Some thoughts from Saturday's two divisional round games:
1. E. Reed is definitely an All-Star.
2. Brian Billick did a terrible job coaching. Yes, you can say that Baltimore tried to run at the beginning of the game, wasn't very successful and then started passing more. But the last time I checked, the proverb didn't go "If at first you don't succeed... let Steve McNair embark on a series of 5 step dropbacks in order to overthrow his receivers by at least 10 feet on his way to back-to-back-to-back-to-back three and outs." Running a 60%-40% pass-rush ratio offense against the Colts was just a totally unforgivable sin. One I didn't think Billick would be capable of.
3. As usual, P. Manning is going to be saddled with his playoff choker label (for his TD-INT ratio). And as usual, A. Vinatieri is going to be crowned with his hero label. It's kind of funny how everybody forgets the drive that leads to a field goal, and just remembers the field goal itself.
4. E. Reed did not step out of bounds.
5. The talk everywhere will be about how Baltimore prevented an Indy touchdown and still lost. See Point 2.
6. Baltimore's defense is very, very impressive. On that quick snap play from deep in their own territory, I was 99.9% sure that long P. Manning pass to M. Harrison was going to be a touchdown.
7. J. Lewis got 13 carries. Thirteen. Thirteen. Against the worst rush defense in the NFL. THIRTEEN.
8. The Ravens who were second in the NFL in sacks in the regular season, finished with just one.
9. The Ravens who were first in the NFL in turnover differential, finished with -2.
10. D. Brees is definitely an All-Star.
11. D. Stallworth is really, really fast.
12. D. McAllister is pretty strong.
13. The play that decided the game: Saints 27, Eagles 21, B. Westbrook rushes left side for 10 yards to the 3 (which would be a first down). Immediately, after the play, he rolls a yard and deposits the ball at the 2. The ref, partially to spite him, removes the ball puts it back at the 4 a yard short of a first down. Eagles fail to convert, end up kicking a field goal. Final score Saints 27, Eagles 24.
14. The Eagles were surprisingly bad at tackling.
15. I'm surprised at how few shots Andy Reid took deep upfield. Most of J. Garcia's passes ended up being in short to medium range, while New Orleans' real weakness was its secondary. It almost seemed as if Reid was scared to take long shots after F. Thomas broke up Garcia's first deep pass for Stallworth. Quite Brian Billickesque. "Hey, they stopped us one time, so let's immediately stop doing what we're best at!"
16. D. Brees is one awesome quarterback. That long pass to D. Henderson was money. And then the last pass of the first half was right in M. Colston's hands in the endzone before he dropped it.
17. Oh, and R. Bush is all right.