NE Pats 21 - SD Chargers 12
I thought the San Diego defense did all that could be asked of them. They held the Pats to 21 points and all the Charger offense had to do was come up big, like they claimed they could. Although the flamboyant (without cause) Rivers moved the ball at times during the game, they couldn't get the ball in the end zone. And you cannot beat the NE Patriots by kicking FGs. You must score TDs to beat them, there is no ifs, ands, or buts here. You just have to.
Tom Brady throwing three interceptions is certainly an anomaly and it was the kind of day that many teams wish they could have had against the Pats. But Maroney stepped up the running attack and opened up the passing game enough for NE to clamp down in the fourth quarter.
But the real key to the game was the NE defense, particularly in the red zone. Bend but do not break, give up yards but limit points. That's how the Colts got the job done last season, it's how you win championships. They did not fold they kept playing and in the end they compensated for Brady's lackluster performance (by his usual standards).
Bottom line, New England has too many weapons. If some of them misfire, they use the ones that are firing. They have one more to go to be in history for the ages. If they lose, all of this will be for naught.
NY Giants 23 - GB Packers 20
No matter what the inside armchair critics say about how sloppy this game was played, it's hard enough to get out and start the car in this kind of weather, much less try and play four quarters of NFL playoff football. You cannot understand it, unless you've been in it. The football is slippery and hard as a rock, the ground is like cement, and each hit by an opposing player hurts that much more.
If you were ask people in the beginning of the season which QB named Manning would be in the Super Bowl, very few would have guessed Eli. Give the kid credit, he came to play and play he did. He put his team in a position to win in regulation. When that didn't pan out, it did work in OT. He moved the ball
The first FG that was missed was Tyne's fault, The second was the long snapper's blunder for snapping the ball too high. But how great it must have felt, when he put the game winner through. The Giants play so much better on the road, it's not even funny. They win, even though they win sloppily. They gut it out.
I thought the cold affected both teams equally, but especially hurt Favre. After all, age does matter in these kinds of extremes. He couldn't get into a rhythm and the Giants defense had much to do with that. But thing thing that hurt both teams was the personal fouls at critical points in the drives.
At any rate, congratulations are in order for the Giants and their fans. Enjoy the moment, because they hjave their work cut out for them in two weeks.
Today is the day, Tony Dungy is supposed to let the world know if he is still the coach. If not, then Jim Caldwell is set to step in and it is highly doubtful anything will change. Caldwell has been Dungy's Assistant Head Coach, philosophies are completely the same. He is a quality individual that Indy fans will definitely embrace, every bit as much as Dungy. (And the black coaches lobby will have no beef with the selection process, because like Dungy, Caldwell is a black man.)
I saw the last Peyton Manning "Priceless Pep Talk" commercial last evening. Indianapolis feels as sad as Peyton looks in it as he ponders the end of the season. But, don't kid yourself. He is most certainly excited that his brother Eli has made it into the big game. Now if the Manning family can find some voodoo specialist in the French Quarter to put a hex on the Pats, he might have a chance to win it.