SBM Sports: Five Things I Learned From the NFL Playoffs

Welker Heisman

After such an amazing weekend of playoff football in the NFL, the games this week almost seem anticlimactic (apologies to the fans of teams who are still in it of course). I recently moved, and spent the week without TV or a working pump for my air mattress – but that’s another story. This weekend’s games were so good I walked miles (literally) to find a bar to belly up to. I was not disappointed. Here’s what I learned while downing Miller Lites:

Baltimore Ravens at the Denver Broncos –

Peyton Manning LossThis might have been the best playoff game I’ve seen live. First of all, DOUBLE OVERTIME. I’ll take that every time. Secondly, I hate Peyton Manning, so I enjoyed watching his game-ruining interception that set up the game-winning score. Take that, ManningFace.

The most important takeaway from this game has to be Joe Flacco’s leap on the QB Scale of Greatness. He made waves at the start of the year when he called himself “Elite,” a title that you just know if a player has earned. While Flacco will never have a 5,000 yard season, I learned that he could lead the Ravens to a title. I wouldn’t have said that before the season.

Flacco faced down the best team in the AFC, outplayed Peyton Manning, and had a great game (3 TDs, 0 interceptions) despite terrible conditions in the altitude of Mile High Stadium (I still call it Mile High). Flacco earned his stripes in my book. Great first name too.

Green Bay Packers at the San Francisco 49ers –

Colin Kaepernick had his own set of questions to answer coming into this game. While some questioned if Joe Flacco was a championship-caliber quarterback, Kaepernick’s credentials as a starter were being debated.

It’s true that Kaepernick only won the job after an injury to the starter, but he had done enough to prove he was capableKaep Flex. After Saturday’s game, he could very well be a champion. The Packers certainly aren’t known for their defense, but the performance Kaepernick put on was abusive. After a rough start, the quarterback ended up with 444 yards of total offense. That’s impressive against any opponent in the playoffs. I have fought it for months, but I have to give props to Dr. J.

The lesson from this game is that I, along with everyone who doubted Kaepernick, am an idiot. The guy is great, and behind that defense, he might be unbeatable.

Seattle Seahawks at the Atlanta Falcons –

Similar to Flacco, Matt Ryan (who apparently is a white guy that CAN jump) had a long list of questions to answer. Before Sunday, he was 0-3 in his only playoff starts and hadn’t really played well in any of those games. Even this year, he led the best team in the NFC, yet you cannot name three people who picked Atlanta to go to the Super Bowl before the playoffs.

White Men CAN JumpWhile Ryan earned his reputation, I learned he can lead a game-winning drive in the playoffs. Handed the ball with just over thirty seconds and a one-point deficit, Ryan marched the ball down the field. That’s the hallmark of a great quarterback; one you’d trust to win your team a game if your life depended on it. I’m not saying Ryan went from horrible to Joe Montana with one great drive, but you have to at least consider the Falcons as realistic Super Bowl contenders.

Ryan’s biggest problem is that he can’t play defense. His Falcons will host Kaepernick and the 49ers this weekend for a chance to play in the Super Bowl. If the Falcons’ defense isn’t up to the task, somehow Ryan will be known as a player who can’t win a big game. It isn’t fair, but it’s the nature of the position.

Houston Texans at the New England Patriots -

Well, you can’t win them all.

This game wasn’t interesting for very long. I did learn that the Patriots have enough experience to deal with (yet another) injury. Rob Gronkowski, the best tight end in the league, played in his first game after recovering from a broken arm. He left in the first quarter after re-breaking the same arm.

I learned I should drink milk.

BONUS NBA Note –

kobe-breaking-bricks

 

 

 

 

 

Did you realize Kobe Bryant recently set the record for the most missed field goals of any NBA player in history? Is there anything more perfect than this player earning this record during this season? So hilarious.

What about you, SBM Sports Fans? What did you take away from this weekend’s NFL games? Are the team’s you predicted still alive? Have the Falcons convinced you they are for real?

Hit the comments and let me know!

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  • AfterMath

    I agree, and though I'm a Skins fan I've got to give props to the team up the Parkway. Those Ravens looked GOOD on Saturday. I was telling my friends all week that Flacco was a good QB and that the Ravens would win it if they only kept the offense balanced and remembered to run the ball. They did that and won the game. I think the same thing about Sunday and look to see what kind of pressure Suggs puts on Brady. And I'm saying it right here, if the game is in Brady's hands most of the game, they're losing the game. The playoffs are about running the ball and defense. And I don't care what the regular season stats say I respect any defense anchored by Ray Lewis.
    My recent post Fraction Arithmetic

    • Joe Sargent

      I'm higher on Brady than you are, but I think it'll be a great game…again. The Ravens seem to have the Patriots' number. They always play New England well. In fairness, I'm not Googling the stats, but I think they'd back that up.

      I'm rooting for the Patriots because I picked them to win a while ago, Tom Brady went to Michigan, and I really didn't enjoy visiting Baltimore a few years ago. It's not much to go on, but when your team isn't in it you don't need much.

  • cortonio

    first of all, I feel that denver peed themselves out of that game. Funny thing is, they ran tebow out of town because they felt he could not take them to the next level, but he WON a playoff game and re juvenated that fan base in Denver. From 2006-2011 Denver didn't go anywhere. Now the savior Manning comes to Denver and they go one and done, and does it for the 8th time in his career.('99, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2012) How do people still laud this man? He's 9-11 in the playoffs and once again proved he can't function outside the cozy comforts of a dome. Baltimore is going to go all out for Lewis, and may pull it off vs the Pats they came within a strip on a pass and a missed FG from beating them twice. As far as the NFC I am kind of torn I would like to see Moss get

    • Joe Sargent

      I am loving the Manning slander. It's basically why I 'hate' him. He gets all of the glory and none of the (deserved) criticism.

      HOWEVER

      Tebow was terrible. He deserved to be run out of town. It was fun watching him pull out those games with no talent and Jesus on his side, but he's not leading a team to the playoffs again…much less the Super Bowl.

    • Larry

      "How do people still laud this man?"

      I'll just pretend this question was never asked. Making it seem like he's the equivalent of Steve Deberg or something. He's a great QB. End of story.

      "….once again proved he can't function outside the cozy comforts of a dome."

      How did he do that? He threw for 290 yards and 3 TDs. He completed 65% of this throws. His career average by the way: 65%. For all of 2012? 68%. There goes that theory. The one INT was pass interference, clearly, and the other was a bad throw, no way around that.

      Tebow won a playoff game? Yeah, it was a wildcard game to get to the Divisional round. How many Wildcard games did the Broncos win this year? Zero. You know why? Because they were good enough in the regular season to get a bye, lol. What happened to Tebow and Denver in the same round of the playoffs last year? I'll wait… (hint: not close)

  • http://www.opinionatedmale.com cortonio

    a ring to top his career off, however I want to see the pats win one more to stop all this spy ate nonsense

  • fourpageletter

    1. you have 31 seconds and peyton manning. you dont even let him try a ting to get into fg position? FAILURE

    2. im so glad that i dont have to see aaron "i dropped in the draft and had to be a backup for 4 years and even though i have a ring am still a douche" rodgers anymore

    3. packers really weren't about that life. 2 jobs: stop colin from running. stop colin from passing to crabtree. LOL. FAILURE!

    4. texans vs pats….it was a good nap.

    5. pete carroll's arrogance lost them that game.
    My recent post QOTW: if you could learn anything, what would it be?

    • Joe Sargent

      #1 – Agree. I couldn't believe they didn't let Peyton try to move the ball at the end of regulation. What'd you sign him for? You lay. to win. the game! /Herm Edwards'd

      #5 – What do you mean about Carroll's arrogance?

      • fourpageletter

        If he had gone for fg's on at least 2 occasions – final score different. Maybe it's just my bias against him speaking though.

        • Larry

          First one was 4th an inches….it's one of those if he gets it he's a genius, but if he doesn't…and they lose by less than 3…than it's 'what the hell was he thinking" lol.

          2nd was right before halftime, it was 3rd down, no timeouts and Wilson was sacked which was unavoidable. That's just a great play by the Falcon defense and no fault of Carroll's. Those were the only two I could think of…maybe there was another opportunity I missed…

        • fourpageletter

          No. You are right. But I might have also tried the fg to end the game vs Hail Mary

        • Larry

          Oooh….a 66 (or however long) yarder, though? I dont know. Maybe Carroll thought he had better odds with a QB that throws game winning interceptions, LOL.

    • Larry

      #1- Agreed. Although I can see both sides of the coin on this one.

      #2, #3- I sense a hatred for the Packers…Bears fan? lol. But you're right, those were their 2 jobs. Problem is they had the right gameplan and strategy, they just didn't have the horses to execute it. Tim Hasselbeck gave a great breakdown of this and he was dead on. Packers weren't outcoached, the Niners were just better, loo.

      • fourpageletter

        Lol. Nopes. Eagles fan.

        • Larry

          Ah, I see….so you just have a problem with those Discount Double-Check commercials, huh? lololol

        • fourpageletter

          Lolll. He just rubs me the wrong way.

  • http://glippost.wordpress.com Darrk Gable

    Football is still king. I’m personally pulling for a Ratbirds vs Dirtybirds (age showing) SB.

    Per the NBA note; thanks for the stat. Even as a Kobe fan, I can say he beat Jordan at something finally…smh.

    • Joe Sargent

      LOL…doesn't look like he'll ever get that 7th ring. You never know though. The Lakers always seem to pull a rabbit out of their hat.

  • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan.

    1. I didnt think the Broncos were that good period, i just really hate the Ravens

    2. The Niners scare me.

    3. I knew the Seahawks scored too early, on a final drive if i'd take Ryan after Brady

    4. I dont think losing Gronk is as devastating as last year, Pats offense looked more off key without hernandez than him and we still got humanahumanawhoee to fill in on goal line fades.

    I got Patriots and Falcons in the SB

    My recent post Today’s Word is… COURTING

    • Larry

      I thought the Broncos were good, but maybe our interpretation of "good" is vastly different. Anytime a team wins 13 games and 11 straight I'm gonna put them in that "that good" category. Doesn't mean they'll win the Superbowl, but I wouldn't be suprised if they did.

      Agree on all other points. People underestimate Matt Ryan's late game final drive ability. He's been pretty damn good at it since his very first game (shout out to Michael Jenkins of The Ohio State University, lol)

  • Larry

    "While Flacco will never have a 5,000 yard season, I learned that he could lead the Ravens to a title. I wouldn’t have said that before the season."

    I could have. He basically lead them to the Superbowl LAST year. His only problem is he can't throw the ball to himself to catch (shout out to Lee Evans). If he made a mistake, sure, I feel you, but he did exactly what he needed to do to win that game and possibly a Superbowl

    - I learned over the weekend that people dislike the Atlanta Falcons because the sports teams in that city aren't traditionally very good and that their fan base isn't as passionate as others. This is stupid to me. But oh well. It's sports.

    - Not sure why people feel the Falcons or the Broncos weren't very good teams. They each won 13 games. Winning a game in the NFL is HARD…I don't care what the opponents record is. If you can do it 13 times in a season, clearly you're a good team. Newsflash: Only ONE team can win the Vince Lombardi. If you don't win it it doesnt make that team trash.

    -Niners and Patriots are my picks.

    • Joe Sargent

      **IRRATIONAL SPORTS FAN ALERT**

      I hear you on Flacco being thiiiiiis close to a SB last year, but I, for whatever reason, didn't want to give him full credit for being in that top class of QB. This game finally pushed me over. A lot of it had to do with last year's Patriots team being so flawed defensively last year. I discounted Flacco based on that.

      Obviously a lot of guys can win a ring if things break right. Rex Grossman almost did it, lol. There are only a few who can overcome deficiencies elsewhere to do it. Flacco may have been there a while ago, it took me this long to admit it.

      • Larry

        Oh, I still don't put him in that top class of QB….but I believe you don't have to be a top class QB to win a Superbowl, either, lol.

        Speaking of top QBs …Cowheard made the assertion that Russell Wilson is a top 5 QB in the league…and is better than Drew Brees…at this moment (not better career…just better player right now). Thoughts?

        • Joe Sargent

          My first thought was "GTFOH"…but if you look at, say, the last 8 weeks you could say that.

          Wilson has been on fire since basically November/late October. I would say he turned a corner in the Lions game. Then I'd say OF COURSE he turned a corner in that game because my team has the worst defense ever.

          To the point, I don't think it's ridiculous to say "From Week 9 until now (second half of the season), Russell Wilson has played like a Top 5 QB." I'd want to see the numbers for other QB's in that span. It may not shake out to Top 5 specifically, but the point would hold: he's been damn good.

        • Larry

          Same thing I thought at first!! LOL….then I too sat back and thought..well, maybe that's not as far fetched as originally anticipated. He's similar to Brees in stature…accuracy edge to Brees (close, though), but arm strength is just as good….and he can move run/avoid pass rush!

          I'm not ready to put Wilson in that category yet, either…but let's just say if he was playing like this from week 1 he'd be a lock for ROY.

        • AfterMath

          I'm with you on that GTFOH
          My recent post Learn to Solve Single Variable Linear Equations

  • http://www.opinionatedmale.com cortonio

    yes how do people still laud peyton manning???
    He's a great passer who is undoubtedly heading for Canton but let's not overlook the following:

    1. 12 of his 14 years he's played his home games in a climate controlled dome. Also he headed to Houston for one more game. So that's a minimum of 9 games a year. And if you're a good passer you'll turn into a great one playing in a dome, no snow, wind, rain, intense cold..nothing. Check out his record in sub-par conditions.

    2. He is 9-11 in his career in the playoffs. As I stated earlier he's been one and done 8 times. Of those 8 he had a 1st round bye and HOSTED a playoff game. So that mean he played vs a team with a lesser record and couldn't get the job done.

    3. Weapons. He's always had them. Harrison, Wayne, Stokely, dallas clark, and for 7 years he had edgerrin james who gave over 1,000 yards rushing every year.

    • AfterMath

      thats cool and all, but it also means that all the other QBs who played in domes must have been crap cause they never put up any type of numbers similar to Peyton.

      Peyton's problem, like many other elite QBs (think Farve, Young, McNabb – if you want to call him elite, heck even Vick, Rodgers), etc) is that the game is too dependent on the QB and that one player. What a running game does is open up the pass and the offense to so many options. San Fran did a beautiful thing with Montana and the short passing game, but calling the new era of football the one of the QBs is just ignoring that when these guys won (if they won) they all had help – and I don't mean help in terms of a good WR, I mean help in terms of a running game and probably a good defense. Sometimes you can argue that the passing game opens up the running game and that may be legit, but when defenses have to account for a 1200 yard rusher, it keeps them honest and gives you options with the playaction. But when your entire offense is based on what one guy can do, then defenses know that they key is to just tee off and sack the QB so the ends decide to have a party in the backfield and dare you to run it against them because they know you can't.

      Peyton's problem isn't that he hasn't had RBs, its that they never properly used the RBs he had – especially in the playoffs. And the playoffs is when you need it most. There's a reason that Favre wasn't the MVP of his game nor Elway, nor Aikman. I mean, its all about balance. When teams get away from that they become predictable, and predictability can be defeated.
      My recent post Learn to Solve Single Variable Linear Equations

  • Larry

    "He's a great passer who is undoubtedly heading for Canton "

    Boom, you answered your own question. People laud him b/c he's a great passer who will be a first ballot Hall of Famer. If that's not a reason to laud a player then I don't know what is.

    His record in sub-par conditions involve him playing on the road for most of his career, no? Tell me a quarterback that has a better road record than home record in their career….I'll wait…

    It's no secret about his playoff record. But let's not pretend he hasn't been to two Superbowls and won one, also.

    Of course he had weapons…why do you think they made the playoffs virtually every season, lol…but guess what? Those other teams he faced….they have weapons, too. I'm pretty sure 4 of his playoff losses came to the eventual Superbowl champion and 1 or two more made it to the Superbowl.

    Not having a better playoff record is a fair criticism, sure, but it's not a reason not to laud the man. Period.

  • Peter Parker

    I learned quite a few things myself and yes, the Broncos vs. Bmore had to be the best playoff game I have seen in my 32 years of living.____1. While Colin Kaepernick was very impressive, I already knew he had the skill set to put up crazy numbers in the NFL. I mean, the dude threw for 10,000 yards and ran for 4,000 yards at University of Nevada. Any QB that does that, is gifted. (RG3 please take note)____2. Flacco still has more to prove to me. Yeah he did lead an impressive victory this weekend, but sometimes he can be a little shaky at time. ____3. GB and Charles Woodson need to part ways and begin to re-build their defense. I mean the way GB picks offensive players through the draft needs to be replicated with their defensive players.____4. Falcons, while they did win 13 games in the regular season, I am still not impressed. To let Seattle come back after having them down by 20 points….SUSPECT!!!!____P.S. Glad to have John Wall back with the Wizards…Looking good out there with Beasley. __

  • http://www.opinionatedmale.com cortonio

    right, I said he's a great PASSER…because lets face it some QB's can't pass, but you can't call him an all-time great with that playoff won-loss record. And yes he's gone to two SB's but the bears had rex grossman as their QB, we all know how his career turned out. And the second one he threw a pick-6 that cost them the game. Where would you ran peyton top 5? top 10?
    My recent post All Gold Everything: What Type of Man Are You (Dating)?

    • Larry

      So now we're qualifying Superbowl wins based on the the how good the opposing teams QB is?? LOL!! Get outta here with that. It's hard enough to get there as it is but now it's discounted when one actually wins it? Please, spare me.

      At any rate when doing all time rankings everyone's criteria different and subjective at best. It's fair to put Manning in top 5. Top 10 for sure.

      **By the way, do you not have a "Reply' button on your interface? Makes the string a little more smoother, no shade.

  • http://www.opinionatedmale.com cortonio

    im sure not many QB's have a better has a better road than home, but his brother Eli went to the playoffs twice as a #6 seed and won both times. So there is one. He beat tampa, dallas, GB, in '07 and in '11 Atlanta, Green bay, and san francisco. So that's 6 road wins right there. And I'm sure they're others.
    My recent post All Gold Everything: What Type of Man Are You (Dating)?

    • Larry

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks like you are citing Eli Manning's road wins in the playoffs. Your earlier comment about sub-par conditions were clearly in reference to Peyton Mannings total games, per you citing his 12 of 14 seasons in a climate controlled dome and mentioned playing in Houston (another dome) for a minimum of 9 games per year. So the context here are QBs with win/loss records for their career and how many have better road records. The answer is simply 'not many'.

  • http://twitter.com/inomallday Shamira

    The sixth thing I learned during this playoff weekend is the football on Saturday is awesome. More of that please. Lol

    Seriously, I have nothing to add. I still don't really believe the Falcons can make it. Call me a hater if you want, but I bet you Kaepernick was all smiles when the Seahawks lost.

    Another big thing I've taken away from this postseason overall is what a great rookie QB class we have. I wasnt even checking for Russell Wilson until about a month ago, but he's a monster in his own right. The only notable detractor I've seen from him is that when he's scrambling out of the pocket from the blitz he seems to have a problem seeing over his blockers to make the pass, and I think that's just his height….but that sack he avoided in Q4 to keep the game alive and grab that first down? CASH. MONEY. (No Weezy).

    Also, I think Alex Smith has finally accepted that he's out of a job. No helmet on this weekend. Lol.

    • Joe Sargent

      Yeah…these rookie QB’s were great. Even Tannehill had his moments.

      Talked about this earlier in the comments, but Wilson was as good as almost anyone the second half of the year. Carroll and Harbaugh stuk to their guns (Wilson and Kaepernick) and it could get one of them in the Super Bowl. Crazy.

      I don’t blame you for not believing in Atlanta yet, but they were only 0-3 before this year. That’s so few games. One of which when Ryan was a rookie. I think the Niners will win, but I’m not super confident.

  • http://www.opinionatedmale.com cortonio

    larry i was just answering your question about QB's who have won road playoff games. Peyton has won very few.

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