Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 NFL Playoffs: A Decade (and Two Years) of Playoff Football; Ranking the Wild Card Games, Pt. 2

Let's get to Part 2 of the Wild Card Games, Tiers IV-VII (The Good Games through the Epics)

Tier IV – The Good Games (no need for fancy titles now)

20.) 2012 NFC Wild Card - (N5) Seahawks 24 @ (N4) Redskins 14

The game of two games. The Redskins started the game like so: The Redskins ran 20 plays for 129 yards and two TDs, while the Seahawks ran three for -2 yards. The rest of the game: The Redskins gained just 74 more yards and didn't score, while the Seahawks gained 382 and scored 24 points. Of course, this glosses over the real story of the game, RGIII's knee, which looked gimpy as early as his TD run that made it 14-0. He finally tore it retreating to try to recover a bad snap, twisting it on the terrible FedEx Field Turf. The story of the Seahawks was mainly Marshawn Lynch's second Wild Card clinching run in three years, a TD that finished the game off. The atmosphere until the Griffin injury was electric, as it was the first playoff game in Washington since the 1999 season, but the dismay and emptiness in the building after the injury ended any hope of this being anything but an 'infamous' game.

Interesting/Memorable Play: That Lynch run had one other similarity to the incredible Lynch run to clinch the win over the Saints two years earlier: downfield blocking by unconventional people. The first one was unconventional since it was lineman 60 yards downfield throwing blocks. This was unconventional because Lynch's lead blocker near the end of the run was none other than Russell Wilson. It wasn't a great block, but still a cool sight.

19.) 2010 NFC Wild Card – (N6) Packers 21 @ (N3) Eagles 16

Review: In a total reversal of what was expected, the Eagles had 100 more yards net of passing (Vick threw for 292 to Rodgers 180) but the Packers and their maligned run game outrushed the Eagles by 57. On the day, Rodgers had one of the quiter good statistical games you will see (18-27 for 180 and 3 tds with no picks and a fumble), but the Eagles could have still easily won if Nick Collins doesn’t make a game-saving tackle on DeSean Jackson, or if Michael Vick doesn’t throw a desperation heave to Riley Cooper of all people with time left, or if David Akers doesn’t miss two relatively normal field goals. In a game where the Packers never trailed and led 14-3, they were really pushed more than in any other game in their run.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: This was one of the rare games where the losing team had more yards and fewer turnovers. As is normal, Special Teams is generally the reason, and here it was with Akers. The Eagles are one out of just two to achieve such infamy at home, as the other is a little team I like to call to 2005 Colts.

Review: In what will unthinkably be marked down as Peyton Manning’s last played game as a Colt, the Colts became just the 2nd team in NFL history to lose a playoff game where they scored to take the lead with less than a minute remaining. Somehow, despite airmailing throws all night, Mark Sanchez was able to pull it off, aided with a nice KO return by Antonio Cromartie, and of course that spectacular Jim Caldwell timeout for no reason. It should not be forgotten that LT had a really nice playoff game for once, and Adam Vinatieri was Adam Vinatieri, hitting what should have been the game winning kick from 50 yards.

Interesting/Memorable Play: Manning’s last throw as a Colt (again, can’t believe that that is the case) was an incomplete to Blair White, where Manning threw just low (if it was a better receiver, it probably gets caught). Had Manning completed it, the Colts could have run out the clock before the field goal.

Interesting/Memorable Play 2: Oh yeah, who was the guy on the kick coverage team that didn’t stay in his lane and cut down Cromartie earlier you ask? Why, it was bust extraordinaire Jerry Hughes.

17.) 2004 NFC Wild Card – (N5) Rams 27 @ (N4) Seahawks 20

Review: In what was a really fun game, a drop by Bobby Engram in the end zone kept this out of overtime (and probably a ranking in the top-10). Hasselbeck and Bulger both threw for over 300 yards (Bulger on only 18-32 passing). The game was memorable as it was the last moment of glory for the St. Louis Rams Greatest Show on Turf era. Torry Holt and Kevin Curtis each had 100 yard days, as did Darrell Jackson (who of course, had a pass bounce off of his hands for a pick) while Itula Mili came up two yards short. As usual Shaun Alexander did nothing, but in the end, two average at best teams combined for a darn exciting game.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: This is the only playoff game in NFL History where both teams were outscored for the season. The Seahawks were just a -2, but the Rams were a -73. Yes, that is how bad the NFC was in those days, that an 8-8 team outscored by -73 points was not only in the playoffs, but wasn’t even the 6th seed. The Rams also became the first 8-8 team to win a playoff game.

16.) 2008 NFC Wild Card – (N5) Falcons 24 @ (N4) Cardinals 30

Review: This game was overshadowed by what happened right after that day, but Kurt Warner’s first playoff game in Arizona did not disappoint. Somehow, despite outgaining the Falcons by 100 and committing two fewer turnovers, the game was in doubt late, which made it all the more exciting. Larry Fitzgerald started his epic postseason with a leaping TD grab, while Anquan Boldin injured himself during a 71-yard catch-and-run touchdown. Antrel Rolle also returned a fumble for a TD. The game also featured a safety and the Cardinals being ballsy enough to throw for a game-clinching 1st down up just 6 on 3rd and 9. Basically, everything you want from a solid, if unspectacular game.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: The game would be known for the Falcons allegedly having just one snap count for the entire game. This was used, I guess, to help comfort rookie Matt Ryan, but it led to the Cardinalsgetting epic pressure, which directly resulted in the fumble that was returned for the TD and the safety.

15.) 2003 AFC Wild Card – (A5) Titans 20 @ (A4) Ravens 17

Review: In the only chapter of an underrated playoff trilogy that the Titans won, the two teams battled it out gladiator style in a defensive game in the Cathedral of defense. The Titans held 2,000 yard rusher Jamal Lewis to 35 yards on 14 carries (somehow, Billick felt it pertinent to let Anthony Wright throw 39 times instead of running Lewis more), while Ed Reed and Will Demps picked off Steve McNair, who like McNair does, was playing with a broken thumb. Ancient kicker Gary Anderson won the game with a 46 yard field goal with a minute left, which was a great capper to a hard-hitting night.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: Since I couldn’t think of anything better and because it started with this game, Ed Reed has played three home playoff games (with this being the first) and has at least one interception in all three of them.

Review: In what was an interesting game played by a Jeff Garcia led Eagles team and a Giants team that tried very hard to not make the playoffs, David Akers hit a last second field goal to win the game. A game that is oddly forgotten over time given how close it was and the fact that it was between two big market teams, it featured Plaxico Burress catching two TDs, Brian Westbrook running for 141 yards on just 20 carries, and somehow just one combined turnover, which is odd given the fact that Eli Manning and rain were prominently involved (man, that was a very Simmons-esque joke). Overall, it was a nice way to cap what was the first weekend of an epic postseason.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: The game marked a lot of lasts: It was Tiki Barber’s last game. It was also Donovan McNabb’s last home playoff game, and Andy Reid’s last home playoff win. This was also the most recent wild-card game decided by exactly 3 points.

13.) 2004 AFC Wild Card – (A5) Jets 20 @ (A4) Chargers 17 (OT)

Review: In a rainstorm (who says, San Diego is always sunny?), Drew Brees, who threw for 319 yards on 31-42 passing, led a comeback from 17-7 down in the 2nd half to send the game to OT after a clutch TD catch by Gates. Pennington, who despite his lack of arm had thrown a perfect rainbow TD to Santana Moss for 47 yards, was allowed to keep his OT drive going, while Marty told Brees to shut it down. Nate Kaeding, as Nate Kaeding is known to do, missed to 40+ yarder, and Doug Brien hit his 28 yarder. Overall, it was a slog of a game that was, in a word, wild. Of course, Herman Edwards didn’t learn the one lesson he needed to take away from this game.

Interesting/Memorable Play: The game only went to OT because ex-Raider Eric Barton roughed Drew Brees on what was a 4th down incompletion on the drive that ended with the TD to make it 17-17. The Jets should have taken over the ball and won 17-10, but you can take the Barton out of Oakland, you can’t take the Oakland out of the Barton.

Review: The Colts joined themselves from 2005, and five others on the list of teams that outgained their opponent and committed fewer turnovers yet lost. And all because Gijon Robinson forgot the snap count and Mike Scifres became BatMan for one night. Scifres pinned the Colts inside the 10 four times, including with the Colts up 17-14 looking to ice it, at the one yard line. After running for eight, the Colts, on 3rd and 2, called a pass looking to ice it, but Gijon Robinson forgot the snap count letting a free rusher to sack Manning. The game was also memorable for a play where while Antonio Cromartie and one other Charger d-back were looking at the sideline waiting for instructions, Manning snapped the ball and fired a 72 yard TD to Reggie Wayne he ran by the idle Cromartie. If I wasn’t a Colts fan, I would have enjoyed this game so much more, as it was a good game between two good teams that were really, really even (despite one having a 12-4 record and the other 8-8).

Interesting/Memorable Fact: Just to reinforce the ridiculous field position the Colts were saddled with, the Colts had three drives that didn’t end in a turnover or a failed 4th down go for more yards than either of San Diego’s two field goal drives.

11.) 2013 NFC Wild Card - (N6) Saints 26 @ (N3) Eagles 24

Review: In a game that could do nothing to avoid underwhelming given it followed a crazy show of a game that is higher up the list, the Saints and Eagles combined to put on a really nice show of good ol' fashioned football. The Saints entered the game having never won a playoff game outside the Superdome (0-3 with Drew Brees), and the Eagles entered off a 7-1 finish a with a QB who's TD to INT ratio was even better than 7-1 (13.5-1 to be exact). Of course, if Foles had a real weakness it 2013, it was his pocket presence, and the Saints repeatedly got to him. Strangely, Chip Kelly slowed the tempo down, ran the ball a little too much to no great success, and the Eagles struggled to move the ball. They made it competitive because for a half the Saints played into that 'can't win outdoors' thing. Brees threw two ugly interceptions and their offense stalled. Over time, the Saints turned to their running game, as no-names combined for 185 yards on the ground. The Saints ended up scoring on 5 of their last 6 drives, including a well designed draining drive to cap the game with a field goal to win. The drive took the last 4:54 off the clock, and we got the Saints celebrating a playoff win away from home for the first time ever.

Interesting/Memorable Play: The game seemed to break the Eagles way when Keenan Lewis was concussed on a seemingly innocuous play. Lewis left the game and immediately the Eagles targeted DeSean Jackson deep. Lewis tried to get back in to no avail, the first real example of the concussion protocol working.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: This was the first time a team kicked a field goal with under 1:00 left to go from trailing to winning since Nick Folk did it with the Jets against Indianapolis in 2010 (right after Jim Caldwell's ridiculous timeout). It came close to happening in Super Bowl XLVI, but Ahmad Bradshaw couldn't stop in time to kneel at the 1.

10.) 2007 AFC Wild Card – (A5) Jaguars 31 @ (A4) Steelers 29

Review: In the regular season, the Jags beat the Steelers 29-22 in a game they outgained them in 421-217. Here, they win a game 31-29 in a game they were outgained 340-239. David Garrard was mostly awful, going 9-21 with 140 yards and 1 td and 2 picks, but Roethlisberger started off worse, throwing a pick-6 to Rashean Mathis and two more interceptions. He regained form, and turned a 28-10 deficit into a 29-28 lead in less than 12 minutes. The game ended with a series of interesting plays. Up 29-28, with a 3rd and 6 with 2:50 left, the Steelers called a QB sweep run for Roethlisberger that didn’t come close to working. Then, up 4th and 2 for the Jagsat the Steelers 42, Garrard ran a beautifully called QB draw for 32 yards(there was a much disputed blatant uncalled hold by the Jags on the play), and Josh Scobee ended it. All in all, it was a sloppy but wild game between two teams that were quite good.

Interesting/Memorable Play: After scoring to make it 28-23, the Steelers understandably went for 2. However, on the ensuing play the Steelers were called for offensive-holding, which made the 2-point conversion have to be attempted from the 12 yard line. Tomlin still decided to go for two. Mind you, there was 10:30 left in the game at this point.

Tier VI – The Great Games

Review: Was there anything more inevitable than the Seahawks winning a playoff game when they were a 7-9 team that had been outscored by 92 points? Please, let me know if there was. The Seahawks didn’t win by any fluke, either. Matt Hasselbeck played one final last tremendous game for the Seahawks, with 4 tds on 22-35 passing, and while Brees threw for another 400+ yards, the Seahawks managed to make enough stops. The odd part of the game is it started out like it should in that the Seahawks seemed overmatched. The Saints got a field goal, picked off Hasselbeck and answered with a TD. They were up 17-7 at one point. Of course, the Seahawks proceed to score 27 of the next 30 points to go up 34-20. All in all, there were 14 scores in this bizarre, unlikely shootout, none more memorable than Marshawn Lynch’s BeastMode run, where he stiff-armed the shit out of Super Bowl XLIV hero Tracy Porter, and ran his way into NFL lore.

Interesting/Memorable Play: On said Marshawn Lynch TD, what was almost as good as the stiff-arm, was the fact that lineman Sean Locklear and Tyler Polumbus, and Matt Hasselbeck were running and blocking for Lynch at basically the same speed. They crossed the end zone with him. Truly just an incredible play.

8.) 2002 AFC Wild Card – (A6) Browns 33 @ (A3) Steelers 36

Review: The first half of maybe the best single day in Wild Card Round history, the Browns, in their only playoff game in their new era, and the Steelers, in that weird Tommy Maddox pass-heavy year, staged an classic. On the Browns 2nd play, Kelly Holcomb hit Kevin Johnson for 80 yards. That was a sign that this would be the exact opposite of every Steelers playoff game ever played in Heinz Field. There was no defense. The Browns raced to a 24-7 lead in large part because of Holcomb (who threw for 429 yards on 26 completions!) and an unholy performance from Dennis Northcutt. The Steelers under Maddox who himself threw for 367 yards (on 30-48 passing) started flinging it to get back in the game. Plaxico Burress and Hines Ward both had 100+ yards, and little by little the Steelers got back in it. The game ended with a dramatic one-yard TD plunge by Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala of all people, capping the first of two ridiculous comebacks on the same day.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: There were a lot of odd stat-lines in this game, but none more so than Browns running back William Green, who had just 30 yards on 25 carries. Who lets their running back run that much if he isn’t getting anything? Butch Davis, that's who.

7.) 2002 NFC Wild Card – (N5) Giants 38 @ (N4) 49ers 39

Review: What is rightfully the more famous of the two comebacks, the game featured a whole lot before the infamous botched snap by Trey Junkin and missed pass-interference. Kerry Collins and Jeff Garcia each had over 300 yards (Collins had 4 tds to Garcia’s 3, both threw a pick), but it was Kerry early and Jeff late. The Giants took a 38-14 lead mostly on the arm of Collins and three receiving TDs by Amani Toomer (Jeremy Shockey had the other one, after which he reportedly threw something into the crowd). Then the 49ers, in the last playoff game of the West Coast era (although they had missed the playoffs in 1999-2000), started using the Candlestick Magic. Terrell Owens caught his 2nd long touchdown. Jeff Garcia ran for another. Tai Streets caught the game winner. Of course that set up the infamous ending, but forget that. It overshadows what a fabulous display of resilience by the 49ers and offense by both.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: Despite their brilliance in these games, Kerry Collins and Jeff Garcia would both be gone from their teams by 2004: Collins in Oakland, replaced by Manning/Warner, while Garcia flocked to Detroit to join Mooch, leaving Ken Dorsey and Tim Rattay to guide the 49ers to a 2-14 year.

6.) 2013 NFC Wild Card - (N5) 49ers 23 @ (N4) Packers 20

Review: In blisteringly cold temperatures in Lambeau Field, the 49ers and Packers played a beautiful game that featured a little bit of everything. It had a receiver going wild (Crabtree had 8 for 125), a great defensive performance (5 sacks for the 49ers), some great individual plays, like Kaepernick's three great scrambles or Rodgers' houdini on 4th-down that was reminiscent of one Eli Manning in Super Bowl XLII. The game ended in great fashion too with a field goal at the gun in frigid temperatures to win it. The setting of the game definitely helps its legacy, as does the two teams participating in it. It really felt more than a Wild Card game. It really was just a great football game. No team led by more than 6 the entire game, and no team looked too comfortable. The game was everything any die-hard football fan could have hoped for a playoff game.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: This loss marked the 5th time the Packers lost a home playoff game in their last 8 games. This after starting 23-0 at home in the playoffs. Nothing really shows just how much the NFL playoffs have changed than that.

Interesting/Memorable Fact II: This game had some eerie parallels to the 2007 NFC Championship Game. First, both games were played in sub-zero temperatures (still, the '07 game was about 15 degrees colder by wind chill). Then, both games ended 23-20 with a field goal on the last play. Even the score progression was exactly the same except this game going 7-6 to 13-7 to 13-10 instead of 7-6 to 10-6 to 13-10.

Review: “We want the ball and we’re gonna score.” Another great game that has become dominated by one singular play, or in this case, sentence. Matt Hasselbeck’s guarantee heard around the world was just the coda to what already was a good football game between two good, pretty equal teams. There were a lot of storylines heading into the game, what with this being the return of Mike Holmgren to Lambeau Field, and with Matt Hasselbeck being one of the Favre backups to find success elsewhere. The game itself was well-played, with both QBs throwing for over 300 yards, and that walk-off pick-six by Al Harris being the only turnover in the game. The Packers fans were so happy when Alex Bannister(?) ran the wrong route in OT. Sad, they were so innocent then. The Lambeau Faithful had no idea that Favre would throw two OT interceptions in the next four years.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: The last five scores in regulation were all TDs (the game went from 13-6 Green Bay to 27-27) and all five were 1-yard runs by either Alexander or Ahman Green. Despite both having pedestrian days (neither ran for 3.0+ yards per carry) they combined for 5 TDs, while the two QBs got just one between them. That’s some quality vulturing.

Review: Because of recency bias, I came close to putting it at number two. Thankfully, I realized that was dumb, and put it at its proper place at. You could not script a better ending to the Tebow Era in Denver. For once, Tim Tebow earned his fairytale ending. Tebow just repeatedly abused a short-sighted game-plan by Dick LeBeau to single-cover everyone and put 8 in the box. It led to little running, but allowed Tim Tebow to throw for 316 yards on just 10(!) completions. Demaryius Thomas did most of the damage with a 4 reception 204 yard day. Roethlisberger started out slow, but reportedly got a shot at halftime and came out firing in the 2nd half. The Steelers were two first downs from winning the game in regulation before an airmailed snap (the 2nd of the game) ended that drive. It was, in a way, destiny. In the first playoff game with the new rules, the Broncos made that little fact irrelevant, scoring an 80-yard TD on the first play. It led to a harrowing divisional round game the next week (man, Steelers – Patriots would have been about 100x better), but one of the iconic memories, ironically for a team led by a QB that was jettisoned that offseason.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: The Broncos winning marked the fifth time in nine games time that in a playoff matchup between two teams with a total win differential of four or more,, that the team with the fewer wins won (10-6 Giants over 16-0 Patriots in 2007, 8-8 Chargers over 12-4 Colts in 2008, 9-7 Jets over 13-3 Chargers in 2009, 7-9 Seahawks over 11-5 Saints in 2010 – the four times the team with more wins won was the 12-4 Steelers beating the 8-8 Chargers in 2008, the 14-2 Colts beating the 9-7 Ravens and Jets in 2009 and the 11-5 Bears beating the 7-9 Seahawks). The 9-7 Giants would do it in each of their next three games as well, beating the 15-1 Packers and 13-3 49ers & Patriots, while of course the Patriots at 13-3 would beat Denver as well.

Tier VII - The Epics

3.) 2013 AFC Wild Card - (A5) Chiefs 44 @ (A4) Colts 45

Peyton Manning's first playoff win was a 41-10 thrashing of Denver where he had a perfect game. Andrew Luck's wasn't nearly as calm, but incredible all the same. Despite a start where the Chiefs could do no wrong, effortlessly moving up and down the field against a lax Colts defense. Alex Smith was awesome, going 30-46 for 378 yards. Too bad for him that Luck put up 65 more. Despite throwing three picks, including one during their 35-6 run to finish the game, Luck was brilliant in hitting his band of receivers, especially TY Hilton, who piled up 224 yards on 13 catches. Luck's highlight was either his perfect throw to Fleener to cut it to 41-31 near the end of the 3rd, or his 64-yard strike to Hilton to win the game. Of course, maybe it was his surreptitious recovery of a Richardson fumble that ended with him diving for a TD. The Chiefs lost despite never really being stopped, but the Colts were only stopped by themselves with the three interceptions. In a game that set a new playoff record for yards (1,049 total), the Colts and Chiefs made sure that 2013 continued being the year when no lead was safe.

Interesting/Memorable Play: The Cheifs nearly drove for a field goal to win 47-45, but with 2:30 remaining and facing a 2nd & 7 from the Colts 39, Smith was called for intentional grounding. They managed to have a manageable 4th and 11, but Smith overshot an open Bowe to end the game.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: This was the 2nd largest playoff comeback in NFL history, passing the 49ers comeback over the Giants and right behind the Bills coming back from 35-3 down.

2.) 2006 NFC Wild Card – (N5) Cowboys 20 @ (N4) Seahawks 21

Review: Four times there have been Saturday Wild Card round playoff games in Qwest Field. All four were good, and two were very good. This was the only one in primetime, and man was it special. The game is remembered mostly, obviously, by Tony Romo’s bobbled snap, but the rest of the game was crazy. Against a secondary featuring insurance-salesman Pete Hunter playing nickel next to two rookies, Tony Romo threw for just 189 yards on 17-29 passing. Hasselbeck wasn’t much better going 18-36 for 240. What made the game legendary, though, was that ending. Starting with Miles Austin, a good three years before anyone would hear from him in any receiving capacity, answering a Seahawk TD with a kickoff return touchdown to make it 17-13 Boys. Then, down 20-13, the Seahawks were stoned on 4th and Goal. Later after a fumble/safety/TD controversy, the Seahawks, courtesy of Jerramy Stevens (yeah, that loudmouth) catching his 2nd touchdown, took a 21-20 lead. On the final drive, Lofa Tatupu stoned Witten one inch short of a first down where the Cowboys could have iced the game before kicking the field goal. As it was they never got the field goal off, but Romo still came close to running the bobbled hold in for a TD if not for a desperation tackle by Jordan Biabineaux. Wild Card Games are special because they are just that: wild. They aren’t the best teams, but they have damn dramatic, if not particularly well-played, endings.

Interesting/Memorable Play: So, the Terry Glenn fumble out of his own end zone that was originally thought to be recovered for a Seahawks TD was challenged by the Cowboys. The funny part about the challenge is that it was the rare case where in either outcome the Seahawks were going to score points, be it a safety or a touchdown.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: This was Bill Parcells last game as a head coach in the NFL, and it was 10 years after he and Mike Holmgren coached against each other in Super Bowl XXXI. NBC showed a side by side view of Holmgren and Parcells during that game and during the current one, and both seemed to have aged 20 years and put on 30 pounds.

Review: Could it be anything else? The highest scoring game in NFL history featured one QB going 28-42 for 423 yards and 4 tds (with a pick) and being pretty conclusively the 2nd best QB in that game. Warner, in his last great hurrah, put up something close to what Manning did to the Broncos in 2003 (he also had a perfect passer rating). 29-33 for 379 yards and 5 tds, and of course, without Anquan Boldin. Steve Breaston and Early Doucet picked up the pace. Larry Fitzgerald did as he does in the playoffs (6-82 and 2 scores). The best part of the game was the Packers not backing down after falling behind 31-10 and having nothing go for them (2 turnovers and a missed field goal). The Packers made just one stop in the whole game, but went on a 28-7 run to tie it at 38-38 with the help of what would become the most forgotten surprise onside-kick in playoff history. Jermichael Finley has made a living of being an overhyped player with his play as he had 6 catches for 159 yards. Greg Jennings, Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston all made one-handed catches, each as good as the other. No one backed down (other than the two defenses, obviously). Rodgers was 95% as good as he was the next year in Atlanta in this game, but lost because Warner was 105% as good as Rodgers was in that game in Atlanta. The game might be this good even if Neil Rackers didn’t Vandershank the game-winning field goal and it had ended 48-45, but overtime made it even better, with defense winning the game, as a Mike Adams blitz got to Rodgers who fumbled and then kicked the ball right into the hands of Karlos Dansby. An ironically special way to end the greatest shootout most of us have ever seen.

Interesting/Memorable Play 1: The blitz that Mike Adams sacked and stripped Rodgers on was the same blitz called earlier in the game where Adams almost sacked Rodgers. Adams mistimed his leap then and Rodgers escaped. This time, he wasn’t as lucky.

Interesting/Memorable Play 2: There is a great NFL Films clip where the camera is perched right behind Mike McCarthy during the Rodgers fumble Touchdown, where as the play is happening, and McCarthy processes what is happening, he just falls to his knees in agony. A great human moment.

Interesting/Memorable Play 3: I can’t forget to mention the controversial non-call as Mike Adams latched onto Rodgers facemask. The issue is I can’t be too hard on Scott Green. He’s supposed to be watching the ball. Either way, the correct call would have been the facemask occurred after the fumble, and the Cardinals would have kept the ball anyway. That said, like the real ending better.

2014 NFL Playoffs: A Decade (and Two Years) of Playoff Football; Ranking the Wild Card Games, Pt. 1

**Yes, this is cheating by essentially running the same stuff each summer, but this time with 10 added games, but since I don't care, I am doing it.**

Tier I – It’s Just Bad (sometimes just by one team), Boring Football

48.) 2002 AFC Wild Card – (A5) Colts 0 @ (A4) Jets 41

Review: This is the largest blowout since the new playoff format began. Oddly, it was also the very first playoff game since the new format began, so it really a case of “it can’t get any worse.” In a game that was 17-0 by the time Manning went back to throw his 4th pass the Jets dominated in every way, outgaining the Colts 396-176, with Pennington going 19-25 for 222 yards and 3 tds. Manning was admittedly bad, but the Colts defense and run game was worse, in a game that marked the high-point of the Herman Edwards/Chad Pennington era. For them, it was mostly “it can’t get any better.”

Interesting/Memorable Fact: This was the Jets last playoff game in the Meadowlands, and the last home playoff win by either team that called the Meadowlands home.

47.) 2010 AFC Wild Card – (A5) Ravens 30 @ (A4) Chiefs 7

Review: To describe this game in one line, it was Matt Cassel against the Ravens defense. It should be no surprise that Cassel went 9-18 and somehow in those 18 passes managed to throw three interceptions. That said, this was the only time that Flacco played well in playoff game in his first three seasons, going 25-34 for  265 yards and 2 tds. The Ravens had a yardage edge of 390-161, and ran 78 plays versus 40 against a horribly outmatched Chiefs team that coasted to the AFC West Title mainly because of god-awful special teams by the Chargers.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: This was the 3rd straight time the Ravens played the 1pm Sunday game in the Wild Card round. All three were Ravens wins on the road, and in the three, they outscored their opponents 90-30.

46.) 2005 NFC Wild Card – (N5) Panthers 23 @ (N4) Giants 0

Review: Stop me if this sounds familiar, this was a snoozefest where one team dominated the proceedings, outgaining the loser 335-132. The scariest part of this one, though, was that the Giants were the 4th highest scoring team in the NFL in 2005, and the Panthers made their offense look amateurish. Eli Manning was awful in his playoff debut, matching Matt Cassel in throwing 3 interceptions In just 18 throws. Steve Smith was Steve Smith, but the real story was that defense that held Tiki Barber (off of an 1.860 yard season) to 41 yards on 13 carries.

Interesting/Memorable Plays: Steve Smith had a rushing and receiving touchdown in this game, which was the most recent time a receiver has done that in the same game.

45.) 2007 AFC Wild Card – (A6) Titans 6 @ (A3) Chargers 17

Review: For the first time, the losing team wasn’t held to under 200 yards. It might seem odd to rank a game that was only ended at an 11 point difference this low, but all you need to know about the game was that the Titans QB was Vince Young and the Titans RB was Chris Brown. That is how good Albert Haynesworth was in his prime, that his defense could carry a team with those skill players to the playoffs. Rivers had a nice game going 19-30 for 292 yards, but he could have done less and just let Vince Young screw it up some more.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: The Titans actually led this game 6-0 at the half. It is sad they didn’t pull it off, actually, because then the Chargers wouldn’t have beaten Indy the following week, plus we would have gotten that mess of a playoff team in Tennessee against the 16-0 Patriots.

44.) 2012 NFC Wild Card - (N6) Vikings 10 @ (N3) Packers 24

This game was essentially over the second it was announced that Joe Webb was starting in place of Christian Ponder. The only thing that saved this game from being last on this list was the first Vikings drive, where Webb had a nice read-option run and they drove it down and come close to getting a TD to take a quick 7-0 lead. Of course, the Packers held them to a field goal, and then started just systematically taking over the game. What hurt even more for this game was that the Vikings defense did a good job against a listless Packers offense, holding them to seven(!) straight three-and-outs in the 2nd half, not even allowing a fun blowout. 

Interest/Memorable Fact: Joe Webb set a new record for the fewest starts in the regular season for a playoff starter with zero, a rare unbreakable record. Even Rob Johnson, in 1999, started a game, as did Rex Grossman when he came back from injury late in 2005.

43.) 2005 AFC Wild Card – (A5) Jaguars 3 @ (A4) Patriots 28

Review: In classic Dynasty-Era Patriots fashion, what is a close game by yards somehow became a total joke of a game because of some long touchdowns. Asante Samuel, as he is known to do, returned an interception for a TD right after Ben Watson of all people broke a couple tackles for a long TD. Brady, in classic Brady fashion, completed just 15-27 passes, but threw for 3 TDs. In more classic Patriots fashion, Willie McGinest somehow had 4.5 sacks in this game. What I’m saying is that if you could draw up a classic Dynasty-Era Patriots blowout, this is how that game comes out.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: This was the last playoff win by a defending Super Bowl Champion. The 2006 and 2009 Steelers didn't make the playoffs. The 2007 Colts, 2008 Giants and 2011 Packers all had great seasons (13-3, 12-4, 15-1) but lost their divisional round home game, and the 2010 Saints lost to the Seahawks.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: This was the last time a non-Super Bowl Patriots playoff game was called by anyone other than Jim Nantz and Phil Simms (because they couldn’t, because it was on ABC). That streak will end probably sometime around 2020.

42.) 2005 NFC Wild Card – (N6) Redskins 17 @ (N3) Buccaneers 10

Review: This game happened right before the one right above it, and is easily among the worst one-score playoff games in my lifetime. The Redskins won the game, but did it with a record-low 120 yards, and a record-low 25(!) net yards passing. Mark Brunell went 7-15 for 48 yards, while Chris Simms (remember him – he was the starting QB for an 11-5 team) went 25-38 for just 198 yards. Sean Taylor (RIP) returned a fumble for a touchdown, and that and a disputed non-catch that would’ve been the tying touchdown by Edell Shepard (again, who?) marked the only two interesting things to happen.

Interesting/Memorable Play: Sean Taylor, after his TD, was ejected for allegedly (but pretty clearly) spitting in the face of Cadillac Williams.

Interesting/Memorable Fact II: I was babysitting for a friend during each of these two 2005 Saturday Playoff games. We started playing NFL Blitz in the middle of the Pats game. Way more fun than the alternative.

41.) 2006 AFC Wild Card – (A6) Chiefs 8 @ (A3) Colts 23

Review: We return to Standard Protocol here, with the Colts winning by running 80 plays to the Chiefs 45 and outgaining them 435-126. That was the 3rd largest differential in NFL playoff history. The big story was the historically shitty Colts run defense limiting Larry Johnson, when he was still good, to 32 yards on 13 rushes. By the way, those other two games ended 41-0 (NYG def. MIN, 2000) and 62-7 (JAX def. MIA, 1999). This was one obviously much closer, and that is because Manning threw three interceptions, marking the first time a QB was ever, half-correctly, criticized in a game where he went 30-38.

Interesting/Memorable Play: Lawrence Tynes, the man who would in his 2nd career with the Giants make two field goals that won NFC Championship games in overtime, missed a 23-yard field goal; the game was played in a dome.

40.) 2004 AFC Wild Card – (A6) Broncos 24 @ (A3) Colts 49

Review: Since I placed the Episode 1 of this two-part movie quite a bit higher than it probably should, I am downgrading this game for being a bad sequel. Instead of accentuating what was fun about the first iteration of this playoff game, the Colts did the opposite. Their long TDs came via YAC instead of bombs by Manning. Manning threw a pick which allowed him to avoid another perfect passer rating playoff game. The Broncos actually played decent against a prevent in the 2nd half this time, making the game seem slightly closer than it was the first time. All in all, the least enjoyable Manning blowout win ever.

Interesting/Memorable Play: Marvin Harrison did little in this game as Champ Bailey blanketed him (while Roc Alexander did the opposite of blanket Reggie Wayne), but he did lay a hellacious block on Bailey on Wayne’s 2nd touchdown.

Tier II – Meh… I won’t rewatch, but at least I didn’t want to stop watching.

39.) 2011 NFC Wild Card – (N5) Falcons 2 @ (N4) Giants 24

Review: Just imagine if the Falcons convert either of those two failed 4th-down conversion (I believe the scores were 7-2 and 10-2 when they happened), this game could have been higher up. It was oddly defense-heavy in the 1st half, but the Giants started dominating. Eli Manning finally put up a great playoff game at home, going 23-32 for 277 yards and 3 tds, after two destitute performances in his first two. Hakeem Nicks was the real hero, though, breaking off a long TD to make it 17-2 and slam the door on any chances the Falcons had. One thing: why are there so many QBs that get caught doing illegal grounding in the End Zone?

Interesting/Memorable Fact: This was Matt Ryan’s 3rd playoff game, and the 3rd out of those three games that he has failed to have 10 yards per completion or throw for 200 yards. He had 199 yards on 24 completions in this game, after having 186 on 20 in 2010 and 199 again on 26 in 2008.

38.) 2008 AFC Wild Card – (A6) Ravens 27 @ (A3) Dolphins 9

Review: In one of those incredibly predictable games the Ravens did all of those Raven-ish things, like win by forcing five turnovers against a team that had only 13 on the season, and picking off Pennington four times after he threw just seven picks on the year. The Ravens won when their QB completed just 9 of 27 passes. The only reason that this game is high is because watching the Ravens do Raven-type things is usually quite fun. WatchingEd Reed picking off two passes is fun. Watching Haloti Ngata, Ray Lewis andTerrell Suggs dole out hellacious blocks on Reeds TD return was awesome. At their best, the Ravens defense is easily worth the price of admission.

Interesting/Memorable Play: On Ed Reed’s second interception, he basically sprints the second the Dolphins snap the ball to a spot to cut off a slant, and starts this well before Pennington even looks to that side, and easily picks off a pass. If ever you can describe Ed Reed in one play, that one is it.

37.) 2008 NFC Wild Card – (N6) Eagles 26 @ (N3) Vikings 14

Review: This is the first game on the list that I didn’t watch live and didn’t go back and watch at any point other than brief highlights. Not much to share here. It was a close game in a way, and featured some big plays, like a long touchdown run by Peterson, a 76-yard screen pass for a TD to Brian Westbrook. And of course, like the sun rising and taxes, Asante Samuel returned an interception for a TD in a playoff game. Also, this game was notable for the fact that it provides evidence that Tarvaris Jackson started a playoff game. He had a most-Tarvaris like day, going 15-35 for 165 yards and a pick. The scariest thing is that if he wins the starting job, Tarvaris has a shot at starting another one with Seattle.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: The Vikings leading wide receiver on the day was the one and only Bobby Wade. It is odd that he hasn’t played since 2009, considering he put up decent depth receiver type numbers over the course of his career.

36.) 2003 NFC Wild Card – (N6) Cowboys 10 @ (N3) Panthers 29

Review: I was in Italy during Wild Card Weekend in 2003, so I know little of these games as well, especially this one. What I do know is the Panthers dominated, outgaining the Cowboys 380-202, but were forced into five field goals by John Kasay. Jake Delhomme started his first postseason game and played well, with one perfectly thrown deep fade to Steve Smith for a TD. As for the Cowboys, all you need to know is somehow the combination of Quincy Carter and Troy Hambrick couldn’t score enough points. Actually, given that it was them, I’m surprised they got to 10.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: This game set an NFL record for most sub-40 yard field goals, as all six field goals kicked in the game were from under 40 yards.

(I totally made this record up, This game could very well have it, but who knows – overall, I couldn’t think of anything interesting or memorable about the game).

35.) 2013 AFC Wild Card - (A6) Chargers 27 @ (A3) Bengals 10

Review: Well, they all can't be good. The three other games on Wild Card Weekend in 2013 were all great, and appropriately way higher up the list. This was a sad game, really. Hard to watch. The Bengals were a really good team, with probably one of the 3 most talented rosters outside of their starting QB. Well, sadly for them the starting QB is important. Andy Dalton had his 3rd straight bad playoff game, this time with two awful 2nd-half turnovers including a back-breaking pick when the Chargers retook the lead. The Bengals defense finally seemed to miss Geno Atkins and Leon Hall, as they had no real answer for the Chargers offense, who were at their most efficient. Rivers did not have to do much, but he was solid. Dalton was not. And the wait for a playoff win continues for the Bengals.

Interesting/Memorable Play: The game turned when, tied 7-7, the Bengals were driving for a TD to go up 14-7 and Gio Bernard fumbled at the 3-yard line. The Bengals never got that close to a TD again.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: The Bengals made it a 5th year in a row that a team that went 8-0 at home in the regular season lost a game, joining the '09-'10 Pats, '11 Packers and '12 Broncos.

34.) 2007 NFC Wild Card – (N5) Giants 24 @ (N4) Buccaneers 14

Review: The Giants started their march to the 2007 Title a lot like how they started their march to the 2011 title, with a solid win over a good but not great team from the NFC South. In both games, the Giants scored 24 points, and Eli Manning had multiple TDs and no picks. The weirdest part of the game was the fact that the Giants had -1 yards of offense in the 1st quarter, with no first downs, and still won the game rather easily. I guess that is what happens when the other team has an offense that features a guy who the Giants cast off in 2004 (Ike Hilliard) and Earnest Graham.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: Michael Pittman caught 5 passes for 62 yards, being the Buccaneers best receiver on the day. What is interesting about this: Michael Pittman is a running back who had just one carry on the game, and also the fact that I was shocked Michael Pittman was still in the league in 2007.

33.) 2009 AFC Wild Card – (A5) Jets 24 @ (A4) Bengals 14

Review: The Jets have a way of following the Giants. In 2002, they matched the Giants 41-0 playoff score. In 2009, they matched the Giants 24-14 score from two years previous. This game could easily have been tight had Shayne Graham not shanked two field goals from inside 40 yards. Either way, Cedric Benson and Shonn Greene both had good days, but only one of the two QBs did. Carson Palmer was undone by drops and the power of Darrelle Revis. Mark Sanchez was brilliantly efficient, going 12-15 for 182 yards and a TD.

Interesting/Memorable Plays: In the game, Jets punter Steve Weatherford got hurt early, so kicker Jay Feely punted, and didn’t embarrass himself, with 7 punts with a 32 yard average.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: The game was stunningly called by the trio of Tom Hammond, Joe Theismann and Joe Gibbs. Surprisingly, Theismann was better than Gibbs, but overall it worked about as well as the Matt Millen as NBC Football Expert idea. NBC smartly replaced those two with Mike Mayock the next season.

32.) 2012 AFC Wild Card - (A5) Colts 9 @ (A4) Ravems 24

Just like the other two miracle Giants runs, the Ravens started their four-game march to the Super Bowl in a slightly listless game against the Colts. The only memorable part of game was that it was the start of Joe Flacco's amazing playoff run. Flacco wasn't even that good in the 1st half, but facing a 3rd and 19 early in the 3rd quarter, he just threw one up to Boldin for 50 yards. On the next drive, he threw another lob up to Boldin for 46 yards. This would become a recurring theme for the Ravens in their playoffs, as were other things, like Ray Lewis' impending last games (this was his last home game), and Ray Rice fumbling. 

Interesting/Memorable Fact: With this win, the Ravens became just the sixth team to win a playoff in five straight seasons, the most recent being the 2003-07 Patriots (right behind them, the 2000-04 Eagles).

31.) 2012 AFC Wild Card - (A6) Bengals 13 @ (A3) Texans 19

In a rare playoff rematch, the Bengals and Texans met at the same place at the same time on the same network (NBC's kind of black-sheep 4:30 Saturday Wild Card Game), and despite this game being 15 points closer than last year, it was probably a little worse. Instead of the energy of the first playoff game in Reliant Stadium, the fans were dour as their assumed first round bye had slipped through their fingers. Instead of this being JJ Watt's coming out party (2011 Playoffs, when he pick-sixed the Bengals to break a 10-10 game), it was a relatively quiet game by Watt's standards. Instead of a dominant Texans effort, it was more about how awful Andy Dalton was on deep throws. Just a forgetttable game that is propped up because at least it was somewhat close.

Interesting/Memorable Play: It was during a play early in the 2nd quarter when NBC cutaway to Al and Cris at Lambeau to give us the news that Christian Ponder would not play against Green Bay, making this the first game to not only be boring, but to cause people to already dislike the game to come.

Tier III – It wasn’t close, but it was still a Good Ride

30.) 2009 NFC Wild Card – (N6) Eagles 14 @ (N3) Cowboys 34

I remember this game turning on one (admittedly correct) overturned interception. After a back-and-forth dull 1st quarter, the Eagles, with Michael Vick throwing a laser for a 76-yard TD to Jeremy Maclin, the Eagles appeared to pick off Tony Romo deep in Dallas territory. The stadium was damn silent at that moment, all thinking “here we go again.” In the end, the Cowboys somehow rattled off 20 more points in that quarter. The Cowboys played pretty perfect. Multiple TDs and no INTs by Romo? Check. Long run by Felix? Check. TD reception for Miles Austin? Check. Pound the shit out of the Eagles o-line missing starting center Jamaal Jackson? Check. It really was that simple.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: In what was Donovan McNabb’s last game as an Eagle, the Reid & McNabb Eagles lost their first playoff game for the first time, after not going one-and-done in 2000-2004, 2006 & 2008.

29.) 2009 AFC Wild Card – (A6) Ravens 33 @ (A3) Patriots 14

Review: The only thing wrong with this game was that the Ravens dominated the 1st quarter so much that the rest of the game was more of a bore than a beatdown of the Patriots should have been. Just a quick reminder: The Ravens scored on the 1st play of the game with an 80-yard TD. Brady was sack/fumbled, with the Ravens turned into a TD. After trading punts, Brady threw back-to-back interceptions which the Ravens turned into 10 more points, and it was 24-0 before 15 minutes were up. Julian Edelman replaced the ACL-ed Wes Welker admirably. Tom Brady seemingly played with no-ACL as well, as he put up a performance far worse than Manning has in any home playoff game.

Intersting/Memorable Play: Brady’s first interception (a scared throw into the middle of the field to an area where two Ravens and zero Patriots resided) was among the worst I have ever seen from a big-QB, yet that great duo of Nantz and Simms never once questioned the shittiness of the throw. Not even once. Had Mark Sanchez, or Philip Rivers made that throw, they would be talking about their "lack of poise" or some other Nantz & Simms derivative crap.

28.) 2002 NFC Wild Card – (N6) Falcons 27 @ (N3) Packers 7

Review: Michael Vick’s first playoff game started in style, with his team taking a 24-0 lead into halftime, courtesy of some solid play on his part, and the harbinger-of-an-upset blocked punt return touchdown (other than the Raiders doing it in Super Bowl XXXVII, I can’t remember a team getting one and not winning). Brett Favre was in top-form, with a 20-42 day with one td and two picks. If I do remember correctly, it was snowing during the game, making the play of the indoor team from Atlanta all the more stunning.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: This was the first time the Packers ever lost a home playoff game. Of course, since then, it has happened three more times (2004 Wild Card, 2007 Championship, 2011 Divisional), and the Packers have won just twice at home in that span.

27.) 2011 NFC Wild Card – (N6) Lions 28 @ (N3) Saints 45

Review: Here’s another game that went from a close game where an upset was brewing to a blowout because of one call, this one not so correct. The Lions sack/fumbled Brees and the ball was returned for a TD, but the play was blown dead. The score was 14-7 Lions at the time, and it would have made it 21-7. Of course, the Saints ended up scoring TDs on 5 straight 2nd half drives (and ending the 6th drive inside the 10) so it may not have mattered, but that run game might not have worked so well down 21-10 at the half. In other news: Brees threw for 466 yards and 3 TDs, while Calvin was Calvin.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: The Saints gained an NFL-playoff record 626 yards in the game, with 459 passing and 167 rushing. The game it beat was the Chargers over the Boston Patriots in 1964, where the Chargers put up 610 yards.

26.) 2004 NFC Wild Card – (N6) Vikings 31 @ (N3) Packers 17

Review: The Packers lost another home playoff game, and once again it was because they couldn’t stop a gifted African-American QB while Favre got pick-happy. Daunte Culpepper, fresh off of his 39 TD season threw four more (including a screen pass to Moe Williams, who was one of three interchangeable Vikings RBs along with the Whizzinator Onterrio Smith and Michael Bennett), while Favre answered it with four interceptions. This game was most notable for being the game where Randy Moss scored a TD and then faked mooning the crowd (or mooning the Lambeau Field goalpost).

Interesting/Memorable Play: What is more funny than Moss mooning the crowd was two incidents it led to:
1.) Joe Buck’s hilarious white outrage at that “despicable act” in a move where the only recourse for Buck is to say he was doing a Jim Nantz impression.
2.) Randy Moss’s impromptu interview during the week after the game where he responded that he would pay his fine with “straight cash, homey.”

25.) 2005 AFC Wild Card – (A6) Steelers 31 @ (A3) Bengals 17

Review: We all remember where we were when it happened, whenKimo von Ollhoffen, with great malice, basically ended the upward trajectory ofthe sports fastest rising star at QB. Carson Palmer was once the guy who would inevitably challenge Manning and Brady after a fantastic 2005 season. Instead, Ollhoffen did his thing, and despite a fun 1st half where the Bengals took a 17-7 lead behind Jon Kitna, Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers won, went on to win the Super Bowl and it was Ben who challenges Manning and Brady to this day. The Kimo hit might be one of the five most memorable, important, “what-if?” plays of the 2000s.

Interesting/Memorable Play: The end-around pitchback TD throw by Ben to Cedric Wilson (who had a monster playoffs in 2005) was eerily similar to the pitch-pitchback TD throw by Warner to Fitz in the 2008 NFC Championship Game. The link: Ken Whisenhunt was the Steelers coordinator – where he earned the now-forgotten great nickname “Inspector Gadget.”

24.) 2011 AFC Wild Card – (A6) Bengals 10 @ (A3) Texans 31

Review: The first playoff game in Reliant Stadium’s history gets extra points because it was just that. It was also a fun blowout because of the big-play Texans living up to that standard. Andre Johnson caught a long touchdown. Arian Foster had a long touchdown run. JJ Watt made an incredible snag of a Dalton pass and returned it to the house. It was a fun game in a raucous stadium that was built in the hopes it would one day have a game like that. The only sad part was that Matt Schaub (and Mario Williams) was on the sidelines while it happened, and instead we got TJ Yates, making this the first all-rookie QB game.

Interesting/Memorable Play: Marvin Lewis challenged the spot trying to make it 2nd and 1 instead of 2nd and 3 in one of the worst planned challenges I have ever seen. Of course, it wasn’t even overturned.

23.) 2006 AFC Wild Card – (A5) Jets 16 @ (A4) Patriots 37

Review: A lot of the talk before the game was about the handshake that would come at the end (yeah, that stuff started well before Spygate). In the end, after a nice victory, Belichick hugged Mangini in a “I’mdoing this to appease people, but you know I still own you” way. During the game, we saw the Patriots effortlessly take down a plucky, frisky Jets team that had the game at 23-16 early in the 4th quarter. What followed next was pure Patriots football: Vince Wilfork recovers a lateral as he’s the only one who doesn’t think it was an incomplete pass. Patriots score a TD. Asante Samuel gets a pick-6. You can’t script things any better for that team.

Interesting/Memorable Fact: Peyton Manning apparently saw Brady quick-snapping the Jets a lot in this game and decided to utilize it against Baltimore, where it delivered mostly horrible results - Manning threw both his interceptions on plays where he quick-snapped.

22.) 2007 NFC Wild Card – (N6) Redskins 14 @ (N3) Seahawks 35

Review: This was the final game in the Redskins emotional Todd Collins led run after the death of Sean Taylor. The game is mostly memorable because of the Seahawks relentless pass rush, keyed by the disappeared Patrick Kerney, and a rare back-to-back pick-sixes by Marcus Trufant and Jordan Babineauxm, which turned a 21-14 Seahawks lead into a 35-14 laugher. Of course, what made the game really special was that it was Joe Gibbs final game (and only the 2nd time he went one-and-done), Mike Holmgren’s final playoff game, and another game for that incredible Qwest Field crowId.

Interesting/Memorable Play: The game was 13-0 before a Redskins TD. On the ensuing kickoff, the ball bounced before the returner caught it and went straight up and was recoverd by the ‘Skins – the rare deep onside-kick in essence. At that moment, who didn’t feel Sean Taylor was hovering over that game.

21.) 2003 AFC Wild Card – (A6) Broncos 10 @ (A3) Colts 41

Review: Yeah, it is high, but if you want to see QB beingplayed as brilliantly as it ever will be played, watch this game. On just 26 throws, Manning threw for 377 yards and 5 tds (on 22 completions). He had just the 2nd perfect passer rating day in playoff history, and that all come when he had a Giant-sized monkey on his back having never won a playoff game. The game was notable for Brandon Stokley’s brilliance and the fact that the Colts won this game so easily (31-3 at the half) after losing to the Broncos in a meaningful game two weeks earlier in Indy 31-17 where they were outgained 465-183. Again, that was a meaningful game. Denver hammered Indy in Indy. Indy more than returned that favor.

Interesting/Memorable Play: On the game’s 2nd TD, Marvin Harrison caught a pass around the 25 yard line and went down. A cabal of Broncos surrounded him but argued who should have had the play and none of them touched Marvin down, so Marvin got up and raced for the world’s easiest TD. It was that kind of day.

Next up, the 20 Wild Card Games that are really worth rewatching.

About Me

I am a man who will go by the moniker dmstorm22, or StormyD, but not really StormyD. I'll talk about sports, mainly football, sometimes TV, sometimes other random things, sometimes even bring out some lists (a lot, lot, lot of lists). Enjoy.