AFC and NFC Championship Recap
For the average football fan with no real vested interest in any of the teams playing in the NFL's Conference Championships, the two games lived up to none of the hype, and were actually quite dull.
Personally, I brought little to the table in terms of who I was supporting; both teams that I picked won, so in that respect it was a good weekend (though I put no money on them).
The Pittsburgh/Jets game was not even as close as the score might indicate, as the second half pretty much dissolved into the Steelers playing prevent defense (poorly), while managing the clock on offense in ways that would limit putting any of their stars in jeopardy. Mendenhall has emerged like a glorious phoenix from the ashes of the injuries that plagued the start of his career; his dance moves rocked the Jets from start :
Seriously though, that game was over from the moment that Pittsburgh capped that half-a-quarter opening drive that not only sucked the wind out of the vaunted Jets defense, but probably iced the hell out of Sanchez and the offense (who wouldn't be able to get warm until the second half).
Really though, the best part of my day came in the snooze-fest that was Bear/Packers:
I drink your tears in my milkshake, Jay Cutler.
Honestly, I only really rooted against Jay Cutler, and for my efforts I was handsomely rewarded. The frat-douche that is Bears' QB sprained his MCL in the third quarter, and decided that he couldn't go on.
It's the biggest game of your career, and your arch-enemy Phillip Rivers' played in the AFC equivalent with a torn ACL - and what do you do? You stand there nonchalantly on the sideline while some old fart named Collins applies for a Hoveround and a kid named Hanie outplays you? Really?
That's the kind of nonchalance that may have flown in Denver, but the Chicago Bears' faithful will, and have already begun, eviscerating him. I am not sorry for loving every minute of the Cutler hate and conviction in the court of public opinion.
Here are some selections from NFL players themselves:
Jones-Drew — “All I’m saying is that he can finish the game on a hurt knee… I played the whole season on one.”
Arizona Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett — “If I’m on Chicago team jay cutler has to wait till me and the team shower get dressed and leave before he comes in the locker room!”
Jaguars linebacker Kirk Morrison — “Jay Cutler better go put some Tussin on that knee and get back out there.”
Former All-Pro cornerback Deion Sanders — “Im telling u in the playoffs u must drag me off the field. . . . Folks i never question a players injury but i do question a players heart.”Ultimately, his presence (for lack of a better word) on the field would have done nothing to change the Bears' fate. Green Bay was clearly the better offensive team, and their defense was playing lights-out. The Jay Cutler knock-out was perfect because then I was able to root for a competitive game without worrying about Jay getting any of the credit. That Hanie kid grew and threw some big-league balls, and I applaud his efforts. If not for a pick-six thrown to B.J. Raji (who does an amazing Chris Farley Chipendale's TD Dance), the headline might have read "Hanie Mania," or "Hanie smoked a Jay," or "Hanie a Cut-ler Above the Rest." A boy can dream.
I am giving Aaron Rodgers a pass for his pedestrian second half that was the result of the dirty (and thankfully flagged) blow to the head by Julius Peppers. I understand it was probably the Bears' only shot to get in the game (and for the most part it was a success), but it was a little disturbing that it had to come down to the Bears defense making a play on Rodgers' concussion history to try and bring them back.
All in all, I am satisfied with the teams that prevailed, and we should be set for an high-scoring affair in Arlington with the way that Rodgers and Rothlisraper have chucked the ball in domes and in perfect conditions.
I'll share my thoughts and predictions on the Super Bowl in the coming weeks. Until then, look out for a Spurs mid-season report card.