NFL

That’s more like it

I wasn’t really happy having to work yesterday, where there’s a plasma TV but no channels.

We don’t have cable, we’ll never have cable, and watching NFL Playoff games through ESPN’s gamechannel is about as satisfying as listening to an indoor concert from the sidewalk outside.

Luckily for me, both games that were really worth watching occurred today on my day off.

It didn’t look that way early, as the Colts carved through the Chargers on their opening drive and Peyton Manning completed his first 14 passes. Philip Rivers threw an interception, LaDainian Tomlinson left the game early with a knee injury, and it looked like we would have to wait for the afternoon to get a chance to watch a competitive game this weekend.

But even though the officials seemed hell-bent on ushering Indianapolis to Foxboro, the Colts made too many mistakes on offense. Marvin Harrison’s fumble and two tipped-ball interceptions by Manning (neither one his fault) killed three different scoring opportunities.

But Indianapolis didn’t deserve to win, because their defense was absolutely shoddy. No pressure on either Rivers or Volek, poor tackling throughout the game, they even made Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson look like Terrell Owens.

Tomlinson and Rivers (who has made yelling at opposing crowds a habit, apparently) better not have serious knee injuries, because I don’t see New England handing the ball over all those times like the Colts did today.

Giants Hold off Romo and the Cowboys
First off, could you imagine being a Giants fan and seeing Troy Aikman in the broadcast booth for this game? I know he’s one half of Fox’s top broadcast team along with Joe Buck, but it hardly seems fair.

(Side note: Since every good quarterback from the 1980’s and ’90’s either has or had a job as an analyst/announcer, can you imagine televised football in ten years? Tom Brady is about as exciting to listen to as Bob Valvano’s ESPN radio show, Brett Favre doesn’t seem to have the patience or desire to talk that much, Eli isn’t much on enunciation, Rivers is severely unlikeable. I think we should brace ourselves for a lot of Peyton, lots of Hasselbeck and a whole grip of Kurt Warner.)

Aikman kept mentioning how the secondary of the Giants was too depleted, that the Cowboys were just too much for the G-men. Pretty funny how the winning play for New York was an end-zone interception by R.W. McQuarters, who I think played with the 49ers alongside Don Griffin and Tim McKyer.

Eli Manning does talk like a bit of a doofus, but at least he didn’t keep taking moronic sacks like Tony Romo. Does he know that quarterbacks can throw the ball away when they’re out of the pocket? You’d think a guy only a half-step faster than Benjie Molina wouldn’t rely on his feet as often as he tried to against the Giants in the second half.

Another thing I learned about the game was about the 49ers. I know the Niners are dreadfully low on receivers and the next pool of free agent flankers is pretty shallow. However, I’m begging the 49ers to stay as far away from Patrick Crayton as possible. I’ve never seen him play a full game without dropping at least one pass, and this game he dropped two, including an amazing sidearm pass by Romo to the right while running left. Crayton also muffed (uh-huh, that’s right) a punt that, luckily for him, bounced right back into his arms. I don’t think the 49ers need a younger version of Darrell Jackson next year.

One last thought on this weekend’s games: Who would have thought that the NFC Championship Game would garner more interest than the AFC’s? The Giants are a fantastic story, and they’re playing against Favre at Lambeau Field, hopefully in the snow again.

On the other side, instead of Pats/Colts we get New England hosting a Chargers team that may be starting Billy Volek. I wonder if Rivers is going to try to take on the Massholes at Foxboro, I don’t think even he would talk trash if he wasn’t able to play. Actually, being too hurt to play didn’t stop him from gesturing and screaming at Colts fans, but at least he waited until Volek and his defense had sealed the victory first. Rivers proved that he could make the throws today, but he seems to actually be immaturing, which I know isn’t a word.

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