I know, I've been gone for a bit. I took Week 17 off because I was sick -- and still depressed about the Cowboys making the playoffs -- but I am back and will carry you through the postseason. This week, we've got the Wild Card games, which only kind of went like I expected.
First up, Arizona @ Carolina. Ugh. UGHHHHHHH. This game was SO UGLY. I watched the entire thing in part because I couldn't tear my eyes away from the trainwreck. If you look at points and yardage, Carolina dominated this game since they won 27-16 and the Cards' 78 total yards are the lowest ever posted by a playoff team. In their defense, they lost 19 yards on this final play.
And just for funsies, here are the drive charts.
Color me shocked that Ryan Lindley -- who Arizona swapped in for rookie Logan Thomas after one practice -- can't win a playoff game, especially when certified dreamboat Luke Kuechly is on the other side of the line (6 tackles, 4 assists, 1 INT on Saturday), but...still. Here are the Eligible Receiver crew's real-time reactions.
Saturday's night game was Baltimore @ Pittsburgh, i.e. the We Played Terrible Divisions So Our Win Totals Are Inflated Bowl. I thought the Steelers could pull this one off, and the first half of the game was close (this will be a trend) with Baltimore up 10-9. The Ravens hit a field goal early in the third and a 11-yard TD pass to Torrey Smith on their next drive made the score 20-9. Not great, but manageable, as the Steelers managed to claw their way back to a 23-15 score and then...
Baltimore got the ball on the 21-yard line and only needed one play to score a touchdown. Final score: 30-17 Ravens. They're off to Foxboro to play the Pats next week, while the Panthers will find themselves in Century Link against the Seahawks.
Sunday started off with Cincinnati @ Indianapolis, which could have gone either way, since the Bengals D decided to show up against Denver of all teams in Week 16. And they played well for the first half of the game, breaking up big passes to T.Y. Hilton and keeping the score to 13-10 Colts. But then...honestly, I turned off the TV and went for a run. That's not a humblebrag. I legitimately felt a long run was a better use of my time than watching the rest of that game. Considering the Bengals scored zero points in the second half, I'd say it was the right call, although I did miss this bananas play.
Colts win 26-10.
And now the time has come. Detroit @ Dallas. I wanted the Lions to win this game SO MUCH. I knew in my heart they wouldn't, but GOD I WANTED IT. Before I start, I'm not saying the call we're about to discuss would have given Detroit the game. It was a game-changer for sure, but it was still a close game, and the Lions made other mistakes and the refs made some questionable calls against Dallas in the first half, like flagging Jason Witten on a nonexistent offensive pass interference penalty.
So, okay. It's midway through the fourth. Detroit is driving with a 20-17 lead. It's 3rd and 1 on the Dallas 46.
The flag comes down. Dallas obviously doesn't like it, and Dez Bryant REALLY doesn't like it.
The call announced is pass interference on #59 of the defense, automatic first down for Detroit from the spot of the foul. The officials spot the ball. And then...they REVERSE THE CALL, claiming the closest ref -- who's seemingly legally blind -- said it was legal faceguarding with "minimal" contact. Oh, and nothing on Dez for marching up on the field like he owns the place, which should have caused it to RAIN flags up in this joint.
Of course, the Lions are cowards and punted on 4th and 1 -- and their punter shanked it, pushing Dallas back only 10 yards. Because Lions. The Cowboys scored on the following drive going up 24-20. Detroit gets the ball with 2:32 and two timeouts. They get this GIFT of a play...
...and one minute later...
Indy travels to Denver next week, while Dallas goes to Green Bay and I magically become a Packers fan.
Oh yeah, and also, here's Chris Christie being a transparent piece of shit in Jerry Jones' box.
Two teams which are not the Cowboys play in New Jersey. A third team which is also not the Cowboys plays just south of New Jersey, and a good number of people in that state root for them as well. Gee, I wonder why Christie, a 2016 presidential hopeful who rolled up to the Giants Super Bowl victory when that was politically expedient, would be palling around with the owner of the most lucrative franchise in the NFL.