Monday, January 19, 2015

Conference Championship Game Random Thoughts

A few things I picked up on while spending 10 hours on my couch watching football yesterday.


I know that I'm probably the millionth person with any sort of medium to say this but when the Packers twice decided to kick field goals in the first quarter, I felt they were doomed.

It's not that I, or anyone, could have predicted the amazing Seattle comeback but why leave points on the board playing against a team that feels invincible when they are at home?

Mike McCarthy employs one of the best quarterbacks of his generation and to not trust him to convert so close to the goal line twice early in the game opened the door for a historic fourth quarter collapse and a loss that will haunt the Realm of Lombardi for many years to come.


It will be a pastime in New England the next few weeks to make an enemy out of the Seahawks but please take a minute to pay respect to an organization that is on the verge of joining a select few with back-to-back Super Bowl titles.

Yes, it's easy to criticize their trash talking and bravado - especially in comparison with the usually tight-lipped Patriots - but they are a tough, defensive minded squad that plays with passion and intensity on every play.  Their refusal to quit on themselves yesterday is a testament to the championship culture that Pete Carroll has built in the Pacific Northwest.

When I was a kid and the Patriots were bad, it became necessary to enjoy the great NFL teams in other cities during the playoffs.  My early Super Bowl memories are of Joe Montana's 49ers, the Parcells Giants, and those dominant Cowboys teams of the early '90s.

If the Patriots were that bad today, this Seahawks team would certainly be one I'd enjoy watching.


Now that I've said my piece on respecting the Seahawks, I hope those bums enjoy getting thrashed by the Patriots on February 1.  


The Colts desperately needed a quick start against the Patriots and when their first drive was a 3-and-out followed by fumbling a punt return before their second drive, it was clearly going to be a looooong day at the office for them.

Andrew Luck will probably have a lot more shots at winning conference titles and Super Bowl championships but his first attempt at a trophy ended horribly.

A lot of his struggles are attributed to the game plan put together by Bill Belichick, Matt Patricia, and the Patriots defensive staff and the execution on the field by the defense but don't let Luck off the hook so easily.

The third-year quarterback did not get any rhythm going early and put his own defense in harms way by only putting together one sustained scoring drive in the first half.  Even that drive was not completely on Luck as an uncharacteristic stupid penalty by Vince Wilfork and the obligatory Brandon Browner penalty extended the only Colts scoring drive of the day.

Luck is very good with an obviously bright future but let's not put him in the conversation of great quarterbacks right now.  He has a long way to go to be considered an elite, championship caliber quarterback.


The mastery of formations and keeping opposing defenses off balance further proves the genius of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

I am like many who occasionally curse at the television from the cozy confines of my living room when it seems McDaniels play calling is becoming "too cute" but his ability to consistently put his offense in position to score is a good sign heading into the Super Bowl against Seattle's defense.


I have a feeling the Patriots defense will tire quickly of hearing off the accolades of Seattle's "Legion of Boom" defense very early during the Super Bowl hype machine.  These slights, perceived or not, will lead to a commanding performance with Darrelle Revis proving he's still the best corner in football and Chandler Jones, Jamie Collins, Devin McCourty showing the world that there's quite a bit of talent on the New England defense.

Collins in particular could be the biggest breakout star of the Super Bowl.  Two years ago he was toiling for winless Southern Mississippi and now he's a key piece - and an emerging All-Pro - on a Super Bowl team.  He may end up being the key to stopping Russell Wilson's runs.


Early prediction?

26-13 Patriots.

Brady joins Montana and Terry Bradshaw with four Super Bowl titles as a starting quarterback.

Belichick is forced to re-name his boat to VI Rings.

And Collins wins Super Bowl MVP for notching 14 tackles, a sack, and an interception.

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