Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Around the NFL 1/20/11
By Jason Lewis (Sports Editor)
Published January 20, 2011

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver will have to come up with some big plays for the Packers to have a shot against a tough Chicago Bears defense in the NFL Championship Game. Photo by Jeff Lewis

Jets talk trash and back it up, Steelers change opponents identity, Bears and Packers play for 182nd time, and former Dorsey Dons All City quarterback hired as head coach of the Raiders.

By Jason Lewis
Sports Editor

Patriots and Falcons sure wish the NFL were like the BCS

If the NFL were like college football, then the top seeded New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons would be on their way to the Super Bowl.  But seeing that the NFL has a playoff system, where teams have to earn their way to the title game, the Patriots and Falcons had to prove themselves on the field, which did not happen.  They both made an early exit, and the Falcons did so in embarrassing fashion. 

The NFL held their final eight this past weekend and it was awesome.  Football fans get another Sunday of great football before the Super Bowl.  Imagine if college football had something like that.  What a novelty that would be. 

Jets swing their big stick and knock the Patriots out

The New York Jets talked the talk all week long, and on Sunday they walked the walk.  They called their shot and then knocked it out of the park. 

They were called out as a bunch of trash talkers because of their comments towards the Patriots during the week. 

Baseball hall of famer Reggie Jackson blasted the Jets, saying that they should spend more time in the film room and less time talking to the media. 

Well seeing that the Jets beat the Patriots to the punch all game long, they must have been locked in the film room when they weren’t talking trash through the media. 

That’s who the Jets are.  That type of attitude led them to the AFC Championship Game a year ago, it led them to an 11-5 record this year, and now a return trip to the AFC Championship Game. 

Ride the horse that got you there, and that’s just what the Jets did. 

The Patriots are the team that does not turn the ball over, while creating turnovers, but the only turnover of the game was an interception thrown by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Brady and the Patriots offense had been living off of the short pass, where their receivers would get yards after the catch.  But on Sunday, every time a Patriots receiver caught a pass there was a Jets defender right there to bust him in the mouth, limiting the yards after the catch. 

The trash talk did not stop after the game was over.  Jets linebacker Bart Scott fired one last shot, and it was a classic one.

“People gave us no chance, like we barely made the playoffs,” Scott said in a post game interview.  “We’re a good football team.  For all you disbelievers, who talked crap about our defense.  Like we weren’t the third best in the league.  All we hear is about their (Patriots) defense.  They can’t stop a nose bleed!”

The Jets talked a great game, and they backed it up big time.

Steelers force opponents to change their identity

The Pittsburgh Steelers enforce their will on their opponent, so much that their opponents will change their style. 

They are hosting the Jets in the AFC Championship Game, and the Jets have already toned down their act.  All the trash talk leading up to their wild card match up against the Indianapolis Colts and this past Sunday’s game against the Patriots has flown out of the window.  The Jets have been giving the Steelers nothing but praise, which is out of character for them. 

It appears that the Jets do not want to antagonize the bully.  Talking trash to finesse teams like the Colts and Patriots is one thing, but talking trash to the Steelers may warrant a mid week beat down.  The Steelers just do not play that.

The Baltimore Ravens, who are also a bunch of bullies, went to war with the Steelers this past Saturday, but they made one major change on offense.

After the Steelers late season win over the Ravens, which happened because of a late game fumble by Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, the Ravens decided to close down the playbook and run as much as possible, only passing when needing too. 

That style of offense worked great for the Ravens, but the Steelers had the 5th best run defense of all time, so the Ravens changed their identity.

Flacco attempted 30 passes on Saturday, while Ravens running back Ray Rice only had 13 rushing attempts. 

After a 21-7 Ravens lead, which was built off of two Steelers rumbles, the Ravens fell apart in the second half as Flacco threw an interception and fumbled the ball once.

The change in identity pretty much did the Ravens in, and it looks like the Jets are following suit.

The Jets best chance at a victory is to remain who they are.  Talk trash, run the ball and play lights out defense.  If the Jets change any of that, like it appears that they are already doing, the Steelers could be on their way to the Super Bowl. 

Do not pay much attention to the Jets win at Pittsburgh late in the regular season.  The Patriots beat the Jets 45-3 late in the season, and now the Patriots are sitting at home after losing to the Jets.  Three out of the four winners this past weekend had lost to their opponent during the regular season. 

Packers at Bears, it does not get any better

The Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers first matched up against each other on November 27, 1921.  Since that game, which the Bears won 20-0, the two teams have battled it out on the football field 181 times. 

This Sunday’s game will be the most meaningful out of all of them, because it will be for a trip to the Super Bowl.

The Packers seem to be the pick among the insiders, mostly because of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.  He has been on fire in two playoff games this year and it was unbelievable to watch him take apart the Falcons, completing 31-of-36 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns. 

The Packers cornerbacks are also coming up big.  Charles Woodson is 13 years into the league and he is still making plays.  When he isn’t shutting down wide receivers he is sacking quarterbacks.  And Tramon Williams, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler better rethink throwing the ball his way.

Williams intercepted Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick to end the Eagles comeback hopes in the wild card round.  He picked off Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan twice this past Saturday.  The first intercepted pass was in the back of the endzone, saving a touchdown, and the second interception, he jumped an out route, picked off the pass, and pretty much skated 70 yards to the endzone.

Cutler has been known to throw into coverage, but offensive coordinator Mike Martz has found a way to limit the mistakes.  That’s by running the football more. 

The Bears had a balanced attack this past Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, and Cutler was able to light them up for an easy victory.  But that was against the Seahawks, who had no business being in the playoffs.

One home playoff victory by the Seahawks did not erase the fact that they were the first team to make the playoffs with a losing record in NFL history (not including a strike season). 

The NFC Championship Game will be one for the ages because of the two teams that are playing.  The losing fan base will have to shut up for years. 

Former Dorsey Dons QB to lead the Raiders

Dorsey high school football historian Tony Jones pointed out that new Oakland Raiders head coach Hue Jackson was an All City quarterback who led the Dons to their first City title in 1982.    


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