UNNECESSARY ROUGHNESS, PLAYOFF WEEK 3: HARD TIMES FOR HARBAUGHS
Both Jim and John Harbaugh’s teams botched opportunities to face each other in Superbowl XLVI. I give all the respect to the Patriots and the Giants for winning, but it’s not always the better team that moves on, and I feel that’s the case once again this week. Both games were fought very well, and it really came down to a couple key mistakes and missed opportunities for the Ravens and 49ers.
I didn’t get to watch as much as I wanted to on Sunday as I was flying home from NAMM this weekend, which was a total fucking blast. I watched the second half of the Pats/Ravens game and highlights of the other. The Ravens defense played as well as you could against Tom Brady; he was very ineffective, and even after the game Tom said his defense won this game, not him, which is 100% true. Tom got shut out, and when really good offensive teams can’t get it to work that’s when you need your D to step up. The Patriots sucked all year on defense, but now, for some reason, are playing well enough to keep moving the team forward. The Pats’ defensive line has really stepped up, and they put enough on QB Joe Flacco to disrupt some big plays. On the other end, the Pats’ secondary stepped up just enough, especially when it mattered most, saving that potential Ravens game winning TD from happening. I’m not a Ravens fan, but I wouldn’t put everything on Billy Cundiff for missing the chip shot to go to overtime. The Ravens caused four turnovers and should have capitalized more on them early. Ray Lewis said it best after the game. You win as a team, you lose as a team, no one guy loses a football game, and that’s a fact, jack. The Ravens got a tough break; they should have gone to the big game and they would have won. Sucks, but they will be back next year, just as good, twice as hungry.
I didn’t get to see the 49ers/Giants game, just bits and pieces at the airport. I was half way through my flight home when the pilot said the Giants won in overtime. I know I caught a lot of shit last week for being biased on how the Packers lost to themselves, and I still feel the same way. But I didn’t give enough credit to the Giants’ ability to cause turnovers,because they are being consistent with that. Their offense isn’t amazing, and their defense is not what it was when they won the Superbowl a few years back, tet they are making plays when it counts and that’s really the most important factor. Capitalizing on opportunities and giving your team a chance to win. San Francisco’s defense is the best in the league, they are animals, and hats off to Eli for playing like he did. Dude got sacked seven times and got knocked down like 20 times. I still don’t like his demeanor on the field (but maybe that’s just because he acts like a little brother — I want to see confidence like Peyton) but he’s one game away from having more rings than his older brother, which says a lot about him. When I think of NY football I think of big juggernaut players with a QB who’s just as commanding, and Eli is really soft spoken and awkward. But who the fuck cares, you’re in the Superbowl and you’re following the same path as when you won a few years back. Once again, you can’t pin the loss on Kyle Williams for fumbling twice, you win as a team you lose as a team. It’s not a question of how San Francisco got to where they were. Their offense isn’t explosive, their defense is. They didn’t put up enough points to win, end of story.
I would have much rather seen the Ravens go against San Francisco just because I like defense more than offense. This league has evolved, the rules favor offense, and the style of play has changed because of it. Everyone wants to see the flash in the pan plays. But I like REAL football. The games that are won in the trenches matched with stellar coaching and execution. I could give a shit how many times DeSean Jackson has a big play; I like team efforts. And this Superbowl will show that. It really didn’t matter which of the four teams who played yesterday made it in as they are all teams who play as one. It will be an awesome rematch, and it will be interesting to see how Tom Brady performs against New York. I’m actually going to pick New York to win even though I’d rather see New England win (disgusting I have to even say that). I hope its really close, and I hope something crazy happens in the last two minutes because everyone loves a good game and nobody wants a blowout.
The Pro Bowl is next week. I’ll be on blogging vacation, just like the players. What a fucking waste of time that game is — yikes.
– Jeff Paulick / Lazarus A.D.