The Beej Knows Best: NFL Playoffs Edition
Hello everyone, and welcome back from break. I hope you all had a very relaxing, yet fun time seeing family and friends. My break essentially involved me making the long, arduous trek from my bed to my kitchen and back, so pretty much it was a great break.
I went to one of the greatest Knicks games that I have ever personally witnessed and also was in New York City for New Years’ Eve. It was an awesome time to say the least. However, one thing that I truly missed was my DirectTV box.
At Emory, I have NFL Sunday ticket, which allows me to lie out on my couch and encounter borderline epileptic symptoms as NFL RedZone shifts rapidly from one game to the next.
At home, I had to sit down on my couch and watch my Jets get ravished week after week. It was pretty excruciating.
But as the playoff picture cleared up, and the three rookie quarterbacks led their team to victory after victory, I knew that the 2013 playoffs would be an incredible ride. And so far, it has not disappointed.
There is a new wave of excellence in this league, and we are witnessing the beginning. Many people are questioning whether the success of the pistol formation, and the quarterback read option will continue in the NFL.
I believe that it will not; however that doesn’t mean that these quarterbacks will fade away. The threat to run still exists, and quarterbacks like Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and even Andrew Luck, have the ability to be playmakers outside of the pocket.
Their superior arm strength and vision will continue to develop in the future.
The teams who have snagged these diamonds in the rough are lucky; the teams who are trying to find the next stud might not be. Looking forward to the draft, we have the Kansas City Chiefs and the Jacksonville Jaguars holding the top two picks.
Both of them have humongous question marks at the quarterback position. However, there are no quarterbacks that really fit the bill as franchise changing impact players. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next few weeks.
Now back to the playoffs. After earning a bye, San Francisco patiently awaited their next opponent. Coming off a strong performance against Minnesota, Green Bay was looking to ride some momentum into their game against the 49ers.
That game was probably my favorite in terms of the amount of pregame hype. Aaron Rodgers. San Fran’. The famous “Not as disappointed as the 49ers will be that they didn’t draft me” quote. This game had it all.
San Francisco was able to win, by allowing Colin Kaepernick to pave the way to victory. He has been phenomenal.
On the other side, we had the Baltimore Ravens. Stumbling and bumbling their way into the playoffs, the Ravens, along with the rest of the world, were stunned by the news that Ray Lewis was planning on retiring at season’s end.
It was that type of motivation that they needed, the “Win this for Ray” mentality that has really pushed them through the playoffs.
In the first round, the Ravens swept past wunderkind Andre Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.
Next, the Ravens had to play in Denver against Peyton Manning and the Broncos, who were coming off of a bye week.
In terms of the best game to watch, this was the one of the best playoff battles that I have seen in years. It took double overtime before a winner was decided.
This occurred after bonehead moves by John Fox and a costly defensive mistake by safety Rahim Moore.
The Broncos probably should have won the game, but being clutch is a virtue, and the Ravens pulled through.
Now we have the championship games. In the AFC, it was a battle of Tom Brady and the “gimmick” offense against Ray Lewis and the “old guard” defense. In the end, it wasn’t too much of a battle as the Ravens got ahead early and maintained their lead.
Looking at the NFC Championship game, the Atlanta Falcons had to prove that they were not just a one and done squad.
They did a great job of getting ahead against the Seahawks, but needed some late game Matty Ice magic to propel them forward. The NFC Championship game followed a similar path but with a different finish.
Atlanta jumped out ahead of the 49ers, but Colin Kaepernick kept his cool. The 49er defense locked down Matt Ryan, and they were able to make an improbable comeback and win the game.
Kaepernick’s ability to see down the field, in addition to his IQ in terms of when to run and when to hand off the ball in the read option, was the biggest factor in the victory for the 49ers.
Jim Harbaugh looks like an absolute genius for benching the incumbent, Alex Smith.
Do you remember another situation where a second year quarterback got an opportunity to start when the starter got hurt and then kept the job for a prolonged period of time?
It was a guy named Brady, and I do not know if you have heard, but he has done quite well for himself up in Foxborough.
While I am certainly not comparing Kaepernick to Brady, I am saying that Kaepernick, like Brady, is making the most out of his opportunity.
Look forward to my column next week when I break down the Super Bowl matchups and pick my winner.
As always, I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable weekend, and I look forward to writing for you all next week.
— By Jayson Patel