And then there were four.
What a weekend of football it was. It started with the best game of the weekend at Foxboro on Saturday night.
Much was made of the brilliance of Flacco in the run-up to the game. He lived up to his tag in the early stages of each half, clocking up a 14-point lead on both occasions. But, never write off Brady, the man ignored 198 times in the 2000 draft and he’s been playing with a chip on his shoulder ever since. At the start of this campaign the Patriots were 0&2.
According to some people Brady had had it. His glorious career was over. But, before you could say AFC Championship he threw his team to Number 1 seed in the conference.
The quarterback is coolness personified. Lesser men would have turned to their running back in those freezing conditions on Saturday night. Instead, the Patriots rushed it once in 28 snaps in the second half and that was a quarterback sneak!
He’s officially the best passer the game has ever seen in the postseason. His 23-yard touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell broke the record for postseason scoring passes. It was his 46th and it moved him to one ahead of San Francisco 49ers legend Joe Montana.
The game will be remembered for Edelman’s 51-yard pass to Danny Amendola. Brady passed back to his receiver and the former college quarterback threw the pass to Amendola. It was a play that caught us all by surprise, including the Ravens D.
The Seahawks continued the defence of their title by dominating the Carolina Panthers…on defence.
Kam Chancellor summed up their display when the safety stepped in front of a Cam Newton pass and returned it 90 yards for a touchdown.
On the other side of the ball Russell Wilson completed 15 of 22 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns, including a 63-yard scoring pass to Jermaine Kearse in the second quarter.
It was more of a frustrating night for Newton, who completed 23 of 36 passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns. He drew Carolina level in the second quarter with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin, but the Seahawks were soon out of sight.
“The difference was just missed opportunities,” said Newton after the game. It’s going to take the very best to beat Seattle.
Cowboys Shot Down
Ice Bowl Part 2 was decided in controversial circumstances at Lambeau Field. Deep in the fourth quarter on fourth and two, Bryant rose spectacularly to catch a 31-yard pass from Tony Romo and move the Cowboys to the one-yard line. The officials ruled the pass incomplete, handing the ball back to the Packers on their 33-yard line and Green Bay never gave the ball back to close out the win.
The Cowboys were leading 21-13 at one point in the third quarter. Romo completed 15 of 19 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns. Despite struggling with a calf injury, Rodgers did what he does best, throwing back-to-back touchdowns in quick succession. He passed for three touchdowns and 317 yards as he led his team to victory.
Luck Outguns Manning
What does the future hold for Peyton Manning? The 38 year old looked the shadow of his former self as he lobbed deep ball after deep ball to nowhere. It was painful viewing as one of the greats looked more like Blaine Gabbert with constant overthrows. He completed 26 of 46 passes for 211 yards and one touchdown.
Andrew Luck, the man who replaced Manning as the Colts’ signal-caller in 2012, led his team to the AFC Championship game by completing 27 of 43 passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns. But it wasn’t all down to him. His O-line stood firm and stopped the Broncos from getting any hits or sacks on their star man.
The Colts became the only road team to win their Divisional Playoff clash this weekend, but much will be made of Denver’s demise. Their GM, John Elway, invested so much into his defence in the last off season. We’ll see how he shapes his side going into 2015. His first bit of business might be in keeping Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase at Mile High. There are a host of teams sniffing around, willing to promote him to head coach.
Indy, however, head to Foxboro looking to avenge the 42-20 drubbing the Patriots gave them in Week 11.