What a day for football yesterday. I'll admit, when I heard the radio pundits (actually Red, Jim LeCorchick, and Mike Ruzzi broadcasting from the casino) talking about what a great day of NFL action it was going to be, I was questioning their credibility. After all, the Tennessee/Pittsburgh and Carolina/Giants games were only really playing for home field advantage and not for playoff spots, as all four teams had clinched. And the Bills, well...
But, what do you know, the Tennessee-'burghers game sucked me in and I went from there.
Although I generally root for the Stillers cuz I like their style of play, I was glad to see the Titans win yesterday, just because they have a running game. The four teams I mentioned have pretty much clinched the top four seeds in their conferences, and they all play good defense. But only three of them, the Stillers being the exception, have strong running games. This is unusual for a 'Burgher squad, but it's the unfortunate reality of this season. Big Ben had no more miracles to pull out of his ass and the 'Stillers went down. I'd say this bodes poorly for their chances in the playoffs.
The Giants, on the other hand, what a show last night. They rang up more than 300 yards rushing and totally steamrolled the Panthers in the second half after being down 21-10. It was a clinic in how you play late season football: wear the other boys out and then slam it down their throats. Good stuff. The Giants might have this late season football thing down. Madden kept saying how the Giants' coaches said they were going to get back to the run, no matter what the other team's defense did- even if they were keying on it and tempting the Giants to pass. Well, they did, and it certainly worked. Curious thing is that the Giants O-coordinator is Kevin Gilbride, who was always noted as a passing guru - and spent some time with Bledsoe in Buffalo. He was the guy Buddy Ryan once took a swing at when Ryan was coahing the Oilers defense way back when. Ryan accused Gibride of running a "chuck-'n-duck" offense that was putting too much pressure on Ryan's D. Now, Gibride's orchestrating a power running game? I guess it's never too late to learn.
As for the Bills, they won a wonderful game against the Broncos, who like the Bills started fast and have been an extreme disappointment since. Go Bills! Edwards looked marvelous yesterday, shades of the early season, after a rough start. If we can beat New England at home next week, and knock the Pats out of the playoffs, I think I'll be happy with the season.
Anyways, I went into yesterday with low expectations because I didn't think there was too much to play for in many of the top games. But, the NFL showed me that it's made up of true professionals that really know how to put on a show and take pride in their work.
January should be fun as usual.