The Pythagorean NFL

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Garrett Garlits, Mar 27, 2018.

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  1. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the first 2010 NFC Divisional Playoff from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta:

    The Eagles scored after taking the opening kickoff. Jorrick Calvin's return set up the offense at its own forty-two, and Michael Vick hit Corey Maclin for fifteen yards and Desean Jackson for fourteen more. Shady McCoy's fifteen-yard gain on a draw play gave the Eagles a first down at the Falcons' twelve-yard line, and from the five David Akers kicked a twenty-two yard field goal to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead with 9:48 left in the opening period.

    The Falcons answered with a field goal of their own. The big play of the drive was quarterback Matt Ryan's forty-six yard strike to reserve wide receiver Harry Douglas, which gave the Falcons a first down at the Eagles' twenty-six. The drive died at the twenty, but kicker Matt Bryant converted a thirty-seven yard field goal attempt to tie the game at three with 7:57 left in the opening quarter.

    The Eagles took only one play to get back in field goal range, thanks to Vick's sixty-four yard bomb to a wide-open Jason Avant. The Eagles thus had a first down at the Atlanta eleven, but they could only get as far as the three before calling on Akers, who hit from twenty yards out to give the Eagles a 6-3 lead with 5:35 left in the opening period.

    The Falcons came right back with a touchdown on their next drive. Douglas turned a short pass in the slot into a twenty-yard catch-and-run, and Ryan also completed passes of fourteen yards to reserve wideout Brian Finneran and eighteen yards to future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez. Running back Michael Turner ran up the middle for eleven yards and a first and goal at the Eagles' three, and one play later it was Turner up the middle again for the touchdown. Bryant made the extra point, and with 3:42 left in a wild opening period the Falcons led 10-6.

    We had our fourth lead change of the game before the first quarter was out, as the Eagles answered the Atlanta touchdown with one of their one. Vick and Jackson connected on a sideline pattern for a thirty-four yard gain, and he also found Avant for fourteen. Vick also contributed to the drive with his legs, as his thirteen-yard scramble gave the visitors a first and goal just inches from the Falcons' goal line. McCoy took care of the last few inches on the next play, and Akers made the extra point to give the Eagles a 13-10 lead after only fifteen minutes.

    The Eagles added another touchdown early in the second quarter. Vick completed a twenty-two yard pass to Jackson, and he also scrambled for twelve yards and a first down. Jarome Harrison gained seventeen yards on a itch to the right, and Vick finished off the dries by scooting into the end zone from twelve yards out. Akers added the extra point, and with 10:38 left in the first half the Eagles led 20-10.

    The Falcons answered with a touchdown of their own. Ryan found Gonzalez for twelve yards and Jenkins for eleven, and reserve running back Jason Spelling found a hole of the left side of the Philly defense and poured through it for fourteen yards and a first and goal at the Eagles' two. Turner scored his second touchdown of the day from two yards out on the next play, and Bryant added the extra point to cut the Philly lead to 20-17 with 6:17 left in the first half.

    The Eagles extended their lead with another touchdown in the final two minutes of the half. Vick ran for twelve yards and a first down, then connected with Maclin down the middle for a thirty-two yard gain. Maclin also ran a reverse for fifteen yards and a first and goal at the Falcons' nine. The Eagles lost four yards over the next two plays, but on third and goal from the thirteen Vick found Avant between two Falcons defenders for the score. Akers added the extra point, and with 1:44 left in the half the Eagles now led 27-17.

    The Falcons ran the two-minute drill to perfection to get a field goal before the end of the first half. Ryan found Douglas for twelve yards, Gonzalez for thirteen, and wide receiver Roddy White for fifteen. Spelling's fourteen-yard gain off right tackle gave the Falcons a first and goal at the Philly five, and on the final play of the first half Bryant was good from twenty yards out. Our halftime score: Eagles 27, Falcons 20.

    The Falcons tied the game with a touchdown after taking the second half kickoff. Ryan completed a nineteen-yard pass to Finneran, and Tuner showed his versatility by cutting a pitch back to the right for eleven yards, then running a sweep to the left for eleven more. The touchdown came on third and seven from the Eagles' thirteen, as Ryan found White in the right corner of the end zone for the score. Bryant added the extra point, and we were tied at twenty-seven with 7:59 left in the third quarter.

    The Eagles reclaimed the lead with a touchdown before the end of the third period. Vick connected with Avant for fourteen yards and a first down, then later in the drive teamed with Jackson, who made a dazzling one-handed catch at the Falcons' three-yard line for a gain of fifty-one. The touchdown came from five yards out, as Vick hit Harrison circling out of the backfield for the score. Akers added the extra point, and after three quarters it was Philadelphia 34, Atlanta 27.

    The Falcons tied the game again with a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. The biggest plays of the drive were a twelve-yard run up the middle by Turner and Ryan's eighteen-yard pass to White. White later caught his second touchdown of the night from twenty-four yards out, and Bryant's extra point tied the game at thirty-four with less than twelve minutes left in regulation.

    The Eagles answered with yet another touchdown of their own. Vick hooked up with Avant for eleven yards and a first down, then found Jackson for twenty-four more. on first down from the Atlanta thirteen, it was Vick to Maclin for the score, and Akers' extra point put the Eagles up 41-34 with a little over six minutes left in regulation.

    The visitors put the game away with a field goal in the final two minutes. Vick hit Avant for twenty-four yards, Brent Celek for seventeen, and reserve wide receiver Chad Hall for twelve. McCoy's sixteen-yard dart up the middle gave the Eagles a first and goal at the Atlanta three, and from the two Akers nailed a nineteen-yard chip shot to put the game on ice. The Eagles had taken all but fourteen seconds off the clock and driven ninety-five yards on fifteen plays to seal their 44-34 victory.

    This post was put together from two different sims, so I don't have statistics for the game. However, both sims recognized Vick as the MVP.

    The following week, the Eagles traveled to Lambeau Field and took on the Packers in the NFC Championship Game. Vick finished twenty of thirty-six for 292 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and Avant was his leading target with seven catches for ninety-three yards and a score. Maclin caught three more passes for seventy-three yards. On the ground, McCoy managed just forty-six yards on twelve carries, and Vick contributed thirty-two yards on eight carries with a touchdown.

    None of the above was a match for Aaron Rodgers, who finished eighteen of twenty-seven for 180 yards and three touchdowns. Donald Driver led the receivers with fifty-six yards on five catches, and running back James Starks gained 123 yards on twenty-three carries. The Pack thus escaped with a 21-16 victory and a trip to Super Bowl XLV.

    The Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 on February 6 in Arlington, Texas to win their fourth Super Bowl and their fourteenth overall NFL championship. Rodgers was named MVP, completing twenty-four of thirty-nine passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns.

    We've contested thirty-seven Super Bowls so far in the Pythagorean universe, and the NFC has a 21-16 all-time lead.

    Next: To be determined.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2019
  2. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Since I'm a Steeler fan, and since the chronology of this timeline is wrecked beyond all possible repair, I've decided to look next at the Steelers' other two real-life Super Bowl-winning seasons next to see if they keep their trophies in the Pythagorean universe. We begin by looking at 2005 in the AFC. First, let's examine the East:

    New England Patriots: 9-7 (-1)
    Miami Dolphins: 8-8 (-1)
    Buffalo Bills: 5-11 (0)
    New York Jets: 5-11 (+1)

    The Pats drop a game, but so do the Fins, which means that the Pats still take the division crown by a game. The Jets add a game to force a third-place tie with the Bills, who stay where they are.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to settle the tie for third, and the Bills come out on top, 5.2 to 4.5.

    Next, the North:

    Pittsburgh Steelers: 12-4 (+1)
    Cincinnati Bengals: 10-6 (-1)
    Baltimore Ravens: 7-9 (+1)
    Cleveland Browns: 6-10 (0)

    The Steelers add a game to vault themselves into the division title; the process is also helped by the Bengals dropping a game. The third-place Ravens also add a game, while the Browns remain frozen in the basement.

    Now to the South:

    Indianapolis Colts: 13-3 (-1)
    Jacksonville Jaguars: 11-5 (-1)
    Tennessee Titans: 5-11 (+1)
    Houston Texans: 4-12 (+2)

    The Colts drop a game, but they still take the division title by two games over the Jags, who also drop a game. The third-place Titans add one and the last-place Texans add a pair, but it does neither team any good.

    Finally, the West:

    Denver Broncos: 12-4 (-1)
    San Diego Chargers: 11-5 (+2)
    Kansas City Chiefs: 10-6 (0)
    Oakland Raiders: 6-10 (+2)

    The big news here is the two-game bump by the Chargers, which gives them even wins and puts them in prime wild card position. The Broncos still take the division crown by a game over the Bolts, with the Chiefs landing in third place despite retaining their double-digit win total. The Raiders also improve by a pair, but still finish four games behind the Chiefs and six games behind the Broncos.

    Seeds:

    1. Colts (AFC South champs): 13-3
    2. Broncos (AFC West champs): 12-4
    3. Steelers (AFC North champs): 12-4
    4. Patriots (AFC East champs): 9-7
    5. Jaguars (AFC South second place): 11-5
    6. Chargers (AFC West second place): 11-5

    The Broncos have the expected wins tiebreaker over the Steelers for the two seed, 11.7 to 11.6.

    The Chargers and Jaguars finished tied for the two wild card spots at 11.5. We turn to the expected wins tiebreaker, and each team finishes with 10.7. The teams didn't play each other this season, so the head-to-head tiebreakers can't be used. The next tiebreaker up is conference record. The Jaguars finished with a 9-3 mark in the AFC, while the Chargers finished 7-5. Therefore, the Jags take the five seed and the Chargers are the six seed.

    On January 7 at Gillette Stadium, the Pats met the Jags in the first AFC Wild Card Game, and the Pats prevailed with ease, 28-3. Tom Brady completed fifteen of hos twenty-seven passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns despite being sacked four times. Tight end Ben Watson was his leading receiver with five catches for ninety-one yards, including a sixty-three yard touchdown. Kevin Faulk was the leading rusher with fifty-one yards on six carries. The Pats also got a seventy-three yard pick-six from Asante Samuel.

    For the Jags, quarterback Byron Leftwich finished eighteen of thirty-one for 179 yards with an interception and, like Brady, was sacked four times before leaving the game in favor of backup David Garrard. who completed just three of his eight passes for sixty-eight yards and was sacked twice. Wide receiver Matt Jones caught six passes for ninety-four yards in a losing cause. Fellow wideout Reggie Williams caught four passes for fifty-six yards, and wide receiver Ernest Wilford caught four more for fifty-three. Before he departed, Leftwich gained twenty-six yards on three scrambles to lead the visitors in rushing.

    The other Wild Card game will take place on Sunday, January 8, as the Steelers host the Chargers at Heinz Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 PM Eastern on CBS, with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms on the call and Bonnie Bernstein as the sideline reporter.

    Next: We look at the NFC.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
  3. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now for our look at the NFC. We begin in the East:

    New York Giants: 11-5 (0)
    Washington Redskins: 10-6 (0)
    Dallas Cowboys: 9-7 (0)
    Philadelphia Eagles: 6-10 (0)

    In a rarity, there's absolutely no movement anywhere in this division, which goes to Big Blue by a game over the Redskins.

    Now to the North:

    Chicago Bears: 10-6 (-1)
    Minnesota Vikings: 7-9 (-2)
    Green Bay Packers: 7-9 (+3)
    Detroit Lions: 5-11 (0)

    The Bears drop a game, but still take the division crown by three games of the Vikes and Pack. The Purple Gang drops a pair and loses their winning season, while the Pack improves by three games to force a second-place tie, The Lions remain where they are, which is in the basement.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to settle the tie for second, and the Vikes prevail, 6.9 to 6.7.

    Next, the South:

    Carolina Panthers: 12-4 (+1)
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 9-7 (-2)
    Atlanta Falcons: 8-8 (0)
    New Orleans Saints: 4-12 (+1)

    The Panthers add a game, but the main reason that they win the division is because of the Bucs' two-game drop. The Falcons freeze in third, while the last-place Saints pick up a game.

    Finally, the West:

    Seattle Seahawks: 12-4 (-1)
    Arizona Cardinals: 6-10 (+1)
    St. Louis Rams: 6-10 (0)
    San Francisco 48ers: 3-13 (-1)

    The Hawks drop a game, but still romp to the division title by six games over the Cardinals and Rams. The Redbirds pick up a game to move into a second-place tie with the Rams, while the Niners drop a game to fall further into the cellar.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to determine who finishes second, and it goes to the Rams, 6.4 to 6.0.

    Seeds:

    1. Seahawks (NFC West champs): 12-4
    2. Panthers (NFC South champs): 12-4
    3. Giants (NFC East champs): 11-5
    4. Bears (NFC North champs): 10-6
    5. Redskins (NFC East second place): 10-6
    6. Buccaneers (NFC South second place; won tiebreaker with Cowboys): 9-7

    The Bucs hold the expected wins tiebreaker for the six seed over the Cowboys, 8.9 to 8.5.

    The Seahawks hold the expected wins tiebreaker for the top seed over the Panthers, 12.3 to 11.6.

    Wild Card Weekend schedule:

    Saturday, January 7:

    Redskins-Bears, 4:30, ABC- Mike Patrick, Joe Theismann, Paul Maguire, Suzy Kolber (sideline reporter)

    Sunday, January 8:

    Buccaneers-Giants, 1, Fox- Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver (sideline reporter), Chris Myers (sideline reporter)

    Next: To be determined.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
  4. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the first 2005 NFC Wild Card Game from Soldier Field in Chicago. Game time temperature is 39 degrees, with cloudy skies and a northwest wind at 12 MPH.

    The Bears scored first after Bobby Wade returned a punt to his own forty-seven. The key play of the drive was an eleven-yard gain up the middle by running back Thomas Jones. The drive stalled at the Redskins' twenty-seven, but kicker Robbie Gould made a forty-four yard field goal attempt to give the Bears a 3-0 lead after one quarter.

    The Skins tied the game early in the second quarter. Quarterback Mark Brunell completed a ten-yard screen pass to running back Chris Cooley, and he also found wide receiver Santana Moss for seventeen yards and a first down. The drive stalled at the Chicago twenty-five, but kicker John Hall made a forty-two yard attempt to send the game to halftime tied at three.

    The visitors took the lead with another field goal after receiving the second half kickoff. Ladell Betts' return gave the Skins the ball at the Bears' forty-six, and they got into field goal range thanks to Brunell's twenty-one yard completion to Moss that gave them a first down at the Bears' twenty-five. From the twenty-two, Hall connected on a thirty-nine yard attempt to put the Skins up 6-3 after three quarters.

    The Skins added to their lead with another field goal early in the final quarter. Brunell found Moss for ten yards and fellow wideout James Thrash for fifteen, then Betts found a huge hole off left tackle and barged through it for thirty-nine yards and a first down at the Bears' thirteen. The offense gained only one more yard, but Hall hit from twenty-nine yards out to make it 9-3 Skins with 10:09 left in regulation time.

    The Skins added one last field goal after the two-minute warning when the Bears turned the ball over on downs at their own thirty-one. Three plays later from the twenty-nine, Hall boomed a forty-five yarder to put the game away. Our final score: Redskins 12, Bears 3.

    Washington running back Clinton Portis was named MVP by the Sunday Night Football crew. He gained 106 yards on twenty-nine carries, and Betts added sixty-eight yards on just five carries. The Skins as a team rushed for 175 yards on thirty-nine attempts. Jones had almost as good a day for the Bears, gaining ninety yards on twenty-two carries. Washington middle linebacker Lemar Marshall was another standout, as he notched a pair of interceptions.

    Now we come to the passing games, which combined for the one of the most pathetic aerial performances in modern postseason history. Brunell and his backup Patrick Ramsey combined to complete just nine of their thirty-five passes for 111 yards and an interception. Moss managed a halfway decent game, leading all receivers with forty-eight yards on three catches. As for the Bears, Kyle Orton's performance defined his career in Chicago, and not for the better: six of thirty for forty-four yards and two interceptions. In addition to being the Bears' leading rusher, Jones led the team in receiving with twenty-one yards on two catches. To make matters worse, neither team got significant pressure on the opposing quarterback; the Skins sacked Orton twice, while the Bears recorded just one sack.

    The Skins' next opponent depends on who wins tomorrow's second Wild Card Game. If the Giants beat the Bucs, the Skins will journey to Seattle to take on the top-seeded Seahawks at Qwest Field next Saturday. If the Bucs pull the upset, the Skins will journey to Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte to meet the Carolina Panthers next Sunday.

    Next: The Bucs take on the Giants in the second NFC Wild Card Game.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2019
  5. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the second 2005 NFC Wild Card Game from Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Game time temperature is 44 degrees, with fair skies and a north-northwest wind at 9 MPH.

    The Giants scored first after taking the opening kickoff. Quarterback Eli Manning completed a ten-yard pass to Amani Toomer, and reserve running back Derrick Ward gained twenty-six yards on a draw play. Later in the drive he took the handoff on another draw and scampered fourteen yards for the touchdown. The Giants tried to catch the Bucs off guard by going for two, but Tiki Barber was tackled short of the goal line by his twin brother Ronde. With 9:26 left in the opening quarter, the Giants led 6-0.

    The Bucs took advantage of a Giants turnover to score a touchdown of their own later in the period. Ronde picked off a Manning pass and returned it to the New York twenty-five, and three plays later quarterback Chris Simms found wide receiver Joey Galloway for the touchdown from twenty yards out. Bucs coach Jon Gruden decided to follow the lead of his counterpart Jim Fassel and go for two, but running back Michael Pittman was stopped inches short of the goal line. We were tied at six after one quarter, and the second quarter was scoreless.

    The Bucs took the lead with a touchdown after taking the second half kickoff. Simms' twenty-five yard strike to Galloway got the ball across midfield, and another completion to Galloway was augmented by a facemask penalty on Giants cornerback Will Allen gave the Bucs a first down at the Giants' nineteen. Mike Alstott rumbled up the middle for sixteen yards and a first and goal at the three, and from there fellow running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams went in for the touchdown. and former Giant Matt Bryant added the extra point to give the visitors a 13-6 lead with a little over nine minutes left in the third quarter.

    The Giants answered with a field goal. The biggest play of the drive was Tiki's fifty-yard burst off left tackle, and he also picked up fifteen yards on a draw play. Manning's ten-yard pass to Burress gave the G-Men a first down at the Tampa seventeen, and the drive reached the eight before stalling. Feely's twenty-five yard field goal cut the Tampa lead to 13-9 after three quarters.

    The Giants took advantage of a Bucs turnover on their ensuing possession to take the lead. Simms' pass intended for Alstott in the flat was picked off by linebacker Antonio Pierce, who returned the ball to the Bucs' thirty-one. Tiki found another hole off left tackle for sixteen yards, and Manning found Burress for thirteen yards and a first and goal at the one. On the next play, Eli flipped the ball to tight end Jeremy Shockey for the touchdown. Feely added the extra point, and with 10:42 left in regulation it was New York 16, Tampa Bay 13.

    The Giants added a field goal later in the period. Chad Morton returned a punt to the Bucs' thirty-two, and three plays later form the twenty-five Feely booted a forty-two yarder to increase the Giants' lead to 19-13 with ja little less than six minutes to play.

    The Bucs got the ball back off of a punt with 3:38 remaining, and converted a key third down on Simms' thirty-yard pass to wide receiver Michael Clayton with seventeen seconds left. That gave them a first down at the Giants' forty-five, which is where we join Joe Buck:

    "Time for two, maybe three plays for the Bucs, who for some reason try the run with Pittman. Has a hole over the thirty-five, the thirty, AND THE GIANTS MISS A TACKLE! THIS COULD GO ALL THE WAY!..... IT WILL! THE BUCCANEERS HAVE TIED THE GAME WITH NO TIME LEFT!"

    Troy Aikman: "If Michael Pittman had been stopped even an inch short, this would have been the worst play call in modern playoff history, because the game would have been over. Even with the missed tackle by (safety) Brent Alexander, Pittman still needs to go all the way, and he does. Now Jon Gruden is a genius for calling something no other coach would dare."

    Buck: "But it all comes down to the extra point by the former Giant Matt Bryant. Snap is down, kick is up......IT'S GOOD! The Bucs have pulled the upset here at the Meadowlands, and they're headed for Seattle next Saturday afternoon to take on the Seahawks."

    Our final: Bucs 20, G-Men 19.

    Pittman was named Fox's Player of the Game because he scored the winning touchdown. He finished with sixty yards on six carries with said touchdown. Williams topped him by a yard, finishing with sixty-one yards on twenty-one carries. Simms played well in the stadium that his father Phil called home for so many years, finishing thirteen of twenty-two for 185 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Galloway led the receivers with five catches for sixty-seven yards and a touchdown, while Clayton caught two passes for fifty yards.

    For the Giants, Eli finished twelve of twenty-seven for 142 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Burress was his leading receiver with five catches for seventy-six yards. On the ground, the Giants rushed for 196 yards on thirty-two, Chris attempts. Tiki was the individual leader with 116 yards on twenty-one carries, while Ward gained seventy-seven yards on just five carries with a touchdown.

    Divisional Weekend schedule:

    Saturday, January 14:

    Buccaneers-Seahawks, 4:30, Fox- Dick Stockton, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa (field analyst)

    Sunday, January 15:

    Redskins-Panthers, 4:30, Fox- Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver (sideline reporter), Chris Myers (sideline reporter)

    Next: To be determined.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2019
  6. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the second 2005 NFC Divisional Playoff from Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. Game time temperature is 50 degrees, with mostly cloudy skies and a southwest wind at 3 MPH.

    The Panthers scored on the third play from scrimmage. We pick up Joe Buck's call as the Cats face third and eleven from their own twenty:

    "Third and eleven for (quarterback Jake) Delhomme and the Panthers. They'll empty the backfield and put Delhomme in the gun, and the Skins with their dime package. Snap to Delhomme, and he'll throw deep...…..tipped and CUGHT BY PROEHL ON THE DEFLECTION! NODODY'S ANYWHERE CLOSE TO HIM, AND HE'S GOING EIGHTY YARDS FOR THE TOUCHDOWN!...…...Three plays into the game and the Panthers have the lead."

    Troy Aikman: "(Redskins free safety) Sean Taylor came within inches of the interception, but watch it just barely miss him. He gets a fingertip on it to knock it away and instead tips it right into the hands of Ricky Proehl, who has a clear path to the end zone. This crowd's going crazy, Joe, and we're not even two minutes into the game."

    Kicker John Kasay added the extra point, and with 13:15 left in the opening period the Panthers led 7-0.

    The Panthers scored again just seconds later. The Skins were only able to return the ensuing kickoff to their own thirteen, and Brunell faded back to pass on first down:

    Buck: "Four-man rush by Carolina, and the pass is.....PICKED OFF! RIGHT TO KEN LUCAS, AND THAT'S ANOTHER TOUCHDOWN!.....Where Brunell was throwing that ball is anybody's guess, and you wonder if (Skins coach) Joe Gibbs is ready to see Patrick Ramsey."

    Aikman: "This was an awful pass by Brunell, and (cornerback) Lucas is standing there waiting for it. My guess is that the ball was intended for Santana Moss, the closest receiver to the play, but it's hard to tell. What isn't hard to tell is that the Redskins need help desperately before they're run out of the stadium."

    Kasay added the extra point, and that was all the scoring for the first quarter. At the end of one, the Panthers led 14-0.

    The Skins caught their first break of the game early in the second quarter, as Taylor picked off a Delhomme pass and returned it all the way to the Panthers' seven-yard line. As Joe predicted, Patrick Ramsey was under center for the Skins now, and he wasted no time finding Moss in the end zone for the touchdown. John Hall added the extra point, and with 13:14 still left in the half the Skins were back within 14-7.

    The next Carolina drive lasted just two plays before Delhomme was picked off once again, this time by strong safety (and future Steeler) Ryan Clark, who returned the ball to the Panthers' thirty-one. Clinton Portis nearly scored on a draw play from fifteen yards out a few plays later, but replay showed that his knee was down at the half-yard line, thus upholding the call on the field and costing the Redskins a timeout on a lost challenge. Ramsey made all thoughts of lost challenges disappear on the next play, when he flipped the ball to tight end Robert Royal for the easy touchdown. Hall added the extra point, and we headed to halftime tied at fourteen.

    The visitors took the lead after receiving the second half kickoff. Ramsey ran for fifteen yards and a first down, and Ladell Betts gained sixteen more on a pitchout to the right. The drive stalled at the Panthers' twenty-seven, but Hall converted a forty-four yard field goal attempt to put the Skins up 17-14 with 10:33 to play in the third period. The Skins had gotten the ball in the first place when former teammate Stephen Davis fumbled while trying to stretch for a first down and linebacker LaVar Arrington recovered at the Washington thirty-four.

    Later in the quarter, the Skis recovered another Davis fumble and turned it into another touchdown. This time it was Arrington with the strip, and fellow linebacker Lemar Marshall, who'd intercepted Kyle Orton of the Bears twice the previous week, made the recovery at the Panthers' thirty-one. Portis picked up a first down with a ten-yard run up the middle, and from the seventeen Ramsey dumped the ball off to running back Chris Cooley, who broke two tackles on his way into the end zone for the touchdown. Hall added the extra point, and with a little more than six minutes left in the third the Skins led 24-14.

    The visitors put things out of reach with one last touchdown. Kasay missed a forty-two yard field goal that would have drawn the Cats to within seven, and Ramsey wasted no time taking advantage. He hit Moss for nineteen yards, Betts out of the backfield for fourteen, and reserve wideout David Patten for twenty yards and a first and goal at the Panthers' ten. Ramsey ran another picture-perfect screen to Cooley with the identical result as before, and one last Hall extra point established our final: Redskins 31, Panthers 14.

    Ramsey was named Player of the Game by Fox despite completing only eleven of nineteen passes for 109 yards, mostly because four of the completions went for touchdowns. Cooley was his leading receiver with three catches for thirty-six yards and two touchdowns. Portis had a huge day of his own despite not finding the end zone, as he ripped through the Carolina defense for 128 yards on twenty-four carries. As a team, the Skins carried forty-six times for 194 yards.

    Delhomme's day was better than Ramsey's statistically; he inished thirteen of twenty-three for 232 yards. But he only threw one touchdown and was picked off three times, one of which led to a Redskins touchdown. Proehl led his receivers with 101 yards on just two catches, and fellow wideout Steve Smith Sr. caught six passes for a hundred yards even. The Panthers carried twenty-eight times as a team, but gained just sixty-three yards. Davis led the individuals with forty-eight yards on eleven carries, but lost two fumbles, both of which the Skins converted into touchdowns. There was a bright spot on defense, as linebacker Will Witherspoon made ten solo tackles.

    The Redskins have earned a berth in next Sunday's NFC Championship Game. If the Seahawks beat the Bucs yesterday as expected, the Skins will travel to Qwest Field. But if the Bucs pulled the upset, the Skins will host the game at FedEx Field. Regardless, it will kick off at approximately 6:30 PM Eastern on Fox, with Joe and Troy calling the action and Pam and Chris on the sidelines.

    Next: The Hawks host the Bucs in the first NFC Divisional Playoff.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
  7. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the first 2005 NFC Divisional Playoff from Qwest Field in Seattle. Game time temperature is 43 degrees, with cloudy skies and a south-southeast wind at 10 MPH.

    The Seahawks scored first in the dying seconds of the opening period. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck hit Joe Jurevicius for sixteen yards and a first down, and running back Shawn Alwxander picked up twelve more on a draw play. Hasselbeck's fourteen-yard completion to reserve wideout D.J. Hackett gave the Hawks a first down at the Tampa fourteen, and from there Hasselbeck found fellow wideout Darrell Jackson for the touchdown. Kicker Josh Brown added the extra point, and after one quarter the Seahawks led 7-0.

    The Hawks added a field goal early in the second quarter when cornerback Jimmy Williams picked off a Chris Simms pass and returned it to the Tampa twenty-three. Hasselbeck's twelve-yard completion to wideout Bobby Engram put them in Brown's range, and Josh eventually connected from twenty-one yards out to make it 10-0 Hawks with 5:53 left until halftime.

    The Hawks added another field goal just before the half. Hasselbeck connected with Engram for sixteen yards and tight end Jerramy Stevens for fourteen, and the drive reached the Bucs' thirty-two before it stalled. Brown was faced with a forty-nine yard attempt, and the kick was good to put Seattle up 13-0 at the half.

    The Hawks added another field goal early in the third quarter. Hasselbeck threw to Jurevicius over the middle for twenty-one yards, then repeated the procedure on a fly pattern for a fifty-eight yard gain and a first and goal at the Tampa five. The Bucs didn't allow another yard, but Brown's twenty-two yard chip shot gave the home squad a 16-0 lead with about ten minutes left in the third quarter.

    The Bucs got on the board with a touchdown before the end of the third quarter. Simms completed passes of fifteen yards to Ike Hilliard and sixteen yards to tight end Alex Smith, and the ground game contributed a seventeen-yard burst off left tackle by Michael Pittman and a fifteen-yard romp up the middle by Cadillac Williams. The touchdown came from four yards out, as Mike Alstott barged through a hole in the middle of the Seattle defense and into the end zone for the score. Matt Bryant added the extra point, and we reached the end of the third quarter with the score Seahawks 16, Buccaneers 7.

    The Bucs scored again early in the final period. Simms hooked up with Joey Galloway for gains of twenty-three and nineteen, and also connected with Michael Clayton for fifteen. From the twenty-five, Williams danced through a huge hole up the middle and raced into the end zone for the touchdown. Bryant's extra point cut the Hawks' lead to 16-14 with 12:38 left in regulation.

    The Hawks answered with a touchdown of their own. Hasselbeck's thirty-six yard pass to Hackett gave the Hawks a first down at the Tampa thirty-six, and Alexander did the rest, as we learn from Dick Stockton:

    "First and ten for the Seahawks from the Tampa Bay thirty-six, and if they score here the Bucs will need to score fourteen points in about seven minutes to catch them, which will be a tough task, as is tackling Alexander, who's loose in the secondary! Twenty, fifteen, ten, and they won't catch him! Touchdown Seahawks!...…….The NFL's rushing leader in the regular season has just burned the Buccaneers to the tune of thirty-six yards, and the Seahawks are going for a two-score lead with the extra point."

    Daryl Johnston: "One step is all Shaun Alexander needs to get clear of the line of scrimmage, and once he's in the secondary no one's in a position to catch him. If he stays healthy, he can rewrite plenty of record books before he's done."

    Tony Siragusa: "Trust a former defensive lineman, guys. With his size and speed, Shaun Alexander is the type of back that no one wants to tackle."

    Brown added the extra point, and with 8:04 left in the game the Hawks led 23-14.

    The Hawks added another score after the Bucs turned the ball over on downs at the Seattle forty-six. Jackson's fourteen-yard catch-and-run took the ball across midfield, and we pick up Dick's call with the Hawks facing a second and eleven at the Tampa forty-one:

    "Hasselbeck looking to take time off the clock, as we tick down under three and a half minutes to play in regulation. Here's a short drop and a quick screen to Mo Morris, and he's gonna get the first down and keep going. Twenty-five, twenty, breaks a tackle at the fifteen, and he'll go all the way for what should be the game-clinching touchdown! What a run by Mo Morris after taking the short screen pass from Hasselbeck."

    Johnston: "This is why Mo Morris is so valuable. He's a great pass catcher, and once he makes the catch he's so hard to bring down. Even Derrick Brooks can't manage it, as you see here. He just slides off of Morris' back about the fifteen, and from there it's clear sailing."

    Siragusa: "It looks like the Seahawks are about to be the first team in post-merger history to go to both an AFC Championship Game and an NFC Championship Game."

    Brown added the extra point, and with 3:03 remaining the Seahawks had a commanding 30-14 lead.

    The home squad added one more touchdown on the game's final play when Simms' last pass was picked off by cornerback Marcus Trufant, who instead of simply kneeling down to run out the clock took to the sideline and raced sixty-seven yards for the touchdown. This touched off a fight, as several Bucs charged into the end zone in an effort to get at Trufant, only to be stopped by several Hawks. No major injuries were reported, and offsetting unsportsmanlike conduct fouls were called on at least six players. After Brown's extra point sewed up the 37-14 win for the Hawks, the coaches met at midfield, but instead of shaking counterpart Mike Holmgren's hand, Bucs coach Jon Gruden called Holmgren a "motherfucker", among other choice words, for allowing Trufant's show of perceived disrespect. Cooler heads soon prevailed, and before the teams left the stadium Gruden apologized to his former boss in Green Bay. There was no discipline imposed by the NFL.

    Hasselbeck was named Player of the Game by Fox for completing twenty of his twenty-six passes for 343 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

    The following week in the NFC Championship Game, the Hawks punched their ticket to Super Bowl XL by defeating the upstart Washington Redskins 20-10. They were led by Jackson, who caught nine passes for 143 yards and a touchdown. Santana Moss caught seven passes for 103 yards and a score in a losing cause.

    Next: We turn to the AFC, as the Steelers host the Chargers in the second Wild Card Game.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
  8. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the second 2005 AFC Wild Card Game from Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Game time temperature is 45 degrees, with fair skies and an east-southeast wind at 13 MPH.

    The Steelers scored first, as running back "Fast" Willie Parker took over the game's opening possession. He provided the drive's longest run on a thirteen-yard scamper up the middle, and also turned a simple screen pass from Ben Roethlisberger into a thirty-five yard catch-and run. He topped things off by diving over the top from the Chargers' one-yard line for the touchdown. Jeff Reed added the extra point, and with 10:01 left in the opening quarter the Steelers led 7-0.

    The Chargers countered with a touchdown of their own. Darren Sproles' kickoff return set up the offense at its own forty-six, and quarterback Drew Brees connected with wide receiver Eric Parker on consecutive passes for gains of twelve and twenty-seven. LaDainian Tomlinson's twelve-yard gain on a draw gave the Bolts a first and goal at the Pittsburgh four, and on third and goal from the two the offensive LT slipped through a crack in the defense and into the end zone for the score. Nate Kaeding's extra point tied the game at seven with 5:26 to play in the opening period.

    The Steelers took the lead again before the end of the period thanks once again to Fast Willie. He cut a pitchout back to the right for a fifteen-yard gain, then later in the drive caught another screen from Big Ben and turned it into a twenty-six yard gain. The drive eventually stalled at the Chargers' six-yard line, but Reed connected on a twenty-three yard field goal to give the home squad a 10-7 lead after one quarter.

    The Chargers took the lead again early in the second quarter. The key play of the drive was Brees' forty-nine yard bomb to wide receiver Reche Caldwell, who made a circus catch at the Steelers' sixteen. Brees was sacked by linebacker Joey Porter on first down for a six-yard loss, but recovered to hit Keenan McCardell for the touchdown from twenty yards out on third and fourteen. Kaeding added the extra point, and the Chargers led 14-10 with 10:32 left in the first half.

    The Steelers responded with a field goal. Parker gained ten yards and a first down up the middle, and Ben completed passes of fifteen yards to Hines Ward and twenty-three yards to tight end Heath Miller. The drive stopped at the San Diego twenty-three, but Reed was good from forty yards out to cut the Bolts' lead to 14-13 with 6:09 left until halftime.

    The Chargers added to their lead with another touchdown before the half. Michael Turner gained sixteen yards on a pitch to the right, then fifteen more when he ran a sweep to the left. A pass interference call on Steelers safety Troy Polamalu put the ball at the Steelers' five, and from there Brees connected with tight end Antonio Gates for the touchdown. Kaeding's extra point was good, and our halftime score was San Diego 21, Pittsburgh 13.

    The Steelers scored the only points of the third quarter. Ben threw to Ward for gains of eleven and twenty-one, then found reserve wideout Quincy Morgan for twenty yards and a first and ten at the Chargers' thirty. That's where we pick up the call from Jim Nantz:

    "First and ten for the Steelers in this back-and-forth ballgame. You see the waves of black and gold courtesy of the Terrible Towels flying proudly all over Heinz Field. Ben in the gun. He's back and looking, now scrambling, he gets decked as he throws...….THE PASS IS CAUGHT AT THE FIVE BY RANDLE EL, AND HE'S IN FOR THE TOUCHDOWN!...….Now the towels are almost blinding, as Big Ben tries to shake off the hit from (defensive tackle) Jamal Williams. Somehow he got this pass off, Phil."

    Phil Simms: "Ben Roethlisberger made this play with his mobility in the pocket and his ability to take a brutal hit. He's on the move just long enough to spot Randle El for a split second, then gets creamed by Jamal Williams just as he throws. The pass is right on target for the touchdown, but Ben's having to be helped off the field."

    With Ben still recovering his senses, Steelers coach Bill Cowher decided to have Parker take a direct snap on the two-point conversion attempt that followed, but Willie fumbled it, and by the time he picked it up and started to run the Chargers' defense was there to stop him cold. After three quarters the Chargers were still clinging to a 21-19 lead.

    The Steelers scored again in the early moments of the final period to take the lead. Ben threw for nineteen yards to Randle El, and future Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis' sixteen-yard catch-and-run gave the Steelers a first down at the San Diego thirty-four. From there it was all up to Fast Willie:

    "First and ten for the Steelers. The Bus out of the game, and Fast Willie, as they call Parker, is back in. He'll get the call on first down, and he cuts back to the left. He's found a hole! Over the twenty, the fifteen, ten, five, TOUCHDOWN PITTSBURGH! PARKER'S SECOND OF THE DAY!...….Runs like this are why they call him Fast Willie, Phil."

    Simms: "He also shows great vision, as he doesn't see a hole up the middle and cuts back to the left, where there's nothing but grass. He doesn't even have to put it in high gear, because no one's within five yards of him. And who's the first one to congratulate him? Who else but Jerome Bettis."

    Reed added the extra point, and forty-five seconds into the final period the Steelers led 26-21.

    The Steelers added to their lead with another touchdown later in the quarter. The biggest plays of the drive were Ben's eighteen-yard pass to wideout Cedric Wilson and a ten-yard dash up the middle by running back Verron Haynes. We pick up Jim as the Steelers face a third and four from the San Diego thirty-three:

    "Third and four now for Pittsburgh, as Ben has an empty backfield behind him. Shotgun snap, and Roethlisberger will fire downfield......Pass is tipped RIGHT INTO THE HANDS OF WARD, AND THAT'S ANOTHER PITTSBURGH TOUCHDOWN! (Cornerback) Quentin Jammer on the tip, and the Steelers may have just sealed a trip to Denver next Saturday."

    Simms: "Quentin Jammer has to be sure he's in a position to intercept before he tries to play the ball, because if he isn't this is what happens. He just makes it an easier catch for Hines Ward and gives up an easy touchdown. Heinz Field is literally shaking, Jim."

    Reed added the extra point, and the Steelers led 33-21 with 4:26 left in regulation.

    The Chargers weren't done yet. Fullback Lorenzo Neal's ten-yard catch-and-run advanced the ball to the Chargers forty-five, and Brees went right back to the well on the next play:

    "Less than a minute left, and Brees should probably air it own a little more down twelve. Another short toss to Neal, and he's over the forty-five, the forty, gets a block from McCardell, and he's still going. He's at the Pittsburgh twenty-five, the twenty, (Safety) Chris Hope's the last defender, and he misses! The Chargers have scored with fifty seconds left, and this one's not over yet!"

    Simms: "Lorenzo Neal is an experienced pass-catcher, and he cuts upfield without hesitation once he makes the catch. There's the block by Keenan McCardell, and from there it's just Chris Hope between Neal and the end zone. Hope tries his best, but Neal's just too much for him."

    Kaeding's extra point cut the Steelers' lead to 33-28. As expected, the Chargers tried an onside kick, but reserve tight end Matt Kranchick recovered for the Steelers, and the Black and Gold knelt out the clock from there.

    Ben was named MVP by CBS. He completed seventeen of twenty for 285 yards and two touchdowns. Ward was his leading receiver with five catches for eighty-one yards and a touchdown. Parker caught a pair of passes for sixty-one yards, and Randle El caught another pair for forty-nine yards and a score. Fast Willie was also the team's leading rusher with eighty-five yards on fourteen carries and two touchdowns. On defense, Porter had two of the team's three sacks.

    For the Chargers, Brees finished nineteen of twenty-two for 267 yards and three touchdowns. Neal led the team in receiving yardage with sixty-five yards on two catches and a touchdown, and Gates led in receptions with six catches for forty yards and a touchdown. Caldwell caught here balls for sixty-four yards, and McCardell caught three more for fifty-three yards and a score. Tomlinson led the running game with sixty yards on twenty-one carries and a touchdown.

    The following week in the first AFC Divisional Playoff, the Steelers invaded Denver and dominated the homestanding Broncos 34-17. Ben had another big game, completing twenty-one of his twenty-nine passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns. Wilson caught five passes for ninety-two yards and a touchdown, and Ward caught five more passes for fifty-nine yards and another score. Randle El caught four passes for fifty-two yards. The running game managed ninety yards on thirty-three attempts; Bettis led the individuals with thirty-nine yards on fifteen carries and a touchdown.

    For the Broncos, quarterback Jake Plummer completed eighteen of thirty for 223 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, and he was also sacked three times. Wide receiver Ashley Lelie caught two passes for sixty-eight yards and a touchdown, and Rod Smith added four catches for sixty-one yards. Tight end Jeb Putzier caught four more balls for fifty-five yards. Running back Mike Anderson was the leading rusher with thirty-six yards on nine carries and a touchdown.

    The Steelers have secured a berth in the AFC Championship Game on January 22. If the Colts beat the Patriots tomorrow, the game will take place at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. If the Pats win, the Steelers will host the game at Heinz Field.

    Next: The Pats battle the Colts in Indianapolis.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019
  9. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the second 2005 AFC Divisional Playoff from the RCA Dome in Indianapolis:

    The Colts scored first when reserve defensive end Josh Thomas sacked Tom Brady in the end zone for a safety. With 11:01 left in the opening quarter, the Colts led 2-0.

    Dominic Rhodes returned the Pats' free kick to the New England forty-nine, and from there Peyton Manning connected with wide receiver Reggie Wayne for gains of eleven and ten yards, then found tight end Dallas Clark for a sixteen-yard gain. The touchdown came on third and goal from the one, when running back Edgerrin James took a pitchout from Peyton and followed right tackle Ryan Diem into the end zone for the score. Kicker Mike Vanderjagt added the extra point, and with 4:34 left in the opening period the Colts had extended their lead to 9-0.

    The Pats answered with a touchdown before the end of the period. Running back Corey Dillon was the sparkplug, running consecutive draw plays for gains of thirty and eleven, then catching a screen pass from Brady for sixteen. The touchdown came from eight yards out, as Brady found a wide-open Deion Branch for the touchdown. Adam Vinatieri banged the extra point through, and at the end of one it was Colts 9, Pats 7.

    The Colts reestablished their nine-point lead midway through the second quarter. The key plays were a nineteen-yard run up the middle by James and a thirty-nine yard catch-and-run by Clark that gave the Colts a first and goal at the New England seven. On third and goal from the five, James bolted up the middle and into the end zone for his second touchdown of the day. Vanderjagt's extra point gave the home squad a 16-7 lead with 9:38 left in the first half.

    The Pats got back within two with a touchdown of their own just before halftime. Tim Dwight's punt return set the offense up at the Colts' forty-five, and Dillon immediately found a chasm u the middle and roared through it for forty-two yards and a first and goal at the three. On second and goal from the two fellow running back Kevin Faulk bulled his way into the end zone for the score. Vinatieri added the extra point, and the visitors had cut their deficit to 16-14 at the half.

    The Colts scored the only points of the third quarter with a field goal. Rhodes charged up the middle for twenty-seven yards, and Manning found fellow future Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison for seventeen yards and a first down at the Pats' fifteen. The offense lost a yard over the next three plays, but Vanderjagt connected from thirty-three yards out to extend the Indy lead to 19-14 after three quarters.

    The Colts added what they thought would be a game-clinching field goal with less then two minutes left in regulation. The big play of the drive was Manning's fifty-four yard bomb to Wayne, which gave the Colts a first down at the Pats' seventeen. They didn't gain any more yardage, but Vanderjagt connected from thirty-four yards out to give the Colts a 22-14 lead with 1:20 to play.

    The Pats got the ball back at their own thirty-five following the kickoff, and Brady took them down for the tying touchdown. The two biggest plays were a twelve-yard catch-and-run by fullback Patrick Pass and a thirty-one yard burst off the left side by Dillon that gave the Pats a first and goal from the eight with time for one play. TB12 made it count, as he connected with Branch for his second touchdown of the day. Dillon took the two-point play up the middle and scored, which sent us to overtime tied at twenty-two.

    The Colts won the overtime coin toss, but went three and out. Dwight returned the punt into Indy territory at the forty-seven, and four consecutive running plays brought them down to the thirty-three, where the Pats faced a second and seven. Here's how Dick Enberg called what happened next:

    "The Patriots figure to keep it on the ground to set up Vinatieri for a possible game-winning field goal. Right now it would be a fifty-yard attempt. A first down would help the cause immensely. Here's Heath Evans on a handoff, and he has a hole to the left! Down to the twenty-five, twenty, fifteen, ten, IT'S GOING TO BE A TOUCHDOWN FOR NEW ENGLAND! OH, MY!...…. Heath Evans with the game-winner, and the Patriots are headed to Pittsburgh next Sunday!"

    Dan Dierdorf: "How this hole opened up for Heath Evans I have no idea. It's almost like the Colts gambled their entire run defense on another play up the middle, and by the time they realized that Evans had cut back to the left it was too late to stop him. What a huge win for the New England Patriots; Tom Brady has added to his reputation as the top clutch player in the NFL today, as he took his team on the game-tying drive, then used his running game to win it in overtime."

    Our final score in overtime: Pats 28, Colts 22.

    Dillon was named MVP by CBS. He didn't score, but he gouged the Indy defense for 161 yards on seventeen carries. The Pats carried the ball thirty-two times as a team for 217 yards. Despite his fourth-quarter heroics, Brady didn't have a good day overall; he completed just nine of seventeen passes for ninety-three yards with two touchdowns and an interception, and the Colts sacked him five times, with defensive end Raheem Brock doing it twice. Branch led the receivers with four catches for forty-three yards and two touchdowns.

    Peyton had a solid day for the Colts in a losing cause; he completed seventeen of thirty-three passes for 257 yards. Wayne caught six passes for 109 yards, Clark snagged three for sixty-seven, and Harrison caught four for fifty-six. James led the running game with eighty-four yards on twenty-eight carries and two touchdowns.

    The Patriots have earned a trip to Heinz Field in Pittsburgh for the AFC Championship Game next Sunday against the Steelers. Kickoff is schedule for 3PM Eastern on CBS, with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms calling the action. Bonnie Bernstein and Armen Keteyian will work the sidelines.

    Next: The AFC Championship Game.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019
  10. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the 2005 AFC Championship Game from Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Game time temperature is 45 degrees, with cloudy skies and a southeast wind at 12 MPH.

    The Pats scored toward the end of the first quarter when cornerback Ellis Hobbs picked off a Ben Roethlisberger pass in the end zone and returned it to the Pats nine-yard line. Patrick Pass got his team out of trouble by rumbling up the middle for thirty-nine yards, and later in the drive Tom Brady found Deion Branch for twenty yards and a first down. The drive stalled at the Steelers' twenty-one, but Adam Vinatieri's thirty-eight-yard field goal gave the Pats a 3-0 lead after one quarter.

    The Pats added another field goal midway through the second quarter after a Tim Dwight punt return set their offense up at its own forty-one. Brady completed a pair of key passes on the drive; one went to Branch for fifteen yards, while the other went to fellow wideout David Givens for nineteen. This drive stalled at the Pittsburgh sixteen, but Vinatieri connected from thirty-three yards out to extend the New England lead to 6-0 with 10:55 left in the first half.

    The Pats added a third field goal before halftime. Brady passed to tight end Benjamin Watson for ten yards and wideout Troy Brown for eleven, which set up Corey Dillon's forty-yard gain off the right side after taking Brady's pitch. This drive got as far as the Steelers' twenty before Vinatieri knocked through a thirty-seven yard attempt to give the visitors a 9-0 halftime lead.

    The Steelers finally hit the board after taking the second half kickoff. Quincy Morgan's return gave them great field position at their own forty, and on the first play from scrimmage Jerome Bettis, playing in what turned out to be his last NFL game, roared up the middle for twenty-six yards and a first down at the Pats' thirty-four. The drive eventually bogged down at the fifteen, but Jeff Reed connected from thirty-two yards out to cut the Black and Gold's deficit to 9-3 with 10:48 to play in the third period.

    The Steelers added another field goal later in the quarter. Antwaan Randle El's punt return set up the Steelers' offense at its own forty, and Ben completed passes of fourteen and twenty-five yards to Hines Ward. The Pats stymied the drive at their five, which left Reed with a twenty-two yard chip shot. He made it with ease to bring the Steelers within 9-6 after three quarters. There was no scoring in the final period, although Reed missed from forty-eight yards out just before the two-minute warning to ensure the Pats' victory.

    Vinatieri was named MVP by CBS after making all three of his field goals. He got a lot of help from Dillon, who finished with seventy-eight yards on sixteen carries. Brady was seventeen of twenty-seven for 158 yards and an interception. Branch and Givens each caught five passes for fifty-three yards to lead the receiving corps.

    For the Steelers, Ben completed eleven of his twenty passes for 147 yards with an interception. Ward led all receivers with five catches for seventy-six yards. Willie Parker was the game's leading rusher with ninety-four yards on sixteen carries, while The Bus finished his NFL career by gaining thirty-two yards on ten carries. On defense, the Steelers sacked Brady four times.

    The Pats will now face the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL from Ford Field in Detroit on February 5. Kickoff is scheduled for exactly 6:27 Eastern on ABC; Al Michaels and John Madden will be in the booth, while Michele Tafoya and Suzy Kolber work the sidelines.

    Super Bowl XL will be simmed at a later date.

    Next: To be determined.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2019
  11. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    I'm going to switch gears and delve deeper into the current decade. I'm saving 2011 until the end of this project for a reason I'll get to at the proper time, so the next year up is 2012. We'll begin in the AFC East:

    New England Patriots: 12-4 (0)
    Miami Dolphins: 7-9 (0)
    Buffalo Bills :6-10 (0)
    New York Jets: 5-11 (0)

    There's no movement at all in this division, which the Pats take by a whopping five games over the Fins.

    Next, the North:

    Cincinnati Bengals: 10-6 (0)
    Baltimore Ravens: 9-7 (-1)
    Pittsburgh Steelers: 9-7 (+1)
    Cleveland Browns: 6-10 (+1)

    The Ravens drop a game, which gives the Bengals the division title outright without them having to do a thing. The Steelers add a game to force a tie for second with their archrivals, and the last-place Browns also add one.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to settle the deadlock for second, and the Ravens prevail in a jiggy-jog, 9.4 to 8.6.

    Now, the South:

    Houston Texans: 10-6 (-2)
    Indianapolis Colts: 7-9 (-4)
    Tennessee Titans: 5-11 (-1)
    Jacksonville Jaguars: 3-13 (+1)

    Both the Texans and Colts suffer significant losses; the Texans drop a pair, but they still take the crown by three games because the Colts go into a four-game freefall that lands them under .500. The still finish second by two games over the Titans, who drop a game themselves. Only the cellar-dwelling Jags improve, and they only add a game.

    Finally, the West:

    Denver Broncos: 12-4 (-1)
    San Diego Chargers: 8-8 (+1)
    Oakland Raiders: 4-12 (0)
    Kansas City Chiefs: 3-13 (-1)

    The Broncos drop a game, but still cop the lot by four over the Bolts, who improve by one to finish at .500. The Raiders stay where they are, but are able to take third by themselves because of the Chiefs' one-game drop.

    Seeds:

    1. Patriots (AFC East champs): 12-4
    2. Broncos (AFC West champs): 12-4
    3. Texans (AFC South champs): 10-6
    4. Bengals (AFC North champs): 10-6
    5. Ravens (AFC North second place): 9-7
    6. Steelers (AFC North third place): 9-7

    The Patriots hold the expected wins tiebreaker for the top seed over the Broncos, 12.4 to 12.3.

    The Texans hold the expected wins tiebreaker for the three seed over the Bengals, 10.1 to 9.9.

    Wild Card Weekend schedule:

    Saturday. January 5:

    Steelers-Texans, 4:30, NBC- Dan Hicks, Mike Mayock, Alex Flanagan (sideline reporter)

    Sunday, January 6:

    Ravens-Bengals, 1, CBS- Jim Nantz, Phil Simms

    Next: We look at the NFC.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
  12. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now let's look at the NFC, beginning in the East:

    New York Giants: 10-6 (+1)
    Washington Redskins: 9-7 (-1)
    Dallas Cowboys: 7-9 (-1)
    Philadelphia Eagles: 4-12 (0)

    The Giants add a game while the Skins shed one, which means that the teams switch places at the top of the division. The Boys drop a game and lose their .500 season, while the Eagles remain frozen in the basement.

    Next, the North:

    Chicago Bears: 11-5 (+1)
    Green Bay Packers: 10-6 (-1)
    Minnesota Vikings: 9-7 (-1)
    Detroit Lions: 7-9 (+3)

    The Bears add a game and thus go from a second-place tie to division champs. The Pack drops a game and finishes second, and the Vikes do likewise and end up in third by themselves. Meanwhile in Detroit, the Lions spike by three games but still finish last.

    Now, the South:

    Atlanta Falcons: 11-5 (-2)
    Carolina Panthers: 8-8 (+1)
    New Orleans Saints: 8-8 (+1)
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 8-8 (+1)

    The Falcons drop a pair, but still take the division by three games over the field, each of whom improves by a game to maintain their real-life tie.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to settle said tie, and we find that the Saints finish at 8.1 to take second, while the Bucs end up with 7.9 to finish third and the Panthers bring up the rear with 7.8 and finish last.

    Finally, the West:

    Seattle Seahawks: 12-4 (+1)
    San Francisco 49ers: 11-5 (0)
    St. Louis Rams: 7-9 (0)
    Arizona Cardinals: 5-11 (0)

    The Hawks add a game to take the title outright, and they're the only team in the division that moves at all. (A reminder that there are no such things as ties in the Pythagorean universe, so real-life ties don't figure into a team's movement or non-movement in the standings.)

    Seeds:

    1. Seahawks (NFC West champs): 12-4
    2. Falcons (NFC South champs): 11-5
    3. Bears (NFC North champs): 11-5
    4. Giants (NFC East champs) 10-6
    5. 49ers (NFC West second place): 11-5
    6. Packers (NFC North second place): 10-6

    The Falcons hold the expected wins tiebreaker for the two seed over the Bears, 11.0 to 10.8.

    Wild Card Weekend schedule:

    Saturday, January 5:

    Packers-Bears, 8, NBC- Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafpya (sideline reporter)

    Sunday, January 6:

    49ers-Giants, 4:30, Fox- Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver (sideline reporter), Erin Andrews (sideline reporter)

    Next: To be determined.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2019
  13. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the first 2012 AFC Wild Card Game from Reliant Stadium in Houston. In the Pythagorean universe. (A point of information: In the Pythagorean universe, all retractable roofs are kept closed during games regardless of weather.)

    The Texans scored first after Keyshawn Martin returned a punt to the Pittsburgh forty-one. Quarterback Matt Schaub wasted no time going up top, as we hear from Dan Hicks:

    "Excellent field position for the Texans, as they're at the Steelers' forty-one. Schaub in shotgun, and he'll drop back. Going for the long one...….IT'S CAUGHT BY ANDRE JOHNSON, AND JUST LIKE THAT THE TEXANS STRKIE FIRST!...….A perfectly thrown ball by Matt Schaub, and Johnson left (cornerback) Keenan Lewis at least five yards behind him."

    Mike Mayock: "Andre Johnson is one of the top deep threats in the league, and on this play he just sprints away from Keenan Lewis and makes the catch in stride. The Steelers have to do whatever they can to make sure that doesn't happen again. Maybe put Troy Polamalu, who's a much more physical player, on Johnson."

    Shayne Graham added the extra point, and after one quarter the Texans led 7-0.

    The Texans added another touchdown early in the second period. Schaub hit Johnson for fourteen yards and rookie wideout DeVier Posey for twenty-one, and running back Arian Foster found holes in the middle of the Pittsburgh defense and exploited them for gains of twelve and thirteen. The touchdown came from eleven yards out, as Schaub and Johnson connected for their second six-pointer of he day. Graham's extra point put the home squad up 14-0 with 8:07 left in the first half.

    The Texans added a field goal in the final two minutes of the first half. The big play of the drive was Schaub's forty-five yard strike to wide receiver Kevin Walter. It gave the Texans a first down at the Pittsburgh thirty, and after three more plays gained just two yards Graham was called on for a forty-five yard field goal attempt. The kick was good, and we went to the locker room at halftime with the Texans leading 17-0.

    The Texans added a second field goal after taking the second half kickoff. Martin's return set up the offense at the thirty-six, and Schaub hit Walter with two more key passes; one was for eleven yards, the other for sixteen. The drive was eventually stopped at the Steelers' thirty-two, but Graham was money from forty-nine yards out to put the Texans up 20-0 with 10:46 left in the third quarter.

    The Steelers finally got on the board with a field goal later in the quarter. Antonio Brown returned a punt all the way to the Houston thirty-four, and Ben Roethlisberger's twenty-yard pass to Mike Wallace put the Steelers in prime scoring position. A holding call ended their chances for a touchdown, but they eventually got back to the twenty, and from there kicker Shaun Suisham converted a thirty-seven yard field goal attempt to make it 20-3 in favor of the Texans with 5:35 left in the third.

    The Steelers added anther field goal before the end of the period. Ben connected with Wallace for eighteen yards and AB for sixteen, and when the drive ran out of steam at the Houston twenty-three Suisham connected from forty yards out. At the end of three quarters it was Houston 20, Pittsburgh 6.

    The Steelers scored their first touchdown of the evening after Graham missed wide right from fifty-two yards out, which gave the Steelers the ball at their own forty-two. Ben completed passes of fourteen yards to Brown and fifteen yards to Wallace, and on third and eight from the Texans' nine Ben ducked under a bulrush from Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and spotted Plaxico Burress in the back of the end zone. Plax made a tremendous leaping catch, but didn't appear to get his second foot down inbounds. The call of touchdown was made on the field, but was immediately challenged by Texans coach Gary Kubiak. After a delay of almost six minutes, the evidence was ruled inconclusive and the touchdown allowed to stand. Suisham added the extra point, and with just under ten minutes left in regulation the Texans' lead was down to 20-13.

    The Texans made a huge mistake on their next possession, as Foster fumbled after taking a screen pass from Schaub. The ball seemed to be loose for an eternity until linebacker Lawrence Timmons dived on it for the Black and Gold at the Houston forty-one. Ben threw to wideout Emmanuel Sanders for eleven yards, and running back Isaac Redman ran a draw play up the middle for sixteen yards and a first and goal at the Texans' seven. Once again, the touchdown came on third down from the nine, but there was no controversy involved, as Ben hit a wide-open Brown for the score. Suisham's extra point tied the game at twenty with 5:17 left in regulation.

    After the Pittsburgh defense forced a three-and-out, AB returned the ensuing punt to his own forty-two, and Ben went to work. He hit Sanders for eleven yards and Wallace for seventeen, and Rashard Mendenhall contributed an eleven-yard catch-and-run. On first and goal from the Houston six, Ben and AB connected for their second touchdown of the night, and Suisham's extra point put the Steelers up 27-20 with exactly one minute remaining in regulation. The Texans' last-ditch drive ended when Schaub was sacked by linebacker James Harrison on fourth down, and the Steelers had completed their stunning 27-20 comeback victory.

    Ben was named MVP by NBC after leading the Steelers' comeback. He finished his day seventeen of twenty-seven for 191 yards and three fourth-quarter touchdowns. Wallace was his leading receiver with five catches for seventy-five yards, while Brown caught six passes for fifty-seven yards and two touchdowns. The team's running game was held to eighty-one yards on thirty-four attempts; Mendenhall led the individual rushers with thirty-five yards on nine carries.

    For the Texans, Schaub finished seventeen of thirty-eight for 259 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson was his leading receiver with 106 yards on seven catches and two touchdowns, while Walter caught three passes for seventy-two yards and Foster caught four passes out of the backfield for forty-four yards. Foster also led the running game with fifty-eight yards on nineteen carries, while the rest of the rushing attack combined for minus two yards on seven carries.

    The Steelers will now head to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough next Sunday to take on the top-seeded New England Patriots in the second AFC Divisional Playoff. Game time is scheduled for 4:30 Eastern on CBS, with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms calling the action and Steve Tasker as the sideline reporter.

    Next: The Bengals host the Ravens in the second AFC Wild Card Game.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2019
  14. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the first 2012 NFC Wild Card Game from Soldier Field in Chicago. Game time temperature is 35 degrees, with cloudy skies and south-southwest winds gusting to 25 MPH. Wind chill at kickoff is eight degrees above zero.

    The first quarter was scoreless. The Bears scored first midway through the second quarter. Jay Cutler's fifteen-yard pass to Alshon Jeffery gave the Bears a first down at the Green Bay forty-three. Al Michaels describes what happened next:

    "First and ten now in Green Bay territory, and Cutler will go right back to the air. Ducks under the forearm from (linebacker A.J.) Hawk and lets it go deep......MARSHALL MAKES THE CATCH AND WILL WALK IN FOR THE TOUCHDOWN!...…..Cris, you wonder just how Cutler could get the ball away so perfectly when he was throwing blind. If he'd straightened up Hawk would have decapitated him."

    Cris Collinsworth: "It's called throwing the ball to a spot and praying, Al. Jay Cutler put all the mustard he could on that throw; the rest was up to Brandon Marshall, and he caught that ball without breaking stride. The Packers are stunned on defense right now as they go back to the sideline."

    Robbie Gould added the extra point, and with 10:28 left until halftime the Bears led 7-0.

    The Bears uncorked another scoring bomb the next time they had the ball. After the defense forced a three-and-out, Cutler found tight end Kellen Davis over the middle for fourteen yards and Marshall for fourteen more and a first down at the Packers' thirty-seven. Here's Al with what happened next:

    "Cutler out of the gun on first and ten, and he has all night to throw. He's going deep again, AND THIS TIME IT'S BENNETT WHO WILL SCORE!...…..Earl Bennett, who was just giving Brandon Marshall a breather, ends up on the receiving end of another Cutler bomb, and Cutler's been on target all night long so far."

    Collinsworth: "This is the best Cutler's looked in a long time. He's putting his throws right where they need to be. Maybe he knows the Packers' defense so well from playing them twice a year, and that's why they don't seem to have an answer for him. They better find one fast before they're run off the field."

    Gould's extra point made it 14-0 Bears with 8:05 left in the first half.

    Cutler threw his third touchdown pass of the night just before halftime. The running game also played a part, as Matt Forte gained ten yards on a draw play and Kahlil Bell cut a sweep bag ck to the left for fifteen. Cutler's thirty-two yard strike to Marshall gave the Bears a first down at the Green Bay thirteen, and from the twelve Cutler threw a dart between two Green Bay defenders to Jeffery for the touchdown. Gould tacked on the extra point, and the Bears enjoyed a 21-0 lead at the half.

    The Packers cut into their archrivals' lead with a touchdown of their own after taking the second half kickoff. The running game was featured prominently, as fullback John Kuhn blasted off left tackle for fourteen yards and reserve running back Alex Green did the same for sixteen, which became twenty-one when Bears linebacker Nick Roach was called for a facemask penalty despite not being able to make the tackle. Running back DuJuan Harris scooted through a hole on the right side of the Bears' defense for fourteen more yards, and Aaron Rodgers hooked up with wideout Jordy Nelson for fifteen more. The touchdown came from five yards out, as Rodgers found wide-open receiver Greg Jennings in the end zone for the score. Mason Crosby added the extra point, and with 9:42 left in the third quarter the Bears' lead was down to 21-7.

    The Pack crept closer with a field goal in its next possession. Randall Cobb returned a Bears punt to exactly midfield, and Harris' twenty-nine yard gain on a draw got them into Crosby's range. Mason ended up booting a thirty-yarder to cut the visitors' deficit to 21-10 with about seven minutes to play in the third period.

    The Pack added another field goal before the end of the period. On the first play from scrimmage following a punt Harris took a pitch from Rodgers, cut back to the right, and was off to the races before finally being shoved out of bounds at the Bears' twenty-seven after a gain of forty-nine. Three plays later from the twenty-one, Crosby's thirty-eight yard attempt split the uprights. After three quarters it was Chicago 21, Green Bay 13.

    The Bears put a final touchdown on the board after the Pack turned the ball over on downs at their own forty-seven with exactly two minutes to play. After the two-minute warning Forte faded the Pack to black. Here's Al:

    "The Bears need just one first down to wrap things up, as the Packers are down to one timeout. If this score holds up, the Bears will face the Falcons next Sunday in Atlanta. Handoff to Forte, and he's got a big hole! They won't catch him, and as the voice of the Bears Jeff Joniak is putting it right about now, TOUCHDOWN BEARS AND FADE TO BLACK!"

    Collinsworth: "The Packers were all waiting at the line of scrimmage, and still somehow Matt Forte managed to get through, and once he did nobody was catching him. This offense will be downright scary against the Falcons next week and whoever else they meet afterward if it keeps clicking like it did tonight."

    Gould added one last extra point, and we had our final score: Bears 28, Packers 13.

    There were three faces on the SNF Horse Trailer at the end of the evening: Cutler, who completed thirteen of his twenty-three passes for 272 yards and three touchdowns; Forte, who ripped through the Green Bay defense for 139 yards and a touchdown on eighteen carries; and Marshall, who caught six passes for 145 yards and a score. Bennett caught a pair of passes for fifty-five yards and a touchdown, while Jeffery caught three for fifty-three and a score. Altogether, the Bears totaled 455 yards on offense and also sacked Rodgers five times on defense.

    Speaking of Rodgers, He was held to thirteen of twenty-seven passing for 105 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Jennings was his leading target with thirty-seven yards on five catches and a touchdown. The team rushed for 220 yards on thirty-eight attempts in a losing cause; Harris led the way individually with eighty-eight yards on ten carries, while Green contributed sixty-four yards on eleven carries.

    The Bears' next stop will be the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, where they'll meet the Falcons in next Sunday's second Divisional Playoff. Kickoff is scheduled for 1PM Eastern on Fox, with Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick calling the action. Laura Okmin and Chris Myers will work the sidelines.

    Next: To be determined.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019
  15. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the second 2012 NFC Wild Card Game from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Game time temperature is 45 degrees, with fair skies and a west-southwest wind at 8 MPH.

    The Giants scored first in the final seconds of the first quarter. completed passes of ten and eleven yards to wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and twenty yards to fellow wideout Victor Cruz. The latter pass gave Big Blue a first down at the Niners' thirteen, and from there running back Ahmad Bradshaw exploded through a hole off left tackle and raced into the end zone for the touchdown. Kicker Lawrence Tynes added the extra point, and after one quarter the home squad led 7-0.

    The Giants added a field goal midway through the second quarter. Reuben Randle's punt return set up the offense at its own forty-one, and on the first play from scrimmage Bradshaw slashed his way off left tackle for forty-six yards and a first down at the Frisco thirteen. The G-Men lost two yards on the next three plays, but Tynes booted a thirty-two yard field goal to give the Giants a 10-0 lead with 9:31 to play in the first half.

    The Niners got on the board with a field goal in their next possession. Fullback Bruce Miller turned a screen pass into a sixteen-yard catch-ad-run, and quarterback Colin Kaepernick hooked up with wide receiver Randy Moss for twenty-five yards and a first down at the Gants' thirty-two. A false start penalty on first down moved them back five yards, but they fought their way beck to the thirty-one, and David Akers' forty-eight yard field goal attempt split the uprights to cut the Giants' lead to 10-3 with 7:12 left until halftime.

    The Niners tied the game in the final two minutes of the first half. The big play of the drive was running back Frank Gore's fifty-seven yard gain up the middle on a draw, which was augmented by a facemask penalty against Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. When all was said and done, the Niners had a first and goal at the New York one, and Gore dove over the top for the touchdown. Akers added the extra point, and the teams went to the halftime locker room tied at ten.

    The Niners scored again after taking the second half kickoff. Kaepernick connected with wideout Michael Crabtree for gains of seventeen and fourteen, and Gore charged up the middle on a draw for sixteen yards and a first and goal at the Giants' five. The touchdown eventually came from six yards out, as Gore cut a pitch back to the ight and walked into the end zone untouched. Akers added the extra point, and the visitors led 17-10 with 10:26 to play in the third quarter.

    The Niners added another touchdown before the end of the third quarter. Gore gained ten yards on another pitchout to the right, and Kaepernick picked up twelve yards and a first down on a designed quarterback draw. On first down from the Giants' twenty-two, Gore found anther huge hole up the middle and once again roared through it and into the end zone without being so much as breathed on. Akers' extra point was good, and after three quarters the Niners led 24-10.

    The visitors were well on their way to yet another touchdown when the third quarter ended thanks to their defense. Giants quarterback Eli Manning was picked off by reserve cornerback Tramaine Brock, who returned the ball to the Giants' thirty. Kaepernick's thirteen-yard pass to Crabtree gave the Niners a first and goal at the nine, and on third and goal from the six Gore again ran straight ahead and into the end zone for his fourth touchdown of the day. Akers' extra point was good, and eight seconds into the final period it was San Francisco 31, New York 10.

    The Niners scored again after the Giants turned the ball over on downs at their own thirty-three. Reserve running back Jewel Hampton's fourteen-yard dash up the middle put the Niners in Akers' range, and he eventually converted from twenty-seven yards out to increase the Frisco lead to 34-10 with 8:06 left in regulation.

    The Niners scored again on their next possession, as Crabtree ran a picture-perfect reverse for a sixty-three yard gain before being pushed out of bounds at the Giants' twenty-three. The drive stalled at the twenty, but Akers was good from thirty-seven yards out to make it 37-10 Frisco with 5:06 remaining.

    The Niners added one last field goal after the Giants turned the ball over on downs at their own twenty-six. Three plays later from the seventeen, Akers connected from thirty-four yards out to give us our final score: Niners 40, Giants 10.

    Gore was the easy choice for MVP, as he gained 163 yards on twenty-one carries and scored four touchdowns. The Niners as a team carried forty-five times for an incredible 288 yards. As a result, Kaepernick's stats were rather meager: nine of sixteen for 114 yards. Crabtree was his leading receiver with five catches for sixty-three yards.

    The Gaints' biggest offensive producer was Bradshaw, who gained ninety-one yards on fourteen carries with a touchdown. Eli had one of his worst days at the worst possible time; he completed just fourteen of thirty-seven passes for 150 yards with an interception that led directly to a score, and after the game many raised serious questions about his competence as a quarterback, at least in the postseason. He was replaced after his interception by backup David Carr, who completed two of his three passes for eleven yards. Pressure from the San Francisco defense could hardly be blamed, as he was only sacked twice. Cruz led the receiving corps with sixty-nine yards on six catches. Kick returner David Wilson may have had the best day of all, as he ran up 189 yards in kickoff returns.

    The Nners will take on their division rivals the Seattle Seahawks in the first NFC Divisional Playoff next Saturday night. Game time is scheduled for 8PM Eastern on Fox. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will call the action, while Pam Oliver and Erin Andrews work the sidelines.

    Next: Our final Wild Card Game, as the Ravens battle the Bengals in the second tilt from the AFC.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
  16. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the second 2012 AFC Wild Card Game from Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Game time temperature is 40 degrees, with cloudy skies and a west-southwest wind at 10 MPH.

    The Bengals scored first after taking the opening kickoff. As we pick up Jim Nantz's call, they face a third and two at the Baltimore forty-six:

    "The Bengals can do just about whatever they want to here on third down. Dalton takes the snap, hesitates, then gives it to Marvin Jones on the end around, and he's got a hole! Thirty-five, thirty, breaks a tackle, and this could go all the way! Tightropes the sideline at the ten, the five, and.....HE'S IN! TOUCHDOWN BENGALS ON THE TRICK PLAY!...….A really gutsy call on the part of both Andy Dalton and offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, Phil."

    Phil Simms: "And tremendous speed and shiftiness by Marvin Jones as well. He cuts back to the sideline to escape at least two tacklers, then watch him keep his balance while simultaneously staying in bounds so close to the chalk, which isn't as easy as it sounds. The Bengals will need more plays like the day to stay one step ahead of the Ray Lewis-led Ravens defense."

    Kicker Josh Brown added the extra point, and after one quarter the Bengals led 7-0.

    The Ravens tied the game with a touchdown just before halftime. Quarterback Joe Flacco found reserve wide receiver Jacoby Jones over the middle for thirteen yards, and running back Bernard Pierce popped a draw play for thirty-six yards and a first and goal at the Bengals' six. Flacco found Anquan Boldin for the touchdown on the next play, and kicker Justin Tucker added the extra point to tie the game at seven after thirty minutes of play.

    The Ravens took the lead with a touchdown after receiving the second half kickoff, thanks mostly to a sixty-seven yard catch-and-run by wide receiver Tandon Doss that gave the visitors a first and goal just inches from the Cincy goal line. Running back Ray Rice snuck through a hole off the right side and into the end zone on the next play, and Tucker added the extra point to give the Ravens a 14-7 lead with 12:30 left in the third period.

    The Bengals retied the game before the end of the third quarter. Adam "Pacman" Jones returned a punt all the way to the Ravens' eight, and on third and goal from the eleven Dalton hit wideout Jermaine Gresham in the end zone for the touchdown. Brown's extra point tied the game at fourteen after three quarters.

    The Ravens were driving toward a tiebreaking field goal as the third quarter ended. Flacco connected with Boldin for thirteen yards, wide receiver David Reed for nineteen, and fellow wideout Torrey Smith for twenty-four and a first and goal at the Cincy six. The drive was stopped at the three, but Tucker connected on a twenty-yard chip shot to give the Ravens a 17-14 lead with 8:32 left in the game. The drive had taken fourteen plays and consumed seven minutes and thirteen seconds.

    The Bengals responded with an epic field goal drive of their own: eleven plays, six minutes and twenty-nine seconds. The key plays were Dalton's fourteen-yard completion to Gresham, his eleven-yard pass to wideout Andrew Hawkins, and a fourteen-yard catch-and-run by running back Cedric Peerman. The drive stalled at the Ravens' sixteen, but Brown's thirty-three yard field goal tied the game at seventeen with 1:51 to play.

    The Ravens took the ball down for a game-winning field goal. Rice gained eleven and fifteen yards on separate draw plays, and Flacco and Jones connected on a seventeen-yard pass to get them into range for Tucker. Here's Jim Nantz's call:

    "This is for the game from thirty-eight, and this is a chip shot for Tucker. Marvin Lewis doesn't have a timeout to ice him, so this is it. Snap down, kick is up, and NO DOUBT ABOUT IT! The Ravens win at the final gun, and they'll head to Denver next Saturday for the divisional round."

    Simms: "This fourth quarter especially was a war of attrition between two gutsy football teams, but in the end the Ravens got the last punch in, Jim."

    This post was put together from two different sims due to technical problems, so I don't have stats or an MVP.

    Tucker kicked another game-winner the following week, as the Ravens went into the Mile High City and stunned the Broncos 38-35 in a double-overtime classic to move on to the AFC Championship Game. The game-winner was from forty-seven yards out a minute and forty-two seconds into the second overtime. Flacco also came up big, completing eighteen of his thirty-four passes for 331 yards ad three touchdowns. Smith caught only three passes, but they totaled ninety-eight yards, and two of them went for scores, including one from fifty-nine yards out. Jones caught a pair of passes for seventy-seven yards, including a seventy-yard touchdown, and Boldin caught six passes for seventy-one yards. On the ground, Rice carried thirty times for 131 yards and a touchdown. The victors also got a thirty-nine yard interception return for a touchdown from cornerback Corey Graham.

    For the Broncos, Peyton Manning completed twenty-eight of forty-three for 290 yards and three touchdowns, but was also sacked three times and intercepted twice. Wide receiver Eric Decker was his favorite target, catching six passes for eighty-four yards. On the ground, running back Ronnie Hillman carried twenty-two times for eighty-three yards. They also got two long touchdowns from return specialist Trindon Holiday, who returned a punt ninety yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, then took the second half kickoff back 104 yards for another touchdown.

    The Ravens have secured a spot in next Sunday's AFC Championship Game. If the Patriots beat the Steelers tomorrow, the game will be at Foxborough's Gillette Stadium. If the Steelers pull the upset, the bitter AFC North rivals will renew acquaintances at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium.

    Next: To be determined.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
  17. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the second 2012 NFC Divisional Playoff from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta:

    The Falcons scored first on their opening possession. Quarterback Matt Ryan completed passes of fifteen and twenty yards to wide receiver Julio Jones, which put the Dirty Birds in field goal range for kicker Matt Bryant. Bryant's forty-five yard field goal attempt was good, and the home squad led 3-0 with 8:42 left in the opening period.

    The Bears answered with a touchdown. Jay Cutler connected with Alshon Jeffery for twelve yards and Kellen Davis for eighteen, and Matt Forte blasted through a huge hole in the middle of the Falcons' defense for thirty-two yards and a first down at the Atlanta thirteen. On third and nine from the twelve, Cutler found a wide-open Brandon Marshall in the end zone for the score. Robbie Gould added the extra point, and after one quarter the Bears led 7-3.

    Cutler led the Bears to another touchdown midway through the second quarter. He connected with Marshall for gains of fifteen and twenty, and fellow wideout Earl Bennett for gains of fourteen and twenty. He completed the drive by hitting Jeffery for the score from five yards out. Gould added the extra point, and the visitors led 14-3 with 7:46 left in the first half.

    The Falcons' return game was directly responsible for their field goal at the end of the first half. Dominique Franks returned a punt all the way to the Bears' forty-two before being pushed out of bounds with one second left in the first half, and Falcons coach Mike Smith elected to have Bryant attempt a fifty-nine yard field goal. Bryant hit the ball solidly, and it cleared the crossbar by less than an inch. The Bears' lead was thus cut to 14-6 at halftime.

    The Bears added a field goal late in the third quarter. The two biggest plays of the drive were Forte's ten-yard gain on a draw play and Cutler's twelve-yard pass to Marshall. The drive stalled at the Falcons' twenty-one, but Gould connected from thirty-eight yards out to extend the Bears' lead to 17-6 with less than five minutes left in the third period.

    The Falcons answered with a field goal of their own. Ryan completed a pair of key passes; one went to Harry Douglas for fourteen yards, the other a catch-and-run by wideout Roddy White for thirty-three yards The drive bogged down at the Bears' twelve, but Bryant's twenty-nine yard field goal brought the Falcons back to within 17-9 after three quarters.

    The home squad made it a one-point game midway through the final period. Franks returned another Bears punt to midfield, and Ryan hit White for gains of fourteen and thirteen and Jones for a gain of sixteen. The latter completion gave the Dirty Birds a first and goal at the Bears' two, and on third and goal from the three Ryan flipped the ball to White for the touchdown. Smith opted to kick the extra point instead of try for two, and Bryant connected to cut the Falcons' deficit to 17-16 with less than eight minutes left in regulation.

    The Falcons scored what turned out to be the winning touchdown just before the two-minute warning. Franks' punt return gave the offense the ball at its own forty-two, and running back Michael Turner ran a draw play up the middle for fourteen yards and a first down. A few plays later, Ryan fired downfield for Jones, who made a juggling catch at the Bears' seventeen for a gain of thirty-five. The Bears were expecting another pass on first down, and thus had no answer when Turner bolted up the middle and into the end zone for the touchdown. Bryant's extra point put the Falcons up 23-17, The Bears' final drive ended at their own forty, and the Falcons were moving on.

    Ryan was named MVP by Fox. Matty Ice completed twenty of his thirty-one passes for 263 yards and a touchdown. Jones led the receiving corps with ninety-five yards on five catches, and White added seventy-two yards on six catches with a touchdown. The running game totaled just sixty-eight yards on thirty-two attempts, but Turner had several crucial runs late; he finished with fifty-nine yards on fifteen carries, including the winning touchdown.

    Forte led the Chicago ground game with 107 yards on seventeen carries, and Cutler hit on fourteen of his twenty-five passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Marshall was his leading receiver with seven catches for eighty-one yards and a touchdown. Cutler also faced pressure from the Falcons' defense all day, and was sacked four times.

    The Falcons will host the NFC Championship Game next Sunday if the Niners upset the Seahawks last night; if the Hawks won, the game will take place at Seattle's Qwest Field.

    Next: To be determined.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
  18. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the first 2012 NFC Divisional Playoff from Qwest Field is Seattle. Game time temperature is 36 degrees, with partly cloudy skies and calm winds.

    The Niners scored first after taking the opening kickoff. Colin Kaepernick found Michael Crabtree for eleven yards and a first down, and running back Jewel Hampton took a pitchback off the right side for a thirteen-yard gain. The touchdown came from nine yards out, as Kaepernick and Crabtree connected once more for the touchdown. David Akers made the extra point, and less than four minutes into the game the visitors led 7-0.

    The Niners scored another touchdown on their next possession. Kaepernick found future Hall of Famer Randy Moss for twelve yards and tight end Vernon Davis for twenty; he also picked up ten yards and a first down on a quarterback draw. On first and goal from the Seattle five, he called his own number again and dashed into the end zone for the score. Akers added another extra point, and with 4:19 left in the opening period it was 14-0 Frisco.

    The Hawks got on the board with a field goal in their next possession. Quarterback Russell Wilson threw for sixteen yards to wide receiver Sidney Rice, thirteen to fellow wideout Golden Tate, and nineteen to tight end Zach Miller. Running back Marshawn Lynch's fourteen-yard burst off right tackle gave the Hawks a first and goal at the Niners' six, and three plays later from the three kicker Steven Hauschka booted a twenty-yard chip shot to cut the Niners' lead to 14-3 at the end of one quarter.

    The Hawks were on their way to another score in the period's closing seconds when reserve running back Robert Turbin fumbled. After a mad scramble, Niners linebacker Patrick Willis recovered at the Seattle thirty-two. Running back LaMichael James' eleven-yard burst up te middle put the Niners in Akers' range, and Akers eventually converted from thirty-nine yards out to put the Niners up 17-3 less than two minutes into the second quarter.

    The Niners added a touchdown later in the quarter. Starting at their own six, the Niners drove ninety-four yards and too almost seven minutes off the clock. Highlights included a one-handed grab by Moss for a gain of twenty-seven and a twenty-one yard reception by Crabtree that he stabbed just before it hit the ground. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll threw the challenge flag, but replay determined the catch to be legal. The touchdown came from eighteen yards out, as Frank Gore bolted untouched through a huge hole up the middle and into the end zone. Akers tacked on the extra point, and with a little more than six minutes left in the half the Niners led 24-3.

    The Niners added a field goal at the end of the first half. Ted Ginn Jr.'s punt return set the offense up at its own forty-seven, and Kaepernick had his team in field goal range quickly thanks to a fifteen-yard run off right tackle by Gore and an eleven-yard completion to Crabtree. The drive got as far as the Hawks' eleven, and Akers' twenty-eight yard field goal on the final play of the half sent the visitors to the locker room with a 27-3 lead.

    The Hawks got back into the game with a touchdown after receiving the second half kickoff. Wilson completed a sixteen-yard pass to Rice and a thirteen-yard completion to Tate, and Lynch's thirteen-yard gain off the right side gave the Hawks a first and goal from inside the Frisco one. Wilson wasted no time in shoveling the ball to Lynch for the touchdown, and he ran in the two-point conversion himself to cut the Niners' lead to 27-11 with a little over twelve minutes left in the third quarter.

    The Niners answered with a field goal before the quarter ran out. Ginn's punt return gave them the ball at the Hawks' forty-three, and Kaepernick's eleven-yard run put them in range for Akers, who converted from thirty-six yards out to extend the visitors' lead to 30-11 after three quarters.

    The Hawks added a field goal early in the final period to get back within two scores. Wilson found Miller for fourteen yards over the middle, then went downfield to Rice for a thirty-four yard gain and a first down at the Niners' twenty-eight. The offense failed to gain any more yards, but Hauschka was good from forty-five yards out to cut the Niners' lead to 30-14 with 12:03 left in the game.

    The Niners answered with the contest's final three points. The big plays were fullback Bruce Miller's eleven-yard run on a draw and a twenty-six yard catch-and-run by James that set up a first and goal at the Seattle ten. The Hawks' defense stopped them there, but Akers punched a twenty-seven yarder through the uprights to establish our final score: San Francisco 33, Seattle 14.

    Kaepernick was named Player of the Game by Fox. He only threw when there was no other choice, completing nine of his eleven passes for 136 yards and a touchdown. But he also carried the ball seven times for thirty-six yards and a score, and the offense racked up thirty-three points against the Hawks' Legion of Boom, thought by many to be the NFL's dominant defense. Gore wasn't the one-man wrecking that he'd been against the Giants the previous week, but he still gained sixty-eight yards on twenty-one carries with a touchdown. James added fifty-four more yards on thirteen carries, and the running game finished with 211 yards on fifty-three attempts. Crabtree led the receivers with fifty-one yards on five catches and a touchdown.

    For the Hawks, Wilson finished ten of eighteen for 192 yards and a touchdown. Tate led all receivers with sixty-six yards on three catches, and Rice caught three more balls for sixty-three yards. Lynch led the running game with seventy-two yards on fifteen carries and also caught Wilson's touchdown pass. On defense, defensive tackle Alan Branch sacked Kaepernick twice.

    The next week, the Niners traveled to Atlanta to face the Falcons in the NFC Championship Game, and they upset their former NFC West rivals 28-24 to earn the right to go to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. Kaepernick was called on to throw more often, and he delivered, completing sixteen of twenty-one for 233 yards and a touchdown. Vernon Davis caught five passes for 106 yards and a score, and Crabtree added fifty-seven yards on six catches. Gore led the running game with ninety yards on twenty-one carries and two touchdowns, and James added another touchdown.

    For the Falcons, Matt Ryan was sensational in a losing cause, finishing thirty of forty-two for 396 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Julio Jones caught eleven passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns, Roddy White caught seven more for a hundred yards even, and tight end Tony Gonzalez caught eight for seventy-eight yards and a touchdown. Jacquizz Rodgers was the Dirty Birds' leading ground gainer, but he managed just thirty-two yards on ten carries.

    Next: The second AFC Divisional Playoff, as the Steelers visit the Pats in Foxborough.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
  19. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the second 2012 AFC Divisional Playoff from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Game time temperature is 52 degrees, with cloudy skies and a south-southwest wind at 7 MPH.

    The Patriots scored first. Devin McCourty returned the opening kickoff all the way to his own forty-five, and Tom Brady completed key passes to Deion Branch for seventeen yards and Rob Gronkowski for eleven. The drive died out at the Steelers' twenty-yard line, but Stephen Gostkowski's thirty-seven yard field goal gave the Pats a 3-0 lead after one quarter.

    The home squad added another field goal midway through the second quarter. The big play of the drive was running back Stevan Ridley's fifty-two yard gain on a draw play, and Brady's twelve-yard pass to Wes Welker gave the Pats a first and goal at the Pittsburgh six. On fourth and goal from the three, Gostkowski was called on for a twenty-yard chip shot, and he converted to give the Pats a 6-0 halftime lead.

    The Pats picked up a third field goal on their first possession of the second half. Ridley slashed his way off left tackle for twenty yards, and fellow running back Danny Woodhead charged through the middle of the Steelers' defense for nineteen more. A ten-yard pass to wide receiver Brandon Lloyd put the Pats in field goal range, and Gostkowski eventually converted from forty yards out to extend the New England lead to 9-0 with a little over nine minutes left in the third.

    The Pats added seven more points just before the end of the period. Brady connected with Lloyd for sixteen yards, then threw deep for Branch, who made the catch and wasn't tackled until he'd reached the Steelers' six, a gain of forty-five. Brady found Welker for the touchdown on the next play, and Gostkowski added the extra point. After three quarters the Pats were in firm control, 16-0.

    The Pats added another field goal after Shaun Suisham's forty-five yard attempt sailed wide right, which gave them the ball at their own thirty-five. Ridley ran another draw play for a gain of fifteen, and Lloyd added a seventeen-yard catch-and-run. The drive was stopped at the Pittsburgh nineteen, but Gostkowski split the uprights from thirty-six yards out to make it 19-0 Pats with 10:16 to play in regulation.

    The Pats added one last field goal midway through the final quarter after the Steelers turned the ball over on downs at their own thirty-nine. The big plays of the drive were a thirteen-yard pass to Welker and a fifteen-yard facemask penalty on Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley when he used the mask to try and tackle Ridley. That penalty put the ball at the Pittsburgh twenty-five, and three plays later Gostkowski was good from forty-two yards out to put the Pats up 22-0 with 6:51 to play.

    The Steelers avoided the shutout with a touchdown in the game's final minute. Running back Jonathan Dwyer's catch-and run went for ten yards and a first down, and Ben Roethlisberger connected with Mike Wallace for twenty more yards. As we pick up the call from Jim Nantz, it's first and ten at the New England forty-two:

    "Empty backfield for Roethlisberger, as he tries to get the Steelers on the board. Snap back to him, and he'll have all day. Hangs it up down the sideline for Brown, who's got it at the ten and will go into the end zone to spoil the New England shutout!...…..This combination of Ben and Brown will be heard from for years to come, Phil."

    Phil Simms: "Too bad they were the only thing working for the Steelers today, Jim. A perfect throw by Roethlisberger, and look at Antonio Brown outreach (cornerback) Kyle Arrington for the football. You don't often see that kind of effort from a guy whose team is being dominated the way the Steelers have been in this game."

    Suisham added the extra point, and thirty-three seconds later the Pats had a convincing 22-7 win.

    Ridley was named Player of the game by CBS. Although he didn't score, he made mincemeat of the Steelers' defense, finishing with 122 yards on eighteen carries. The team rushed for 168 yards on thirty-three attempts. Brady finished seventeen of twenty-eight for 214 yards and a touchdown. Welker led the receivers with sixty-four yards on eight catches and a score, while Branch finished with sixty-two yards on just two catches and Lloyd caught four passes for fifty-two yards. On defense, linebacker Rob Ninkovich had two of the Pats' four sacks, and McCourty had ten solo tackles. Gostkowski also deserves kudos for making all five of his field goal attempts.

    For the Steelers, Ben finished fifteen of thirty for 240 yards and a touchdown. AB led all receivers with five catches for ninety-eight yards and a score, while Wallace caught four passes for fifty-five yards and fellow receiver Emmanuel Sanders added three catches for fifty-three yards. The running game was held to just sixty yards on twenty-six attempts, and Dwyer was the leading individual rusher with twenty-seven yards on eleven carries. Penalties also hurt the Pittsburgh cause; they committed ten for seventy yards.

    The following week, the Pats hosted the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game, but it was their turn to be dominated, as the visitors prevailed 28-13. Joe Flacco completed twenty-one of his thirty-six passes for 240 yards and three second-half touchdowns that erased a 13-7 halftime deficit. Anquan Boldin caught five passes for sixty yards and two touchdowns, while tight end Dennis Pitta snagged five balls for fifty-five yards and the other score. Torrey Smith added sixty-nine yards on four catches. Bernard Pierce was the Ravens' leading rusher with fifty-two yards on nine carries, while Ray Rice managed forty-eight yards on nineteen carries and a touchdown.

    For the Pats, Brady completed twenty-nine of fifty-four for 320 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Welker caught eight passes for 117 yards and a touchdown, while Lloyd caught seven for seventy yards and tight end Aaron Hernandez pulled in nine passes for eighty-three yards. Ridley led the rushing attack with seventy yards on eighteen carries.

    Super Bowl XLVII took place of February 3 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, and the Ravens survived not only the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers, but the first (and so far only) power failure during a game in Super Bowl history to prevail 34-31 and bring the city of Baltimore its second Lombardi Trophy. Flacco was named MVP after completing twenty-two of thirty-three for 287 yards and three touchdowns. Boldin led the receivers with six catches for 104 yards and a touchdown, and Jacoby Jones not only hauled in a fifty-six yard touchdown pass, but returned the second half kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown. Rice led the ground game with fifty-nine yards on twenty carries.

    Colin Kaepernick had what was by far his best passing game of the postseason for the Niners, finishing sixteen of twenty-eight for 302 yards with a touchdown and an interception despite being sacked three times. Michael Crabtree caught five passes for 109 yards and a touchdown, and Vernon Davis equaled Boldin's stat line with six catches for 104 yards. Frank Gore led the ground attack with 110 yards on nineteen carries and a touchdown, and Kaepernick added sixty-two yards on seven carries and another touchdown. The overall running game finished with 192 yards on twenty-nine attempts.

    We've contested thirty-eight Super Bowls in the Pythagorean universe, and the NFC still has the all-time lead, 21-17.

    Next: To be determined.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  20. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now let's look at 2013. We begin in the AFC East:

    New England Patriots: 11-5 (-1)
    Miami Dolphins: 8-8 (0)
    Buffalo Bills: 7-9 (+1)
    New York Jets: 5-11 (-3)

    The Pats drop a game, but still take the division crown by three over the stationary Dolphs. The Bills add a game, while the Jets plunge into last place because of their three-game nosedive.

    Next, the North:

    Cincinnati Bengals: 11-5 (0)
    Pittsburgh Steelers: 8-8 (0)
    Baltimore Ravens: 7-9 (-1)
    Cleveland Browns: 6-10 (+2)

    The Bengals hold fast to take the crown by three games over the Steelers, who also stay put. The defending Super Bowl champs fall off by a game and inhabit third place by themselves, while the Browns pick up a pair. Unfortunately, coach Rob Chudzinski still gets the ax after just one season in Cleveland. Mike Pettine will take over in 2014.

    Now, the South:

    Indianapolis Colts: 9-7 (-2)
    Tennessee Titans: 8-8 (+1)
    Houston Texans: 4-12 (+2)
    Jacksonville Jaguars: 3-13 (-1)

    The Colts fall off by two, but still edge the Titans for the division crown despite the latter team's one-game improvement. The Texans take a two-game bump, which vaults them over the Jags and into third place. Speaking of the Jags, their one-game drop dooms them to the basement.

    Finally, the West:

    Denver Broncos: 12-4 (-1)
    Kansas City Chiefs: 11-5 (0)
    San Diego Chargers: 9-7 (0)
    Oakland Raiders: 5-11 (+1)

    The Broncos drop a game, but still take the division by a game over the Chiefs, who stay where they are in their first season under new coach Andy Reid. The third-place Chargers stand pat as well, while the last-place Raiders make a modest one-game improvement.

    Seeds:

    1. Broncos (AFC West champs): 12-4
    2. Bengals (AFC North champs): 11-5
    3. Patriots (AFC East champs): 11-5
    4. Colts (AFC South champs): 9-7
    5. Chiefs (AFC West second place): 11-5
    6. Chargers (AFC West third place): 9-7

    The Bengals hold the expected wins tiebreaker for the two seed over the Patriots, 11.1 to 10.5.

    Wild Card Weekend began on January 4 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, where the Colts came back from a 38-10 third-quarter deficit to stun the Chiefs 45-44. Quarterback Andrew Luck completed twenty-nine of forty-five for 443 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. His favorite target was wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who caught thirteen passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning sixty-four yarder with 4:21 to play in regulation. Wide receiver Lavon Brazil added four catches for fifty-four yards. Running back Donald Brown led the ground attack with fifty-five yards on eleven carries and a touchdown, and Luck himself scrambled seven times for forty-five yards.

    Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith went pass-for-pass with Luck, finishing thirty of forty-six for 378 yards and four touchdowns. Wideout Dwayne Bowe was his main receiver, snagging eight passes for 150 yards and a touchdown. Fellow receiver Dexter McCluster caught seven passes for fifty-two yards, and a third receiver, Donnie Avery, caught a seventy-nine yard touchdown pass. Running back Knile Davis was the Chiefs' leading ground gainer with sixty-seven yards and a touchdown on eighteen carries, while Smith carried eight times for fifty-seven yards. The overall ground game totaled 150 yards on thirty attempts.

    The other AFC Wild Card Game will take place on Sunday, January 5, as the Pats play host to the Chargers at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. Kickoff is scheduled for 1PM Eastern on CBS, with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms on the call. Tracy Wolfson will be the sideline reporter.

    Next: We look at the NFC.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
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