January 8, 2013

A wild NFL weekend? It was anything but

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

Usually something happens on the NFL’s wild card weekend that makes for an easy ‘wild weekend’ pun, but not this time around. There was never any real danger of an upset in any of the four games played. When was the last time that four favourites all won and covered in wild card weekend? I can’t remember, at least.

The most notable game was the one we all knew would be the closest. The sad thing was is that this actually could have been a close game if Mike Shanahan had actually exercised some common sense. It was clear that Robert Griffin III aggravated his sprained knee after the Redskins went up 14-0 and should have been pulled from the game. From then on, it was all Seahawks.

Seattle would score 24 straight points and look generally dominant with RG3 hobbling all over the field. It wasn’t until a bad snap forced the QB to scramble for the ball, planting his foot on the torn-up turf and wrenching his knee in a grotesque nature that he was finally pulled from the game.

What I want to know is how the grounds crew got away with keeping that turf in such poor condition? Even before kickoff it looked like a day-long rugby tournament had taken place before kickoff. And Griffin wasn’t the only player injured on the day; Seattle lineman Chris Clemons tore his ACL in the game too.

This game could have been a lot better if we saw more of Kirk Cousins – who will get a lot of trade attention this off-season – and if we weren’t too busy talking about RG3’s MRI results and what the future holds for him.

The Ravens-Texans tilt was certainly a game of emotions. Coming in we had the Chuckstrong movement, with Colts head coach Chuck Pagano in his second game back from treatment for leukemia. Next, we had Ray Lewis announcing his retirement at the end of the season, meaning this would be his last home game ever. Then, the day of the game, Indy OC Bruce Arians – who filled in so admirable with Pagano gone – was taken to hospital after suffering a ‘cardiac episode’ during the team’s morning meeting. Let me just tell you that all of that emotion was much more exciting than anything that happened during the game.

I had a couple of reactions during the Packers crushing of the overwhelmed Vikings:

1. Joe Webb?

2. Joe Webb!!

3. Joe Webb???

4. Oh, no, Joe Webb…

5. Where’s this McLeod Bethel-Thompson they were talking about?

That’s pretty much how it went from the time it was announced that Christian Ponder – who wouldn’t have done much better – would miss the game. The Packers were better at every aspect of the game on Saturday night and Ponder, the worst starting QB in the playoffs, couldn’t have possibly made things any better. The Vikes were always about Adrian Peterson and, despite his 99 rushing yards, he was held in check.

Finally, the first game of the weekend may have been the worst. There was little to get excited about from the Houston-Cincinnati game. Let’s put it this way: I watched the whole thing and I can’t remember a single play from it. Next year, can we petition the league to not let these teams meet in January? We don’t need another wild-card weekend dud.

This week: 3-1
This playoffs: 3-1
This season: 132-116-8

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