Championship weekend is over. For me, both games were nothing short of head scratchers; how could a team / coach with a pedigree like the Packers and Mike McCarthy play small ball the way they did in the Conference championship? How could any NFL team look as lost and unprepared as the Colts did in New England? Did they think Belichick was going to suit up the Titans in an attempt to throw them off their game? That would explain the game plan, at least. Today, the news broke that the Patriots are being investigated for ball tampering during last night’s game…I’d like to make one thing clear: even if it turns out to be true, it had nothing to do with the complete and utter humiliation dealt to the Colts last night. I’m going to withhold my judgment until the league finishes its investigation; suffice to say though, it won’t surprise me and, once again if proven true, it will be high time that the league does something about it. We have seen the Commissioner dole out harsh punishments on players this season, some of them before there was even any conviction of wrongdoing and some that were for first time offenders that far exceed what the league rulebook states that a first time offender is supposed to have levied; and these were for behaviors, though reprehensible, had no effect on the game itself other than a handful of fickle fans being OUTRAGED!™ about it. That’s just a little teaser on what you can expect the Clown to unleash if these charges are found to be true. Anyway, without further ado, here is the Clown’s take on the Conference Championship games.
NFC Championship Game Seattle 28 Green Bay 22
The Packers jumped out to 16-0 lead by halftime, and their fate was already sealed. Face it…some losses are bad and some just make you sick, and then there’s…this. You can point out a lot of different points in the game where the Packers lost control of this game; Rodgers second pick mid-way through the second quarter, the 3rd and 19 conversion by Seattle that left the Packers defense looking more like a bad Pop Warner squad than the NFC’s 2nd seed; Clinton-Dix’s dropped pick; Burnett’s slide after his interception with about 5:00 minutes left in the game; the onside kick debacle or the 2-point hail Mary conversion. Without a doubt, these plays made a big difference in Green Bay handing this game, all gift wrapped with a pretty little bow, to Seattle, but none of them would have made a difference, hell…some of them wouldn’t even have happened if not for one simple fact: Mike McCarthy played small ball in this game. Green Bay’s defense produced turnovers on Seattle’s first two possessions Sunday afternoon, promptly driving to Seattle’s one yard line both times. McCarthy shrunk when Seattle’s defense stopped them short on 3rd down both times and opted for the field goal. Some advice for ‘ya, coach…championship teams are led by coaches with big brass balls, they get their boot on the opponent’s neck and they don’t, under no circumstances, take it off. Coach McCarthy…yes, your team played like a second rate JV squad in the second half yesterday, but, the only reason that made a difference in the game is because you didn’t have the stones to take it to the Seahawks when you had the chance. This one is on you and you earned it.
AFC Championship Game New England 45 Indianapolis 7
Where do I even start? I think most Colts fans were biting their nails, just waiting for that first disastrous play that would snowball into yet another defeat at the hands of the New England Patriots, and Josh Cribbs didn’t make them wait long. I don’t know why, but we all knew that Cribbs was a disaster waiting to happen after last week, and, sure enough, the moment he actually calls for a fair catch, the ball hits him in the face mask and it’s off to the races. That being said, that was an irrelevant drip in the bucket of incompetence displayed by the Indy squad last night while the Patriots thoroughly curb stomped them into humiliation. Twice…twice this team ran the ball with impunity against this Colts defense in their previous meetings and still the Colts defense allowed them to run it right down the throat and out the anus of the defense…time after time after time after time. How many times did we see Colt defensive lineman shuttled between offensive linemen away from the runner like some primo ganja being passed down a toke line? How often did we see Colt linebacker swallowed up by blockers? How often did we see defenders blow their gap assignments or fail to make a tackle when they actually did display enough discipline to fill their gap? Bill Belichick made a statement last night: “I have no respect for your defense. In fact, I have so much disrespect for your defense, I didn’t even put any work into coming up with a game plan.” The run defense was nothing less than a defense simply getting owned, abused and gang raped by a superior foe who had set their mind to not allowing them to leave Gillette Stadium with anything resembling a shred of dignity. The pass defense wasn’t any better; I’m pretty sure that the only reason Tom Brady didn’t throw for more yards and touchdowns last night was because he was awestruck by the Colts ability to be so utterly and thoroughly lost that he was partially blinded by the sheer ineptitude on display in front of him; either that or he was afraid that if he continued to throw the ball on Indy’s secondary they might spontaneously combust in a massive fireball that would leave Gillette Stadium a charred and smoldering heap of rubble. Some people like to say that Bill Bellichick plays chess while everyone else plays checkers; last night, Bellichick played the Colts while Indy played someone else. The defensive game plan was simply wrong from the start, but I’m pretty comfortable stating that whoever Greg Manusky game planned for, they would have beat his defense too. Offensively, Pep Hamilton continued to show how he will continue to be nothing more than the token minority that teams have to interview to show they are in compliance with the Rooney Rule. The offensive line offered nothing more than a pocket that was collapsing upon itself so rapidly that it seemed to be at risk of crushing into a black hole. Sure, Luck had time to throw, but he couldn’t step into those throws at all; consequently, they were all over the place…except when they were accurate, then they were simply dropped. I could go on, but, really…what’s the point? It’s merely becoming and exercise in kicking guys while they’re down…frankly, I don’t think that the Colts performance was worthy of the time I’ve already dedicated to writing about it.