Well, did you enjoy your Wild Card football? Some unexpected things happened during Wild Card Weekend, thus showing why football is so much fun.
Jets-Bengals--final score 24-14 Jets: I really thought that the Jets had had their fun, at the expense of teams who rested starters and just really weren't all that into winning, but I was pleasantly surprised by the Jets performance Saturday. Mark Sanchez was solid, and the defense just would not let the Bengals back in the game. Cincinnati did not do themselves any favors either, with missed field goals and other mistakes. The Jets will go on to face San Diego, a terrific match up for old AFL fans.
Ravens-Patriots final score 33-14 Ravens: Ravens Run, Brady Looks Mortal would be my headline for this game. Once Baltimore got ahead in this game, it was only a matter of the Raven's defense torturing the Patriot offense, coupled with the Raven's running game shortening the game and keeping the ball away from Brady and co. The game was won in the first quarter--the Pats could never catch up. Peep these Ray Rice highlights, including the Ravens' first offensive play from scrimmage. He had 159 yards total. Joe Flacco will have to do better than 4/10 for 34 yards and one interception for the Ravens to move past the Indianapolis Colts, plus the Ravens D will have to be up to stopping Payton Manning.
Eagles-Cowboys final score 34-14 Cowboys: This game had the makings of a good competitive game. The absolute critical play was the review and reversal of the interception attempt (check it out for yourself here) by the Eagles at the 13:13 mark of the second quarter. Dallas then took the ball and continued down the field to score a TD, taking 4 minutes to do it. Not long after, after Dallas added a field goal, at the 3:31 mark, Michael Vick and his running back flub a handoff and Dallas recovers the ensuing loose ball. This was followed by Leonard Weaver's fumble after a catch of a McNabb pass at 1:01 of the second quarter. Both fumbles were followed by Dallas scores, making the score at halftime, 24-7 Cowboys. After that, the Dallas defense choked the Eagles, lots of three-and-outs. Next up for the Cowpokes? The Vikings, in Minnesota--just like in the 70s, except for no cold, and no Bud Grant. Remember the orange that was thrown at Drew Pearson in one of those games? (Yikes, I am old.) Should be a good one.
Cardinals-Packers final score 51-45 Cards in OT: Another game when one team blasted out ahead with a dynamic offensive play and turn overs from the other team--Arizona looked like they were on their way to a rout. However, Aaron Rodgers played a great game, and the Arizona defense could not put the clamps on the Packers. The Pack came all the way back, withstood a last second field goal attempt by Arizona, and the game went into OT. Green Bay won the toss, and most were expecting, thus the game, since neither defense had exhibited any ability to stop the other team, but Arizona successfully blitzed Rodgers, who fumbled. The football took the quirky sort of bounce that only a football can take, ending up in the arms of LB Carlos Dansby who ran it 17 yards for a TD. QB stats? Curt Warner 29/33 for 379 yards, 5 TDs and no INTs. Aaron Rodgers 28/42 422 yards, 4 TDs, one INT. This one is one for the ages, check out this highlight package from www.nfl.com. Next up for the Cards: the Saints. Funny I see footballs flying all over the Super Dome. Or do I? Just because football is what is it, we'll probably end up with a defensive game, won on rushing and turnovers!
Aaron Rodgers fumbles during a sack in OT. His right leg is about to come up and kick the ball up, and into the waiting arms of Carlos Dansby. Ain't football a funny game? Ah, could that be a face mask penalty? (Matt York photo; KC Star source)