January 19, 2009

Tampa, here we come

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

In case you haven’t heard yet, we’re heading towards Tampa with a Super Bowl matchup of the high-flying Arizona Cardinals vs. The rough-and-tough Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s a classic matchup of a great offence against a great defence – the unstoppable force meets the immovable object. Which side will give? Well, that’s what we’ll have two weeks to debate as the media froths at the mouth, looking for even the smallest storylines to play up with no games in the way for 13 more days.

As for the conference championship games, well I can’t remember being more excited while watching games I thought I’d have so little interest in. Being a Cowboys fan, it’s my obligation t root against our division rival Eagles so watching Zona jump out to a huge first half lead was a thrill. Now, you’re going to be hearing this a lot over the next while so brace for it: Larry Fitzgerald is ridiculously amazing. The guy just makes plays, through and through. He was definitely the best receiver in the playoffs and could be the best in all of football right now.

Now, it wouldn’t have been a great game had it stayed a blowout. Hell, I wouldn’t have spent these many lines on a 35-6 blowout. So, needless to say, the Eagles made a game of it my scoring three TDs in three possessions to take a one-point lead. The Cardinals proceeded to march down the field,

Of course, no good game comes without some controversy and this was no exception. On fourth and ten, on the Eagles last real chance of the game, Kevin Curtis ran an out-route, got tangled with the defender and fell as the pass sailed by him. The argument is that the corner tripped him up while he was falling but I urge you to look at the replay closer. Curtis clearly pushes off to get separation and that cause the defender to fall onto him. Case closed; if anyone should’ve been called for pass interference, it was the Eagles’ receiver.

This was the Eagles’ fourth NFC championship game loss in 8 years and despite his performance in recent weeks, I think that the debate if McNabb should go or not should be brought up again. The one time he lead his team to the Super Bowl, he choked the even bigger game away. He’s really just not a clutch player.

As for the AFC game, well, it was a case of a rookie QB playing like he was a rookie QB. But that happens more often than not against a defence like Pittsburgh’s. Joe Flacco only threw for 32 yards in the first half and if you know anything about football, that’s not enough to lead your team to victory. The Steelers did exactly what they needed to do, stop the Ravens running game and put the game into Flacco’s incapable hands. It worked like a charm.

There are a few quarrels I have about the game though:
-What was up with Limas Sweed dropping that easy TD pass and then pretending he was injured? No wonder Steelers fans hate him. He did a great job of “coming back from injury” to absolutely lay out a Ravens defensive back with a block though. Guess he wasn’t too hurt after all.
-I have no idea what the refs were looking at when the Ravens were called for roughing the kicker when their punter was clearly untouched and fell on his own. That penalty might have cost the Ravens the game.
-Maybe Rex Ryan’s head wasn’t fully in the game seeing as how he’s already accepted the Jets head coaching job mere hours after the game. Actually, I thought he called a great game and really, it was Flacco’s poor play and the defence missing some tackles on long receptions that did Baltimore in. He’ll have a tough time with the Jets trying to get them to play Ravens-calibre defence though. I think he’s out in two seasons.

Finally, let’s all hope that Willis McGahee is fine after that tremendous helmet-to-helmet collision with Ryan Clark. Apparently he’s suffering from “significant neck pain,” but isn’t seriously hurt. Get well soon buddy.

This week: 0-2
This post-season: 5-5

2 Comments

  1. Zona & Steelers in the Big Bowl ! What were each team’s odds at the beginning of the year?

  2. That was a terrible no-call for pass interference on the 4th down the d-back clearly slipped and grabbed the reciever’s foot.

    As for the question of McNabb being back is quite obvious, he will be back in an Eagles uniform next year. The coaching, the lack of a solid receiving core should all be considered before the QB. It’s clear that he still has it in him to rally back like that in the second half.

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