarterbacks. Aaron Rodgers can scramble around a little bit. Andrew Luck is pretty fast–FOR A WHITE GUY. But, there aren’t many QBs who are basically gone if they “get the corner,” and that’s what Kaepernick showed Saturday night. He looked like Eric Dickerson pulling away on that second TD run. It was terrifying and mesmerizing at the same time.
2. The Falcons ran the ball with ease. The ferocious Seattle defense, the unit that had made Gus Bradley a head coaching candidate was missing in action for most of Sunday. Seven yards a carry for Michael Turner? This is one of the worst rushing offenses in the league and they went for almost 200. Stunned.
3. Joe Flacco to Jacoby Jones. If Baltimore had broken off a few big chunks while Denver had its safeties playing 40 yards from the line of scrimmage that would have been expected, but somehow they didn’t stick with Jones deep when deep was all Baltimore had. Basically any time Wacko Flacco Flame does anything positive, I’m pretty surprised. Saturday guaranteed Flacco will get his big deal and become the new Donovan McNabb.
4. The complete and total lack of defense. Average score over the weekend? 38.5 to 30.5. That’s pretty insane. I’m not surprised a few teams ran up the score, but weren’t a few of these defenses supposed to be effective? Seattle? San Francisco? Denver? Can you hold a team under 30 at this point? If you can, it might mean the Lombardi.
5. Matt Ryan gathered himself. If you read the comments you know I was at a restaurant for the end of the Seahawks/Falcons game. After the place exploded in celebration after the Seahawks took the lead, I left. When I got in my car, Bryant was on attempt #2. I couldn’t believe it. Did the Falcons bring Chris Chandler out of the locker room? Nope, it was Ryan.
Five Unsurprising Moments:
1. Ryan’s 4th quarter pick. Working hand in hand with number five up there, I couldn’t believe the panic in Atlanta while they were still up 13 points. It was incredible. Ryan’s floating, awful pick provided the continuing momentum Seattle needed. Atlanta probably deserved to blow that game and Ryan was riding shotgun.
2. The announcers were totally confused by the 1st OT period expiring. I caught this on the radio. The announcers thought a new OT started (coin flip, etc) after the 15 minutes were up, so they are freaking out about how Baltimore let the time run out and didn’t try a 51-yarder. Then, they just switched ends and were like…Oh. And, I heard on TV the guys took a look at Tucker taking practice kicks in between OT periods and had no idea if it was legal or not. Pretty standard.
3. Gronk came back and probably wasn’t ready. From the moment Gronkowski went down it felt like he was rushing to get back. It was like he felt bad for his fantasy owners or something. He survived one game, but there he was Sunday, taking a pretty standard fall for an NFL game and re-breaking his arm. Doesn’t seem like a coincidence. Now New England must go forward leaning mostly on Aaron Hernandez.
4. Green Bay can’t stop anyone. If I was Rodgers, I’d be happy I got my Super Bowl. Without that one, Rodgers could be headed toward Marino country. How many times is this defense going to get embarrassed in big games before they do something about it? 51 points to Arizona, 37 to the Giants and now 45 to the Niners. Congrats on stopping Joe Webb, we’re going to need more, though.
5. Tom Brady’s accuracy/Non-Brady Like Throws. In the over analysis of why the Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl for seven or eight years, there is a group of people who claim Brady just isn’t quite as sharp as he used to be. That ball was just a LITTLE behind Welker. Or whatever. And, there were a few of those throws on Sunday, but then there are throws like the TD to Vereen after the Houston turnover and you think–what are these people talking about?
NFL Playoff Pick Standings:
- Grossy, 7-1
- Kraft, 6-2
- DC, 4-4
- Big Dub, 3-5
- Nichols, 3-5
- JCK, 3-5
H0w about that Niners pick? Huh? Huh?