Good day ladies and gents! I figured I would hook you up with a quick recap fof the Divisional Round. I changed the format up a little though. I decided to ask the fans of the respective teams to give me their reaction to the games from this past weekend; then I added a song that I felt best illustrated the team and finally I gave my take on the games. Feel free to drop me a comment or an email.
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ARIZONA (11-7) @ NEW ORLEANS (14-3)
Fan’s take: Phylicia: "Man, Saturday's game was a huge disappointment :-/ I expected a shootout like the previous game against the Green Bay Packers. Although we had 3 players out: LB Gerald Hayes, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Safety Antrel Rolle, of course Anquan Boldin but he's been out. First play of the game, Hightower with the 70yd TD had me very confident that it was a guarantee win. Then the Saints come back and tie the game, after that they were on a roll. We drove 80yds before Chris "Beanie" Wells ran a 4yd touchdown, and that was the last TD we would make for the rest of the game. I think we weren't blitzing as much because of the injuries, therefore causing our defense to look like crap. Our D didn't have any turnovers or sacks. We need to learn how to defend the 5 wide receiver set, which couldn't stop the Packers or Saints. Also I think the kicker shouldve been Mike Nugent not Neil Rackers. Rackers looked like he was still in pain. I'm proud of my Cardinals, we finished in the "Elite 8" and improved our regular season from last year. Saints did a wonderful job, they discovered our weaknesses. I wish them luck in the NFC championship and possibly superbowl :) "
Song: Tony Yayo – So Seductive
My take: At times, you might want to have fun with your friends and decide to grab a few drinks and then hit Club Red (fictional) and just hang. However, when you get to Club Red, you might find a very large bouncer named Tyrone who's on an ego trip and just decides to not let you in because he doesn't like your face (I would like to think it's because he's jealous of me being so awesome, but then again what do I know right?). However this Friday, Club Red is having a huge party and you get inside info telling you that that Tyrone won't be there; what happens? Everybody finds a way to make it to Club Red because they know for sure that they are all getting in. Well, Club Red is the Arizona Cardinals and Tyrone is their defense. Needless to say, Tyrone has been missing for two weeks and won't be seen before September at the earliest. The Cardinals are just So Seductive.
Fan’s take: Chris Chaos (from his blog): “Glad the Saints are still in it, but not really happy about the next game they gotta play. As a football fan I am, but as I Saints fan I am kinda nervous. Nothing much I want to report here except for how big a day Reggie Bush had. Go look at his numbers. Crazy. Again only highlights as I got a lot to cover. But I will say the punt return for a TD was very nice. Kinda sealed the game for me.”
Song: Wu-Tang Clan – Clan In Da Front
My Take: I chose that song because on the track in question, the intro just presents you all the members of the Wu-Tang Clan. It gives you a better understanding of just how many people are involved with the Wu. And as you saw against the Cards, the Saints seemed like they had a lot of talented players on the field at all times. Apparently, rumors of their demise had been greatly exaggerated. After failing to win a game in about a month, the Saints came out at home against the Cardinals and surrendered a touchdown on the first play of the game (shades of Ray Rice against the Ravens). Arizona fans probably went crazy on the opening drive and thought their team had it locked. And yet, the Saints didn’t even blink. All they did was go on to outscore the Cardinals 45 to seven the rest of the way.If people had any doubts about the Saints, they were put to rest for at least another week. Now they have their Clan In Da Front, and will host the NFC Championship game.
BALTIMORE (10-8) @ (INDIANAPOLIS (15-2)
Fan’s take: Chris Chaos:Ravens lost with simple mistakes. Flacco was read way to easy. Rice not being able to hang on the to ball killed them. Hate it. Live and learn...Passing when he should have run it. Run when should have passed it...
Song: Trey Songz – All The Ifs
My Take: What if Ed Reed hadn’t fumbled that interception? What if no pass interference was called on the second Ed Reed interception? What if Baltimore had run the ball to close out the first half instead of going three and out? All of those questions are valid; however, the Ravens have lacked discipline all year. Every time I tuned in for a Ravens game, I saw them getting penalty after penalty; and it showed up against the Colts. Ravens fans might wonder how different the game might have been if none of the penalties occurred, but truth is, that’s just who the Ravens have been this season. You can sit there and go through All The Ifs, but truth is the “ifs” never matter.
Fan’s take: TheLittleJon:This is the Peyton Manning and the Colts they have blossomed into: you make a mistake or leave an opening, they're going to make you pay. None more evident than when the Ravens had the ball after a Collie TD with two minutes left before half. If the Colts get a three and out, they're going to march right back down the field. Caldwell uses his timeouts wisely, the defense stops Baltimore, and Manning finds Wayne just before halftime. Game over. If you don't play smart, ObiManningKenobi will dissect you like a fraction.
Song:Jay-Z – Already Home
My Take:Despite all the controversy surrounding 16-0; the Colts came out at home and took care of business in the divisional round after a bye week. In years past, Indianapolis had been unable to win a playoff game after a bye week but things seem different this year. This past Sunday, the Colts looked like the team that we saw win 14 straight games to open up the season. Although several have doubted their ability to come through, they are set to host the AFC title game this Sunday; whereas all the teams that were supposed to take out the Colts in the playoffs are Already Home.
DALLAS (12-6)@ MINNESOTA (12-5)
Fan’s take: MW: “So, this is what a true broken heart feels like? I never expected to take losing at this stage of the game this hard. Just like in the past, we come so close, yet not far enough. Every loss is tough isn’t it? This one honestly had me in actual tears. I will say this about the Cowboys/Vikings game. Our offensive line was NOT playing up to par. They did not protect the ball or the QB as they should have. Due to this, there are many people blaming Romo for this loss. To that, I say, learn football. There have been MANY instances in the past where Tony Romo deserved &received the blame for a loss, especially during playoff season, but this year, this game, was NOT one of them. You feel the need to blame someone? Blame our O-line period. Still need to blame someone? Blame our offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, for continually calling safe plays & going for FG's with a known garbage kicker instead of trying for a 4th down conversion. Its no longer Tony who chokes under pressure, but Garrett. I would also like to remind everyone who we lost to. Brett Favre. Even at 40, he's good. Actually, he's better than good, he's amazing and he showed that yet again Sunday. It goes back to Don’thate the player, hate the game. I’m not saying the Vikings are a better team, but this past Sunday, they were.
I will give my Cowboys credit where much well deserved credit is due. We've accomplished a lot this season. We beat the then undefeated Saints in their own house. We crushed those smack talking Eagles 3 times (& 2 of those in a row) and we took home the NFC East championship title! We've jumped over hurdles that had been blocking our Super Bowl pathway for awhile, such as winning our first playoff game in 13 years! I literally waited half my life to watch that moment and feel honored to have gotten that opportunity. I personally have watched Tony Romo grow and mature this season, while gaining confidence in himself. Some great new talent were given their time to shine (Miles Austin, Mike Jenkins, Keith Brooking) & hopefully, some not up to par talent wont be back next season (Roy Williams) With all that said, I am a Cowboys fan, true to the blue, until death! COWBOYS FOREVER! See you in August.”
Song: Tupac – I Ain’t Mad At Ya
My Take: Cowboys fans have been tormented throughout the past decade because of their team’s inability to win in December and to win in the playoffs. However, all of that changed this year. The Cowboys played well this past December and also managed to destroy the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wildcard round. However, against the Vikings, it was a wrap. Minnesota completely dismantled the Cowboys and left them for dead. Normally, you would hear that it’s time for Wade Phillips to go, but considering how far he has taken them (as opposed to the last few years), I’d give him a pass. This one time, Cowboys fans can sit down, gain some perspective, reflect and say I Ain’t Mad At Ya
Fan’s take: Unfortunately, I was unable to find a Vikings fan to give me their take on the Divisional Round. So I’ll just quote myself: “Isn’t it odd that Minnesota ran up the score and yet no one was outraged at Brad Childress? Had Bill Belichick done that, broadcasters would be asking that the NFL implement a mercy rule.”
Song: Snoop Dogg ft Xzibit - B*tch Please
My Take: The Vikings opened the playoffs at home against the much hyped (with good reason) Dallas Cowboys. Despite being a dominant team early in the season, several people picked the Cowboys to win because the Vikings had struggled a bit late in the season. So what happened when the Dallas traveled to Minnesota? Brett Favre had possibly his best playoff game of his pro career. Long story short, Favre and the Vikings were telling us: “You think the Boys are going to beat us? B*tch Please!”
NY JETS (11-7)@ SAN DIEGO (13-4)
Fan’s take: Nate from Dribble Drive: " The Jets beat the Chargers yesterday 17-14 after virtually nobody at ESPN or other media outlets gave them a chance. The thrilling victory, combined with the domination of the Bengals the week before is all the more gratifying because the Jets have had a long history of letting down their fans.
As recently as the Atlanta Falcons game, that I was at on December 20th, Mark Sanchez threw an interception, Jay Feely missed two field goals and there were a few critical penalties on the Jets. However, not including that demoralizing loss Gang Green has won seven out of its last eight games.
This includes two thrilling playoff victories for Jets fans. ESPN will probably count the Jets out for the matchup against Peyton Manning and the Colts, but hopefully there last two victories turns somebody into a believer. The Chargers came into the game on an 11 game winning streak so that should count for something.
The Jets have such a good story behind this team, coming into the game with the favored Colts with a rookie QB (Sanchez), a rookie coach (Rex Ryan), and a rookie running back (Shonn Greene from New Jersey) who has really stepped up the last two games. Rex’s confidence and swagger have really helped this team and he has pushed all the right buttons to this point. In order to upset the Colts, the Jets need Greene and Sanchez to continue their impressive play and they need Kerry Rhodes and DarrelleRevis (as always) to continue to wreak havoc in the secondary.
It definitely helped that Nate Keading missed 3 field goals for the Chargers but the Jets defense stepped up to the challenge again by picking off two Phillip Rivers passes. One interception was by Jim Leonhard and the other by Pro Bowler Revis Island. The Jets seem to be a team of destiny and hopefully they can continue their winning streak by knocking off the Colts. "
Song: 50 Cent - Back Down
My Take: Should we have taken Rex Ryan a bit more seriously when he dropped this line to the media: “we should be favored to win the rest of the way….”. You have to hand it to Ryan, the man has been doing some tough talk ever since the season started; and here he is just one victory away from reaching the Super Bowl. Ryan epitomizes 50 Cent’s Back Down song quite perfectly:
“You’za a pop tart sweetheart,
You soft in the middle,
I eat you for breakfast,
The chain was exchanged
For your necklace.”
The Jets never mince words and don’t take prisoners . Regardless of the opponent, they believe that they are tougher and more spirited. Although they have never said it publicly, they probably look at themselves as the bully on the block and all the other teams are just a bunch of p*ssies standing in the way. That's why the Jets never Back Down.
Fan’s take: With all the Chargers fans I know, you’d think one of them would have wanted to give me their take on the loss to the Jets; but it’s actually quite the contrary. The loss was just such a crushing and agonizing blow that no one really wants to give me any insight.
Song: Alicia Keys – Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart
My Take: Chargers fans watched this game with great confidence; they all figured that a match up with Indy in the AFC title game was but a foregone conclusion. But then, Rex Ryan happened. Doing his best impersonation of Vince McMahon (seriously between the swagger and the outlandish comments , these guys compare favorably in my estimation), Ryan talked the talk and then had his troops walk the walk.They ran the hell out of the football and played excellent defense on their way to containing the Chargers high powered offense to 14 points. Granted; Nate Kaeding’s gambling problem (just jokes peoples; J-O-K-E-S, do not call his phone on my account) might have had something to do with that, but you get my point nonetheless. San Diego must now go back and think hard about how they let this game get away from them at home. I will point out one thing though: didn’t the Chargers organization fire Marty Schottenheimer specifically because he could not win these games (you know, the divisional games)? And now Norv Turner is exactly in the same seat as Marty was a few years ago. You might think I’m exaggerating, but Chargers fans are already calling for Bill Cowher to come rescue them. I guess it really is tough to Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart.
Comments or questions? Email me at Shyne@NFLShouts.com.