Behind Enemy Lines: A Comedic Breakdown of the Divisional Round
Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots
I love this man. Words cannot express the completely heterosexual feelings of affection I have for this beautiful, beautiful man. The only person happier about having Julian Edleman back on Saturday was Tom Brady, and boy did it show. 3rd down conversions became a thing that we did again, and Danny Amendola once more faded into obscurity (love you Danny). With Edleman back, defenses couldn’t key in on Gronk, who continues to make grown men look like boys. The offense was finally clicking again on Saturday, and when this offense clicks, there isn’t much anyone can do to stop it.
Now, let’s have a round of applause for the offensive line, which played its best least terrible game of the year. I wouldn’t be surprised if Brady’s feet hurt by the end of the game, as he spent far more time upright as opposed to on his a**for a change. If Tom Brady can get blocking like this throughout the playoffs, the Patriots have a good shot at winning it all.
Now for defense. Logan Ryan, if you could not get roasted on every single G*% D*#& passing play, that would be terrific. Seriously, every time Alex Smith threw it further than 10 yards down field, I already knew it was Ryan getting roasted by some no-name Chiefs’ wideout. Logan Ryan is going to continue to be the weak spot in an otherwise solid Patriots’ defense, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Ryan’s poor play is what gets the Patriots knocked out of the playoffs.
The Chiefs played well on both sides of the ball, but just couldn’t compete with a re-Edleman-ized Patriots’ offense. While Alex Smith may be the king of dink and dunk football, he couldn’t move the ball fast enough down the field to keep up with Brady and company. Alex Smith put together a very Alex Smith game: meaning that it was impressively mediocre. Seriously, Alex Smith might be the NFL player that most comes to mind when people use the word “meh.” He is atrociously boring to watch. I think Andy Reid mismanaged the clock so poorly at the end of that game because he couldn’t take another 4 quarters of watching Alex Smith drive down the field 3 yards at a time. People say Tom Brady is a dink and dunk quarterback, but at least he makes it fun to watch! Alex Smith, you’re very good at what you do; please just try and find a way to make it somewhat interesting to watch.
Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals
Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers
I’ve never lied to you guys, and I’m not going to start now: I stopped watching this game when the Panthers went up 31-0. I decided I’d much rather be doing anything else than watch that game, but I can tell you this: I fully expected that some monumental b***s^#$ would get the Seahawks back in this game. From the Blair Walsh field goal to the comeback against the Packers a year ago, the Seahawks have been blessed with perhaps the greatest stretch of playoff-luck in the history of the NFL (the tuck rule was a singular event, and such b*!#&^%$ did not extend into the Patriots’ subsequent playoff victories. Unless you count Adam Vinatieri as playoff b^%*s&^%, which is considerably understandable). The truth is, the Seahawks worked their way back into that game. They were able to figure it out on both sides of the ball (or the Panthers pulled their starters, not sure which), and did their best to grind back into this game. The only thing missing? Some Seahawks-patented playoff b*!#&^%$ to push them over the edge.
The Panthers were able to do something the rest of the NFC has failed to figure out; keep a cool head when the Seahawks start playing well. They didn’t freak out when the Seahawks started scoring points, and they didn’t get frustrated when the Seahawks were able to shut down their offense in the second half. The buckled down and continued to play conservative football, and slowed the Seahawks down enough to keep them out of striking distance. Most importantly, they didn’t allow any b*!#&^%$ to come in and save the Seahawks this time.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos
You know, if the Broncos could learn how to hang onto the football, they might not be a bad football team. Alas, poor play by the Broncos’ receivers combined with Peyton Manning’s noodle arm led to a less than productive night for the Broncos’ offense, while an Antonio
Brown-less Steelers’ offense was unable to generate much of anything against the Broncos’ stingy defense. I mean really, this game was painful to watch. I wasn’t really even a product of great defenses so much as it was a product of bad offenses, and it was sloppy football all night.
Let’s talk about the winners first. The Broncos need to continue to run the ball. Peyton Manning has shown that he still has the brain power in that massive head of his to run this offense better than the Brock-Lobster. However, he doesn’t have the arm anymore to do it by himself. His mere presence scares teams out of stacking the box, allowing ease in the running game. The Broncos’ offense does not need to win games; let the defense do that. If the Broncos want to go any further, they need to grind out long drives and keep the ball out of the opposing quarterback’s Tom Brady’s hands. If the Broncos are forced into a pass-heavy situation, I doubt Peyton Manning will be able to deliver. I will give him credit for refraining from throwing a pick though, even if William Gay would’ve had a beautiful interception barring great pass defense by Emmanuel Sanders.
The Broncos’ defense continues to be one of the best in league. I call them scary, but not for the reasons that I call most defenses scary. The Panthers have a scary defense because it’s scary good. The Cardinals have a scary defense because it’s scary good. The Broncos have a scary defense because the players on that defense make me fear for the safety of my players, and in this instance, it is not a compliment. Aqib Talib is a f*@%, and TJ Ward has no issues delivering a late hit. I’m not saying that their defense is dirty. However, against the hated Patriots, I would not be at all surprised if a Broncos’ player pulled some Vontaze Burfict s*^% and tried to crush Gronkowski or Brady. Regardless, I do not want to have the job of game planning for the Patriots’ offense now that Edleman is back. If the Broncos want a prayer of slowing down the Josh McDaniels pain-train (which evidentially works best after abandoning the run), they’re going to have to find a way to shut down Edleman, Gronk, White, and/or Amendola. So yeah, pretty much everyone outside of Brandon LaFell.