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 for our look at the NFC. We begin in the East:

    Philadelphia Eagles: 9-7 (-1)
    Dallas Cowboys: 8-8 (0)
    New York Giants: 6-10 (-1)
    Washington Redskins: 5-11 (+2)

    The Eagles drop a game under first-year coach Chip Kelly, but remain on top by a game over the Cowboys, who stay where they are. The third-place Giants drop a game, while the last-place Skins take a two-game bump but lose head coach Mike Shanahan. He'll be replaced by Jon Gruden's younger brother Jay.

    Now to the North:

    Detroit Lions: 9-7 (+2)
    Green Bay Packers: 8-8 (0)
    Chicago Bears: 7-9 (-1)
    Minnesota Vikings: 6-10 (+1)

    The Lions' two-game improvement takes them from third place to the top of the division by a game over the Pack, who freeze in their tracks and end up second. The Bears drop a game under new head coach Marc Trestman to finish third, while the Vikes' one-game improvement doesn't save them from the basement.

    Next, to the South:

    Carolina Panthers: 12-4 (0)
    New Orleans Saints: 11-5 (0)
    Atlanta Falcons: 6-10 +2)
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5-11 (+1)

    The only movement here breaks the real-life tie for third between the Falcons and the Bucs. The Falcons perk up by two-games to take third by themselves, while the last-place Bucs settle for a one-game improvement.

    Finally, the West:

    Seattle Seahawks: 13-3 (0)
    San Francisco 49ers: 12-4 (0)
    Arizona Cardinals: 10-6 (0)
    St. Louis Rams: 8-8 (+1)

    The only movement here is a one-game improvement by the last-place Rams, which means that all four teams in the division finish at .500 or better.

    Seeds:

    1. Seahawks (NFC West champs): 13-3
    2. Panthers (NFC South champs): 12-4
    3. Eagles (NFC East champs): 9-7
    4. Lions (NFC North champs): 9-7
    5. 49ers (NFC West second place): 12-4
    6. Saints (NFC South second place): 11-5

    The Eagles hold the expected wins tiebreaker for the three seed over the Lions, 9.4 to 8.5.

    Wild Card Weekend began on January 4 at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field, where Shayne Graham's last-second field goal lifted the Saints over the Eagles 26-24. Drew Brees finished twenty of thirty for 250 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Brees spread the ball around, completing passes to ten different receivers. Lance Moore caught Brees' touchdown pass, while tight end Jimmy Graham led the receivers with forty-four yards on three catches. Running back Mark Ingram led the ground game with ninety-seven yards on eighteen carries plus a touchdown.

    For the Eagles, Nick Foles completed twenty-three of his thirty-three passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Riley Cooper was his main target, as he caught six passes for sixty-eight yards and a touchdown. DeSean Jackson added three catches for fifty-three yards. Shady McCoy led the ground game with seventy-seven yards on twenty-one carries plus a touchdown.

    The following week, the Saints traveled to CenturyLink Field in Seattle for the first NFC Divisional Playoff, where they dropped a tough one to the top-seeded Hawks 23-15. Brees had a spectacular day in a losing cause, finishing twenty-four of forty-three for 309 yards with a touchdown. The touchdown was caught by wide receiver Marques Colston, who finished with eleven catches for 144 yards. Fellow wideout Robert Meachem caught a pair of passes for sixty-nine yards. Running back Khiry Robinson paced the gorund game with fifty-seven yards on thirteen carries plus a touchdown.

    For the Hawks, Russell Wilson was sacked three times and threw only eighteen passes, completing nine for 103 yards. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin led the Hawks in receiving yardage with thirty in two catches, while fellow wideout Percy Harvin caught a team-high three passes for twenty-one yards. The vast majority of the offense came from Marshawn Lynch, who ripped through the New Orleans defense for 140 yards on twenty-eight carries with two touchdowns. The Hawks have thus secured a spot in the NFC Championship Game on January 19, and they'll host the game at CenturyLink Field.

    The other NFC Wild Card Game will take place on Sunday, January 5, as the Niners travel to Ford Field to take on the Lions. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 PM Eastern on Fox, with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman calling the action. Pam Oliver and Erin Andrews will serve as sideline reporters.

    Next: The second NFC Wild Card Game.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
  2. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the second 2013 NFC Wild Card Game from Ford Field in Detroit:

    The Lions scored first after taking the opening kickoff. Quarterback Matthew Stafford hit wide receiver Calvin "Megatron" Johnson for fourteen yards and a first down, then went back to him for a gain of eighteen. The drive stalled at the Niners' twelve-yard line, but former Niner David Akers kicked a twenty-nine yard field goal to put the Lions up 3-0 with 9:26 to play in the first quarter.

    The Lions scored again after reserve wideout Dorin Dickerson blocked Niners' kicker Phil Dawson's chip shot field goal attempt. Dickerson recovered the ball himself before it could roll out of bounds at his own ten-yard line, but Stafford was sacked by defensive tackle Justin Smith for as seven-yard loss on first down. But he quickly got his team out of trouble with a pair of completions: a seventeen-yarder to wide receiver Nate Burleson and a twenty-four yard hookup with Johnson. A twelve-yard screen pass to running back Reggie Bush put the Lions in Akers' range, and on the final play of the first quarter Akers hit from twenty-two yards out to give the home squad a 6-0 lead after one.

    The Lions were driving toward a third field goal when the first quarter expired. Stafford threw to tight end Brandon Pettigrew for eleven yards and a first down, then found Burleson for fifteen more. Bush's twelve-yard gain off the right side put them in Akers' range once more, and when the drive stalled at the Frisco nine Akers was called on to convert from twenty-six yards out, which he did. Our score with 12:16 left in the second quarter: Detroit 9, San Francisco 0.

    The Niners hit the board on their next possession. Colin Kaepernick hit Anquan Boldin for a gain of twenty-eight and a first down at the Lions' forty, and later in the drive he converted a third and thirteen by finding Vernon Davis down the middle for a gain of twenty-nine and a first down at the fourteen. From there, Kaepernick found a wide-open Michael Crabtree in the end zone for the touchdown. Dawson's extra point cut the Lions' lead to 9-7 with 9:38 to play in the first half.

    The Lions answered with a touchdown of their own. The key plays were a fourteen-yard catch-and-run by Burleson and a thirty-eight yard strike downfield from Stafford to Megatron. The latter completion gave the Lions a first down at the Niners seventeen, but it was a gutsy call by Lions coach Jim Schwartz on fourth and twelve from the nineteen that will long be remembered. From field goal formation, Akers took a direct snap and fired for running back Joique Bell, who made the easy catch at the five and walked in for the touchdown as Ford Field went berserk. The hero of the hour converted the extra point as well, and with 5:20 left until halftime the Lions led 16-7.

    It took the Niners just three plays after the kickoff to answer. A seventeen-yard pass to Boldin took them across midfield, then Frank Gore stormed up the middle for thirty-seven yards and a first and goal from the Lions' nine. Reserve running back Kendall Hunter raced up the middle and into the end zone on the next play, and Dawson's extra point cut the Lions' halftime lead to 16-14.

    The Niners went ahead with a field goal midway through the third quarter. Hunter cut a sweep back to the left for fifteen yards and a first down, and Gore found another gaping hole in the middle of the Detroit defense and plowed through it for thirty yards and a first down at the Lions' seventeen. The drive stalled at the eight, but Dawson's twenty-five yard field goal put the Niners up 17-16 after three quarters.

    The visitors scored another touchdown midway through the final period. Hunter gained twelve yards and a first down up the middle, and Kaepernick found Boldin over the middle for fifteen more yards. Boldin also gained ten yards and a first down on an end around. The touchdown came on first and goal from the eight, as fullback Bruce Miller caught Kaepernick's short flip, ran over two Detroit defenders, and bulled his way into the end zone for the touchdown. Dawson made the extra point, and the Niners were up 24-16 with 10:03 to play in regulation.

    The Niners put the game away with a defensive touchdown in the final two minutes. As we pick up Joe Buck's call, the Lions face a second and ten at their own thirty-two:

    "Stafford will be in the gun, and odds are he'll be looking for Megatron on second and ten with 1:47 left. Takes the snap, scrambling, hit!......Ball is picked off by Craig Dahl the former Ram, and unless Burleson can catch him he'll have a touchdown!.....Burleson trips at the ten, and Dahl will take it in! The Niners have put this game away! Thirty-five yards on the return!"

    Troy Aikman: "Stafford was crushed by (linebacker) Patrick Willis before he could throw, and the ball comes out of his hand and definitely goes forward, which makes this an interception return by Craig Dahl instead of a fumble recovery. None of the other Lions except for Nate Burleson is close enough to catch him, and Burleson falls on his face at the ten. Stafford's just now getting up, as Willis knocked him out for a few seconds."

    Dawson added one last extra point, and the Niners had wrapped up a 31-16 victory.

    In a bit of an upset, Fox chose Niners linebacker NaVorro Bowman as its Player of the Game after the firmer Penn State product made no less than thirteen solo tackles. Fellow linebacker Ahmad Brooks added ten more. On offense, Kaepernick finished fourteen of nineteen for 201 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Boldin led the receiving corps with seventy-eight yards on five catches. As usual, Gore led the way on the ground with eighty-nine yards on thirteen carries. and the Niners as a team gained 147 yards on just twenty-five attempts. Smith had two of the defense's three sacks of Stafford.

    Speaking of whom, he finished twenty-six of thirty-nine for 271 yards and a costly pick-six. Megatron had a spectacular day, finishing with eight catches for 135 yards, and Burleson caught five more for fifty-two yards. Bush led the Lions in rushing with seventy-nine yards on twenty carries, and he also caught four passes for twenty-nine yards.

    Seven days later, the Niners invaded Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte to face the Panthers in the second NFC Divisional Playoff and left town with a 23-10 victory. Kaepernick completed fifteen of his twenty-eight passes for 196 yards and a touchdown, and he also scored on a four-yard run. Boldin led all receivers with eight catches for 136 yards, and Gore led the ground attack with eighty-four yards on seventeen carries. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton completed sixteen of his twenty-five passes for 267 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted twice and sacked five times. Former Niner Ted Ginn Jr. was his leading target with 104 yards on four catches, and fellow receiver Steve Smith Sr. caught four more balls for seventy-four yards and a touchdown. Newton was also Carolina's leading rusher with fifty-four yards on ten carries, and the Panthers as a team managed just ninety-three yards on twenty-four attempts.

    The Niners' next stop was Seattle's Qwest Field on January 19 for the NFC Championship Game, and the home squad punched its ticket to Super Bowl XLVIII in East Rutherford, New Jersey with a 23-17 come-from-behind victory. Russell Wilson shrugged off four San Francisco sacks to complete sixteen of his twenty-five passes for 215 yards and a touchdown. Main target Doug Baldwin caught six passes for 106 yards, and fellow wideout Jermaine Kearse caught the touchdown. Marshawn Lynch led the way on the ground with 109 yards on twenty-two carries and a score.

    Kaepernick had one of the best all-around games by a quarterback in postseason history for the Niners, as he not only completed fourteen of his twenty-four passes for 153 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, but also gained 130 rushing yards on eleven carries. Gore, on the other hand, was held to just fourteen yards on eleven carries. Boldin led the Frisco receivers with fifty-three yards on five catches plus a touchdown, and Crabtree caught four more balls for fifty-two yards.

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

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
  3. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the second 2013 AFC Wild Card Game from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Game time temperature is 36 degrees, with cloudy skies and calm winds.

    The Pats scored first after taking the opening kickoff. The big plays were a pair of ten-yard runs. One was a draw play by running back LaGarrette Blount, the other was a slashing run off left tackle by Stevan Ridley. The drive stalled at the Chargers' twenty-one, but Stephen Gostkowski's thirty-eight yard field goal gave the Pats a 3-0 lead after one quarter.

    The Chargers took the lead with a touchdown late in the second quarter. Phillip Rivers hit wide receiver Vincent Brown for twenty-three yards and a first down; the rest of the drive belonged to former Patriot Danny Woodhead. He caught a ten-yard screen pass out of the backfield, picked up fourteen yards on a draw play, and from the Pats seventeen he cut back to the left on a sweep and cruised into the end zone for the touchdown. Kicker Nick Novak added the extra point, and the visitors had a 7-3 halftime lead.

    The Chargers added to their lead after taking the second half kickoff, as they took thirteen plays and almost seven minutes to get into the end zone. Key plays included a twelve-yard catch-and run by Antonio Gates and two completions to wide receiver Keenan Allen, one for fourteen yards and the other for sixteen. The latter completion gave the Bolts a first and goal at the New England six. Woodhead slammed into the end zone off right tackle on third and goal from the two, and Novak tacked on the extra point to extend the Chargers' lead to 14-3 with 8:46 left in the third quarter.

    The Chargers extended their lead with a field goal in the final seconds of the third period. Rivers completed a pair of eleven-yard passes; one went to Allen, while the other went to fellow wideout Eddie Royal. The drive stalled at the New England fifteen, but Novak converted from thirty-two yards out as the quarter ran out. Our score after three: San Diego 17, New England 3.

    The Pats cut into their deficit with a field goal midway through the final quarter. Tom Brady completed passes of fifteen yards to Julian Edelman, nineteen yards to fellow wideout Danny Amendola, thirteen more yards to Amendola, and twenty-four yards to tight end Michael Hoonanawanui. The Chargers were able to halt the home squad's advance at the San Diego four, but Gostkowski made a twenty-one yard chip shot to bring the Pats within 17-6 with a little over ten minutes left in regulation.

    The Chargers answered with a touchdown of their own. Rivers found Gates for gains of eleven and seventeen, then went over the middle to Royal for nineteen yards and a first down at the Pats' sixteen. On third and two from the eight, Rivers ducked a ferocious pass rush and found a wide-open Allen for the touchdown. Novak added the extra point, and with less than four minutes remaining the Chargers led 24-6.

    The Chargers thought they'd wrapped the game up when free safety Eric Weddle picked off a Brady pass and returned it to the New England thirty-two, but two plays later Rivers was hit by defensive tackle Tommy Kelly while running for a first down, and the ball popped loose. After a mad scramble, linebacker Dont'a Hightower recovered for the Pats at their own eighteen. From there, Brady led his team to a lightning-fast score. finding wideout Kenbrell Thompkins for gains of eleven and twenty-six. Ridley got loose up the middle for thirty-five yards before being pushed out of bounds at the San Diego two, and on the next play running back Shane Vereen banged his way into the end zone for the score. Gostkowski added the extra point, and the Pats were back to within 24-13. Unfortunately, there were only two seconds to play, and the Chargers knelt them out after recovering the Pats' onside kick. Our final: Chargers 24, Patriots 13.

    Woodhead was named Player of the Game by CBS after gaining seventy-six yards on fifteen carries and scoring two touchdowns. Rivers had a good day as well, completing seventeen of twenty-three for 193 yards and a touchdown. Allen led the San Diego receivers with six catches for seventy yards and a touchdown. Rivers was sacked three times by the Pats' defense, with Kelly notching two of them.

    For the Pats, Brady was decidedly subpar, completing only nine of his twenty-one passes for 138 yards and an interception. Edelman led the team in receptions with three for thirty-two yards, while Thompkins led the way in yardage with thirty-seven yards on two catches. Ridley led the running game with eighty-eight yards on just nine carries. On defense, linebacker Brandon Spikes had eleven solo tackles.

    The following week, the Chargers invaded Sports Authority Field at Mile High to take on the top-seed Broncos in the second AFC Divisional Playoff and dropped a 24-17 decision to their division rivals. Peyton Manning completed twenty-five of his thirty-six passes for 230 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Tight end Julius Thomas led the receivers with six catches for seventy-six yards, and wide receivers Wes Welker and Demaryius Thomas (no relation to Julius) caught touchdown passes. Demaryius finished with fifty-four yards on eight catches. Running back Knowshon Moreno gained eighty-two yards on twenty-three carries and scored a touchdown. Peyton's offensive line kept him clean all day, as the Chargers finished without a sack.

    For the Chargers, Rivers finished eighteen of twenty-seven for 217 yards and two touchdowns despite being sacked four times. Allen was spectacular, finishing with 142 yards on jut six catches with two touchdowns. The overall rushing game was held to just sixty-five yards on seventeen attempts; Woodhead was its individual leader with twenty-nine yards on nine carries.

    The other AFC Divisional Playoff took place on Saturday, January 11, as the Cincinnati Bengals hosted the Indianapolis Colts at Paul Brown Stadium. Kickoff was scheduled for 8:15 PM Eastern on CBS, with Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf calling the action. Allie LaForce will patrol the sidelines. The winner will travel to Denver for the AFC Championship Game on Sunday, January 19.

    Next: The Colts battle the Bengals.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
  4. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the first 2013 AFC Divisional Playoff from Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Game time temperature is 52 degrees, with cloudy skies and a south wind at 9 MPH.

    The Colts scored first after David Reed took the opening kickoff all the way down to the Bengals' thirty-six. Three plays later from the twenty-nine, Adam Vinatieri kicked a forty-six yard field goal to put the Colts up 3-0 a little over two minutes into the game.

    The Colts added another field goal before the end of the first quarter. Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis was hit by Colts linebacker Robert Mathis and fumbled, and the ball was recovered by defensive end Cory Redding at the Indy sixteen. (The Bengals had originally gotten the ball when free safety Reggie Nelson picked off an Andrew Luck pass and returned it to the Indy twenty-five.) Colts quarterback Andrew Luck completed passes of eleven and eighteen yards to wide receiver DaRick Rogers, and running back Trent Richardson gained eleven yards on a draw play and caught an eleven-yard screen pass. The drive reached the Bengals' twenty-three before stalling, and Vinatieri connected from forty yards out to extend the Indy lead to 6-0 after one quarter.

    The Colts added a third field goal early in the second quarter. T.Y. Hilton returned a punt into Cincinnati territory at the forty-nine, and Luck put them in field goal range with a fourteen-yard screen pass to fullback Stanley Havili. This drive stalled at the Bengals twenty-seven, and Vinatieri converted from forty-four yards out to put the Colts up 9-0 with a little under ten minutes to play in the first half.

    The Bengals answered with a field goal of their own. Quarterback Andy Dalton completed passes pf eleven yards to A.J. Green, then fired downfield for wideout Andrew Hawkins, who made a diving catch at the Indy thirteen for a gain of forty-six. The offense didn't gain another yard, but kicker Mike Nugent was good from thirty yards out to bring the Bengals to within 9-3 with a little over fve minutes left in the half.

    The Bengals added another field goal in the final seconds of the half. Dalton hit reserve wideout Marvin Jones for a fifteen-yard gain, then connected with Green for nineteen yards and a first down at the Colts' thirty-three. That left two seconds on the clock, which was just enough time for Nugent to try a fifty-yarder. The kick slipped just inside the left upright, and our halftime score was Indianapolis 9, Cincinnati 6.

    The third quarter was scoreless, but the Bengals took the lead early in the fourth. Running back Giovani Bernard raced up the middle for twelve yards and a first down and also provided an eleven-yard catch-and-run. Dalton also found wideout Jermaine Gresham for twelve yards, and Green-Ellis cut a pitch back to the right for twelve yards, which became sixteen due to a half-the-distance facemask penalty on the Colts. The Bengals thus had a first and goal at the Indy four, and Dalton wasted not time connecting with Adriel Jeremiah himself for the go-ahead touchdown. Nugent added the extra point, and with 11:11 remaining in regulation the Bengals were up 13-9.

    The Colts answered with a touchdown of their own. Running back Tashard Choice scooted through a hole on the right side of the Cincy defense for nineteen yards, and fellow back Donald Brown raced up the middle for forty-nine yards before he was pulled down at the Bengals' seven. On third and goal, still from the seven, Luck found reserve wideout Grif Whalen for the score. Vinatieri added the extra point, and the Colts led 16-13 with 8:05 to play.

    Next it was the Bengals' turn. On the first play from scrimmage Jones turned Dalton's short toss into a forty-one yard catch-and-run and a first down at the Colts' thirty-two. The touchdown came from fifteen yards out, as Bernard bulled his way off the right side and into the end zone for the score. Nugent added the extra point, and with 5:04 left in regulation it was Bengals 20, Colts 16.

    The stage was set for a fantastic finish. We pick up Greg Gumbel's call with four seconds left and the Colts having to go sixty-five yards for the winning score:

    "This is it for Indianapolis. One last lay from their own thirty-five. Everybody downfield for Luck, as he'll take the snap in an empty backfield. Here we go...…...can't get it to the end zone, the ball is tipped and CAUGHT BY COBY FLEENER He's down the sideline, and he's going into the end zone! The Colts have won it, and Paul Brown Stadium is in shock!"

    Dan Dierdorf: "Oh my God, what a finish! The ball slipped out of Andrew Luck's hand, and it was a wounded duck fluttering toward the sideline. All (cornerback) Pacman Jones has to do is knock it down and the Bengals escape. But he tries to reach for the interception, and the ball grazes his fingers and lands in the hands of Luck's Stanford teammate Coby Fleener. As long as he doesn't fall down, he's got the winning score, and he doesn't."

    Vinatieri made it official with the extra point, and the Colts had prevailed, 23-20. (By the way, should anyone care, the people at NFL Films borrowed Dierdorf's phrase when they named the winning touchdown "Luck's Duck".)

    Fleener was named MVP by CBS. He finished with three catches for seventy-six yards and the winning touchdown. Luck completed fourteen of his twenty-five passes for 190 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Brown led the way on the ground with fifty-seven yards on nine carries, although forty-nine of those yards came on one run. Mathis stood out on defense by sacking Dalton twice.

    For the Bengals, Dalton was fourteen of twenty-two for 214 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Marvin Jones was his leading receiver with three catches for seventy-one yards, and Green-Ellis led the way on the ground with seventy-five yards on fifteen carries. The Bengals rushed for 172 yards as a team on thirty-seven attempts. Their defensive star was former Steeler James Harrison, who finished with ten solo tackles.

    The Colts will now travel to Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver to take on the Broncos in the AFC Championship Game next Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 3PM Eastern on CBS, with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms calling the action. Tracy Wolfson will be the sideline reporter.

    Next: The AFC Championship Game.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  5. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the 2013 AFC Championship Game from Denver's Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Game time temperature is 45 degrees, with fair skies and a west wind at 8 MPH.

    The Broncos scored first. The drive's biggest play was Peyton Manning's forty-five yard pass to wide receiver Eric Decker, which was quickly followed by a twelve-yard pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. The touchdown eventually came from a yard out, as running back Ronnie Hillman dove over the top for the score. Kicker Matt Prater added the extra point, and with 9:52 left in the opening quarter the Broncos led 7-0.

    The Colts tied the game after forcing a turnover. Broncos running back Montee Ball was hit by linebacker Jerrell Freeman and lost the ball. Strong safety Antoine Bethea recovered for the Colts at the Denver twenty-six, and Andrew Luck put them in prime scoring position with an eleven-yard pass to tight end Coby Fleener. The touchdown came on third and goal from the twelve, as found running back Trent Richardson in the end zone for the touchdown. Adam Vinatieri added the extra point, and after one quarter we were tied at seven.

    The Broncos scored a touchdown to take the lead midway through the second quarter after Vinatieri shanked a thirty-three yard attempt. Manning connected with Wes Welker for eleven yards and a first down, which turned into a twenty-six yard gain when Colts free safety LaRon Landry was called for a facemask penalty. On the next play, Moreno cut a sweep back to the left, found a hole and sped through it for forty-four yards until he was brought down at the Indy five-yard line. On second and goal from the four, Peyton found Thomas for the touchdown, and Prater added the extra point to put the Broncos up 14-7 with 8:27 left in the first half.

    The Colts answered with a field goal just before the two-minute warning. Running back Tashard Choice made his way up the middle for sixteen yards, and Luck found T.Y. Hilton for twelve yards and a first down. The drive stalled at the Denver twenty-seven, but Vinatieri was good from forty-four yards out to cut the Broncos' lead to 14-10 with 2:20 left in the half.

    The Broncos answered with a touchdown, as Manning ran the two-minute offense to perfection. Starting at his own forty-two following Trindon Holiday's kickoff return, Peyton connected with Decker for seventeen yards and a first down. Moreno's eighteen-yard burst off left tackle gave the Broncos a first down at the Indy eleven, and from the five Peyton found Thomas for his second touchdown of the day. Prater added the extra point, and with just forty-eight seconds left in the first half the Broncos led 21-10.

    The Colts managed a field goal of the final play of the first half thanks to David Reed's kickoff return down to the Denver thirty. A fifteen-yard pass to Hilton made Vinatieri's attempt easier, and he converted from thirty-two yards out to cut the Broncos' halftime lead to 21-13.

    The Colts scored again midway through the third quarter. Hilton's punt return gave Luck and the offense the ball at the Denver forty-six, and Luck completed passes of seventeen yards to Fleener and eleven yards to DaRick Rogers. Running back Donald Brown banged his way into the end zone off the right side from seven yards out, and Vinatieri added the extra point to bring the Colts within 21-20 with 6:28 to play in the third quarter.

    The Broncos extended their lead with a field goal before the end of the third quarter. Moreno's ten-yard gain on a draw was augmented by another facemask penalty on Landry, this one for five yards, and Knowshon also caught a ten-yard screen pass. The drive stalled at the Indy eighteen, but Prater's thirty-five yard field goal extended the Denver lead to 24-20 after three quarters.

    The Broncos added to their lead with a touchdown midway through the final quarter, The key play of the drive was Ball's forty-seven yard romp up the middle, and the touchdown came from six yards out when Moreno found a hole off the left side and skittered through it and into the end zone. Prater added the extra point, and the Broncos led 31-20 with a little over nine minutes left in regulation.

    The Broncos put the game on ice with one last touchdown. Manning completed passes of ten yards to Wes Welker and twelve yards to backup tight end Jacob Tamme; the rest of the drive belonged to Moreno, He cut a sweep back to the left for a gain of twenty-four, caught an eleven-yard screen pass, ran a draw play for fifteen more yards, and for good measure raced up the middle and into the end zone from six yards out for the score. Prater added one last extra point, and the Broncos had wrapped up a 38-20 victory.

    Moreno was named Player of the Game by CBS. He gained 148 yards on seventeen carries with two touchdowns, and the Broncos as a team rushed for 261 yards on forty-two attempts with three touchdowns. Ball added sixty-seven yards on eleven carries. Peyton performed well against his old team, completing fourteen of his nineteen passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns. Both of the touchdowns went to Thomas, who finished with four catches for thirty-eight yards. Decker was the leading yardage receiver, finishing with sixty yards on just two catches.

    For the Colts, Luck finished fourteen of twenty-five for 179 yards and a touchdown. Hilton was his leading receiver with forty-seven yards on four catches, and Griff Whalen caught a pair of passes for forty-four yards. The running game was held to sixty-four yards on twenty-seven attempts; Choice was its individual leader with twenty-six yards on five carries, while Richardson was more productive as a receiver (one touchdown catch for twelve yards) than as a rusher (four yards on eleven carries).

    Two weeks later on February 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the Broncos met the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII, and things went wrong for them starting with the first play from scrimmage, when Moreno fell on an errant center snap in his own end zone for a safety. The final score was 43-8 in favor of Seattle, and the game wasn't that close, to borrow an old joke. The Broncos totaled just twenty-seven yards on thirteen rushing attempts, and Moreno carried just five times for seventeen yards. Peyton managed a good statistical day, finishing thirty-four of forty-nine for 280 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Thomas caught thirteen passes for 118 yards and a touchdown, and Welker caught eight more passes for eighty-four yards and another score. One of Manning's interceptions was returned sixty-nine yards for a touchdown by MVP Malcolm Smith.

    For the victorious Hawks, who won their initial world championship so far in this timeline, Russell Wilson completed eighteen of his twenty-five passes for 206 yards. Doug Baldwin caught five passes for sixty-six yards and a touchdown, and Jermaine Kearse added four catches for sixty-five yards and another score. Running back/wide receiver Percy Harvin led the ground game with forty-five yards on just two carries, while Marshawn Lynch carried fifteen times for thirty-nine yards and a touchdown. Harvin also returned the second half kickoff eighty-seven yards for a touchdown.

    We've now contested thirty-nine Super Bowls in the Pythagorean universe, and the NFC has a 22-17 all-time lead.

    Next: To be determined.

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

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now let's look at 2014 in the AFC. We begin in the East:

    New England Patriots: 12-4 (0)
    Buffalo Bills: 10-6 (+1)
    Miami Dolphins: 8-8 (0)
    New York Jets: 5-11 (+1)

    The Pats' margin of victory in the division is down to two games thanks to the Bills' one-game improvement. The Fins freeze in third place, while the Jets' one-game improvement isn't enough to save coach Rex Ryan's job. Todd Bowles will be the Jets' new pilot in 2015.

    Now for the North:

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

    The Ravens only need a one-game improvement to go from third place to the division title. The Steelers and Bengals each drop a game, which means that the Steelers finish second and the Bengals fall all the way to third. The Browns stay where they are, which is their usual home in the basement.

    Next, the South:

    Indianapolis Colts: 10-6 (-1)
    Houston Texans: 10-6 (+1)
    Jacksonville Jaguars: 4-12 (+1)
    Tennessee Titans: 3-13 (+1)

    The only team not to improve by a game is the real-life division champion Colts. This means that the Texans have now tied them for the crown, and also that the Titans and Jags are just a hair less pitiful.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to settle the tie for the division title, and it goes to the Colts, 10.0 to 9.8.

    Finally, the West:

    Denver Broncos: 11-5 (-1)
    Kansas City Chiefs: 10-6 (+1)
    San Diego Chargers: 8-8 (-1)
    Oakland Raiders: 3-13 (0)

    The Broncos drop a game, but still take the division title by a game over the Chiefs, who improve by a game to take second place. The Chargers fall off by a game and end up in third, while the Raiders remain marooned in the cellar. They'll also have a new coach in 2015, as former Raider Jack Del Rio takes over.

    Seeds:

    1. Patriots (AFC East champs): 12-4
    2. Broncos (AFC West champs): 11-5
    3. Ravens (AFC North champs): 11-5
    4. Colts (AFC South champs): 10-6
    5. Chiefs (AFC West second place; won three-way tiebreaker with Texans and Steelers): 10-6
    6. Texans (AFC South second place; finished second in three-team tiebreaker): 10-6

    We have a three-way tie at 10-6 for the two wild card spots. We turn to the expected wins tiebreaker to settle it, and we find that the Chiefs have 10.1 expected wins to take the five seed, while the Texans grab the six seed with 9.8 expected wins. That leaves the Steelers out in the cold with 9.6 expected wins.

    We also have a tie for the two seed at 11-5 between the Ravens and the Broncos. They're also tied with 10.8 expected wins. They didn't play each other in the regular season, so head-to-head tiebreakers don't count. Next we go to conference record. The Ravens finished 6-6 in real life, but we'll adjust that to 7-5 for Pythagorean purposes. It doesn't matter anyway, as the Broncos finish 10-2 and take the two seed. which leaves the Ravens as the three seed.

    Wild Card Weekend schedule (all times Eastern):

    Saturday, January 3:

    Texans-Ravens, 8:15, NBC- Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (sideline reporter)

    Sunday, January 4:

    Chiefs-Colts, 1, CBS- Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson (sideline reporter)

    Next: We turn to the NFC.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
  7. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

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

    Dallas Cowboys: 11-5 (-1)
    Philadelphia Eagles: 10-6 (0)
    New York Giants: 8-8 (+2)
    Washington Redskins: 5-11 (+1)

    The Boys drop a game, but still take the division by one over the Eagles, who don't leave their nest. The third-place Giants add a pair to finish at .500, and the last-place Redskins also add a game.

    Next, to the North:

    Green Bay Packers: 11-5 (-1)
    Detroit Lions: 9-7 (-2)
    Minnesota Vikings: 8-8 (+1)
    Chicago Bears: 5-11 (0)

    The Pack drops a game, but the second-place Lions shed a pair to establish Green Bay's margin of victory. The Vikes add a game to finish at .500, while the last-place Bears can't be budged from the basement. This leads to the ouster of head coach Marc Trestman and the hiring of former Panthers and Broncos boss John Fox as their next head coach.

    Now for the South:

    New Orleans Saints: 8-8 (+1)
    Carolina Panthers: 7-9 (0)
    Atlanta Falcons: 7-9 (+1)
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5-11 (+3)

    The Saints' one-game improvement is enough to get them the division title, as the Panthers remain locked in place. The Falcons add a game to force a tie for second, while the last-place Bucs take a three-game bump.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to settle the tie for second, and we find that the Panthers and Falcons each have 7.1 expected wins. Next are the head-to-head tiebreakers. Each team won a game, but the Panthers outscored the Falcons 51-22, so they'll finish second and the Falcons third.

    Finally, the West:

    Seattle Seahawks: 12-4 (0)
    Arizona Cardinals: 8-8 (-3)
    San Francisco 49ers: 7-9 (-1)
    St. Louis Rams: 7-9 (+1)

    The defending Super Bowl champions don't have to move an inch to take the division crown. The big story here is the three-game nosedive from the Cardinals, who hold on to second place but struggle to finish at .500. Meanwhile, the Niners drop a game and the Rams add a game to create a tie for third.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to settle the aforementioned tie, and the Rams prevail, 7.2 to 7.0.

    Seeds:

    1. Seahawks (NFC West champs): 12-4
    2. Packers (NFC North champs): 11-5
    3. Cowboys (NFC East champs): 11-5
    4. Saints (NFC South champs): 8-8
    5. Eagles (NFC East second place): 10-6
    6. Lions (NFC North second place): 9-7

    The Packers hold the expected wins tiebreaker for the two seed over the Cowboys, 11.0 to 10.6.

    On January 4, the Cowboys hosted the Lions in the second NFC Wild Card Game, and the Boys prevailed 24-20. Quarterback Tony Romo threw the winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Terrance Williams with 2:32 to play. He finished nineteen of thirty-one for 293 yards and two touchdowns despite being sacked six times. Running back DeMarco Murray was almost the entire Dallas ground game; he finished with seventy-five yards on nineteen carries and a touchdown. Williams finished with three catches for ninety-two yards and two touchdowns, with the other one a seventy-six yarder. Tight end Jason Witten added five catches for sixty-three yards, and wideout Cole Beasley caught four more balls for sixty-three yards.

    For the Lions, Matthew Stafford finished twenty-eight of forty-two for 323 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Wide receiver Golden Tate led the receivers with six catches for eighty-nine yards and a touchdown, while Calvin "Megatron" Johnson added five catches for eighty-five yards. Joique Bell was the Lions' leading rusher with forty-eight yards on twelve carries, while Reggie Bush carried eight times for thirty-seven yards and a touchdown. The Lions rushed twenty-two times for ninety yards, and Stafford was sacked three times by the Dallas defense.

    The following Sunday, Jerry's Boys traveled to Lambeau Field to take on the Packers in the second NFC Divisional Playoff, The home squad prevailed 26-21 thanks mainly to Aaron Rodgers, who completed twenty-four of his thirty-five passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns. Wide receive Davante Adams caught seven passes for 117 yards, including a forty-six yard touchdown; fellow wideout Randall Cobb added eight catches for 116 yards. On the ground, running back Eddie Lacy carried nineteen times for 101 yards.

    For the Boys, Romo completed fifteen of his nineteen passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns. Witten caught six passes for seventy-one yards, while Beasley, Willams and fellow wideout Dez Bryant all caught thirty-eight yards worth of passes. Bryant and Beasley had three catches apiece, while Williams lone catch was for a touchdown. Murray had a huge rushing day in a losing cause, gaining 123 yards on twenty-five carries with a touchdown.

    (This game was famous for a pass to Bryant that was incorrectly ruled an incomplete pass because Bryant didn't "complete the catch" according to the rules of the time. The NFL later admitted that the original call of a completion should have stood. This would have given Dallas a first down and perhaps allowed them to eventually score a game-winning touchdown.)

    The other NFC Wild Card Game will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Saturday, January 3, as the Saints host the Eagles. Game time is scheduled for 4:30 PM Eastern, and for the first time ever ESPN will share coverage of the game with sister network ABC. Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden will call the action, with Lisa Salters serving as sideline reporter.

    (Note: The ABC/ESPN simulcast was my idea. In real life, the Cardinals-Panthers game in this slot only aired on ESPN, which completely and unnecessarily killed the ratings.)

    Next: The Saints host the Eagles.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
  8. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the first 2014 NFC Wild Card Game from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans:

    The Eagles scored first. Quarterback Mark Sanchez completed passes of nineteen yards to tight end Zach Ertz, twelve yards to fellow tight end Jordan Matthews, and eleven yards to wideout Jaremy Maclin. The touchdown came from seven yards out, as running back Shady McCoy skittered up the middle and into the end zone for the touchdown. Kicker Cody Parkey added the extra point, and with 9:17 to play in the opening quarter the Eagles led 7-0.

    The Eagles added another touchdown later in the quarter. Wide receiver Josh Huff ran a reverse for twelve yards and a first down, and Sanchez connected with Maclin for twelve yards, then hit fellow wideout Riley Cooper down the middle for twenty-nine and a first and goal at the New Orleans five-yard line. Matthews caught Sanchez's next pass for an easy touchdown, and Parkey added the extra point to put the visitors up 14-0 with a little over four minutes left in the opening quarter.

    The Eagles added a field goal before the opening quarter ended. Darren Sproles made a shoetop catch of a Sanchez screen pass and turned it into a fifteen-yard gain (which was upheld on replay), and Maclin's twenty-eight yard reception gave the Eagles a first down at the New Orleans twenty-seven. The drive stalled at the twenty-five, but Parkey's forty-two yard field goal extended the Eagles' lead to 17-0 after one quarter.

    The Eagles dominance continued early in the second quarter. A punt return by Sproles set up the offense at its own forty-four, and Maclin's twenty-five yard catch-and-run put the Eagles back in field goal range. Parkey eventually connected from thirty-eight yards out to extend the Philly lead to 20-0 with 10:08 left in the first half.

    The Eagles continued their rout with another touchdown on the final play of the first half. Sanchez hit Maclin for fourteen yards, then converted a fourth and fifteen with a twenty-five yard pass to Matthews. With time for one more play before the half from the Saints' thirty, Eagles coach Chip Kelly passed up a forty-seven yard attempt from Parkey. Here's Mike Tirico with what happened next:

    "One more play from the thirty, and Sanchez is dropping back. He looks like he's...….being chase, now looks to throw it away...…...HOW DD MATTHEWS MAKE THAT CATCH? IT'S A TOUCHDOWN, AND I DON'T THINK HE WAS SUPPOSED TO CATCH IT!...…...Sanchez was looking to throw that ball into the fifth row, Coach, and Matthews looked like he caught it by sheer force of habit."

    Jon Gruden: "I was wondering why they were throwing it in the first place, Mike. It looked like McCoy stumbled as he was coming to take the handoff, which is another risky play, come to think of it. So Sanchez just tries to get rid of this thing, but Matthews sees it and goes for it. He was down there just to occupy the secondary, but look at this catch. Look at how high he has to go to get it out of midair. Wow!"

    Parkey added the extra point, and thanks to this totally unexpected touchdown the Eagles led 27-0 at the half.

    The next Philly score wasn't so unexpected. On the first play from scrimmage of the second half Drew Brees' pass was picked off by safety Malcolm Jenkins, who fell down at the Eagles'twenty-seven before he could attempt a return. We pick up the action as the Eagles face a second and two from their own thirty-five:

    Tirico: "Sanchez looking to throw on second and two. Lets it go down the sideline, and it's caught by Cooper! Across midfield, down to the forty-five, forty, thirty-five, thirty, and he's gone! A long touchdown for the Eagles, sixty-five yards, and this one looks to be in the books!"

    Gruden: "This is a perfectly run sideline pattern by Riley Cooper, and Sanchez lays it right up there so he can make an easy catch. The defense is at least five yards behind him, so he's got easy sailing to the end zone, and the Superdome's the most quiet I've ever heard it."

    Parkey added the extra point, and with exactly twelve and a half minutes left in the third period it was 34-0 Philly.

    The Saints finally got on the board with a touchdown late in the third. Tight end Benjamin Watson reeled off a twenty-one yard catch-and run, running back Pierre Thomas caught a nineteen-yard screen pass, and Brees found wideout Brandin Cooks for a twelve-yard gain. The touchdown came on third and goal from the two, when running back Mark Ingram squirmed through a hole off the right side and into the end zone for the score. Shayne Graham converted the extra point, and the Eagles led 34-7 after three quarters.

    The Saints got the ball back just as the third quarter ran out, as linebacker Kasim Edebali picked off a Sanchez pass and returned it to the Philly forty-three. Less than a minute into the final period, Graham kicked a twenty-seven yard field goal to cut the Eagles' lead to 34-10.

    The defense forced a three-and-out, and the Saints scored another touchdown to make things even more interesting. Ingram smashed his way through a hole on the left side of the Eagles' defense for fifteen yards, and Brees found wide receiver Marques Colston for fourteen more. The touchdown came from twenty-three yards out, as Brees once again found a wide-open Colston in the end one. Graham's extra point made it 34-17 with just under ten minutes to play.

    After yet another three-and out, the Saints scored yet again. Cooks caught a short pass from Brees, then shook loose in the Philly secondary for a thirty-three yard gain. Brees then found wideout Kenny Stills for seventeen yards and a first down at the Philly twenty-one. On the next play Brees went back to Stills for the touchdown, and Graham's extra point brought the Saints within 34-24 with just under seven minutes to play.

    The Eagles managed to drive down to the Saints' seventeen on their next possession, and facing fourth and one Kelly once again decided to go for the first down. This time, though, Sanchez overthrew tight end Brent Celek, and the Eagles turned the ball over on downs with four and a half minutes left. Ingram immediately popped a draw play for thirty-seven yards and a first down in Philly territory, and later I the drove reserve running back Khirry Robinson gained twelve yards on the same play. The drive fizzled at the Philly seventeen, and Graham converted a thirty-four yard attempt to make it a 34-27 game with ten seconds to play.

    Next was the inevitable onside kick attempt,, and after a wild scramble Jimmy Grahm recovered it for the Saints at their own forty-nine. Here's Miike with what happened next:

    "Brees back in the gun, Tine for one play, maybe two, but not at this rate! Four seconds, this is it, launches a prayer toward the end zone and...…..CAUGHT DOWN THERE BY JIMMY GRAHAM! TOUCHDOWN NEW ORLEANS! THEY'VE COME ALL THE WAY BACK!"

    Grudwn: "Do you believe this game? I've never been involved in one like it. I don't know how Brees gets this off with (defensive end) Fletcher Cox right in his face, but he does somehow, and Graham's right down there to make the catch. They had coverage on Colston and Stills and Cooks, and they left Jimmy Graham all by himself. Unbelievable!"

    Tirico: "Now it's up to the Saints' other Graham, Shayne, to send us to overtime."

    Gruden: "This is the right move. It would be a shame to lose on a two-point miss after this wonderful comeback. Hope you get the coin toss in overtime and score another touchdown."

    Tirico: "Extra point is...….NO GOOD! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?...….The second-greatest comeback in postseason history, and it's all for nothing. The Eagles escape somehow, and they'll move on to Seattle."

    Gruden: "He pushed it right, Mike. It's a fluke thing that happened at the wrong time. This place has gone totally silent."

    Our final score: Eagles 34, Saints 33.

    Despite doing almost nothing in the second half, Sanchez was named MVP by the MNF crew. He completed seventeen of his twenty-three passes for 338 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Matthews caught two of the touchdowns and finished with seventy-eight yards on five catches. Cooper ended up with ninety-four yards and a touchdown in just two receptions, and Maclin led everyone with six catches for 111 yards. McCoy led the ground game with fifty-nine yards on nineteen carries. On defense, linebacker Connor Barwin finished with two sacks.

    For the Saints, Brees was seventeen of twenty-three for 296 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Jimmy Graham was his leading yardage receiver with sixty-nine yards on just two catches and a touchdown, and Stills caught the most passes with four for sixty-four yards and a score. Cooks caught three passes for fifty-nine yards. Ingram led all rushers with ninety-eight yards on sixteen carries plus a touchdown, and linebacker Junior Galette added a pair of sacks on defense.

    The Eagles will take on the Seattle Seahawks in the first NFC Divisional Playoff next Saturday night at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15 PM Eastern on Fox, with Kevin Burkhardt and John Lynch calling the action. Pam Oliver will be the sideline reporter.

    Next: The Seahawks host the Eagles.

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

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the first 2014 NFC Divisional Playoff from Qwest Field in Seattle. Game time temperature is 48 degrees with calm winds. The game was played in a dense fog throughout.

    The Eagles scored first after Darren Sproles returned the opening kickoff all the way to the Seahawks' twenty-nine yard line. Three plays later, Cody Parkey kicked a thirty-seven yard field goal to put the Eagles up 3-0 with 11:17 to play in the opening quarter.

    The Eagles scored again on their next possession. It started when Connor Barwin picked off a Russell Wilson pass and returned it to the Eagles' thirty-three. The key play of the drive was a fifteen-yard facemask penalty against Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas on a Shady McCoy run, which meant that the Eagles ended up with a nineteen-yard total gain on the play. Mark Sanchez's twelve-yard pass to Josh Huff gave the Eagles a first down at the Seattle seventeen; on third and twelve from the nineteen Sanchez braved an all-out Seattle rush and found Zach Ertz in the end zone for the touchdown. Parkey added the extra point, and the Eagles led 10-0 with 5:20 left in the opening quarter.

    The Seahawks got on the board with a field goal before the end of the first quarter. Brian Walters' punt return set up the offense at its own forty, and the biggest play of the drive was Wilson's fifteen-yard pass to Jermaine Kearse. The drive stalled at the Philly twenty-seven, but kicker Steven Hauschka booted a forty-four yard field goal to bring the Hawks to within 10-3 after one quarter.

    The Hawks tied the game with a touchdown in the final two minutes of the first half. Wilson found Kearse for twelve yards and tight end Luke Willson for fourteen, and fullback Robert Turbin pounded his way up the middle for thirty-two yards and a first and goal at the Eagles' ten. A false start penalty pushed the Hawks back five yards, but Wilson still found a wide-open Doug Baldwin in the end zone for the score on the next play. Hauschka's extra point sent the teams to the halftime locker room tied at ten.

    The fog that had shrouded CenturyLink Field throughout the first half rendered the game almost invisible to both TV viewers and on-site spectators, much like the real-life New Year's Eve 1988 "Fog Bowl" at Soldier Field in Chicago. There was only one productive offensive drive the rest of the way, and it came as a result of an interception by Thomas, who returned it to the Eagles' thirty-four. Marshawn Lynch's eleven-yard gain on a draw play put the Hawks in Hauschka's range, and he connected from forty-one yards out to give the Hawks a 13-10 lead after three quarters.

    The Hawks added a safety midway through the final period when Sanchez was sacked in the end zone by defensive end Michael Bennett. Our final score: Seahawks 15, Eagles 10.

    Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor was named MVP by Fox after making eleven solo tackles and intercepting a pass. On offense, Lynch managed seventy-six yards on twenty-one carries, and Turbin added fifty-nine yards on nine carries. As a team, the Hawks rushed for 180 yards on forty-seven attempts. Most of Wilson's passing took place in the first half, when the fog was a lot less dense; he finished with ten completions in eighteen attempts for 116 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Kearse led the receivers with forty-nine yards on four catches, while Baldwin caught four passes for forty-four yards and a touchdown.

    For the Eagles, Sanchez was nowhere close to the MVP that he was last week in New Orleans; he completed just twelve of his twenty-four passes for 149 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. Jordan Matthews was his leading receiver with sixty-one yards on five catches. The running game was no help whatsoever; the Legion of Boom held it to forty-eight yards on thirty attempts. Sproles managed twenty-seven yards on seven carries to lead the individual rushers, while Shady McCoy managed just twenty-four yards on fifteen carries. Barwin was the defensive star for Philadelphia with two sacks and an interception.

    The following week, the Hawks hosted the Packers in a classic NFC Championship Game that saw them trail 19-7 with two and a half minutes to play, score two touchdowns in forty-four seconds to take the lead, watch the Pack force overtime on a Mason Crosby field goal, then win it 28-22 on Wilson's thirty-five yard touchdown pass to Kearse. The touchdown redeemed Wilson, who was intercepted four times, sacked five times, and completed only fourteen of his twenty-nine passes for 209 yards. Baldwin was his favorite target, catching six passes for 106 yards. On the ground, Lynch churned through the Green Bay defense for 157 yards on twenty-five carries with a touchdown. and the Hawks as a team gained 194 rushing yards on thirty-five attempts.

    For the Pack, Aaron Rodgers was nineteen of thirty-four for 178 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson was his leading receiver with five catches for seventy-one yards, and Randall Cobb caught seven passes for sixty-two yards and a touchdown. Eddie Lacy led the Green Bay running game with seventy-three yards on twenty-one carries. On defense, free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix had two interceptions.

    The Seahawks have earned a berth in Super Bowl XLIX on February 1 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

    Next: We turn to the AFC, as the Ravens host the Texans in the first Wild Card Game.

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

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the first 2014 AFC Wild Card Game from M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Game time temperature is 39 degrees, with calm winds and a light drizzle.

    The Texans scored first after cornerback Johnathan Joseph intercepted a Joe Flacco pass and returned it to the Texans' forty-five yard line. The key plays on the ensuing drive were a seventeen-yard run up the middle by running back Alfred Blue and an eleven-yard screen pass from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to running back Arian Foster. Foster caught another pass for the touchdown from six yards out, and Randy Bullock's extra point gave the visitors a 7-0 lead after one quarter.

    The Ravens got on the board with a field goal early in the second quarter. Flacco connected with wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. for twenty-seven yards, and running back Justin Forsett made his way off the right side for eleven yards and a first down at the Houston twenty-seven. The drive stalled at the eighteen, but kicker Justin Tucker made a thirty-five yard field goal to cut the Houston lead to 7-3 with 9:54 to play in the first half.

    The Texans responded with a field goal of their own. Blue gained seventeen yards and a first down off right tackle, and Foster zipped through the middle of the Baltimore defense for twenty-nine yards and a first down at the Ravens' twenty-nine. The drive reached the twenty-one before bogging down, and Bullock connected on a thirty-eight yard field goal to give the Texans a 10-3 halftime lead. There was no scoring in the third quarter.

    The Ravens cut into their deficit midway through the final period after Bullock's forty-nine yard attempt went wide left. Flacco connected with wide receiver Torrey Smith (no relation to Steve Sr.) for twenty-two yards, and Forsett took a Flacco pitch back to the right side and raced all the way down to the Texans' three-yard line before being pushed out of bounds, a gain of forty-one. Flacco was sacked by defensive end J.J. Watt for a seven-yard loss on third down, which pushed the Ravens back to the nine and made Tucker's subsequent field goal attempt a twenty-six yarder. The kick was good, and the Texans' lead was down to 10-6 with exactly seven minutes left in regulation.

    The Ravens scored what turned out to be the winning touchdown with twenty-six seconds to play. Flacco completed passes of seventeen yards to Smith Sr. and fourteen yards to tight end Owen Daniels, and a facemask penalty on Watt for tackling backup running back Lorenzo Taliaferro illegally gave the Ravens a first and goal at the Houston five. Forsett promptly scored after cutting a sweep back to the left, and Tucker added the extra point to put the Ravens up 13-10. The Texans couldn't get past their own thirty on their last drive, and the Ravens had moved on to the divisional round.

    Forsett was the man on the SNF Horse Trailer after gaining 104 yards and scoring a touchdown on just sixteen carries. Flacco was efficient; he completed eleven of his fifteen passes for 160 yards with an interception. Smith Sr. was his leading receiver with seventy-three yards on four catches.

    For the Texans, Foster led the ground game with ninety-two yards on twenty carries. Fitzpatrick completed just nine of his seventeen passes for 115 yards and a touchdown, and DeAndre Hopkins led his receivers in yardage with forty-five on two catches. Wide receiver Damaris Johnson caught two passes for nineteen yards and Foster snagged two for seventeen yards with a touchdown. On defense, Watt sacked Flacco twice and made ten solo tackles, and strong safety Danieal Manning made ten more solo stops.

    The Ravens' next stop is Denver's Sports Authority Field at Mile High, where they'll take on the Broncos in the second AFC Divisional Playoff next Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 PM Eastern on CBS, with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms calling the action. Tracy Wolfson will serve as sideline reporter.

    Next: The other AFC Wild Card Game, as the Colts host the Chiefs.

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

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the second 2014 AFC Wild Card Game from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis:

    The first quarter was scoreless. The Colts scoored the only points of the first half late in the second period. Andrew Luck completed passes of ten yards to T.Y. Hilton and thirteen yards to fellow wideout Hakeem Nicks, then threw to reserve running back Daniel "Boom" Herron for the touchdown from four yards out. Adam Vinatieri added the extra point, and the Colts led 7-0 at the half.

    The Colts scored another touchdown after taking the second half kickoff. Luck connected with Hilton for seventeen yards, and tight end Dwayne Allen reeled off a catch-and-run for twenty-three. Then the running game took over, as Ahmad Bradshaw gained twelve yards up the middle and Luck took off on a quarterback draw for ten more and a first and goal at the Kansas City five. Trent Richardson powered his way into the end zone on the next play, and Vinatieri added the extra point to put the Colts up 14-0 with 11:23 left in the third period.

    The Chiefs answered with a touchdown of their own. Knile Davis' kickoff return set up the offense at its own forty-three, and quarterback Alex Smith quickly connected with wide receiver Jason Avant for ten yards and a first down. Later in the drive, running back Jamaal Charles picked up eighteen yards off left tackle, which gave the Chiefs a first down at the Indy nineteen. Smith was sacked by Jerrell Freeman for seven yards o first down, but on third and eighteen from the twenty-seven he found reserve wideout Donnie Avery for the touchdown. Kicker Cairo Santos added the extra point, and with 6:15 to play in the third the Chiefs were back to within 14-7.

    The Colts quickly answered with a touchdown of their own. Luck found veteran receiver Reggie Wayne for gains of seventeen and eighteen, and Herron popped through a hole on the left side of the Chiefs' defense on a sweep for eleven more. That gain gave the Colts a first down at the at the KC twenty-two, and on the next play Luck threw to Coby Fleener, who broke two tackles on his way into the end zone for the score. Vinatieri's extra point gave the Colts a 21-7 lead with 4:08 to play in the third.

    The Chiefs answered with a field goal just before the end of the third quarter. Davis romped up the middle for eighteen yards and a first down, and Smith threw over the middle to tight end Travis Kelce for seventeen more. A twelve-yard pass to Avant gave the Chiefs a first down at the Indy fifteen, and the drive got as far as the eleven before Santos was called on for a twenty-eight yard field goal attempt. The kick was good, and we went into the final quarter with the Colts leading 21-10.

    The Chiefs scored again early in the final period after Bradshaw was stripped of the ball from behind by linebacker Tamba Hali. Cornerback Eric Berry recovered at the Colts' thirty-two, and Davis knifed off right tackle for fourteen yards and a first down, and Smith's thirteen-yard completion to reserve wideout Albert Wilson gave the Colts a fist and goal at the Indy three. Charles barged up the middle and into the end zone for the touchdown on the next play, but the Colts' defense was able to stop him when he tried a similar play for the two-point conversion. with 10:57 left in regulation time, it was Colts 21, Chiefs 16.

    The Colts answered with a field goal of their own. Josh Cribbs returned the ensuing kickoff to midfield, and the key play of the drive was Bradshaw's twelve-yard gallop off left tackle. The drive eventually reached the Kansas City twenty, and Vinatieri connected from thirty-seven yards out to extend the Colts lead to 24-16 with a little less than eight minutes left to play.

    After the Chiefs went three-and-out, Griff Whalen returned Dustin Colquitt's punt to his own forty-one. Fleener's eleven-yard catch-and-run later in the drive gave the Colts a first down at the Chiefs' thirty-four, and three plays later Vinatieri boomed a fifty-one yard field goal to make it 27-16 Colts with less than five minutes remaining.

    The Colts put the game away with one last touchdown just after the two minute warning. As we pick up Jim Nantz's call, the Colts face a third and two from their own forty-six:

    Nantz: "If the Colts make this first down, they've just about sewn this one up, since the Chiefs can only stop the clock one more time. Luck hands off to Richardson, who pitches back to T.Y Hilton! Nobody expected a reverse, and Hilton's loose! Thirty-five, thirty, twenty-five, picks up a block, and he'll go in for the touchdown!...…..The call was a surprise to everyone in this building except for )Colts offensive coordinator) Pep Hamilton, and look at him celebrate with his guys!"

    Phil Simms: "This isn't the kind of call a team would normally se in this situation, Jim, but apparently the Colts' offensive staff saw something in the Chiefs' defense that gave them the courage to call it, and it worked like a charm. The hole for T.Y. Hilton is wide open, and once he gets downfield he gets a block from Richardson, who takes out Eric Berry. The New England Patriots will have quite a few sleepless nights this week wondering just what the Colts have in store for them."

    Vinatieri added one last extra point, and the Colts rode off into the sunset with a 34-16 victory.

    Hilton was named MVP by CBS. He not only led the Colts in receiving with forty-seven yards on four catches, he was also their leading rusher with sixty yards on two carries and a touchdown. Bradshaw added fifty yards on twelve carries, and Richardson carried thirteen times for forty-four yards and a touchdown. The Colts as a team rushed for 209 yards on forty-five attempts. Luck finished thirteen of nineteen for 167 yards and two touchdowns. On defense, the Colts sacked Smith five times.

    Speaking of whom, he threw just fourteen times, completing eight for 111 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe led the receivers with three catches for thirty-two yards. Charles led the way on the ground with ninety-nine yards on fifteen carries and a touchdown, and the Chiefs as a team rushed for 163 yards on thirty-two attempts.

    The following week, the Colts traveled to Foxborough to take on the Pats in the first AFC Divisional Playoff, and it was all New England from start to finish. This was the infamous "Defletegate" game where Tom Brady was accused of (and later punished by the NFL for) deflating game footballs, but it's still doubted by many experts that this made a lick of difference, as the Pats humiliated their visitors 45-7. Brady finished twenty-three of thirty-five for 236 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Leading receiver Julian Edelman didn't find the end zone, but still caught nine passes for ninety-eight yards. Running back LaGarrette Blount carved up Indy's defense to the tune of 148 yards on thirty carries, scoring three touchdowns in the process. The Pats rushed for 179 yards on thirty-nine team attempts.

    For the Colts, Luck was limited to twelve completions in thirty-three attempts for 126 yards and two interceptions. Hilton was limited to one reception for thirty-six yards, and yet he still ended up being Indy's leading receiver. Allen caught four passes for thirty yards, while Fleener snagged three for thirty more. Herron had a decent day on the ground, gaining fifty-one yards on ten carries. while Richardson was suspended because he missed a walkthrough due to a "family emergency". He never played for the Colts again.

    The Pats will either the Ravens or the Broncos in next Sunday's AFC Championship Game. If the Broncos win, the game will be at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. If the Ravens win, the Pats will host them at Gillette Stadium.

    Next: The Ravens face the Broncos in the second AFC Divisional Playoff.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019 at 9:27 PM
  12. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the second 2014 AFC Divisional Playoff from Denver's Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Game time temperature is 42 degrees, with mostly cloudy skies and a south wind at 10 MPH.

    The Broncos scored first after taking the opening kickoff. They took eleven plays and six minutes to travel just thirty-two yards, with the biggest play being Ronnie Hillman's ten-yard catch-and-run. The drive stalled at the Baltimore thirty. but kicker Connor Barth's forty-seven yard field goal put the Broncos up 3-0 with 8:57 left in the opening quarter.

    The Broncos added a touchdown on their next possession. Peyton Manning completed passes of seventeen yards to Wes Welker and twenty yards to tight end Julius Thomas, then from the twenty-yard line found Emmanuel Sanders for the touchdown. Barth's extra point extended the Denver lead to 10-0 with less than five minutes left in the opening period.

    The Ravens got on the board with a field goal before the end of the quarter. Joe Flacco completed passes of thirteen yards to Justin Forsett and twenty yards to Steve Smith Sr., and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro picked up seventeen yards on a draw play. The drive stalled at the Denver nine-yard line, but Justin Tucker booted a twenty-six yard field goal to cut the Broncos' lead to 10-3 after one quarter.

    The Broncos added another touchdown late in the second quarter. Manning hit Sanders for twenty-three yards and Welker for fifteen, and Hillman's ten-yard gain on a draw gave the home squad a first down at the Baltimore fifteen. From there, Peyton threw to Thomas, who caught the pass at the five and rumbled into the end zone for the score. Barth added the extra point, and the Broncos led 17-3 with 4:56 left in the first half.

    The Ravens answered with a touchdown of their own just before halftime. Flacco connected with Smith Sr. for ten yards, and Forsett cut a sweep back to the left for eighteen, The touchdown came from twenty-six yards out, as Flacco found the other Baltimore wide receiver named Smith, Torrey, for the touchdown. Tucker's extra point cut the Broncos' halftime lead to 17-10.

    The Ravens tied the game with a touchdown after taking the second half kickoff. Taliaferro gained ten yards on a sweep to the left, and Flacco hit Owen Daniels over the middle for ten more. Then came the big play of the drive, as running back Bernard Pierce found a hole on the right side of the Denver defense and bolted through it for thirty-six yards and a first down at the Denver twelve. An encroachment penalty on linebacker Von Miller brought the ball down to the seven, and from there it was Flacco to Smith Sr. for the score. Tucker's extra point tied the game at seventeen with 9:43 left in the third quarter.

    The Broncos answered with a touchdown to retake the lead. Manning completed passes of twenty-one and twenty-five yards to Demaryius Thomas, and running back C.J. Anderson added an eleven-yard catch-and-run. The touchdown came from seven yards out, as Peyton hit Sanders for his second touchdown reception of the evening. Barth added the extra point, and after three quarters it was Denver 24, Baltimore 17.

    The Ravens were already driving for the tying touchdown as the third quarter ended. The drive started at the Baltimore six after a holding call on the kickoff return penalized them half the distance to the goal line. Flacco's twelve-yard pass to reserve wideout Marlon Brown got his team out of their hole, and Flacco went on to hit Smith Sr. for twenty-seven yards and Torrey as part of a thirty-yard catch-and-run. A holing call pushed the Ravens back to the Broncos' thirty-five, but Forsett erased the damage with a thirty-four yard scamper up the middle that gave them a first and goal just inches away from paydirt. Flacco shoveled a pass to a wide-open Daniels for the touchdown on the next play, and Tucker added the extra point to tie the game at twenty-four with 10:59 to play in regulation.

    After forcing a three-and-out, the Ravens scored another touchdown on their next possession. The biggest gain on the drive was eighteen yards on a Steve Sr. reception, and Steve also caught Flacco's touchdown pass from fifteen yards out. Tucker added the extra point, and the Ravens had their first lead of the night at 31-24 with 6:27 left.

    The visitors added some much-needed insurance points in the final two minutes. Backup tight end Crockett Gilmore blocked Dustin Colquitt's punt, and Taliaferro made the recovery at the Broncos' forty-six. The drive was stopped after one first down at the thirty-three, which set up a fifty-yard attempt for Tucker. The kick was right down the middle, and the Ravens had wrapped up a 34-24 victory.

    Flacco was named MVP by CBS. He completed eighteen of twenty-nine for 234 yards and four touchdowns. Steve Sr. led the receivers with six catches for ninety-seven yards and two touchdowns, while Torrey caught four passes for seventy-five yards and another score. On the ground, Forsett led the way with ninety-one yards on nineteen carries, and Pierce added fifty-nine yards on nine carries. The Ravens as a team rushed for 196 yards on forty-one carries. On defense, linebacker Terrell Suggs sacked Manning twice.

    Speaking of Peyton, he finished sixteen of twenty-four for 228 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Demaryius caught four passes for fifty-four yards, and Julius added fifty-four more yards on three catches with a touchdown. Sanders caught three passes for fifty yards and two touchdowns. The overall running game was held to sixty yards on nineteen attempts, with Anderson's twenty-nine yards on thirteen carries leading the individuals. Hillman was held to twenty-eight yards on ten carries. On defense, strong safety T.J. Ward made an incredible twelve solo tackles.

    The Ravens moved on to a classic AFC Championship Game against the Patriots the following wee at Gillette Stadium, and it was the Pats who landed the last punch, as Tom Brady's twenty-three yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon LaFell with 5:13 remaining in regulation won the game for New England 35-31. TB12 finished his evening thirty-three of fifty for 367 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Rob Gronkowski led the receivers with 108 yards on seven catches with a touchdown, while wideout Danny Amendola added eighty-one yards on five catches with two touchdowns. Julian Edelman caught eight passes for seventy-four yards, and LaFell finished with sixty-two yards on five catches and the winning touchdown. The Pats got almost all of their offense through the air; they attempted only thirteen rushes for fourteen yards. Brady did score a rushing touchdown.

    Flacco was once again superb in a losing cause, finishing twenty-eight of forty-five for 292 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. Flacco completed passes to ten different receivers, with Torrey as the leader; he caught three passes for sixty-two yards, Forsett also had a huge day on the ground, gaining 129 yards on twenty-four carries.

    Super Bowl XLIX took place on February 1 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, and the Pats scored two touchdowns in the final eight minutes to defeat the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks 28-24 and win their second Super Bowl so far in this timeline. Brady's three-yard touchdown pass to Edelman with 2:02 left to play provided the winning points and also earned Brady his second Super Bowl MVP award to date in this timeline. He finished thirty-seven of fifty for 328 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. Edelman led the receiving corps with 109 yards on nine catches and the winning touchdown, while Gronkowski caught six balls for sixty-eight yards and another score. Running back Shane Vereen caught eleven passes out of the backfield for sixty-four yards, while LaGarrette Blount led the ground game with forty yards on fourteen carries. The Pats as a team were held to fifty-seven rushing yards on twenty-one attempts.

    For the Seahawks, Russell Wilson was twelve of twenty-one for 247 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Wide receiver Chris Matthews was his leading pass catcher with 109 yards on four catches and a touchdown, and fellow wideout Ricardo Lockette caught three balls for fifty-nine yards. Marshawn Lynch led the way on the ground with 102 yards on twenty-four carries and a touchdown, while linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J Wright made ten solo tackles apiece.

    This game will always be remembered for Pats cornerback Malcolm Butler's end zone interception with twenty seconds left, as well as the puzzling lack of trust in Lynch and the running game on the final Seattle offensive play by coach Pete Carroll. Most observers, both at the time and in retrospect, believe that if Lynch had run the ball on that play, the Hawks would have scored with ease and won their second consecutive Super Bowl.

    We've now contested forty Super Bowls in the Pythagorean universe, and the NFC's all-time lead stands at 22-18.

    Next: To be determined.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019 at 7:20 PM
  13. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now let's go back and pick up the Steelers' other real-life Super Bowl season, 2008. We begin in the AFC East:

    New England Patriots: 11-5 (0)
    Miami Dolphins: 9-7 (-2)
    New York Jets: 9-7 (0)
    Buffalo Bills: 8-8 (+1)

    The Pats stay where they are, but take the crown outright due to the Fins' two-game drop, which leaves them in a second-place tie with the Jets. The last-place Bills add a game to ensure that everyone in the division finishes at .500 or better.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to settle the tie for second, and the Jets prevail, 9.2 to 8.8.

    Next, the North:

    Pittsburgh Steelers: 12-4 (0)
    Baltimore Ravens: 12-4 (+1)
    Cleveland Browns: 5-11 (+1)
    Cincinnati Bengals: 3-13 (-1)

    The Ravens add a game to force a tie for the division title with the Steelers, who stay where they are. Elsewhere, the Browns improve by a game while the Bengals drop one, causing the two Ohio teams to flip-flop.

    We go to the expected win totals to decide the division champion, and the Ravens edge the Steelers, 11.9 to 11.8.

    Now, the South:

    Tennessee Titans: 12-4 (-1)
    Indianapolis Colts: 10-6 (-2)
    Houston Texans: 7-9 (-1)
    Jacksonville Jaguars: 6-10 (-1)

    The Titans drop a game, but still end up two games ahead f the Colts thanks to Indy's two-game slide. The third-place Texans shed a game and lose their .500 season, and the last-place Jags do the same and end up with double-digit losses.

    Finally, the West:

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

    The Bolts' two-game uptick coupled with the Broncos' two-game slip means a four-game margin of victory for the boys from San Diego. The Raiders freeze in place- third, that is- while the Chiefs finish last despite picking up a pair.

    Seeds:

    1. Titans (AFC South champs): 12-4
    2. Ravens (AFC North champs): 12-4
    3. Patriots (AFC East champs): 11-5
    4. Chargers (AFC West champs): 10-6
    5. Steelers (AFC North second place): 12-4
    6. Colts (AFC South second place): 10-6

    The Titans hold the expected wins tiebreaker over the Ravens for the one seed, 12.1 to 11.9.

    Wild Card Weekend began on Saturday, January 3 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, as the Steelers came to town and defeated the homestanding Chargers 35-24. Fast Willie Parker was the Steelers' shining star on offense, carrying twenty-seven times for 146 yards and two touchdowns. Ben Roethlisberger added seventeen completions in twenty-six attempts for 181 yards and a touchdown, and Hines Ward led the receiving corps with seventy yards on four catches. Fellow receiver Santonio Holmes added a sixty-seven yard punt return for a touchdown.

    For the Chargers, Phillip Rivers was twenty-one of thirty-five for 308 yards with three touchdowns and an interception despite being sacked four times. Darren Sproles was his favorite target with ninety-one yards on five catches, including a sixty-two yard touchdown. Wide receiver Chris Chambers caught four passes for seventy two yards, Antonio Gates five balls for fifty-nine yards, and wide receiver Vincent Jackson two catches for forty-nine yards and a touchdown.

    The other AFC Wild Card Game will take place on Sunday, January 4, as the Patriots host the Colts at Gillette Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 1PM Eastern on CBS, with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms set to call the action.

    Next: We look at the NFC.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019 at 2:08 PM
  14. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now let's look at 2008 in the NFC. We begin in the East:

    New York Giants: 11-5 (-1)
    Philadelphia Eagles: 11-5 (+2)
    Dallas Cowboys: 8-8 (-1)
    Washington Redskins: 7-9 (-1)

    The Eagles add a pair, which combined with the Giants' one-game drop creates a tie atop the division. The Boys shed a game to finish right at .500, while the last-place Skins do the same and lose their .500 season.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to settle the tie for the division crown, and we find that each team finishes with 11.3. Next come the head-to-head tiebreakers. The two teams split their season series, but the Eagles nip the Giants 51-50 in head-to-head points scored and take the crown.

    Now, the North:

    Minnesota Vikings: 9-7 (-1)
    Chicago Bears: 9-7 (0)
    Green Bay Packers: 9-7 (+3)
    Detroit Lions: 2-14 (+2)

    First of all, the real-life winless Lions manage to win two games in this universe; who they beat will forever remain a mystery, for which the losers undoubtedly thank goodness. The other three teams tie for the division title, with the Vikes dropping a game, the Packers bumping up by three in Aaron Rodgers' first year as a starter, and the Bears standing pat.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to determine a champion, and we find that it's the Vikings with a 9.2. The Pack finishes second with an 8.9, and the Bears are stuck with an 8.7 and third place.

    Next, the South:

    Carolina Panthers: 10-6 (-2)
    Atlanta Falcons: 10-6 (-1)
    New Orleans Saints: 10-6 (+2)
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 9-7 (0)

    We have another three-way tie at the top, as the Saints add a pair to catch up with the Falcons (one-game drop) and Panthers (two-game drop). The Bucs are victims of circumstance; they end up in the basement despite not doing a thing.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to determine the division champion, and we find that the Panthers take it with a 10.1. The Falcons' 9.7 is good enough for second, while the Saints end up third with 9.5.

    Finally, the West:

    Arizona Cardinals: 8-8 (-1)
    San Francisco 49ers: 7-9 (-1)
    Seattle Seahawks: 5-11 (+1)
    St. Louis Rams: 3-13 (+1)

    The Cards hang on to the division crown despite dropping a game; that's because everyone else is awful. The Niners finish second despite shedding a game and losing their .500 season (and coach Mike Singletary) while the Hawks and Rams each improve by a game to make their seasons a little less traumatic. The Rams also say goodbye to their coach midseason, as Scott Linehan is replaced by former Saints boss Jim Haslett on an interim basis and by former Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo for 2009. Interim coach Mike Nolan will take over the reigns in the City by the Bay on a full-time basis next season.

    Seeds:

    1. Eagles (NFC East champs): 11-5
    2. Panthers (NFC South champs): 10-6
    3. Vikings (NFC North champs): 9-7
    4. Cardinals (NFC West champs): 8-8
    5. Giants (NFC East second place): 11-5
    6. Falcons (NFC South second place): 10-6

    Wild Card Weekend schedule:

    Saturday, January 3:

    Giants-Cardinals, 4:30, NBC- Tom Hammond, Cris Collinsworth, Tiki Barber (sideline reporter)

    Sunday, January 4:

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

    Next: To be determined.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019 at 3:04 PM
  15. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    I'm going to take the time to clear my backlog of Super Bowls over the next few days. We begin with Super Bowl XXXVII from Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Game time temperature is 67 degrees, with fair skies and variable winds at 3 MPH.

    The first quarter was scoreless. The Bucs made it to exactly midfield on their first possession thanks to Brad Johnson's pass to Joe Jurevicius, but ended up having to punt. Three Ricky Williams runs lost six yards for Miami, and the next Tampa Bay possession began at the Fins' thirty-nine following a short punt from Mark Royals. A holding call meant that they punted from the forty-six, but Mark Royals' boot pinned the Fins at their own three. Travis Minor reeled off a twenty-seven yard run off left tackle, and a facemask penalty against future Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks gave the AFC champs a first down at midflield. But Fins quarterback Jay Fiedler was hounded by Brooks on third and five and ran out of bounds to save his life, taking a two-yard loss in the process. The ensuing Miami punt pinned the Bucs at their own seve-yard line, and they'd gotten out to their own forty by the time the quarter ended thanks to Michael Pittman's eleven-yard burst off right tackle by Michael Pittman and a seventeen-yard catch-and-run by tight end Ken Dilger.

    Two plays into the second quarter, one Johnson found another, as Brad fired over the middle to Keyshawn, who made the catch and sped for a first down at the Dolphins' thirty-seven, a gain of twenty-three. Two plays later, Brad found another wideout, Keenan McCardell, for ten yards to convert a third and seven. The next two plays gained eight yards, but Pittman couldn't old Brad's short flip into the flat on third and two. Martin Gramatica thus had a thirty-three yard field goal attempt, and it split the uprights to give the Bucs a 3-0 lead with 10:08 left in the first half.

    Each team crossed midfield once more in the first half. Time ran out on the Bucs at the Miami forty despite a twelve-yard pass to Dilger and a fifteen-yard strike to fellow wideout Karl Williams that saw two Miami defenders lay on him after the play was over to make sure that the Fins wouldn't have time for either a Hail Mary or a long field goal. On the previous possession, Fielder had found wide receiver Chirs Chambers for twenty-six yards and one first down, and Ricky had charged up the middle for sixteen yards and another. But a sack by future Hall of Famer Warren Sapp cost Miami seven yards and forced them to punt from the Tampa forty-two.

    At the half, Fielder had thrown just three passes, completing two for thirty-five yards. and Ricky had been held to eighteen yards on eight carries, sixteen of them of the play I described above. "This has been a historic performance so far by the Tampa defense," ABC's John Madden observed. "The Dolphins haven't really gotten much going offensively, and Ricky Williams has been stopped cold except for one play. If the Dolphins can't find a way to penetrate that Tampa-2 scheme, they'll be in for a long, long second half."

    It was the Dolphins; defense that caused the first break of the second half. On the second play from scrimmage, Brad threw over the middle for Keyshawn, but the receiver slipped, and the pass was swiped by cornerback Jamar Fetcher, who returned it all the way to the Tampa twenty-seven. Keyshawn got up pointing at his quarterback, and sideline cameras caught him screaming, "That was low, man. Too damn low. What the fuck's goin' on with you?" Brad either never heard him or wisely chose to ignore him, but Madden and partner Al Michaels both heard and reacted:

    Michaels: "I'm just gonna apologize for the unfortunate profanity and let you have at it, John."

    Madden: "If I'm (Bucs coach) Jon Gruden, Keyshawn's done for the day. You just don't do that stuff in the Super Bowl, especially when you're the one who made the mistake, which was not tackling Jamar Fletcher when he was within your grasp right after the interception. Look, there's the slip......there's the pick. Now look at Keyshawn. He could grab Fletcher's leg right now and the ball would be at about the forty. Instead, he just lays there looking up at heaven knows what, and Fletcher gets a nice return out of it."

    Michaels: "Brad Johnson and Gruden may not say much now, but they'll both be boiling when they see the replay, and with good reason."

    Back on the field, Ricky ran three straight times, the most productive of which was a twelve-yard draw play, to give the Fins a first and goal at the Tampa eight. But the biggest play of the drive was the one he didn't make, as he dropped a sure touchdown pass from Fiedler on third and goal from the five, Kicker Olindo Mare saved three points with his twenty-two yard chip shot, which tied the game at three with 11:19 to play in the third quarter.

    It didn't get much better for the offenses after that. The Bucs got a good kickoff return from Aaron Stecker which set them up at their own forty-two, and they worked their methodical way down to the Miami thirty-three, where they faced a third and six. The handoff was to Stecker, who bulled his way into the middle of a pile and came out of it without the ball. Linebacker Morton Greenwood was credited with the strip, and Fletcher made the recovery at the at the Fins' thirty. Fiedler surprised the world by throwing on first down, and Oronde Gadsen made the catch and got across midfield to the Tampa forty-nine for a gain of twenty-one. The running game had a little easier going after that, but it all went for naught when Ricky dropped another key pass on third and three from the thirty-six. Fins coach Dave Wannstedt, knowing that Mare had been two of three for the year from over fifty yards out, still decided to punt, and it went the way he hoped it would, as the Bucs ended up back at their own eleven-yard line. They'd reached their own thirty-three by the time the third period ended, but they were looking at fourth and two.

    As the final period dawned, Gruden decided to punt and hope that he defense could force a three-and-out, which they did. On the next drive, Brad found Jurevicius over the middle for a dozen. then threw downfield for Keyshawn, who made a diving first-down catch at the Fins thirty. Three plays later from the twenty-three, Gramatica was sent out to attempt a forty-yarder to try and give Tampa the lead. Unfortunately, the kick had the hooks from the minute it left Gramatica's foot and ended up no good by at least three yards.

    The Fins got the ball back with 9:10 left in regulation, and Fiedler hooked up with wide receiver James McKnight for twenty-six yards and a first down at midfield on the drive's second play. But facing third and four from the Tampa thirty-seven, Fiedler threw with two defenders right in his face, and the ball was picked off by nickelback Dwight Smith, who returned it to the original line of scrimmage. The Bucs could do nothing with it thanks to future Hall of Famer Jason Taylor's sack of Brad for a seven-yard loss on third down, and the Fins had no luck either. The Fins punted just before the two-minute warning, and Karl's return gave Tampa the ball in superb field position at their own forty-seven with 1:45 left in regulation.

    Brad converted a third and fourteen from his own forty-three by hitting Keyshawn for twenty yards, and did the same on third and six from the Fins' thirty-three by completing a ten-yard screen pass to Pittman. Brad's pass to McCardell with thirty-four seconds left converted a third and six and gave the Bucs a first down at the Miami eleven, which meant a potential twenty-eight yard game-winner for Garamatica. But Gruden and his offensive braintrust decided to make things even easier for their kicker, with disastrous results:

    Michaels: "Handoff to Alstott, and he's down over the ten, close to the five.....HE LOST THE FOOTBALL! THERE'S A SCRAMBLE FOR IT!...…...It's Miami ball with thirty-two seconds left! They had a chip shot, a gimme for Gramatica, but they tried for the touchdown, or at least an easier kick, and they got nothing."

    Madden: "Alstoott should have just run around to kill some time and then gone down. What's the difference if it's a twenty-eight yard kick or a thirty-yard kick? But he's always in there trying to get yardage, and (linebacker) Zach Thomas punches it outta there and makes his own recovery to boot."

    But disaster befell the AFC champions as well. Trapped at their own none yard line with thirty-two seconds left, the smart play would have been to kneel out the clock and go to overtime, a first in the history of the Super Bowl. Instead, Fiedler faded back to throw and was buried by blitzing cornerback Brian Kelly at the four. After a timeout, they tried a running play, and fullback Rob Konrad could only gain two yards. This set up a third and thirteen from the six with sixteen seconds left:

    Michaels: "They have to be careful if they kneel now, because go back too far and the Bucs might get a cheap safety. But what sense does running a play make from your own six?"

    Madden: "This whole drive has been a head-scratcher to me, Al. Wannstedt should've just run the clock out, either by kneeling or running into the line, making sure that the running back keeps two arms on the ball."

    Michaels: "Here we go. Third and thirteen from the Dolphins' six-yard line. Fiedler in the gun with sixteen seconds left. He's gonna put it up and pray...……...Not nearly far enough...….It's intercepted by Brooks! He's down over the fifteen and takes a pratfall at about the twelve with four seconds left, and Gramatica will get his chance after all!"

    Madden: "What kind of pass was that?"

    Michaels: "You're asking ME?"

    Madden: "Yeah, well, I figured it might make sense to you, because it sure doesn't to me. It looks like he was hoping for the tight end (Randy) McMichael to get a block and a long gain, but there's no time for that. Great play by Derrick Brooks to make the interception, but that has to be the most puzzling offensive play call I've ever seen in football."

    Michaels: "Now for Gramatica from twenty-nine yards out to win the Super Bowl. He's already missed from forty and made from thirty-three. Dolphins out of timeouts......Snap down, kick up, KICK GOOD! The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who didn't even make the playoffs until 1997, are world champions for the first time ever by a final score of 6-3!"

    Madden: "But this was more about the Dolphins' ineptitude than anything the Bucs did or didn't do. Dave Wannstedt will remember that last possession for the rest of his life, and he'll never live it down in Miami. They'll be calling for his firing until next training camp."

    Gramatica was named Super Bowl MVP for his game-winning heroics. Brad got some votes as well; he finished nineteen of twenty-eight for 219 yards with an interception. Despite the blowup in the third quarter, Keyshawn was his leading receiver with five catches for eighty-one yards. It later came out that several voters originally voted for Keyshawn as MVP, but changed their votes to Gramatica after the game-winning field goal, which led Keyshawn to not only attack the voters, but dismiss Gramatica as "the little runt who was in the game for what, three plays? And he missed one of 'em? THAT'S an MVP? Not in this world, man. The whole thing sucks."

    Meanwhile, the Tampa running game was held to seventy-six yards on thirty-nine attempts. Pittman was the leading individual rusher with fifteen carries for thirty-two yards.

    For the Dolphs, Ricky led the running game with fifty-eight yards on eighteen carries. That was hardly enough to overshadow Fiedler's miserable performance: five of fourteen for only seventy-nine yards and two interceptions, the second of which led directly to the Bucs' game-winning field goal. . To be fair, even though they only sacked him twice, the Tampa defense hurried almost every one of his throws and knocked him down ten times, according to one reporter's unofficial count. Chambers caught two passes for thirty-five yards to lead the receivers.

    We've now contested forty-one Super Bowls in the Pythagorean universe, and the NFC's all-time lead is now 23-18.

    Before we go, a fun fact: The Dolphins have played in three Super Bowls in the Pythagorean universe, scored a total of twenty points...….and won two of them. The reason? They've held their opponents to a combined total of thirteen points.

    Next: To be determined.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019 at 1:25 AM
  16. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    I'm going to skip ahead a bit and do the Super Bowl just past, which is Super Bowl LIII. Unfortunately. WhatIf Sports doesn't recognize Mercedes-Benz Stadium n Atlanta yet; it still has the Falcons playing at the Georgia Dome, which has of course been destroyed. So, since we've already had teams host the Super Bowl in this universe, I've decided to go with the designated home team, which would be the Eagles. Game time temperature at Lincoln Financial Field is 34 degrees, with partly cloudy skies and calm winds.

    The Pats scored first after taking the opening kickoff. The biggest plays of the drive were a pair of fifteen-yard passes: a screen to running back Rex Burkhead and a shot over the middle from Tom Brady to wideout Phillip Dorsett. The touchdown came from five yards out, as Brady found wide receiver Chris Hogan for the touchdown. Stephen Gostkowski's extra point put the visitors up 7-0 with 6:26 left in the first quarter. The Pats had gone seventy-three yards on thirteen plays and taken eight minutes and twenty-five seconds off the clock.

    The Eagles didn't need that long to answer. Nick Foles found Alshon Jeffery for sixteen yards and a first down in New England territory, then went to Jeffery again later in the drive for twenty-four more yards and a first and goal at the Pats' eight-yard line. Running back Corey Clement gained a yard on first down, but Foles overshot Jeffery on second down and threw at the feet of running back Wendell Smallwood on third down. Jake Elliott thus faced a twenty-four yard field goal attempt, and the kick was good to cut the Pats' lead to 7-3 with 1:13 to play in the opening quarter.

    The Pats were in scoring position again as the quarter ended thanks to Cordarelle Patterson's kickoff return to the Philly forty-nine, As the second quarter dawned, the Pats faced a third and nine at midfield, but Brady converted with ease, finding Rob Gronkowski over the middle for seventeen yards and a first down. Later in the drive, it was Brady to Gronk again, this time for fifteen and a first and goal at the Eagles' two. Running back Sony Michel plowed into the end zone off left tackle on the next play, and Gostkowski added the extra point to extend the Pats' lead to 14-3 with 11:28 to play in the first half.

    "The Eagles need to score quickly to keep the crowd in this game," CBS's Tony Romo observed. "If the Patriots go up any further, this could get ugly in a hurry."

    The home squad wasted no time in doing just that. Starting at their own fifteen after a long kickoff return was wiped out by a holding call, they drove eighty-five yards in thirteen plays. The key plays were a fourteen-yard catch-and-run into Pats territory by rookie tight end Dallas Goedert and a seventeen-yard gain off the left side in a sweep by Smallwood. This gave the Eagles a first down at the Pats' twenty-seven, but Foles overthrew Nelson Agholor of first down and had his second down pass batted back in his face by linebacker Kyle Van Noy. The connection to Agholor worked on third down, as Nelson caught the ball at the ten, put a move on safety Devin McCourty, and sped into the end zone for the touchdown. Elliott's extra point made it a 14-10 game with 7:51 left until halftime.

    The Pats answered the Eagles' answer, as Patterson's kickoff return set up Brady and the offense at their own forty-four. Brady completed passes of thirteen yards to Julian Edelman and twelve yards to Gronkowski, and the drive reached the Philly twenty-two before bogging down. Gostkowski was called on for a thirty-nine yard attempt, and the kick was good to make it 17-10 Pats with 2:43 left until halftime.

    On the next Philly possession, Foles went to the two-minute offense a bit early, and the Eagles responded by driving seventy-four yards in fifty-eight seconds for the tying touchdown. The key plays of the drive were a twelve-yard catch-and-run by Zach Ertz and a bruising run off right tackle by Clement that went for twenty-seven yards before he was pushed out of bounds at the New England fourteen. On the next play, Jeffery outfought two defenders for a touchdown pass from Foles, and Elliott added the extra point to tie the game at seventeen. "(Jeffery) went over the top of Devin McCourty and (cornerback) Stephon Gilmore for that pass," Romo enthused. "It wasn't the prettiest catch in Super Bowl history, but there haven't been many that were gutsier. These Eagles fans are deafening right now."

    Patterson reeled off a third straight fabulous kickoff return to give Brady a short field at the Philly thirty-seven, and running back James White ran consecutive plays off right tackle for fifteen and ten yards to give the Pats a first down at the Philly twelve with forty-five seconds left. An encroachment penalty oved the ball to the seven, but Burkhead gained only a yard on first down, and on second down the snap from center eluded Brady, who managed to fall on it back at the twenty. Unfortunately, that left no time for a Gostkowski field goal attempt, and the teams went to the locker room deadlocked at seventeen.

    The Pats got across midfield in their first possession of the second half thanks to Brady finding Edelman on consecutive plays for ten and sixteen yards, but could only get to the Philly forty-four before they had to punt. The Eagles started at their own fifteen after the punt, and on third and seven Foles thought he had Ertz for the first down. But linebacker Dont'a Hightower jumped the route and came up with the interception, which he returned to the Eagles' twenty-five. After a potential touchdown pass to Edelman bounced off of his hands on third down, the Pats settled for a thirty-eight yard field goal from Gostkowski to take a 20-17 lead with 6:33 left in the third quarter.

    The Eagles got across midfield on their next possession thanks to a fifteen-yard gain off right tackle by Smallwood, but ended up punting from the New England forty-three. The Pats started at their own fifteen, and Brady went for the bomb on first down. Edelman made a diving catch at the forty-seven, which was immediately challenged by Eagles coach Doug Pederson. Referee John Parry went under the hood and came out ruling that there was insufficient evidence to overturn the call on the field, so the catch stood and the Pats were in business. (For the record, the ball appeared to hit the ground, but Edelman's hand looked to be underneath it, which would have made it a legal catch anyway.)

    Michel picked up twelve yards off left tackle, then went straight ahead for eleven more. Next it was Brady to Hogan for eleven yards and a first down at the Philly eleven as time ran out in the third quarter. Runs by Burkhead and Michel gave the Pats a first and goal at the one, but Brady overthrew Edelman on first down. He put a little less zip on his second down pass, and Edelman hauled it in for the touchdown. Gostkowski made the extra point, and with 13:28 left in regulation the Pats led 27-17.

    The Eagles answered promptly Smallwood gained sixteen yards off the right side, and Foles found Ertz for seventeen yards and a first down at the Pats thirty-four. Nick then gained eight yards on a first-down scramble, but the next two plays were stopped in their tracks. This left a forty-three yard attempt for Elliott, which he converted to cut the Pats' lead to 27-20 with less than ten minutes remaining.

    The Pats got that field goal back on their next drive. Brady found Edelman for twenty-two yards, then scrambled for eleven more and a first down. The big play came from the Pats' forty-nine, as Brady threw short over the middle to Gronk, who despite chronic back and knee problems managed to outrun everyone who pursued him until he was finally run down at the Eagles' fifteen after a gain of thirty-six. "It wasn't fast or pretty, but Gronkowski gets the first down for the Pats," was how Jim Nantz called it, which set up this line from Romo: "The Philly defenders looked like you after eighteen holes on that play, Jim."

    The Pats looked to be in position for a game-clinching touchdown, but Brady was sacked for a five-yard loss by defensive end Chris Long on second down and underthrew White in the flat on third down. That left Gostkowski with a thirty-five yard attempt, which was good. With less than five minutes left, the Pats led 30-20.

    Needing a touchdown and a field goal to tie, the Eagles nevertheless proceeded cautiously on their ensuing drive. No play netted more than nine yards, and the only reason they had the ball for more than one set of downs was because Foles fooled them into an encroachment penalty on fourth and four. The sloppiness of the Pats' defense was responsible for another first down later, as defensive end Trey Flowers was called for a facemask penalty on Foles while trying to tackle him after a scramble. A holding call against the Eagles forced a second and fourteen from the Pats' twenty-two with less than a minute to play. Foles found Jeffery, but Alshon was stood up at the sixteen and lost the ball. Linebacker Elandon Roberts pounced on it at the sixteen, and two kneeldowns later the Pats were world champions again, defeating the Eagles 30-20. "I'll never understand why the Eagles were so conservative on that drive," Romo said later. "You'd think they would have been winging the ball down the field with the chance to win the Super Bowl in front of their home fans. Was it a lack of confidence in Nick Foles, did the coaches freeze up, or what? This is one of the great mysteries in Super Bowl history."

    Brady was named Super Bowl MVP for the third time in this timeline to date, making him the first player in the Pythagorean universe to be a three-time Super Bowl MVP. He finished his evening twenty-one of twenty-seven for 260 yards and two touchdowns. Edelman was his leading receiver with nine catches for 102 yards and a touchdown, while Gronkowski added five catches for eighty-six yards. Michel ked the ground game with fifty-nine yards on sixteen carries and a touchdown.

    (In case you're interested, the Philadelphia fans booed Brady, commissioner Roger Goodell, the Lombardi Trophy, Pats coach Bill Belichick, Santa Claus, and everything else in sight during the postgame trophy presentation. Nothing was thrown from the stands, however.)

    For the home team, Foles finished twenty of thirty for 203 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Jeffery's five catches for seventy-two yards and a touchdown led his receivers, and Ertz added seven catches for fifty-six yards. Smallwood led the ground game with sixty-four yards on nine carries, and the Eagles as a team rushed for 149 yards on just twenty-eight attempts.

    The Pats have now won three Super Bowls so far in this timeline, and as I said earlier Brady has been named MVP all three times. As for the all-time standings, the NFC leads 23-19 with forty-two Super Bowls in the books.

    Next: To be determined.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019 at 4:02 PM
  17. DTF955Baseballfan 12-time All-Star in some TL

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Location:
    10 miles north of 10 miles south
    I was just hoping Tampa would win that Superbowl 5 to 3 just for the LOLs.
     
  18. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    I should get the joke, but I confess it's eluding me. Would you care to explain? (It's not your fault; my brain must be slow today.)
     
  19. DTF955Baseballfan 12-time All-Star in some TL

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Location:
    10 miles north of 10 miles south
    Nothing major, just the fact that nobody thinks of 5-3 as a football score. People think of it as a baseball score. Almost nobody scores safeties anymore.

    Of course, as the team tried to score of the last minute from deep in their own territory adds to the humor. I can see Dan Lebatard a few years later on ESPN Radio referring to that as the time Miami's coach forgot Dan Marino had retired.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019 at 9:43 PM
  20. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Oh, okay. Thanks!
     
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