NFL Divisional Championships

Sunday’s Divisional Playoffs:

The early game Sunday featured the Seattle Seahawks at the Atlanta Falcons. It proved to be one of the best games in playoff history.

At halftime the Falcons were leading 20-0. The game appeared to be over. Russell Wilson, the dynamic, undersized rookie quarterback for the Seahawks brought his team back. With 34 seconds left in the game, Seattle was leading 28-27. The bad news for the Seahawks was that Matt Ryan, better known as “Matty Ice” had time left on the clock. He threw two passes that put kicker Matt Bryant into position to kick a 49 yard field goal, and the Falcons left only 6 seconds on the clock. Final score 30-28.

Russell Wilson may be one of the most impressive young quarterbacks I have seen in almost 50 years of watching professional football. He is confident, physically talented, and doesn’t see the game as something beyond his ability.

The late game saw the Houston Texans in a repeat of a game they lost to the New England Patriots in Foxboro five weeks ago. It appeared to be headed to the same one sided result. Houston had two seasons. The first half they were the best team in football. The second half proved that the coaching staff was unable to motivate and educate their team. Both offense and defense began to deteriorate.

Although Tom Brady was rushed and knocked down several times, he was comfortable enough to dominate the Texans’ secondary.

With 5 minutes and eleven seconds left, the Texans scored a touchdown and a two point conversion to make the score 38-28. Could Houston’s defense get a “three and out”?

With 4:13 left in the game, and a critical down, Brady had his pass knocked down. But, as usual, St. Tom had the refs bail him out and called a holding call on Houston. Wade Phillips had no more answers for the Patriot’s offense, and they controlled the last minutes of the game. The final score was 41-28 in favor of New England.

The Championship games for next Sunday are decided. In the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers will be in Atlanta to face the Falcons, and in the AFC, the Ravens will be in New England to face the Patriots. The AFC game will be a repeat of last year.

So, who goes to the Super Bowl? I cannot vote against Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers defense. They should dominate the Falcons whose defense is not respected in the NFC. The AFC game is a toss up. The emotional Ravens could make the Patriots’ offense powerless, and Flacco may be able to throw the long ball enough to defeat them. But, once again the key will be Ray Rice. If the Baltimore line can help him get to the second level often enough, they could win the game. I know I disagree with the “experts” who believe the only way Baltimore can win the game is by passing. We’ll just have to see.

James Turnage
Columnist-The Guardian Express

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