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Upon Further Review: Belated Edition

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Upsets, blowouts, incredible finishes and awful officiating dominated the second round of the playoffs.

Upon Further Review: Belated Edition

This week's edition of Upon Further Review got delayed by some extraneous circumstances, but it's back now with an Alex Smith-like vengeance.  The playoffs have been red-hot thus far, giving all of us football fans some very entertaining games.  This past weekend was no exception.  While some of the play was sloppy (I'm looking at you, Baltimore and Houston) and some of it was lopsided (thanks, Denver), all of the games contained something for everyone.  High scoring, late-game drama, big plays, controversial calls, big hits, great takeaways, and twins.  Well, maybe not the last par, but you get the idea.

Because everything has already been hashed and re-hashed and then hashed again, I'll just provide a quick-hitting version of the feature this game.  I'll give one or two takes from each of the weekend's games, starting with Saturday's showdowns.

San Francisco 49ers 36 - New Orleans Saints 32

I don't even know where to begin with this game.  First you had San Francisco absolutely pouring it on early.  Then you had New Orleans still competing despite committing all of those turnovers.  Then you had that fourth quarter, with the lead-changes and the drama.  It was definitely an instant classic football game.  Alex Smith played probably the game of his life, and he couldn't have picked a better week.

Here's what came to my mind when watching San Francisco take advantage of all New Orleans' mistakes: they are doing exactly what Detroit couldn't accomplish last week.  The Lions had several dropped interceptions that Drew Brees was able to make them pay for.  Not this time.  The 49ers have an extremely opportunistic defense, and that's what you need come the playoffs.  This team erased a lot of my doubts with their performance on Saturday.

New England Patriots 45 - Denver Broncos 10

I can't say I'm surprised by this.  The one sliver of hope Denver had came early on when they intercepted Tom Brady late in the first quarter and then scored their lone touchdown on the ensuing drive.  They forced the Patriots to punt, but then went three-and-out.  New England came right back with a touchdown to make it a 21-7 game.  It was over right then and there.

It's difficult to win in the playoffs when your quarterback completes 9-26 passes.  I didn't think Denver would be able to keep pace with New England, but I didn't imagine it would be that bad.  New England looks scary good right now, and the defense is playing well even without Andre Carter.  If I were a Pats' fan, I'd feel pretty good about my Super Bowl chances.

Baltimore Ravens 20 - Houston Texans 13

This is a game where Houston REALLY missed Matt Schaub.  T.J. Yates filled in admirably, but he didn't have the poise against the Ravens' veteran defense.  It shocked me how many times Yates threw right at a receiver when Ed Reed was just waiting over the top to make a play on the ball.  But Houston's defense made this game competitive by really disrupting Joe Flacco's timing (5 sacks) and limiting Baltimore's running game.

Houston's defense is good, but it's not Baltimore's defense.  That's why even with all of the offensive inefficiencies and inconsistencies, I kind of like Baltimore's chances against the Patriots next week.  Flacco should have an easier time attacking New England's porous secondary than facing Houston's stout defense.

New York Giants 37 - Green Bay Packers 20

The lead photo pretty much describes the game.  The Giants were euphoric, and the Packers were stunned.  Like many have said, this game was a strong blend of great Giants' play and very poor Packers' play.  Aaron Rodgers missed several easy looks.  The Packers coughed the ball up with regularity.  The pass rush couldn't get to Eli Manning.  It was a perfect storm of mediocrity for Green Bay.

But the Giants looked like a serious Super Bowl contender in most facets of the game.  The offense kept rolling, with Manning remaining accurate and in control, the receivers continuing to create big plays, and the running game contributing when it needed to.  The defense played a solid all-around game.  They got to Rodgers on several occasions, created turnovers, and covered well in the secondary.  And the special teams stepped up, especially on that surprise onside kick.

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Comments (1)
  1. Tim Odom's profile

    Tim Odom

    January 24th, 2012 @20:07

    Hmmmmm, seems my Patriots made it to superbowl afterall... yoohoo

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