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Tuesday Morning Overreactions

The NFL playoffs got off to a great start as Wild Card weekend lived up to its name. In what we can only hope is a great preview of things to come over the next few weeks, last week was filled with great performances, huge blunders, long bombs, great runs, hard hits, amazing feats being accomplished, history being set, wild 'fros, and even included a single moonshot.

For the first time in NFL history an 8-8 team won a playoff game, only to have it happen again 24 hours later.

None of the four games from this past weekend featured a single runner with more than 100 yards in the game despite having the leagues top 2 running backs, and 3 of the top 4. In one of the games the teams leading rusher was their quarterback, and the team won.

One game ended on a failed 4th down, within the opponents 5, while another game was extended because of a personal foul on a failed 4th and goal opportunity.

One game went to overtime and scored less points than was scored in another game by halftime.

3 of the 4 losing coaches were named Mike.

One team improved upon last years postseason results, and still lost by 25 points.

Around the country some were filled with jubilation, and others with despair, as 4 more teams saw their seasons end, while others saw the dream continue on.

The more things change....

In week 16 of the 2003 season, Denver beat Indianapolis by a score of 31-17. Later, in the wild card round of that postseason, the two teams faced off again. This time around Indianapolis trounced Denver 41-10.

In week 17 of this season, Denver beat Indianapolis by a score of 33-14. Last weekend the two teams faced off in a wild card game. This time around Denver fared better.... scores wise anyways. This time instead of losing 41-10, they lost 49-24. Although by halftime the game was no longer in doubt as the Colts lead 35-3.

A main reason for the utter domination by Indy, was Denver's fraidy cat tactics. Denver knew coming into the game that Indy had the highest scoring offense in the league. Indy had put up 33 points per game during the regular season and their QB had set the record for most TD's in a single season.

With the game 7-0 it's Denver ball at their own 41. They faced 4th and 1. Denver has been known for the past 7-10 years for their great running game, and their dominant OL play. But rather than try and go for the 1st down, they became afraid and kicked a punt. 9 plays 78 yards later the Score is 14-0.

Later in the first half it's 21-0 Indianapolis. Denver has the ball at the Indy 14, with 4th and 6. Indy had been abusing the Denver secondary all game, and there was no reason to think it wasn't going to continue. So what does Denver do, they put up a fraidy cat field goal, so they can later say they didnt' get shut out. 3 plays later, including the kickoff, it's 28-3.

One of the great things about the Indianapolis Colts offense is the willingness of the WR's to block for one another. On Reggie Wayne's 4th quarter TD pass, one of the key blocks was near the goal line as Marvin Harrison plowed into Champ Bailey and helped Wayne score a TD.

Reggie Wayne went on to end the day with 221 yards receiving. Peyton Manning set a record with 457 yards passing.

After last year's playoff rout, Denver traded a pro bowl running back for Champ Bailey to avoid a similar fate. Instead Champ Bailey ends up getting knocked on his tush. During the week, Denver DB's had talked about how the Indy WR's were soft, and yet Champ Bailey ends up on his tush.

The more things change part 2...

Marty Schottenheimer, or as I like to refer to him, Chokenheimer, has been to the post season 11 times prior to this year. His career record was 5-11, meaning he's never managed to win the big one. He's been labeled as a coach whose teams choke in the big games. Would things be any different in 2004?

One of the main successes of the Chargers this past season was that they played a wide open offense, that spread the field and moved the ball downfield. For some unknown reason the Chargers started this game in a more conservative offense.

Late in the first half with his team up 7-0 Marty disagreed with a call on the field, and proceeded to march out about 15 yards on the field to argue with the refs. Marty ended up being flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and gave the Jets offense 15 yards. The Jets later ended up scoring a TD on the drive to tie it up.

In the second half as the Chargers were trying to come back, two times in a row deep in Jets territory the Jets lined up with only 10 men on the field. The Chargers failed to take advantage. Later, down by only seven, the Chargers had forced the Jets to punt. They, however, lined up on the field with 12 men. The resulting penalty gave the Jets a first down, and they got to keep the ball. This is a case where -1 > +1.

Credit the Chargers though as they fought and managed to come back from 10 points down to have a chance to tie it up. After 3 failed goal line attempts left the Chargers with 4th and goal on the Jets 2 with 24 seconds to go, Marty called one of the worst playcalls of the day. He lined up with an empty backfield 5 WR's set. It is much easier for a Defense to defend the pass on the goalline simply because there is not as much room to maneuver. So what happens? Jets defenders break past the offensive line, forcing Drew Brees to end up running back and tossing up a prayer. The ball falls to the ground incompleted, and the Chargers cinderella season is over....almost.

Thanks to an extremely stupid play by the Jets LB, as he was tackling Drew Brees, he decided to throw a forearm shiver to Bree's head. Personal Foul, 1st and goal from the 1. Next play TD to Antonio Gates, and we're headed to overtime.

After both teams managed 3 and outs in OT, the Chargers put together a pretty good drive that found them on the Jets 22 yard line. It was a rainy day, the field was slick, one Field goal had already been missed from under 40 yards, and the Chargers currently employed a rookie kicker who had never felt the pressure of kicking a playoff game winning field goal. Add to that the fact that no rookie in NFL history had successfully kicked a field goal in OT during the playoffs, and you might think the smart thing to do would be to try and get closer.

So what does Chokenheimer do. He sees the Jets have eight in the box to defend the run. Play Call? LaDanian Tomlinson for -1 yards. Next play Jets again have eight in the box. Play Call? LaDanian Tomlinson for no gain. Next play the Jets have nine men in the box. This leaves them open for a pass play, or a rollout. LaDanian Tomlinson for 1 yard. 3 plays no yards, up next is a 40 yard field goal attempt. Wide Right.

The Jets however were able to drive to the San Diego 10 yard line and win the game. Once again Marty Chokenheimer strikes, and his record is now 5-12.

AFC Round 2

The second round of the AFC playoffs are now set up. And though the Steelers play the Jets in a rematch of an earlier game this year, it is going to be the forgotten game, as once again the Colts will travel to New England. Last year this was the AFC Championship game. This was also the game that helped the NFL decide to re-emphasize the illegal defensive contact rules.

Peyton Manning is 0-6 lifetime in New England. However 2 of the last 3 losses were not due to poor play on his part. Granted, in the AFC Championship he threw 4 Int's, which, illegal contact or not, 4 Int's is inexcusable and will kill your team. However, earlier this season the Manning had his team in position to score a winning TD, when twice Edgerrin James fumbled in the red zone.

Will this finally be the time that the Colts break through? Dunno, but can't wait to find out.

Records mean nothing

This year the St. Louis Rams finished the season 8-8. They however did manage to make the playoffs. No team who had a record of 8-8 had ever won a playoff game. Lucky for the Rams they were facing the Seattle Seahawks, whom they had beaten twice already this season, and it can be argued were the reason for the Seahawks dowfall.

The Rams stormed out to a 14-3 lead only to see the Seahawks battle back and take a 20-17 lead. After tying it up and later taking a 7 point lead the Seahawks began their final drive to attempt to tie the game and force overtime.

All year the Seahawks WR's have had problems with dropping wide open passes. The playoffs would be no different as throughout the game Seahawks WR's dropped pass after pass. It came down to a 4th and 4 from the St. Louis 5 yard line. Seahawk QB Matt Hasselbeck dropped back, was rushed, started to scramble, saw Bobby Engram alone in the end zone. He threw the ball, Engram caugh it, but as was usual with the Seahawks, he dropped the ball. The Rams became the first NFL team to go 8-8 and win a playoff game. Hey at least Hasselbeck didn't say “We want the ball, and we're going to score” this year.

'Fro it to Randy

Less than 24 hours after the Rams had completed a 3 game sweep against division rival Seattle, the Green Bay Packers were at home attempting to complete a 3 game sweep agains the Minnesota Vikings. In the 16 previous attempts (including the Rams) where one team had a chance to sweep another team 3 times in a year, it was successful 11 times. Not many people, myself included, game the Vikings, who, for the second straight year had collapsed during the second half of the season, were 8-8 and had lost 7 of their last 10 games, a chance to win.

So what happens? The Vikings, led by Randy Moss and his Mod Squad Afro hair that was completely out of control, came out early and Jumped on the Packers. At Halftime it was 24-10. Not much changed in the second half. Randy Moss had 2 TD Catches and one interesting end zone celebration (see below) as the Vikings upset the Packers, avoided the sweep, and became the second team ever to go 8-8 and win a playoff game. They were however the second team to do it within the 24 hours.

One interesting play during the game. The score is 24-10 under two minutes to go in the 1st half. Favre trying to bring his team back faces 3rd and 6 from the Minnesota 8. He Scrambles, starts running to get a first down and sees a couple Defensive backs in his way. A Few years ago Favre would have fought for the first down. What does Favre do, he chucks the ball forward for a TD Pass, except he knew he was beyond the line of scrimmage. He simply follows this up by laughing about the play.

A Five yard and loss of down penalty makes it 4th down from the 10, and the ensuing fieldgoal attempt is no good.

Now if this was anyone else, the media bobbleheads would have had a field day with how stupid of a play it was. But since it was Favre they all just laughed about how he was having fun, despite the fact that it hurt his team. Between that play and Favre's 4 Interceptions, methinks his playoff mystique is diminishing.

When the Moon hits your eye...

Apparently there is a tradition in Green Bay where Packer fans line up outside where the visiting team's bus leaves the stadium. As the bus leaves, a row of fans drop their drawers and moon the opposing team.

In the stadium were many signs attacking Randy Moss, and making fun of him, deservedly, for his selfish attitude, and because he left the week 17 game against the 'skins before the clock had ran out.

In the 4th Quarter Randy burned Green Bay DB Al Harris for a 34 yard touchdown. Moss then immediately went to the back of the endzone and Mocked pulling his drawers down and mooning the crowd.

Was it in the best taste? No. Was it a little crude? Probably. Was it funny? Absolutely! Now I'm not a fan of the premeditated, prop-involved antics recently seen by Terrell Owens, Joe Horn, and Chad Johnson. I do however enjoy a good spontaneous end zone celebration, and found Moss' mock mooning to be quite funny.

Of course since it was Moss who did it, the hypocritical bobbleheads around the nation were falling all over themselves to take chances to condemn Moss for his actions. ESPN and Fox refused to show replays of it. Too bad these networks didn't do the same for Owens a couple years ago, or this wouldn't be such an issue now.

What Moss did was funny, a little low class, and crude, but nothing that should have caused an uproar. Methinks, people need to sit back and chill. Randy Moss will give everyone a legitimate reason for uproar very soon.

NFC Round 2

This year's NFL Playoffs should be renamed to the rematch playoffs. All 4 games last week were rematches of earlier games, and all 4 matchups this upcoming week are rematches of earlier games. Including Mike Tice returning to the site of his biggest coaching blunder of the season. In the 4th quarter of their week 2 matchup, the Eagles led the Vikings 17-9 when Donovan McNabb threw a deep pass to Terrell Owens for what was ruled a TD, and made the score 24-9. Replays showed that Terrell Owens not only came down before the goalline, and therefore wasn't a TD, but also that the pass should have been ruled incomplete. Tice failed to challenge the pass and let the TD Stand. Had he challenged the pass and gotten it overturn, Moss' TD Catch on the next drive would have made it 17-15, with the options to go for two to tie the game.

The Rams however travel to Atlanta in a rematch of their week 2 loss to Atlanta. Atlanta QB Mike Vick rushed for 109 yards as the Falcons dominated the hapless Rams from start to finish.

Will it be any different this week? Who knows, but I'll enjoy watching to find out.

What exactly did he comeback from?

The Past week the NFL Gave out it's annual Awards. Ben Roethlisberger was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Peyton Manning won his second consecutive MVP trophy as well as the Offensive player of the year. Marty Schottenheimer was awarded coach of the year, ironically enough on the same day his Chargers were eliminated in the playoffs. Also from the Chargers, QB Drew Brees was awarded Comeback Player of the year.

That leaves just one question though. If Brees is comeback player of the

year, where did he go? Brees should be most improved player, but he definitely

does not deserve Comeback. It's not like he had a great season, then followed

it up with some bad season, just to once again return to past form this year.

No, he's never performed at a high level to this year. Again Most Improved. Not


He didn't have a career threatening injury, or a Life threatening Illness. Brees should not be Comeback player of the year.

It should go to either Mark Fields who missed last season because of Cancer. Fought the cancer and came back to the same level of play he used to have this year.

Or Willis McGahee. Granted he never played in the NFL, but he's a special case where his knee got blown out six ways from Sundays. Some doubted he'd ever be able to play football on Sundays after that injury. Now he's turning into a star.

Third would be the Bus who had had some bad seasons lately, only to have his tires rotated, the engine tuned and now he's rolling like old.

But Not Brees. A player shouldn't be given a comeback player of the year for

not ever being real good and failing to live up to expectations, and then

finally having a great season. That's what the most improved player award is


Sideshow's Playoff Rankings

Below is a ranking of the playoff teams chances to go all the way. Slots 9-12 were determined by margin of defeat with OT games getting precedence. So here are this week's rankings.

Rank (LW)


Last Week's Result

Up Next


1 (1)



vs. N.Y. Jets

Bye week gives Big Ben and other Steelers chance to heal from nagging injuries.

2 (2)

New England


vs. Indianapolis

Belichick is still the main guru of the coaches but the Earth, Wind, and Fire secondary could be a liablity.

3 (3)


Won 49-24 vs. Den

@ New England

Breaking through versus Patriots could make them dangerous.

4 (4)



vs. St. Louis

First ever home playoff game for Mike Vick.

5 (7)



vs. Minnesota

Haven't played well offensively in over a month. Rust might be a big factor vs. Vikes.

6 (8)

St. Louis

Won 27-20 vs. Sea

@ Atlanta

Falcons thumped Rams in week 2, but Rams offense can still be dangerous

7 (9)

New York Jets

Won 20-17 (OT) vs. S.D.

@ Pittsburgh

Who says Pennington isn't good throwing deep. Pass to Santana Moss to start 2nd half was pretty

8 (12)


Won 31-17 vs. G.B.

@ Philadelphia

Too Bad T.O.'s out because end zone celebration showdown between Moss, and T.O. would have been fun.

9 (6)

San Diego

Lost 20-17 (OT) vs. N.Y. Jets

Settling the Drew Brees/Philip Rivers QB Situation

Long offseason awaits, as fans debate another classic Chokenheimer collapse.

10 (11)


Lost 27-20 vs. StL

Ordering large amounts of Stick 'Um.

Seahawks watched season fall right through their hands... literally for the WR's.

11 (5)

Green Bay

Lost 31-17 vs. Min

Held hostage once again by Favre retirement rumors

Since Superbowl XXXI Victory Favre is 1-4 in the postseason with more Int's than TD.

12 (10)


Lost 49-24 vs. Ind

Looking once again for more secondary help.

DB Roc Anderson should change his name to Pebble, after the abuse he took from Indy.