No Such Nonsense

A little of this, that and... what was I talking about again? It's TV, sports, pop culture and politics - all the stuff that really matters in life.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Indy, Saints march on

One game was all about defense. The other game, well, not so much. Both, though, had some great moments.

Once again, Indianapolis' much-maligned defense came up big. Once again, Peyton Manning was far less than perfect. And once again, Indy found a way to win. For Manning, it was an up and down day. He controls the clock better than anyone in the history of the game - and he did it again yesterday. I mean, the last Indy drive lasted for half of the fourth quarter. (Here's a drinking game for next week - you take a shot every time Manning takes the snap with less than 2 seconds left on the play clock. You'll be passed out by half time.) But despite his flawless timing, Manning looked pretty flawed out there. In fact, the record will show Manning threw 2 key interceptions, matched by two from Baltimore's Steve McNair. But it could easily have been 4 interceptions for Manning. Twice, Baltimore's brilliant but assy middle linebacker Ray Lewis managed to tip a ball that seemed to be heading for a sure interception. So if Baltimore had a worse middle linebacker, they might have won the game. How's that for a twist on defense wins in the playoffs?

Other than Lewis, who was the most important guy in this game? That's be Bill Polian. Who's that, you say? Well, Polian's the guy who decided to kick idiot kicker Mike Vanderjagt to the curb after last season and replace him with Adam Vinatieri. In 2003, Vanderjagt had a perfect season - he didn't miss a single field goal or extra point. He still ranks as the most accurate NFL kicker of all time. He is also a classic head case who missed a gimme kick in last year's playoffs that lost the Colts the game. So Polian replaced him with former Patriots kicker Vinatieri, a guy who may miss a few kicks here and there in the regular season but who is the very definition of clutch. Yesterday, Vinatieri made 5 kicks, including one for 51 yards. Vanderjagt, who was cut mid-season by Dallas, was presumably watching the game at home, eating Cheetos like the rest of us. Good call, Polian, good call.

I fell asleep in the fourth quarter of the Saints game. I know, I know. But it definitely went past my bed time. That said, it was quite the game. Lots of scoring, lead changes and the hometown heroes took it. Great to see Deuce McAllister - a likeable, hardworking guy who's never been in the playoffs - have a big, big day. Hard to say who is more relieved by the outcome - Sean Payton or Donovan McNabb. If the Eagles had made it to the Superbowl on the back of Jeff Garcia - and, heaven forbid, actually won it - you just know McNabb's life would be looking pretty bleak. As it is, Garcia built a serious rep around Philly - but he couldn't get the to the big game. The off-season should be pretty interesting in Philly.


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