This week, the NY Jets edged the San Diego Chargers in the only close game of this week's playoffs, and subsequently was the only road team to get a win. This was partially due to a very aggressive Jets Defense, along with some good solid play late in the game on the offensive side of the ball, including a 53 yard TD run by the rookie out of Iowa, Shonn Greene. It didn't help San Diego that their star kicker, former Iowa Hawkeye, Nate Kaeding blew 3 field goal attempts over the course of the game. That's unheard of from such a great kicker like him.
The Indianapolis Colts simply outplayed the Baltimore Ravens. The New Orleans Saints just blasted the Arizona Cardinals 45-14, and after one really vicious hit, has Kurt Warner seriously thinking about retiring from the NFL before he gets killed.
Then you had the Minnesota Vikings and Brett Favre sealing the Dallas Cowboys fate of missing yet another Super Bowl. This game had my interest more than any of the others. Not that I'm a fan of either team. First I loathe the Dallas Cowboys with a passion you can't even comprehend. Then on the other side is Brett Favre... who I have loathed with the same ferocity, ever since his days with Green Bay. His 2 consecutive retirements and unretirements left me even less impressed with the guy.
However, I find myself today in the difficult position of having to defend Favre and The Minnesota Vikings team (the difficulty is in having to defend Favre, not the Vikings).
As time was winding down, and the Vikings held a more than comfortable 27-3 lead over the Cowboys, Dallas gave up the ball on downs in their own territory. A couple plays later, Favre throws his 4th touchdown pass of the game with just 1:55 remaining in the game.
This stoked some emotion from Cowboys linebacker Keith Brooking, who called the move "classless", and Coach Wade Phillips accused the Vikings of running up the score.
"I thought it was classless," Brooking said. "I thought it was B.S. Granted, we get paid to stop them, but we had zero timeouts left. I didn't think there was any call for that."
I believe part one of his second sentence here pretty much sums up the problem. The Dallas defense is paid to stop the scoring. And not just paid, but paid far better for a single game than I'll make in a year. If you can't do it, quit whining. Suck it up and be a man. Besides that, the Cowboys whipped up on Philadelphia in the last game of the regular season and again last week in the first round of playoffs. No one was complaining then of a running up of the scores.
Ever since we were little, those of us who played football in school were told to play every play until the whistle blows, and every game until the last second has ticked off the clock at the end of the fourth quarter. The only way an offense scores is if the defense lets them. Dallas chose to let Minnesota into the end zone repeatedly. It isn't the Vikings fault for playing with the kind of intensity they are supposed to play with. And for Favre (I can't believe I'm touting him here..someone shoot me!), at the age of 40, throwing 4 TDs against a supposedly good team? That's just plain friggin incredible. The way the Vikings played yesterday showed that they deserve to be in the NFC Championship game next week. Dallas on the other hand, is just putting pressure on owner Jerry Jones to fire yet another head coach who couldn't get him to the Big Game.
Of course none of this should surprise me, the Dallas Cowboys always were a bunch of whiners. Not that Favre isn't a whiner as well, just not this week.