Wild card weekend truly lived up to its name. From the first game of the weekend until the last, the playoffs were all the rage. Unfortunately, as has been the case for the last few years, the officiating took a front seat, as did garbage national media takes.
First up, the Houston Texans hosted the Buffalo Bills in a game that neither team seemed particularly eager to win. The Bills jumped out to a promising 16-0 lead only to watch it disappear to a 19-16 deficit. This game took a turn with a few minutes to go, and I’ve never seen such erratic play as we witnessed Saturday night, starting with Josh Allen doing his best Ronnie Brown ala the 2011 Eagles:
We can't let this play go. WHAT WAS JOSH ALLEN DOING TRYING A LATERAL pic.twitter.com/WpGeN7JchG— Johnny Kinsley (@Brickwallblitz) January 5, 2020
Watson then went video game mode on the Bills because nothing makes sense anymore:
Deshaun. Watson. Unreal. pic.twitter.com/od9xtYlWfd— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) January 5, 2020
This game was not without controversy, first a controversial hit on Josh Allen (this will be a theme):
And second, in OT, we have a big no call on a delay of game penalty:
Refs miss a big delay of game in overtime that would’ve made it 3rd and 23 for the Texans, instead they convert with a 19 yard pass and win the game on that same drive #BUFvsHOU pic.twitter.com/UEBolGEs9I— Bad Sports Refs (@BadSportsRefs) January 5, 2020
Moving on…the Patriots hosted the Titans in a very interesting matchup featuring Bill Belichick going against his former player Mike Vrabel, one team cold as ice taking on one of the hottest QBs and running backs in the game. The Titans lack of aggressiveness in the final 5 minutes nearly cost them, but in the end, they held on for the 7-point victory, freeing the country from the shackles of having to watch Tom Brady limp through the playoffs.
Mike Vrabel went a long way toward winning this game with his clock management. He also showed zero respect for #Patriots offense. And coached to win on the last drive. Only Derrick Henry had a better night than he did. #Titans— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) January 5, 2020
The Titans travel to Baltimore Saturday evening to face the Ravens in a must-see battle of the best running games in football.
Is it really the NFL playoffs if the Saints don’t feel like they’ve been hosed by the officials? In all fairness, the Saints had 60 minutes to beat Kirk Cousins and the Vikings but failed to do so with mediocre QB play from Drew Brees and inconsistent defense. Regardless, the Saints pushed the game into overtime despite trailing for nearly the entirety of the action. The Vikings won the coin toss, and Kirk Cousins threw the best ball of his life to set the Vikings up for a game-winning TD.
Was it offensive pass interference? Was it not? Another playoff exit mired in controversy for the New Orleans Saints…better luck next time!
And yes, Kirk Cousins, we do like that!
Finally, my Philadelphia Eagles hosted the Seattle Seahawks, a 4v5 playoff matchup. We didn’t even make it through one quarter of play before controversy struck in Philadelphia in a BIG way. Oh boy, I don’t even know where to begin here, but what I do know is when I saw Jadeveon Clowney hit Wentz as he went to the ground, I thought it looked off. Then the cameras panned to Wentz on the bench after the series looking distressed, holding his head, which is not his normal body language. Wentz then removed himself from the game with a head injury and wouldn’t you know NBC didn’t even MENTION the potential cause being Clowney spearing Wentz’s helmet into the turf with his missile launching helmet dive. Are we living in an alternate universe? This seemed so blatant and obvious and most of all, dirty. Don’t believe me? This was Clowney last season attempting to murder sweet and innocent Nick Foles:
Clowney definitely deserves the benefit of the doubt pic.twitter.com/CnMS96NMsk— Nick Piccone (@nickpiccone) January 6, 2020
This play didn’t draw a flag either, again one of life’s great mystery. Now this week, the referees called this “incidental” and it’s not but even if it was, that’s a penalty in today’s NFL.
Want insult added to injury, check out these steaming hot garbage takes from our friends in the national media:
Respectfully disagree. Not saying he’s soft but some dudes aren’t built for the NFL. Until Wentz actually plays a full season it’s a more than fair question. https://t.co/krUYZGqu6C— Danny Kanell (@dannykanell) January 6, 2020
This one was a real gem from Eagle-controversy specialist, Josina Anderson, and you can read the rest of these trash takes at the link in this tweet if your brain can withstand it:
But former Eagle, charity warrior, and witty human Chris Long stepped in to defend our QB1:
And @JosinaAnderson players need to know what time it is when you come around a building. Talking shit on a dude about a head injury and covering football for a living. Tisk tisk. pic.twitter.com/QBzQ2lYCtH— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) January 6, 2020
Despite the drama, the 40-year old feel good story of the season, Josh McCown, stepped in for Wentz admirably, but between the lack of talent and the perfect deep ball of Russell Wilson, the Eagle’s magical run came to an end, albeit by 1 TD (still so impressive to me, they could have easily folded when Wentz got knocked out):
The #Eagles, led by a 40 year old QB, without RB1, RB2, WR1, WR2, WR3, starting RT and RG.— Emmanuel Acho (@thEMANacho) January 6, 2020
Oh, and Ertz 14 days removed from a lacerated Kidney, gave the #Seahawks all they could handle!!
A lot of teams sat at home today. The Eagles fought.#FlyEaglesFly
Rarely do we in Philadelphia end an Eagles’ season before the Super Bowl and feel any type of good feelings about what we just witnessed for 17 weeks, but this season was different. We wavered from being absolutely furious to head over heels in love with these guys and their resilience in the course of weeks. For all the bad press the fans in this city get, you really couldn’t find a bad word about these Birds after the game. The city, the fans, and the players and coaches were proud of the team’s effort, fight, resilience, and were equally crushed for their fearless leader Carson Wentz.
Tons of respect for Ertz, who played with broken ribs and a lacerated kidney, and McCown, who played with all he had. https://t.co/uOuEPqicdj— Olsh (@Mike_Olshin) January 6, 2020
Seattle, for what it’s worth, won the game and earned a trip to Lambeau field this weekend. They barely escaped the pre-season Philadelphia Eagles, but hey, anything can happen!
Up next, the divisional round where I’m sure there will be very little drama or controversy, and no discussion involving the officiating at all!