Going into Saturday's Wild Card playoff game, the biggest headline was about the Seattle Seahawks, and how at 7-9, they really had no business in the playoffs. Their opponent, the 11-5 New Orleans Saints were America's darlings last year, and look poised to make another Super Bowl run. Despite being the road team, the Saints were a 10 point favorite, and no one gave Seattle a chance in this game.
Then the game started. On the third play of the game, Matt Hasselback threw a interception, and things looked bleak for Seattle. Hasselback regrouped, and channeled his inner Joe Montana, and picked apart the New Orleans defense. Hasselback, whom most pundits wrote off, had the game of his life. He finished 22-35, for 272 yards, and 4 touchdowns, and 1 interception.
On the other sideline, the great Drew Brees put up his usual gaudy numbers, but the big story was New Orleans inability to stop Seattle. Marshawn Lynch sealed this game with one of the greatest runs in NFL history. The run was just sheer determination and grit, and it might have earned Lynch some extra money.
When the game ended, the Seahawks had a stunning 41-36 victory over the Saints. The defending champions are going home, and the so-called pathetic Seahawks have a date in the next round. One stat that made me chuckle, the only way the Seahawks can finish with a winning record, is if they win the Super Bowl, which would make them 11-9.
Also, when NBC has their annual playoff doubleheader, the NFL should allow the MNF crew to do the game, Mike Mayock's lisp drove me nuts all day. A broadcast team that hasn't done a regular season game, has no business doing a playoff game. Shame on NBC and the NFL.
Moving on to the AFC, the Jets played the Colts, in a rematch of last year's AFC title game. The game didn't feature the fireworks of the day's predecessor, but was a very good battle.
Call me crazy, but Peyton Manning being hailed as one of the greatest QB's of all time is a joke. The dude is now 9-10 in the playoffs, after today's loss to the Jets. His best receiver, Reggie Wayne, forgot to show up, as he had a single catch, for one yard. It was Pierre Garcon(5 catches, 112 yards, TD) who was Manning's main target. Overall, the Jets didn't allow Manning to get the ball downfield.
If the Jets are going to make a Super Bowl run, Mark Sanchez has to improve dramatically. He missed several receivers open downfield, and threw an interception at the end of the half, that could have potentially led to a field goal. You simply cannot throw away opportunities to score in the playoffs. Overall, Sanchez was 18-31, for 189 yards, and an interception.
The Jets rode a dominant offensive line, and the running back duo of Ladainian Tomlinson(16 carries, 82 yards, 2 TD's) and Shonn Greene(19 carries, 70 yards) to victory. After seeing LT run like he did this year, I am convinced that he quit on the Chargers last year. Call me crazy, but running backs don't improve at the age of 30.
Nick Folk hit a 32 yard field goal as time expired, and the Jets have a date in Foxboro next week. The Jets squeak out a 17-16 win.
Overall it was a great day of football, one that Sunday will have trouble topping.