Tom Brady threw for 363 yards and six touchdowns as the New England Patriots dismantled the Denver Broncos, 45-10, at Gillette Stadium last night in the divisional round of the playoffs, and it wasn't even that close. If it wasn't for an uncharacteristically bad interception by Brady in the first quarter, the Broncos may not have scored a single point.
As for Tim Tebow, he looked pretty much like he did most of the year, and like he did at the end of the regular season when the Broncos lost their last three games and backed into the playoffs with an 8-8 record. Tebow was 9/26 for 136 yards and no touchdowns (still trying to wrap my head around those 316 yards on ten completions).
Back to Brady. Other than the interception, he was a surgeon. This may have been aided by the fact that the Broncos played a zone defense against New England, which is like trying to put a fire out with gasoline. Didn't get that strategy at all.
But maybe that's because the Broncos were one of the worst teams to ever find their way into the postseason. At any rate, this sure makes the Steelers loss last week even harder to take.
I'm not saying Pittsburgh could have defeated the Patriots last night, but I doubt that they would have lost by five-touchdowns, even with a plethora of injuries. Oh well, they have no one to blame but themselves for bowing out in the Mile High City.
On to the rest of the playoffs. Maybe the Steelers just picked the wrong NFL postseason to be a wild card team. Last year, road teams won 6 of the 10 playoff games. So far this year, the visitors are 0 for 6. The home teams have averaged 35 points a game and have won by an average margin of nearly two touchdowns.
I enjoyed the heck out of the 49ers/Saints game last night, even if I was rooting for New Orleans to knock one of the Harbaughs out of the postseason. San Francisco jumped out to a 17-0 lead before the Saints crawled back into the game. The 49ers were ahead, 23-17, when the two teams combined to score four touchdowns over the final four minutes in one of the most exciting finishes to a playoff game in recent memory. On a play very reminiscent of Steve Young to T.O. in the 1998 wild card game against the Packers, San Francisco went ahead for good when Alex Smith connected with Vernon Davis for a 14 yard touchdown pass over the middle with nine seconds remaining. Davis even came to the sideline crying like Owens did back in '98. The 49ers won, 36-32, and advanced to the NFC Championship Game for the first time since 1997. The 49ers will either host the Giants at Candlestick Park next week or travel to Lambeau Field to take on the Packers for the right to go to the Super Bowl. As for the Saints, well, they just need to find a way to play all of their games at the Superdome where they are almost invincible. Unfortunately for New Orleans, they lost the tiebreaker to the 49ers and had to settle for the 3rd seed in the NFC.
I'm looking forward to another exciting day of playoff football. It will be interesting to see if the road teams can finally break the trend. Or maybe this is just "the Year of the Harbaugh."