Colts 30 - Jets 17
What evil hath been wrought? How dost thou deal with a monster of thy own creation? Did Bill Polian shoot himself and the team in the foot, when they made that fateful decision to hand the Jets a victory in Week 16?
These were the questions on every Colt fan's mind in the first half of this ball game.
To the Jets credit, they did what they had to do in the first half, just to have a chance to win the game. They controlled the tempo on both sides of the ball, they executed their game plan with better precision. They played chess better and created an almost unsolvable puzzle for Manning and the Colts' offense.
The blitz was remarkably effective, the coverage was close and tight. The Jets were punching the Colts right in the mouth, even more so than the Chargers last week. And all Indy could do was wipe the blood off of their faces and say: Thank you sir, may I have another?
Momentum was clearly on the Jets side, until Indy's last drive of the first half. That is when I felt it shift, that is when I felt like the puzzle was solved.
This game just goes to show that you can cover Clark and Wayne all day, and still get burned by Collie and Garcon. You can confuse Manning for awhile, but he will eventually see a weakness and openly seek to exploit it. Once the Jets' CB Donald Strickland went down with an injury, Manning and company went right after his replacement.
With all of the attention on the Indy offense, the overlooked squad was certainly the defense. Sure, they gave up some big plays early. But they regrouped and did not quit. They held the heralded Jets' running game to a mere 86 yards and made big plays down the stretch when they needed to most.
All in all, the Jets do not have any reason to hang their heads. They certainly fooled the experts in the post-season. They also have a solid foundation to build on for next year, Sanchez looked very composed for a rookie, and I look for him to develop into an All-Pro QB. I also expect they will challenge New England for the division, next season.
But for now, they are understandably disappointed. The farther you go in the playoffs, the harder it becomes to take a loss. But mark it down, this team will bounce back.
Congratulations to them for a great year and a great AFC Championship game.
Saints 31- Vikings 28
Dirty hits on Favre, multiple turnovers by the Vikings and yet, this was still a great ball game.
Give the old man his due, he is definitely one of the gutsiest players I have ever seen in this game. He took those dirty hits like a man and stayed with the game until the end. But for some odd reason, I suspect this really was his last season.
As to the game, we must address some inarguable truths:
1. Favre was the reason they were in this game, period.
2. Favre was the reason they were in the game late, after all of the careless turnovers.
3. Favre was the reason they lost the game. He had an open field, but went against the grain trying to force something that was not there. How many times have we seen that over his career?
But beyond these three observations, we must not overlook:
4. The turnovers. Minnesota would not have put Favre in the awkward position of carrying a team in the end, had they been able to hang onto the damned ball.
5. I rarely complain about the refs, but these guys stunk up the place. I cannot believe these guys are qualified to officiate a Pop Warner game, much less one in the NFL. They blew call after call by allowing dirty hits on Favre, calling only a couple. And they even got it wrong on instant replay in OT, when it counted the most. If it were up to me I'd fire all of them and I certainly hope they aren't calling the Super Bowl.
But hats off to the New Orleans Saints, they have had a banner year. Brees has shown that he is a top-notch QB and their defense has greatly improved. They will be tough for the Colts to beat.
And now, we can all get ready for the two weeks of seemingly endless hype.