Sunday, January 4, 2009

NFL wild card weekend recap and thoughts

The NFL playoffs are an unpredictable beast.

- The Cardinals got some much-needed running help from Edgerrin James, who said this weekend that he would not return to Arizona next year, and Larry Fitzgerald was his usual amazing-pass-catching self. The egg is on my face after I said the Falcons would win because they had the more balanced team. It didn't look that way Saturday.

- Talk about things falling apart at the end. The Colts allowed the Chargers to march down the field in overtime, thanks in part to a 15-yard face mask penalty. Darren Sproles was an incredible fill-in for LaDainian Tomlinson, racking up over 300 all-purpose yards. I thought Indianapolis would be playing into February but, as it turned out, the Chargers were just a little bit hotter than the Colts.

- I figured Baltimore's defense would play a big role in their matchup with Miami, as it did all season, but I didn't think Ed Reed and Company would be this dominating. The aforementioned Reed was like Michael Phelps - the guy's everywhere. And it was just as bad for Chad Pennington and the Dolphins as Phelps' media tour has been for all of us. I know everybody looks up to Brett Favre but Pennington was trying to emulate him a little too much with his four interception performance.

- The Vikings limped into the playoffs behind an underwhelming quarterback and an unstoppable running back. But the running back, Adrian Peterson, can't do it alone all the time, which proved to be the case Sunday in Minnesota. Now the Iggles will head to the Meadowlands to face the Giants for a third time this Sunday. As good ol' JR would say, it'll be a "slobberknocker."

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