Monday Blurbs - NFL Playoffs Roundup
One week ago, I wrote an article expressing my disappointment in a lackluster Wild Card weekend for the NFL. I ended the piece admitting I was a selfish NFL fan and wanted a little more drama. Boy, did we ever get it this past weekend. Save for the Patriots/Texans game, the past two days had some pretty epic football games. The biggest story coming out of the weekend, for me, was the performance delivered by QB Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers. San Francisco took out Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers – defeating them 45-31. The game started inauspiciously for Kaepernick, who threw a pick 6 to Sam Shields in the first offensive series. He would go on to erase the memory of that by throwing for 263 yards plus two TD along with a record-breaking 181 rushing yards and two more TD. His two rushing TD were runs of 20 yards and 56 respectively. The Packers’ defense had no answer for San Francisco’s offense as they accumulated a team-record 579 total yards in the victory.
San Francisco will make their way to Atlanta to take on the Falcons next week in the NFC Championship after their thrilling last-second victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle was able to come back from 20 points down and managed to take a one point lead with 31 seconds left after RB Marshawn Lynch punched home a two yard touchdown completing an improbable comeback. Atlanta had a little life left in them as QB Matt Ryan completed two pivotal passes to WR Harry Douglas and TE Tony Gonzalez to set up the 49-yard game-winning field goal from K Matt Bryant with just eight seconds left. Bryant actually missed the initial attempt, but Seattle head coach Pete Carroll stupidly called a timeout to “ice” him.
Joining Tony Gonzalez in continuing his playoffs farewell tour is Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens stunned the Denver Broncos by defeating them 38-35 on Saturday thanks to a 47-yard game-winning field goal from rookie K Justin Tucker in double-overtime. Baltimore managed to tie the game at 35 with an incredible 70-yard TD pass from QB Joe Flacco to WR Jacoby Jones with 31 seconds left in the game. Denver decided to test the overtime waters by having QB Peyton Manning kneel the ball with two timeouts rather than taking a shot down the field at the end of regulation. A decision they would come to regret as they watched Justin Tucker keep the Ravens’ Super Bowl dreams alive and Ray Lewis’ 17-year career going. They’ll go on to face the New England Patriots in Foxboro next week in an AFC Championship rematch from last year after they defeated the Houston Texans 41-28 on Sunday.
• Lance Armstrong will reportedly do an interview with Oprah Winfrey. The interview’s purpose will be to give Armstrong an outlet to admit to all the doping accusations that have been placed against him. Nice to see Lance is ready to admit to doing something the rest of us already knew about. That’s all I’m going to say about that because I’m sick of Lance Armstrong.
• There are no undefeated teams left in Division I NCAA men’s basketball. Top-ranked Duke Blue Devils lost to (20) North Carolina State Wolfpack 84-76 on Saturday. Duke’s star guard Seth Curry missed the end of the game after contributing 22 points due to an ankle injury. The (2) Michigan Wolverines had a chance to solidify themselves as the best team in the Nation but lost to rival (15) Ohio State 56-53. Trey Burke, guard for Michigan, had a chance to clinch the Wolverines' first number one ranking in 21 years and complete their 21 point comeback but came up just short. It would have been an incredible moment for the Columbus native against his hometown team, but it was not to be. (3) Louisville could be poised to take over the top-ranking once the latest polls are released.
• The NHL season will begin January 19th as the treacherous 99-day season will commence. The Los Angeles Kings will look to defend their Stanley Cup victory from last year as they raise the banners for the season-opener against the Chicago Blackhawks. Their center Anze Kopitar, who injured his right knee while playing in Sweden mere hours before the NHL ended their lockout, will only need a few weeks to recover from the sprained knee.
• Major League Baseball has decided to become the first major sports organization to test for human growth hormone in-season. HGH blood-testing occurred during spring training of last season and will be implemented randomly through the 2013 season and beyond. Credit where credit is due for the league most shamed by a history of performance enhancing drug issues. Bicycling probably has more history of it than baseball, but who really cares about cycling?
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