Monday, January 23, 2012

"They played a little bit better..."

According to Ravens QB, "they [the Patriots] played a little bit better." But from where I was sitting, that's not the case. I'm still not sure how the Patriots, with Brady playing poorly (in his own words, he "s*cked pretty bad"), with three turnovers to one takeaway, with no TD passes, settling for three field goals, with the defense unable to stop the Ravens on 3rd down in the second and third quarters, managed to come out of that game yesterday with a win.

But they did. And in two weeks, they'll play in the Super Bowl. Again. Against the Giants. Again.

Odds and ends from yesterday's game:
  • I think that there's a world of difference between a "drop" and what happened on the Lee Evans play at the end of the game, and people putting Evans on a par with Billy Cundiff - or worse - are underestimating the contribution of Sterling Moore. Yes, Evans did get both hands on the ball and yes, if he held on the Ravens would have won the game. But he never had an opportunity to put the ball away, as the ball was hit by the defender as he was trying to establish control. A little more credit to Moore and less blame to Evans is appropriate than what I've heard and read.
  • There is no excuse, however, for Cundiff.
  • Did Terrell Suggs play?
  • I did not realize, until they talked about it during the game yesterday, that Bernard Pollard was the Houston defender who tackled Wes Welker on the play in 2009 on which Welker tore up his knee. Pollard was, of course, the safety for the Kansas City Chiefs whose low tackle tore up Tom Brady's knee. And then, in the 3rd quarter of yesterday's game, he took down Rob Gronkowski, landing on and twisting his ankle in such a fashion that Gronkowski had to leave the game. Thankfully, he returned. But I don't want to see the Patriots playing against Pollard ever again...
  • That was a poor performance from the Patriots quarterback yesterday. The biggest surprise from the game may be that they're going to Indianapolis despite Brady, rather than because of him.
  • It wasn't just the picks. One of the most blatant mistakes came early, as Brady missed Gronkowski for a TD in the first quarter. Instead, they ended up settling for 3, and it affected everything that followed.
  • He's lucky that walked off the field after his diving sneak TD, when Ray Lewis put his helmet into Brady's spine while he was upside down. (And well after the TD had been scored...)
  • The best player on the field yesterday may have been Vince Wilfork. The Ravens couldn't block him.
The Giants go on to Indianapolis on the strength of not one but two blown punt returns by the 49ers - a muff in the fourth quarter that led to a NY touchdown, and a fumble in OT that gave NY the ball in field goal position (which they'd shown no likelihood of reaching on their own.)

And the number of replays of the David Tyree helmet catch that we're all going to see over the next two weeks is appalling to contemplate...

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