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Monday, 9 January 2012

NFL Notes: 2011 AFC Wild Card Round

Pittsburgh - Denver:


It took longer to explain the new overtime rules than it took to play the overtime itself as Tim Tebow hit Demaryius Thomas on the first play for an 80-yard TD. It was a measure of justification for ex-Broncos Head Coach Josh McDaniels who took both those players in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.With perfect timing, it was announced after the game that McDaniels has rejoined Denver's next opponent the New England Patriots.



Pittsburgh dared Tebow to win this through the air and he duly did. For me this is a tactical error. Tebow does throw a decent long ball. The fear is that if you don't bring up the safeties then the running game will get you. This was what looked like was going to happen to the Patriots four weeks ago when the Broncos rushed for 167 yards in the first quarter. The Patriots eventually found the answer by giving him the middle of the field. This meant more throws for Tebow, which meant more inaccurate throws, which led to turnovers.

Of Note:
- Tebow had 3 40+ yard passes in the second quarter. Pittsburgh had given up only two all year before that.
- Pittsburgh was saved from losing a fumble by an inadvertent whistle from a ref on a lateral.
- Tebow threw for 316 yards.
- Denver had run on 20/21 before the play in ovetime - which I think Darrelle Revis tried to warn teams about

What The Loser Needs: Most people would say offensive line help and I agree if that is the cause of Rothlisberger's injuries. However, I have long thought the Steelers could do better at running back - particularly in the passing game.

Cinncinati-Houston:


A first ever playoff win for Houston - a first ever appearance - as T.J. Yates overcame Andy Dalton in the battle of the rookie QB's. Dalton was picked off three times, the pick of them a beautiful athletic move from J.J Watt. Dalton had a very disappointing finish to the season but give credit to Houston for another impressive defensive performance. Their defence may be the equal of the Ravens and they have more consistent play from their QB and running back. Although the ravens are 8-0 at home this season and have looked formidable there.

What The Loser Needs: A possession receiver. The Bengal's have two first-round pick this year owing to the Carson Palmer trade. Might they make a run at Wes Welker if the patriots choose to franchise him. I think it would be a move that would fit both organisations philosophies. Is the media being quite on Welker's free agency a good or a bad sign?






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