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Eight Hours of Controversy

Mill Woods

Posted on January 22, 2019 10:07

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The NFL Conference Championships of 2019 will be remembered for exciting, close games that went into overtime. Unfortunately, the history will also be marred by controversy. The league needs to allow replay in the realm of penalties (called and not called), and they also need to change the rules on overtime, giving both offenses a chance to score.

God must be a Patriots fan. Either that, or B&B sold their souls to Satan and he's paying off. I can't figure out which is true, but I can tell you this: God is not working on behalf of the Saints (maybe figuring they have heaven and that's all they need).

Both games had questionable calls and/or non-calls, but the non-call by the refs in the Saints game should be dubbed a mortal sin. In the AFC showdown, the Chiefs didn't get the ball in OT, and that is also a crime - reminiscent of the Falcons in the Super Bowl two years ago. If the day comes when the Patriots don't win the toss, it will probably signal the End Times. Seriously, though, a coin toss should not carry so much weight.

My predictions went 1-1, so my record for the playoffs is now 6-4. More importantly, there are two major changes needed to NFL rules. Enough talk: get on it, NFL! 

Minus the dark shadow of controversy, these two wonderful games underscored (one more time) just how successful the NFL has been at its prime directive: parity (other sports leagues: get on it!)

The Rams and Saints employ complicated offenses that eat up yards, and both teams ask for aggressive play from their defenses. The coaches take big risks at times, faking kicks and going for it on fourth downs.

The Saints' defense got to Ram QB Jared Goff well in the second half, but Goff still managed to make plays. Drew Brees started feeling more pass pressure as the game moved along, and it climaxed with that deflection in OT that earned the Rams an interception. In short, the Ram D was just slightly stronger than the Saints' defense.

The Patriots and Chiefs also trumpeted the glory of parity by dueling into OT. As I suspected, the Chiefs' D was not up to the task of beating that Patriots O line - especially combined with tough tight end blocking by Rob Gronkowski. But the Chiefs' offense found its legs and began to close the gap on the Patriots' early lead. Both defenses were surely tired by OT, but I had the sense that the Chief's defense had the lowest fuel left in the tank. Once the coin toss occurred, I felt I knew the outcome.

Looking ahead, the Rams will pose similar problems for the Patriots that the Saints would have posed: enormously talented offensive threats. The Patriot D line and secondary will both be severely tested, and Goff is mobile enough that even good pressure by the Patriots may not be enough. 

I think it goes without saying that the Patriot O line has to win the battle against the Rams' D line or else Brady and the Patriots are doomed. But the Pats are masters at dissecting defenses with short passes and cleverly-designed running plays.

It could be a high-scoring shootout.

Mill Woods

Posted on January 22, 2019 10:07

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