Sunday, January 16, 2011

Divisional Weekend: 11 Things I Know I Know

1. I know the two wide receivers - Anquan Boldin and TJ Houshmandzadeh - Baltimore acquired in the offseason to help get them over the hump were the two players that cost them when it mattered most. With under four minutes remaining, Boldin dropped an easy touchdown which would have given the Ravens a four-point lead. Instead, they settled for a field goal which tied the game at 24. With very little pressure on them (the game was tied and they had already battled back from 14 down), the Steelers came right back down the field and scored a touchdown.

After a big kickoff return, the Ravens faced a fourth-and-18 on their own 44 yard line with just over a minute to play. Joe Flacco threw a perfect pass to TJH only to see it slip right through his hands. Game over. Season over.

2. I know fans in Pittsburgh sitting at the 50-yard line hung a huge banner that read: "Zero (Steelers logo) Tolerance." Call me crazy, but didn't your franchise quarterback get suspended for the first four games of the season for allegedly sexually abusing a 20-year old college student? Yes, in fact he did. How quickly they forget.

3. I know Tramon Williams has ended two consecutive playoff games with huge interceptions. Williams intercepted Michael Vick in the end zone last week to seal Green Bay's victory over Philadelphia. This week, he intercepted the uber-underwhelming Falcons' QB Matt Ryan and returned it for a score as the first half concluded putting the Packers up by 14, completely demoralizing the Falcons.

Earlier in the second quarter, Williams intercepted Ryan in the end zone keeping the score tied at 14. For my money, he has been the postseason MVP so far.

4. I know that if there were a leaguewide redistribution draft today, Aaron Rodgers would be the first player selected. The 27-year old is in complete control - both of the offense and himself - at all times. He's working on back-to-back-to-back 3900+ yard seasons. He's durable (one game missed in the last three years), has a cannon, and he performs in the clutch. This postseason, he's 49-63 for 546 yards, six touchdowns, and no picks. Pretty decent, huh?

It wouldn't hurt having Erin Andrews around all the time, either.

Just for fun (or torture), here are some of the guys picked ahead of Rodgers - selected 24th overall in 2005: Alex Smith (first overall, San Fran); Adam Jones (sixth, Tennessee); Troy Williamson and Erasmus James (seventh and 18th, Minnesota); David Pollack (17th, Cincinnati); Matt Jones (21st, Jacksonville); and Fabian Washington (23rd). Whoops.

5. I know Saturday was a brutal night for Atlanta sports fans. The Falcons got walloped, 48-21 by Green Bay. The Hawks, 8.5-point favorites, lost at home against the Rockets, 112-106, and the Thrashers lost 6-1 at Dallas. I'm sure the Gold Club was busy, though, with all the athletes in town. So not everyone in the town lost after all.

Who else didn't lose? The Banter.

6. I know Pete Carroll waved the white flag when his team was down 28-0 in the third quarter, and he attempted a field goal. Really, cutting a four-possession game to a...four-possession game is a good idea, how?

Let's play "what if." What if Seattle punches it into the end zone to make it 28-7 with 17 minutes to play. What if they cut it to a seven-point lead late in the fourth instead of an 11-point lead. What if.

7. I know the Jets backed up all of their trash talk, every single word spoken since August. Take a bow, Rex. Your boys did the impossible going into Foxboro and slaying the monster.

8. I know Tom Brady is 0-2 in his last two home playoff games. If everyone is going to give Peyton Manning a hard time, Brady deserves it too. Sure, he has the four Super Bowls to Manning's one, but Manning has never lost two consecutive home playoff games.

9. I know the Jets looked awful in only one facet of the game: fielding onside kicks. As a Jet fan, I will take that any day of the week because they looked incredible on defense, they looked competent enough on offense, and they are now a game away from Dallas.

10. I know Shonn Greene should have taken a knee at the one instead of scoring a touchdown with 1:41 remaining. By scoring, he gave the Patriots an opportunity to come back in the game. Had he taken a knee, the game would have been over.

11. I know the Jets and Packers will be playing in Dallas on February 6th, but if you read the Banter regularly, you would have known that since September 9th, 2010. J-E-T-S, Jets Jets Jets.

The Banter is seven-for-eight this postseason, missing only on New Orleans during Wildcard Weekend.

No matter who wins the Super Bowl, the University of Michigan will have at least one alumnus on the team (Green Bay: Charles Woodson; Chicago: Todd Collins; New York: David Harris and Braylan Edwards; Pittsburgh: Larry Foote and LaMarr Woodley). The Wolverines are the only team with at least one representative on each of these four teams.

"11 Things I Know I Know" is my feeble attempt to trump the untrumpable's Peter King and his "10 Things I Think I Think" which happens to be my favorite article each week.

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