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Football Thoughts – Week 19

Posted in Sports - football, mostly by EloiSVM42 on January 13, 2021

NFL: Wildcard Weekend is among my favorite dates on the sports schedule. It features better teams in a win-or-go-home tournament format, with the result the games are good and strongly contested. It was so again this year, and even a little better because there was another game added to the format. I got to watch some, most or all of six games and it was worth every minute.

The game I was most interested in was between Cleveland and Pittsburgh. The Browns got into the playoffs by beating the Steelers in the last game of the season, when the latter was resting a lot of starters. Conventional wisdom, including my own, was that Pittsburgh would win this game when its starters returned, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

But that didn’t happen. Cleveland won the game after the Steelers had a disastrous first quarter, losing three turnovers – one on the first play of the game that went for a Cleveland touchdown – and falling behind 28-0 in the quarter.

Overall, Pittsburgh had five turnovers, while Mayfield had a good, steady game and Cleveland didn’t have a single turnover. That’s how you win playoff games, which Cleveland did, 48-37.

Cleveland’s award for this upset is to play the Kansas City Chiefs, in KC, where they are about a 10-point underdog. But they’ve advanced in the playoffs with a win, Cleveland’s first payoff win in forever, and fans are happy.    

The other game that went differently than I was expecting was Rams v Seahawks. I expected Seattle to win but the Rams kept Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson in check all day and won the game 30-20.

Wilson didn’t play particularly well, and the offensive line simply could not protect him. The defense is not what it has been recently either. Seattle has some work to do in the off season. (It’s just been announced that the Seahawks fired their offensive coordinator.)

So, we move on to the next round, where the Chiefs and the Green Bay Packers, who had byes, step onto the field. Another week of good games between good teams. I’ll be watching.

College: I’ve been reporting Monday night NFL games as if they were part of the previous week’s lineup. There was no Monday night NFL game, but the NCAA Championship game was played Monday night, so I’ll cover it this week and we’re done with college ball until the draft.

I’m delighted to report that the Alabama Crimson Tide wiped up the floor with Ohio State University in an absolute rout, 52-24. OSU should never have been in the game in the first place, having played only six regular season games. They are a good team, but Alabama was demonstrably better, and in my view, justice was served on the Buckeyes.

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