Wildcard Weekend Reaction
on January 5, 2009 by Administrator
Four teams are down and eight are kick kicking -– the NFL play-offs are under way in spectacular style with three thrilling games out of the four going down to the final few minutes.
The biggest shock for me came in San Deigo as the Indianapolis Colts went into California riding a nine-game win streak but came a cropper in Overtime 23-17. A big sack on Peyton Manning on 3rd down in the Colts’ final drive ensured they would punt and the Chargers marched down the field for the tying Field Goal.
The Chargers would win the coin toss and receive. Aided by two questionable 3rd down flags against the defense, nullifying potential stops, the home team would score and rubber stamp their place in next weekend’s round of games and a trip to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers.
In the other AFC match-up, the #6 seed Ravens took the #3 seed Dolphins apart on their way to a 27-9 mauling of their hosts. A four pick day from Chad Pennington isn’t what you are looking for in the play-offs and when you consider that the Dolphins turned the ball over less than anyone in the NFL this season then it must be regarded as a pretty big shock as well.
Behind rookie QB Joe Flacco and the irrepressible Ed Reed, the Ravens breezed through and look forward to going to Tennessee next week to face the top seeded Titans.
Over in the NFC the Arizona Cardinals won their first play-off game at home in 61 and their first anywhere since 1998 as they overcame the Atlanta Falcons 30-24. Behind the play of veteran QB Kurt Warner (who I think is HoF bound) the Cardinals did just enough to stay in the end of season tournament but it all probably ends next week in Carolina.
The final game was the Eagles going into Minnesota to take on the Vikings and the away side won for the second time this weekend. Behind solid if unspectacular play from QB Donovan McNabb, the Eagles scored enough and with arguably the most dominant defensive display of the weekend, they held the Viking to a couple of big plays to beat them by a couple of scores.
They go to the Meadowlands next week to face the defending champion Giants in what is the most enticing match-up of round two of the 2009 NFL play-offs.