Here's all you need to know about what happened this weekend.
- Seattle 41, New Orleans 36 - If you choose to listen in to the "experts" on Monday, you will undoubtedly hear how no one is surprised by this result because, after all, they're experts. Allow GTOG to offer you an explanation by way of analogy you can surely understand. There really is no difference between the 2010 Saints and the 2009-10 Penguins. Both were defending champs, both had pretty much every key piece back, the uniforms were the same, the stars were the same, and each team had by all indications, a good regular season. They each even drew seemingly favorable matchups in the playoffs. But all along, despite "looking" like everything should have been the same as the previous championship season, something was off just under the surface. I don't know any Saints fans, but I suspect one would tell you that he/she never felt the same way about the 2010 version as the 2009 version. Likewise, if I mined my emails to Artistry from approximately November 2009-May 2010 regarding our Pittsburgh Penguins, you'd read the same thing. And you'd read a lot of three-word emails that just said, "Big game tonight."
- New York 17, Indianapolis 16 - To convey the impression to readers that I was watching this game closely, I looked up whether Blair White dropped the 3rd and 6 pass on the Colts' final drive that would have given the Colts a first down and allowed them to kill the clock before kicking the winning field goal. Instead of getting an answer on whether it was a catchable pass, I read this in the Indianapolis Star: "It was a third-and-6 at the Jets 32 with 1:02 to play. Manning sprinted right but couldn't connect with wide receiver Blair White. A conversion might have enabled the Colts to use precious time while maneuvering for Vinatieri's field goal." What??? Was it a bad pass? Was it a drop? That's amateur hour. Here are the highlights, judge for yourself.
The key takeaways from this game are: the Colts' roster is terrible, but Peyton Manning, in ex-player speak, left a lot of plays on the field. Mark Sanchez, on the other hand, left every play on the field. (Technically not true, as he did lead the winning drive. But still, no one trusts the Sanchize. Yet.)
For GTOG purposes, we evaluate this game solely based on what it means for the Steelers. It means that the Jets have to do the Steelers' dirty work and take care of the Pats in Foxboro next week. We're not optimistic.
|Unfortunately, the playoffs are played on dry land.|
Baltimore comes to the Burgh next week in what should be another epic clash between the rivals. We will break this game down fully throughout the week, but the Steelers have no excuse not to win this game.
- Green Bay 21, Philadelphia 16 - According to Troy Aikman, Aaron Rodgers is now, after winning the first playoff game of his career, "unanimously among the top quarterbacks in the league, right up there with Peyton Manning and Tom Brady." How can you not agree with that? Great performance in this game by Mike Pereira, former NFL VP of Officiating, who stepped into the Fox booth to explain some of the calls by the officials. Tremendous resource.
- The Bus up for induction into the Hall of Fame. Ed Bouchette probably has had a column on this ready to go for 5 years, so we'll defer to him in the PG for the numbers breakdown. But this is a close one for The Bus - obviously he will get in at some point as the 5th all-time leading rusher, but he's facing stiff competition to be a first-balloter. He's better than Curtis Martin, but Marshall Faulk, at his peak, was one of the best of all time. And Deion will not forego an opportunity to promote himself, although Bussy is also not one to shy away from the cameras, if his inexplicable appearance at the Winter Classic is any indication.
|Looks so natural at a hockey game.|
- Big East superior to SEC - Few entities carry the arrogance of the SEC, so even though Kentucky is one of the worst SEC teams, it's still great every time they lose. Congratulations to whoever is currently coaching Pitt.
- Bill Simmons on the NHL - Check out the last 25 minutes of his January 7 podcast where he talks to his friend, a Caps fan, about the NHL, the Winter Classic, and Pittsburgh. Great to hear hockey getting this kind of big-name exposure, and great to remind yourself to thank the guy who invented fast forward because the first 40 minutes of the podcast are David Duchovny talking about the New York Knicks.
Big game tonight.