Tag:Wild Card Playoffs
Posted on: January 4, 2009 9:20 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2009 7:11 am

NFL: Flyin' the birds - Ravens, Eagles advance

Today, I was 2 for 2, so I'm 3 for 4 in my prognostications overall so far. Not too bad. Today's winners are the Ravens and the Eagles. Now that the Wild Card games are finished, the "predicting" gets even harder.

Ravens at Dolphins -- The Ravens' defense played just the way I thought they would, making life miserable for Dolphins' quarterback Chad Pennington while Baltimore posted a 27-9 win this afternoon in Miami. Pennington was 25 of 38 for 252 yards and a touchdown, but the relentless wrecking crew that is the Ravens' defense picked Pennington four times, a Miami post-season record, one of which picks was returned for a touchdown by Baltimore defensive stalwart safety Ed Reed. Pennington also was sacked three times. As an indication of just how well the Ravens' defense played, the Dolphins won time of possession (33:26 to 26:34) and first downs (18 to 16) and still were overwhelmed. Miami had a combined 21 carries for 52 yards in the game. The Dolphins managed one touchdown on a 2-yard Pennington pass to running back Ronnie Brown in the fourth quarter. A 19-yard Dan Carpenter field goal in the first quarter accounted for the remainder of Miami's scoring. Pennington threw to seven different players, including running back Patrick Cobbs, who had four catches for 55 yards. Ravens' quarterback Joe Flacco was 9 of 23 for 135 yards, with no interceptions, and also had a 5-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Flacco was not sacked in the game. Matt Stover had two field goals and Le'Ron McClain added an 8-yard rushing touchdown to round out the Ravens' scoring. Five Ravens combined for 33 carries for 151 yards. To the credit of the Dolphins, the team never gave up. Congratulations to the team and their management for turning around a 1-15 season just last year into an 11-5 year ending in a playoff appearance. And congrats to the Ravens, who move on to play the Titans next week in Tennessee.

Eagles at Vikings -- Through most of this game, it felt like the Vikings would keep it close, then win it in the fourth quarter. The score was 16-14 Philadelphia heading into the fourth quarter. Neither team had scored in the third quarter. Then, midway through the fourth quarter, Eagles' running back Brian Westbrook, who had not been effective up to this point in the game, broke a long run after a short pass from Donovan McNabb, scampering 71 yards to paydirt. That made the score 23-14. In the last minutes of the quarter, Eagles' kicker David Akers would notch his fourth field of the game to cap the scoring and put the exclamation point on a 26-14 victory for the Eagles. McNabb was 23 of 34 for 300 yards, one touchdown and one interception. McNabb threw to eight different players. The Vikings' defense sacked McNabb three times, but could not stop him from piling up the yards. Eagles' cornerback Asante Samuel accounted for the team's other touchdown on a 44-yard interception return. Vikings' quarterback Tarvaris Jackson was 15 of 35 for 164 yards and the interception. Running back Adrian Peterson accounted for all of Minnesota's scoring with touchdown runs of 40 yards and three yards. Peterson had 20 carries for 83 yards, and running back Chester Taylor had 12 carries for 48 yards. Jackson threw to six different players. He was sacked once. Congratulations to the Vikings, who finished strong after a tough season. And congrats to the Eagles, who move on to play the Giants next week.

Around the NFL . . .

Next weekend's playoff matchups


AFC -- Ravens at Titans                NFC -- Cardinals at Panthers


AFC -- Chargers at Steelers        NFC -- Eagles at Giants


P.S. Thanks to fellow blogger iamyo for reminding me about the reseeding. It's a pain in the butt and confusing, but I guess it makes sense.

Posted on: January 4, 2009 12:48 am
Edited on: January 4, 2009 6:25 pm

NFL Playoffs -- Cardinals, Chargers win

I'm disappointed with the results of both of today's games, and I only went 1 and 1 on my predictions. I predicted the Falcons and the Chargers would win. Ah, well, there's always tomorrow.

The Cardinals and the Falcons really duked it out, but Arizona rode Kurt  Warner's arm to a 30-24 victory. Warner was 19 of 32 for 271 yards, with two touchdowns -- one each to receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin -- and one interception. Fitzgerald had six catches for 101 yards and the TD. Warner threw to nine different players, while running backs Edgerrin James and Tim Hightower combined for 22 carries for 96 yards, with Hightower also notching a touchdown. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan was 26 of 40 for 190 yards, two touchdowns -- one each to receiver Roddy White and tight end Justin Peelle -- and two interceptions. Ryan threw to eight different players, while running back Michael Turner was held to just 42 yards on 18 carries, but did score a touchdown. The turning point in this game came early in the second half when a handoff by Ryan was mishandled and popped right into the hands of Arizona safety Antrel Rolle, who ran the ball back 26 yards for a touchdown. Atlanta's offense appeared to be rattled by the play and never really recovered. Kudos to the outstanding effort this year by Ryan and the Falcons, and kudos to Warner and the Cardinals, who are moving on to Round Two against the Giants (?? -- remains to be seen, pending outcome of Eagles at Vikings) next Sunday.

Home-field advantage finally worked for the Chargers, as they drove for a field goal to tie the score at 17-17 in the waning moments of regulation and, while the Colts' defense suffered major mental lapses in the overtime, San Diego quarterback Phillip Rivers engineered a touchdown drive to seal the 23-17 victory. Rivers was 20 of 36 for 217 yards and an interception. But for San Diego, their primary weapon for the night was Darren Sproles, who had 23 carries for 105 yards, five catches for 45 yards, 106 yards on four kickoff returns, and 72 yards running back three punts, a total of 328 all-purpose yards, including the game-winning touchdown. Rivers threw to six different players, Antonio Gates being the most productive with eight catches for 87 yards. Running back LaDainian Tomlinson had five carries for 25 yards, but was only available for about the first half of the game because he was nursing a groin injury. For the Colts, quarterback Peyton Manning was 25 of 42 for 310 yards and one touchdown to receiver Reggie Wayne, who had four catches for 129 yards. Receiver Anthony Gonzalez had six receptions for 97 yards. Manning threw to six different players in the game. Running backs Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes combined for 20 carries and just 56 yards, while Addai did score a touchdown. San Diego won the toss going into the overtime, and the Colts defense appeared to lose its cool, racking up some costly penalties while the Chargers rolled into field goal range before Sproles broke loose on a 22-yard run to score the game winner. In spite of another fine effort from Manning, the Colts couldn't hold it together. Kudos to the Chargers, who move on to Round Two against the Titans Steelers (forgot about the reseeding -- see posts below!!) next Saturday.

Hey, I guess 1 and 1 isn't so bad. We'll see what happens tomorrow!

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