Necessary Roughness: The End is Nigh
Holy shit, where did the season go? We are almost done with yet another glorious year of NFL action as we recap the divisional games from the weekend and take a look at next week’s conference championships. Once again, I have had a total blast writing this column, and thanks to everybody that followed it, even the people who were busy ripping me a new one for not paying enough attention to their crummy team.
I decided to post up at the local watering-hole, Bandito’s, which is probably the most fun place in town to watch the games. And it really seemed like every single one of my old Richmond hardcore buddies (including the infamous Crispy, lead singer of the seminal early HC band, White Cross) had decided to do the same thing. After watching two full games, I was almost as sloppy as the weather in Seattle. But always being a modicum of responsibility and carefully considered action, I gave my keys to Otto the bartender and had him call me a taxi. Just when I was getting ready to get in the cab, somebody decided to open the door for me, and I turned my head directly into the corner of the cab’s rear door, slicing the end of my nose my nose wide open and sending gouts of blood pouring down my shirt. But it was a hell of a lot better than getting a DUI or maybe killing someone, and at this point breaking my nose one more time isn’t gonna mean jack shit. Plus blood is kinda cool looking!
So it was a pretty disappointing weekend for me as all the teams I was rooting for got offed and outed, setting the stage for the NFC and AFC Championships with a bunch of teams I don’t particularly like or dislike. Four teams (including one of my Super Bowl picks) made their exits into off-season oblivion in a fairly boring fashion. First up, the New Orleans Saints just couldn’t seem to get their game going against the Seahawks and those 100,000 or so other people that were there, losing 23-15 in Seattle. A steady rain made the whole thing a sloppy affair and the Saints couldn’t even get on the board until the last quarter. But the weather didn’t seem to effect the Seahawks, who let Marshawn Lynch carry the rock 28 times for two TD’s and 145 yards as kicker Steven Haushka added three FG’s. The Seahawks’ aggressive defense kept coming up with big stops when they needed them and though Drew and company stayed close enough to keep it interesting, the Saints went marching out, and the entire city of New Orleans went into a mandatory year-long drinking binge. Oh wait, they were doing that anyway.
The Carolina Panthers were at home against the San Francisco 49’ers, but much like the Saints just couldn’t seem to get it in gear. You really have to wonder if a first round bye is a good thing, because the Panthers looked out-of-sync and sloppy all day. Meanwhile, it seems like the ‘Niners are peaking at just the right time and Kaepernick is playing solid, smart football. The guy can hurt you so many different ways that I have finally stopped making fun of his tattoos. And lets give some credit to the ‘Niners D, who stopped the Panthers on two separate goal-line stands, and made the day generally miserable for Cam Newton, who got sacked five times, threw two picks, and couldn’t even get the team on the board in the second half. Definitely a disappointing loss to end what was otherwise a great season for the Panthers. It was a breakthrough season for Newton, and the Panthers are gonna be tough next year. Roooaaarrrr!
Now over to the AFC games, where there were no big surprises, altough the Denver Broncos almost let the San Diego Chargers ruin Peyton Manning’s record-setting year. Yes, it was time for another “furious comeback” as Philip Rivers put up 17 fourth quarter points and almost handed the Broncs another first round exit, reminiscent of last year’s playoff loss to the Ravens. But Manning stepped up and saved the day, and unbelievably his 25 for 36 passes for 2 TD’s and 230 yards was for him a fairly mediocre performance in a season where he posted insane numbers like 55 TD’s and 5447 yards through the air. We already know he is one of the greatest QB’s ever and if he can handle the Patriots next week and whoever else gets thrown at him in the Super Bowl people might be saying “best ever”. And he could still have several seasons left in him! Personally, I am pretty much in awe of him any time he breaks a huddle. It’s just crazy watching him direct traffic before the snap, as he orders people all over the place, runs around more than his backs, and consistently confuses and bamboozes defenses with a song and dance routine that I am pretty sure is 90% gibberish. It’s always fun to watch, but what I really like about Manning is that in a sport full of scumbags, he seems like a truly classy guy.
But before Peyton can be anointed as the chosen one there is a certain hoodie-wearing troll/coach and and his rather fetching QB (those clips of Brady’s own teammates ignoring his high fives is fucking classic), from a little place named Foxboro, Mass., where people tend to be hard as nails, drunk as hell, and usually in the Championship game if not the Super Bowl. The Patriots simply crushed the Colts by keeping it on the ground and letting Andrew Luck throw the game away with three interceptions. LaGarette Blount ran for four TD’s and that was all she wrote as the Colts were rather rudely ejected from the Super Bowl hunt, 43-22.
My pick for the Super Bowl had been the Saints versus the Pats and with the Saints already at home pounding Hurricanes I can only be half-right… but I am pulling for the Broncos next week and hoping they take it all. In the NFC I think the 49’ers have a damn good chance of beating the Seahawks and any way you break it down I think we are in for two incredible games this coming weekend. I’m flushing all previous calls and picking the ‘Niners over the Seahawks and the Broncos over the Pats, with the Broncos taking the whole enchilada in the Super Bowl, where they just added the Red Hot Chili Peppers to the halftime show. Barf. Oh well, at least Flea is in the band, and he’s always fun to watch. So let’s enjoy what’s left of the season and try to ignore Bruno Mars.… Derks will be throwing his annual Super Bowl party and only the finest Richmond malcontents will be out in force to eat his amazing food, play over-sized Jenga, and barf on his dog. I’ll take some good pics of the mayhem that is sure to ensue, but until then let’s hear your picks for this weekend and the Super Bowl two weeks after that. OK purveyors of the pigskin… be safe and I will be back with ya when we have a line-up for the Super Bowl!!!