Jan. 18, 2017
"The Stack" 1-16-17
The Stack is back on this Monday and if there was a game that perhaps saved the NFL season it was the game in Dallas on Sunday between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys. The Stack has reaction to all of the NFL Divisional Playoff games so let’s get right to it and see what is in “the stack” for today, Monday, January 16th:
Falcons 36 Seahawks 20
The Seahawks started out really well in this game in this one. They chewed up half of the first quarter on their first drive of the game and scored a touchdown. You thought maybe their offense would find enough juice to make it a game. Though they did give up a touchdown to Atlanta on the Falcons first drive, the Seahawks drove down again and took a 10-7 lead. Things turned though later in the second quarter when Russell Wilson took a sack in the endzone to give the Falcons a safety. The Falcons followed that up with a field goal and they never looked back. Matt Ryan was tremendous as he has been all season long with 338 yards and three touchdowns. The Seahawks started melting down on defense (see Michael Bennett) and that was it. There was just something off with this Seahawks team this year. The Falcons looked really good.
Patriots 34 Texans 16
Yes, the Patriots covered. No, they did not play very well at all. Tom Brady threw a couple of interceptions and the offense in general seemed out of whack. Good thing they were going against Brock Osweiler though who once again threw under 200 yards and in a big moment with the Texans down by only eight points in the fourth quarter overthrew his receiver and was picked off. The Patriots would take care of business after that with a touchdown. Patriots running back Dion Lewis was tremendous in this game with three total touchdowns, one rushing, one receiving and one kickoff return for a touchdown. He was tremendous and set history. The Texans were at one point down 14-13 in the second quarter, but couldn’t get any closer. Bill Belichick is going to have his team ready to play for next week’s game, because they can’t play as poorly as they did on Saturday and expect to win next week.
Packers 34 Cowboys 31
What a game this was! This was the best game of the NFL season. Red hot Aaron Rodgers was unstoppable early on leading the Packers to three touchdown drives to begin the game. They were up 21-3 and almost everyone had to be wondering if the Cowboys would put in Tony Romo. Nope. Dak Prescott came back to lead a touchdown drive and the Cowboys would tack on a field goal to trail by only eight at the half. The fourth quarter of this game was absolutely bananas. The Cowboys trailed by 15 points and Dak Prescott had thrown an interception on a quick wide receiver screen pass and Micah Hyde read it perfectly stepping in front and made the pick. Aaron Rodgers threw a pick though on the subsequent Packers possession so no harm, no foul. Prescott would get to work then leading the Cowboys down the field and capped off the drive with a touchdown pass to Jason Witten. The defense held up its end of the bargain by stopping the Packers and once again Prescott led the team down the field relying on Ezekiel Elliott and Dez Bryant who caught the game-tying touchdown. Prescott ran it in for two to tie the game up.
Could the Cowboys defense come up with another stop? No. Rodgers helped extend a play and get a pass interference penalty called against the Cowboys that gave the Packers the ball at the Dallas 35, but some conservative play-calling made it a long field 56-yard field goal attempt that Mason Crosby just snuck inside the right upright. Another yard and it would have hit the upright. That was a lot of time for the Cowboys though and they picked up first downs on back-to-back plays and then with just under 40 seconds left and one timeout left Prescott spiked the ball. Yes it makes sense to try and save a timeout, but with the way the Cowboys were moving the ball it seemed to take a little momentum from them. They couldn’t pick up a first down and had to rely on Dan Bailey to make a 52-yard field goal which he put right down the middle. 35 seconds left in the game. Way too much time for Aaron Rodgers. People will talk about his 35-yard throw to tight end Jared Cook on 3rd and 20 in which Cook got both feet down with inches to spare, but it was the play before when Rodgers was blindsided on a sack by Jeff Heath and somehow hung onto the football that sticks out to me. That looked like disaster for the Packers because the Cowboys would have forced a fumble and recovered it, but Rodgers hung on. After the pass, Crosby lined up for a 51-yard field goal and made it, but the Cowboys iced him by calling a timeout. His second attempt started left and just drifted inside the left upright to give the Packers the win. Absolutely phenomenal game. What a finish! Aaron Rodgers is a bad, bad man. This Packers team is rolling. Disappointing way to end the season for the Cowboys.
Steelers 18 Chiefs 16
The weather cleared in Kansas City so no ice impacted the game. A cold January night. Great playoff weather in Kansas City…for the Steelers. Le’Veon Bell had 30 carries for 170 yards to help lead the Steelers down the field. Ben Roethlisberger made some big throws to Antonio Brown and tight end Jesse James, but the Steelers could only settle for field goals. Chris Boswell was perfect though, going six-for-six. The Chiefs struggled much of this game to get anything going on offense, but scored a touchdown late and it looked like they had tied it up with the two-point conversion when Alex Smith found his other tight end not named Travis Kelce, but it was called back when former number one overall pick Eric Fisher held James Harrison. The second attempt from the 12-yard line failed and the Steelers were able to run the clock out with some aggressive play-calling. Once again, the Chiefs lose a home playoff game. That is a tough pill to swallow given how their season was going and getting that bye week which Chiefs head coach Andy Reid loves as his teams coming into the game were 19-3 I believe with the bye. Very tough loss.
Coming up Tuesday and later this week: Reaction to top stories in the sports world