The Divisional playoffs of 2011 will be remembered for some epic upsets, Aaron Rodgers’ coming out party and the precise moment when Patrick M. stopped caring about sports.
Ravens Vs. Steelers
Pre-Game Chatter: The division foes split the regular season series in two of the most physical games of the season. With both defenses chomping at the bit to back up their reps, there was no reason to expect anything different.
What Went Down: It was the best of halfs, it was the worst of halfs for the Ravens. Their defense forced two first half turnovers including a head’s up Cory Reading fumble return of an assumed dead ball. But the overall anemia of Baltimore’s offense proved their demise: dropped passes, turnovers and a hideous -4 yards of third quarter offense. The game was still tied late in the fourth when Ben Roethlisberger added to his postseason resume with a perfect third down strike to rookie Antonio Brown. A dive from Rashard Mendenhall gave the Steelers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, as a last gasp Ravens drive ended with a predictable heartbreaker.
The Saga Continues: The Steelers move on to the AFC Championship against the Jets, who beat them at Heniz Field only a month ago. The Ravens will have to figure out why they continually lose to their rival in big games, and if off-season acquisitions T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Anquan Boldin can get over their drops.
Packers Vs. Falcons
Pre-Game Chatter: Despite Atlanta’s dominance of the NFC, most experts preferred the six seed Packers to prevail behind the offensive fireworks of Aaron Rodgers and company.
What Went Down: Pretty much exactly what the experts preferred. Atlanta took an early lead thanks to a kickoff return from dynamo Eric Weems, but that was pretty much it for the Dirty Birds. Rodgers carved up their defense like a Thanksgiving turkey, completing over 85% of his passes for 300 plus yards and three touchdowns. By the time Atlanta knew what hit them, the Pack had put up 35 straight points on the number one seed.
The Saga Continues: Atlanta’s left to pick up the pieces following a crushing defeat that de-legitimized their entire season. Green Bay continues on their run as the six seed no one wants a piece of against rival Chicago. Skip Bayless gloats.
Bears Vs. Seahawks
Pre-Game Chatter: Some tried to label the Seahawks destiny’s team, but they were still under .500
What Went Down: The Bears established their superiority quickly, jumping out to a 21-0 lead behind Jay Cutler’s…legs? The Seahawks didn’t get onto the board until well into the third quarter. Lovie Smith and Mike Martz tried to help the ‘Hawks back into the game, calling for a halfback pass – while being up three scores – that predictably got intercepted. But the Bears were ultimately too good, as a late Cutler pass to Kellen Davis sealed their spot in the championship game.
The Saga Continues: The Bears move on to play the Packers at Soldier’s Field as underdogs. Expect another epic clash between these two evenly matched squads.
Patriots Vs. Jets
Pre-Game Chatter: Rex said Tom Brady was no Peyton Manning. Antonio Cromartie called Brady an “asshole.” Wes Welker had the press conference heard round the sports world. Bart Scott then puts a hit out on Welker. Yep, that pretty much sums it up.
What Went Down: That offense the Patriots flexed a month ago was nowhere to be found. For the first time what felt like forever, Brady threw an interception and the what was thought to be “foolproof” system of Bill Belichick’s evil genius looked incredibly inefficient at times. Still, all of that paled in comparison behind what will go down in the hallowed halls of post game interviews. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Bart Scott…
The Saga Continues: While we’re unsure of what mind games Rex will attempt to throw the Steelers direction, expect the game to feature its fair share of hard hits, trash talking and last second heroics.
Thanks to wonderful minds of Hip-Hop botanists Curren$y and Wiz Khalifa, the battle pitting the New York (J.E.T.S.) and Pittsburgh (“Taylor Gang”) together now has an added incentive, being dubbed “The Bong Bowl.” And it’s looking like a win-win for all involved.
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