Sports Medley: 2017
NFL Playoffs Round 2 9 Jan 17
by Tony Medley
As predicted here
last week, three of last weekend’s games were pro forma slam dunks. The
fourth, New York at Green Bay, had the promise of being a good, close
game. While the Giants overwhelmed the Packers for the first 28 minutes
of the first half, they were only leading 6-0. Had their vaunted wide
receivers, in particular prima donna Odell Beckham, Jr., played even
average football, they should have been leading by at least three
touchdowns going into halftime.
But Beckham and the
entire wide receiver corps had flown to Florida to party with Johnny
Manziel and Justin Bieber the first day of the week. This showed a
disrespect for the game and for their team that should have been
unacceptable to the coaching staff. I don’t buy the excuse that they are
“grown men who can do what they want to do on their off time.” There is
no “off time” during a season, especially during playoff season.
I’ve read Kenny
Stabler’s biography, “Snake,” about his wild life and how he caroused
and drank and bedded any loose women he could find before just about
every game (and after every practice). I’m also aware of Joe Namath’s
dictum that what he needed the night before any big game was “a babe and
a bottle,” but what Beckham and his other wide receivers did put
enormous pressure on them to perform. And perform they did not. Beckham
was particularly atrocious. He dropped an easy pass on third and long
that would’ve given the Giants a first down on the Green Bay 27, forcing
them to punt. Shortly thereafter he dropped a touchdown pass that just
about any wide receiver in the league would have caught.
I said last week that
the only chance the Giants had to win this game was if Eli Manning had a
good game. Well, Eli Manning did have a good game. He was let down by
Beckham and his receiving corps, who rewarded accurate passes with drop
Aaron Rodgers proved
once again that he’s not a man to bet against. His passing in the second
half was phenomenal, and his receivers made tough catches despite the
loss of favorite receiver Jordy Nelson, who got hurt on a dirty, illegal
hit by Leon Hall who hit him in the ribs with his helmet, that was
obvious and should have been penalized. But today's NFL referees are so
bad that it's not surprising that their horrendous officiating carries
forward into the playoffs.
However on one pass
play Rodgers made one of the greatest runs I’ve ever seen on a football
field, avoiding a huge Giants rush, cutting left, cutting right, cutting
left again, never moving more than a yard or two, and finally throwing a
pinpoint pass to Davante Adams (who made a very good catch) for a
touchdown. Jim Brown, Gale Sayers, and Barry Sanders never made a better
run, even though Rodgers was just dancing back and forth. It was one for
the ages, and then the pass he made was almost as impossible to believe
as the Hail Mary at the end of the first half. In fact, in well more
than a half century of watching football, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a
This week’s games:
Seattle at Atlanta:
This is the toughest game of the week to pick. Atlanta has a
highly-rated offense and Seattle will be missing the mainstay of their
defense, free safety Earl Thomas. Except for him, though, Seattle is
relatively healthy. Seattle is experienced and has a better defense. It
also has quarterback Russell Wilson, who knows how to win. Despite
Atlanta’s big offense, I’m picking Seattle.
Houston at New
This is another game that needn’t be played. New England.
Pittsburgh at Kansas
is well coached, has a great defense, and doesn’t make many mistakes.
But, in my opinion, Pittsburgh is a much better team all around and has
Le’Veon Bell, who I think is the best, most cerebral runner in football,
and Ben Roethlisberger, who shines over KC’s quarterback, the steady but
unspectacular Alex Smith. Pittsburgh.
Green Bay at Dallas:
Green Bay is decimated with injuries. They are playing with green
cornerbacks. Don’t look for Dallas receivers to fold up and die like
Beckham & Co. Green Bay has some talented receivers, but will miss their
best, Jordy Nelson. I really hate going against Aaron Rodgers, and will
be rooting for him. But I’m picking Dallas.