Monday’s Morning Links: Playoff Roundup
Jets Hold On To Knock Off The Patriots: After their blowout loss to New England a month ago, I don’t know how many people thought they could pull off the upset, but that is exactly what the Jets did. It was a great all-around game from the Jets. Their defense had Tom Brady confused all day, and they came up with a number of big plays to stop the Patriots offense. The Jets running game picked up the tough yards when they needed them the most, including their final touchdown. The Jets receivers made a number of big plays, finding holes in the Patriots coverage, and making incredible catches. Last but not least, Mark Sanchez played one of his best games and led the Jets to victory.
New England now has some questions to answer this offseason, as this is the second straight year a Wild Card team came into New England and upset the Patriots in the playoffs. It is also the second straight year that a defense made Tom Brady look very average in the playoffs. While you can’t really blame that on Brady, someone needs to see that the Patriots never adjusted to what the Jets were doing on defense. The Patriots wide receivers just couldn’t get open against the Jets star defensive backs, and with a consistent pass rush Brady didn’t have the time to allow for big plays to develop. It was obvious that the pass rush and press coverage affected Brady’s timing, as a number of his passes were just uncatchable.
The Jets now head up to Pittsburgh, where they upset the Steelers last month. At the time though they didn’t have to face Troy Polumalu, and as any team will tell you, playing the Steelers in Pittsburgh during the playoffs is quite a bit different than during the regular season. The Jets for their part have already gone on the road twice to win so this will be nothing new, but it won’t be an easy game. A lot of the game will depend on which Mark Sanchez shows up to play. If it is the quarterback who was in New England last night, the Jets have a chance, but if its the quarterback who has been inconsistent thus far into his career then the Steelers should win.
Bears Crush Seattle To Advance To The Championship Game: While the final score was 35-24, the Bears truly dominated this game from start to finish. The Seahawks mounted a small comeback, but were lucky to make it as close as they did. The Bears ended any hope of a Cinderella run, by the 7-9 Seahawks, and they did so in impressive fashion. Jay Cutler accounted for 4 touchdowns, as he threw for two and ran for two as well. The Chicago defense dominated the game, up until the end when the let their foot off the gas a little bit. Seattle just couldn’t get anything going on offense. And on defense it seemed as though Cutler and the Bears were always a step ahead, calling the perfect play.
Chicago now welcomes the Green Bay Packers for the NFC Championship Game next week. While the Bears and Packers split their season series, it is hard to not like the Packers in this game. Aaron Rodgers was basically perfect in Atlanta, so I don’t know if going on the road is really going to affect him this week. The Packers also have a top notch defense that attacks the quarterback. If the Bears offensive line doesn’t hold up, it is hard to see Cutler being able to match Rodgers drive for drive. The Bears are at home, and they too have the defense to disrupt an offense so I wouldn’t count them out just yet.