Sunday, January 9, 2011

Playoffs: Happiness and Disappointment

Well, the Chiefs demonstrated that they are not quite fully baked today. They looked inexperienced, and panicked at times. The offense was very shaky, and the defense, while mostly pretty stalwart, had trouble guarding against third down success. The result was a very close game that turned into to a blowout, 30-7.

The key play was the 4th and inches call in the third quarter, on Baltimore's 33 yard line. The Chiefs were going against the wind, so a FG was not a choice. The call to go for it was the right call. The play, however, was the WRONG call. A pitch back, backwards 6 yards. Baltimore wasn't fooled a bit. A power play with a counter action is the right call. Or a QB sneak. Or a pounding play with Tim Castile or Shaun Smith. It was the length of the football!

It was all downhill after that. Turnovers and penalties--the Chiefs doing all the things they had avoided during most of the year. The score rapidly got out of hand.

Fans should remember that this was a bonus--tell me, were you expecting a 10 win season? 8-8 maybe. 9-7 maybe. Really? The team is not fully cooked yet, not done. What we need is a season of equal improvement next year, with wins over winning teams in a tougher schedule.

Meantime, the Eagles lost to the Packers in a game the Pack got ahead in by two touchdowns. Talk about a disgruntled fan base! A lost home playoff game, Iggles Fans cannot be pleased.

Seattle upset New Orleans who apparently forgot to bring their defense with them to the Great Northwest. How is it that the Saints D can play so wonderfully against the Falcons, and then drop a total clunker in this game? The Saints have some evaluation to do on the defensive side of the ball.

There was also one decision I disagreed with in this game--with 9:16 left in the game, New Orleans was on the Seahawks 3 with 4th down and 2 yards to go. The score was 34-27. New Orleans had offensive momentum, having just scored a TD at the 13:16 mark and held Seattle to a three-and-out in the succeeding series. The Saints decided to kick a field goal. I disagree with the call. First, time is short. Second, if you fail, the Seahawks are on offense at their 3, 2 or 1 yard line. It was time to go for it. Commentators kept saying how important it was to come away with points, blah, blah. I wonder if being in an enemy stadium made Shaun Payton and company too conservative, too conscious of the "crowd momentum"?

Meantime the Jets, Jets, Jets beat Indy at their own game, in a tense fingernail chewer of a game featuring more punts in the first quarter than in the entire Saints-Seahawks match. It came down to Mark Sanchez being calm cool and collected and taking the Jets down to FG range with a minute and small change left in the game after being set up by a fabulous kick off return. Nick Folk made the kick and the Jets took the match on the last possession.

Next week we have the Steelers and Ravens in Pittsburgh, Jets to New England to face the Patriots in the AFC and Seattle plays the Bears in Chicago. As their reward, Green Bay gets a pleasant trip to Atlanta to face the Falcons in the Georgia Dome.

Happy, happy, happy for the Jets, very disappointed in the Saints, disappointed but not surprised by the Chiefs loss, surprised by the Philly loss. A mixed bag for sure.

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