As expected, the Atlanta Falcons easily handled the hampered Packers, and sent them packing. Early. The Falcons drove the field to open with a Touchdown. Green Bay tried to get some traction, moving the ball quickly down the field, only to be stopped with a 3rd down sack near the Red Zone. They were in good position to kick a chip shot Field Goal with the near perfect Crosby foot. Only this time it wasn’t. Missing right, the Falcons never looked back routing the Pack 43-21.
I had called for the Steelers to edge out the Patriots. The Steelers were hitting on all cylinders, coming into the playoffs, even if they were having difficulty finding the end zone. They needed to be sharp to play a near flawless game to have any hopes of beating the Patriots in Foxborough to advance to the Main Event.
Unfortunately, the Steelers got a rather rude awaking in the wee hours, when some yahoo pulled the fire alarm in the hotel where they were staying. They arrested the guy (no doubt hired by the devious and underhanded organization), but the damage had been done.
If you’ve never experienced an event such as this, (and I have), it’s no ‘simple’ thing. It’s not like you look out in the hallway, see the all clear, and go back to sleep. No. You are up for several hours while the Fire Company arrives and gives the all clear. This can take several hours, at which time, you are now wide awake, and any chance of ‘sleep’ is long gone.
Which, in my humble opinion, was just enough to take the edge of the otherwise sharp Steelers team. Watching this game unfold, it was clear that Ben and company were making the reads, and getting open, but without that sharp edge, was unable to make precision throws. New England went up early, and the Steelers responded, failing on the 2 point conversion.
Another (quick) scoring drive by New England, followed by a long systematical drive by Pittsburgh. Ben tossed a TD, but upon review, was spotted at the one. Pittsburgh failed to convert.
On the next Patriots possession, they drove to mid field before reaching into their bag of tricks and pulling out the old flee flicker. Boom. Another Touchdown and this game was over before it ever began.
It was evident the early morning antics had the desired effect, as the “B’s” all seemed flat, and unable to get into any kind of rhythm. Bill and Tom kept the foot on the pedal, however, finishing the game 36-17, setting up a Falcons / Patriots showdown in Houston.
I’m not saying Coach Belichick, Tom Brady and the rest of the team were sending any kind of intentional message, but, the final scores fall ominously into the conspiracy category, when you consider Atlanta doubled up the Packers, +1 and the Patriots doubled up the Steelers, +2.
Regardless, this should be one helluva shootout between two high powered offenses. The difference in this game could very well come down to Defense. The Falcons rank near the bottom, while the Patriots are where else? but up near the top.
Look for a game analysis in an article to be posted after the ‘Dud Bowl’.