Here is my take on the Saturday NFL playoff games. I got to see most of both:
Jets 24 - Bengals 14
Every year in the playoffs, one team seems to rise up at the right time and play well enough to be the cinderella team that the media loves to see. I am not so sure it is the Jets though. But then again, I am not so sure it isn't.
If the Colts hadn't laid down in the next to last game of the season, we wouldn't be talking about them (except in reference to the draft). But they did get a Christmas gift from Indy when they sat their stars. And now, this is a new season and a chance for new life. Records are out the window and the outcomes of games are decided on the field, not by pundits on TV and radio.
I don't want to take away from the Jets' good performance on the defensive side of the ball, or their potent "ball control" running attack on offense. But if you ask me what advanced New York out of this round, I'd have to say it was Carson Palmer and the entire Bengals offense (except Cedric Benson, who had 169 yds rushing).
No blocking, no picking up blitzes, and throws way off target, all had a major impact on this game. And when the passes were on target, they were dropped. I tell you, Chad Johnson is the next Terrell Owens, another big mouth "no effort" choke artist. For the second week in a row, Rivas had him covered like Allstate.
In my estimation, there is no excuse for the poor performance by the Bengals. They had all of the tools they needed. They had the talent, size, and speed. They knew the Jets well from the week before and still could not come up with a decent game plan to at least make it interesting. They moved the ball, but could not score points. They couldn't even depend on the kicker to make an easy FG.
But again, I won't take anything away from NY. They played solidly and confidently, Sanchez did not look like a rookie. He had a lot of help from the running game, but also made good decisions when the ball was in his hands. They deserved to win this game and may have gained enough confidence and momentum to cause their next opponent some serious anxiety.
Cowboys 34 - Eagles 14
I am not a fan of either team. But as it turns out, Michael Vick is playing for Philly and I have no respect for an inhumane puke that kills defenseless animals for sport or pleasure. I was not in favor of him returning to the league this quick, if ever at all. So, that sinks the Eagles a bit lower on my personal likability chart.
I can sum this game up quite simply, Dallas owns Philadelphia.
And why shouldn't they?
The Eagles franchise hasn't changed much over the past 10 years. Some of the faces are different, they play decent defense, but for the past decade their success had hinged on Donovan McNaab. As he goes, so goes the team. How hard can it be to prepare for a team like that?
They are predictable to a tee and the Cowboys were ready for them....again.
McNaab was smothered. He was sacked four times and his throws were constantly being hurried. While he was able to manage 230 yds passing, the Eagles (as a team) could only manage 56 yds rushing. That will not get it, in the playoffs
Vick managed to throw a 76 yd TD pass early. But before the Eagle fans could start screaming for the dog killer to replace McNaab, he fumbled an easy handoff and gave the ball back to Dallas in good field position. That brought PETA members everywhere to their feet, celebrating in jubilation.
The bottom line here is simple. Like them or not, the Cowboys showed they could win a playoff game with Philips as coach and Romo as QB. The big thing that makes them so dangerous from here on out is their defense. They are creating better situations for Romo (and the entire offense) to capitalize on, by shutting down the opposition and causing turnovers.
Whoever they get next week had better be ready to play, unless they want to be watching the rest of the games on TV.