Spiderfan's 2020 Web of Football Wild Card Edition Jan 10, 2021 22:00:34 GMT -8
Post by spiderfan on Jan 10, 2021 22:00:34 GMT -8
The playoffs have started SCtoC and that means it is time for me, Spiderfan the official NFL Analyst of this great website to discuss everything that happened during Wild Card Weekend. Let us begin!
Party like it's 1995
The Buffalo Bills have not won a playoff game since 1995 when they beat the Miami Dolphins in what was Don Shula's last game as HC of the Miami Dolphins. Bills QB Josh Allen wasn't born yet. The #1 movie at the time was the first Toy Story. Ok, you get the picture it was a WAY long time ago and for the first time in a WAY long time they get to celebrate a playoff win after beating the Indianapolis Colts
The Colts had control over most of the first half, their offense physically dominated the Bills defense (something which you rarely see in the NFL) and their defense shut down what has been an explosive Bills offense... that was until late in the first half. See, the Colts were up 10-7 and had the ball and were having a great drive, Colts QB Phil Rivers was throwing great passes and Colts RB Johnathan Taylor looked like the great RB he was at University of Wisconsin. The Colts are down at the 2 yard line and it is 4th and Goal. Because the Colts HC is Frank Reich who is famous for his aggressive play calling, it was obvious that the Colts were going to go for it. It was a controversial decision, but as CBS color commentator Charles Davis pointed out the Colts wanted to get TDs not FGs in the red zone, so as to counteract the explosive Bills offense. Well, instead of going up 17-7, a combination of a slight overthrow by Rivers and a drop by Colts WR Michael Pittman resulted in a turnover on downs. But it wasn't the end of the world because the Bills would be at the 2 yard line at very best would get a FG to tie the game right? Right? Yeah, Allen led the Bills right down the field and put them in the red zone. The Colts could have made up for this by intercepting a bad pass by Allen, but it would be dropped also, and Allen would precede to run into the end zone and the Bills would be up 14-10 at halftime.
A catastrophic end of the half for the Colts and they would never get that close to winning the game again. In the second half the Bills offense was clicking, Bills WRs Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley were making the Colts defense look silly and the Bills defense helped the offense get enough separation that despite a late Colts rally, the Bills would hang on 27-24. Considering the final score was decided by 3 points it was easy to say that the Colts should haven't gone for it in the first half, but I will counter that argument by saying had the play worked, the Colts would have won the game outright... at least in my opinion. Feel free to leave yours down below.
The Seattle Snorehawks
There was a time when the Seahawks offense looked like it was going to be one of the all time great offenses, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was going to be MVP and the Seahawks were going to give the Kansas City Chiefs a run at the Super Bowl. Yeah, that didn't last and a season that started out with a lot of promise, ended in a wimper after the Seahawks were outdueled by a Rams team led by a QB who's thumb has pins in it and Cam Akers the Rams backup RB.
I can name you the notable plays that happened in one long sentence. Each team gets early FGs, Rams WR Cooper Kupps Mosses Seahawks S Jamal Adams (because we live in a world where that is a thing that can happen) which sets up FG, pick six by Rams after the Seahawks failed to block on a screen pass, Seahawks deep pass to DK Metcalf for TD, Rams deep pass to Cam Akers which led to TD, long FG by Seahawks, Rams deep pass to Robert Woods sets up TD, Seahawks muff punt which then sets up another Robert Woods TD, DK Metcalf gets garbage time TD.
And that list makes it seem like more stuff happened than did. The game was boring and full disclosure I actually dozed off at various points because I knew I wasn't missing anything and if you didn't watch the game you didn't miss anything.
Some questioned if the Tommy Bay Buccaneers accumulation of big name talent would result in success after all dream teams haven't panned out in the past. Guess what? If Tom Brady isn't playing QB for the Buccaneers, and Antonio Brown isn't at WR for the Buccaneers, and if Leonard Fournette isn't coming out of the backfield for the Buccaneers, the Buccaneers do not beat the Washington Football Team. But because of the talent gap, the Football Team couldn't ultimately make the plays on offense and defense that they needed to make to win the game. That isn't to say that QB Taylor Heinicke's effort wasn't impressive, the fact that he had over 300 yards passing and kept his team in a game that most didn't expect them to be remotely in, is impressive and I would absolutely give him a chance to compete for the starting QB job next year. He has earned that. I would also say that this loss is something to build on for the Football Team. They are young and will only get better over time and I think Ron Rivera will build a great team in the future.
As for the Buccaneers, this game proved that their aggressive offseason was a good idea, and with the team continuing to play good football into the postseason they should have a shot at the Super Bowl... except they play the Saints next week who destroyed them in both regular season meetings and will likely crush those hopes. Welp, there is always next year!
The Tennessee Titans are a one dimensional team
The reason I state the above header is because after watching the Tennessee Titans lose to the Baltimore Ravens 20-13, I realized why the Titans win as many games as they do, and yet why they won't win a Super Bowl with the core they have. The Titans offense consists of RB Derrick Henry and play action passes taking advantage of the fact that teams are desperately trying to stop Derrick Henry. What the Ravens did on Sunday is say: "We are going to stop Derrick Henry. Now Ryan Tannehill try to beat us." Keep in mind, that Titans QB Ryan Tannehill thought he was snubbed out of the Pro Bowl. Well, Tannehill played like his Miami Dolphins bust self, not his 2019 Pro Bowl self, and that was because the Ravens shut down Derrick Henry and thus the Titans run game. As it turned out the Titans pass game isn't actually all that great when it doesn't come out of play action.
Meanwhile, the Ravens run and pass game was functioning well and after the Titans took a 10-0 lead early on the Ravens would precede to outscore them 20-3. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson was in control of the game and with over 100 yards rushing, put up one of the best QB rushing performances in NFL playoff history. The Ravens have now won 6 straight games and with Buffalo deck, look to with their 7th straight. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens vs Josh Allen and the Bills should be a fun game.
The Bears-Saints game can be described in one sentence, admittedly a shorter one than the Rams-Seahawks game. The Bears defense bent and bent and bent and bent and bent and then finally broke and the Saints won. The Bears offense went right back to the suckage that was their offense before Trubisky came in and won a few games against bad teams and because of his and the offense's poor performance instead of Trubisky earning his job next year and saving HC Matt Nagy's job, I would be shocked if both are still with the Bears next season. Shame too, because when both came into Chicago it looked like the Bears had a promising future.
The Saints avoid an embarrassing playoff upset, and now look to face the Tommy Bay Bucaneers for the 3rd time and considering the lopsidedness of the previous 2 meetings, I'd be surprised if the Saints lose.
The Biggest Surprise
Speaking of surprises and embarrassing playoff upsets, can I point out that THE BELIEVELAND BROWNS BEAT THE PITTSBURGH STEELERS HANDILY?! The all caps seems unnecessary, but it is necessary because the Browns didn't have their HC Kevin Stefanski who not is the HC but is also their offensive play caller and they also lacked both O-line coaches AND a couple of starting CBs all due to positive COVID-19 tests. The offensive line during the game suffered injuries which led to guys who were on the street days ago starting as offensive lineman in a playoff game having not practiced with the team being coached up by some random low level assistant coach because of COVID-19 protocols. In fact, the Browns team did not practice because of COVID-19 protocols.
None of that mattered because the Steelers had the worst first quarter in NFL playoff history. Don't believe me? Here is the rundown:
The Steelers started the game with the ball and on the opening play Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey snaps the ball way over Steelers QB Big Ben which was already bad enough... except that the ball went into the endzone and was recovered by the Browns for a TD. Within seconds the game was 7-0 Browns. Then next series, Big Ben had a pass tipped at the line of scrimmage which was intercepted. Browns QB then throws a pass to Jarvis Landry who gets a lot of yards after the catch and a play that results in a TD. 14-0 Browns. Steelers have a 3 and out. Browns drive right down the field with the help of RB Nick Chubb and the other Browns RB Kareem Hunt scores a TD. 21-0 Browns. Big Ben then has another tipped interception. Kareem Hunt runs for another TD. 28-0 Browns at the end of the 1st quarter.
The Steelers would put a fight and a couple times it looked like they might actually make it a game, but the Browns kept pulling away and eventually the final score was 48-37. This game was reminiscent of the last playoff game the Steelers played, which was when they were upset by the Sacksonville Jaguars (back when that was still a thing), where the Steelers dug themselves a big hole and never dug out of it. Also, it was against an upstart team of a franchise that lost a lot of games and hadn't been to the postseason in over a decade. That was then and this is now, and now the Believeland Browns are going to Kansas City after winning their first playoff game since 1994. Congrats to the Browns players, coaches, and most of all the fans who have had a very bad team for a very long time and have waited many years for this moment. Y'all deserve it.
And with that Wild Card Weekend is in the books. I enjoyed having all day football on Saturday and Sunday and am glad that the NFL expanded the playoffs. Now just expand the regular season already and get rid of the onside kick and then the NFL would be even better! Anyways, I hope ya enjoyed and I hope to see ya for the Divisional Round next week. This is spiderfan out.
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