NFL open thread, Saturday divsional playoffs

posted at 9:19 am on January 15, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Thankfully, after going 0-2 on my Saturday picks last week, my Sunday picks brought me back to 2-2.  Today’s games involve my favorite teams still left alive in postseason, so I’ll be picking more from the heart today:

  • Ravens at Steelers – I’ll have to miss this game today because of my granddaughter’s birthday party (she’s 2 now), and that may be for the best — because these Ravens-Steelers games are hard on the blood pressure.  The teams split the series this year, including a come-from-behind victory by Pittsburgh in Baltimore that proved the difference for the division title.  The Steelers have had a week to heal up, while Baltimore has a short week and has to play on the road.  Otherwise these two teams are so evenly matched that a pick would be almost impossible, and it’s very likely that the game will come down to the last drive — or maybe the last turnover.  Steelers edge Ravens, 17-14.
  • Packers at Falcons – The Packers are not a good road team, but they beat the Eagles and Michael Vick in Philadelphia, and showcased something they didn’t have when they played the Falcons last: a running game.  James Starks has come out of nowhere to become a big threat for the Green Bay offense.  The Falcons have only lost one game at home all year, a 17-14 stunner to New Orleans two weeks ago.  Green Bay just barely lost 20-17 the last time the two teams played, and while it’s tough to pick against Atlanta at home, I think Green Bay surprises them and wins 24-17.

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Ravens victim of bad refs costly turnovers.

SANTA on January 15, 2011 at 7:44 PM

FIFY
;-)

conservative pilgrim on January 15, 2011 at 7:47 PM

Holding my ass.

SANTA on January 15, 2011 at 7:47 PM

This is a gut wrencher.

conservative pilgrim on January 15, 2011 at 7:46 PM

My stomach is already in knots for tomorrow afternoon.

TD! Oh no, flag…

JetBoy on January 15, 2011 at 7:50 PM

Steelers are such a-holes, they hit dirty AFTER a TD.

WannabeAnglican on January 15, 2011 at 7:51 PM

My stomach is already in knots for tomorrow afternoon.

TD! Oh no, flag…

JetBoy on January 15, 2011 at 7:50 PM

I hope the Jets can pull the upset!

Steelers are such a-holes, they hit dirty AFTER a TD.

WannabeAnglican on January 15, 2011 at 7:51 PM

Haha. And the Ravens are angels.

conservative pilgrim on January 15, 2011 at 7:54 PM

No, the Ravens are losers. Haven’t I established that yet. :)

WannabeAnglican on January 15, 2011 at 7:56 PM

Qouth to the Ravens…nevermore.

‘Grats Blitzburgh nation!

JetBoy on January 15, 2011 at 7:57 PM

WOOT!!!!!

ladyingray on January 15, 2011 at 7:58 PM

No, the Ravens are losers. Haven’t I established that yet. :)

WannabeAnglican on January 15, 2011 at 7:56 PM

Yeah, pretty much. But so have the Ravens.

What a game!

conservative pilgrim on January 15, 2011 at 7:59 PM

Looks like they aren’t going to call offensive holding in this game. Gonna take at least 30 points to win.

forest on January 15, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Well, I was close.

But man, that offensive holding was out of hand. Both teams were doing it, but the Ravens definitely did it more and got away with it all night.

forest on January 15, 2011 at 8:03 PM

Wow, what a game. Crazy sloppy, but entertaining as h#ll. I never like to dance on a grave, but I’ve loathed Art Modell for a long time.

Scott P on January 15, 2011 at 8:04 PM

Nice job Steelers, way to come back and light them up in the second half. I would love to see a Patriots VS Steelers AFC Championship.

Bad drop there at the end, Flacco can’t catch a break against Big Ben.

Daemonocracy on January 15, 2011 at 8:05 PM

GO STEEEEEELERS !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ravens as usual made it tough.

Flacco exposed. Hmmmm wonder if Ben playing makes a difference. Bueller Bueller?

CWforFreedom on January 15, 2011 at 8:09 PM

Nice job Steelers, way to come back and light them up in the second half. I would love to see a Patriots VS Steelers AFC Championship.

Daemonocracy on January 15, 2011 at 8:05 PM

Not me. Patriots are the team to beat and they have home field advantage. I hope the Jets can beat them tomorrow. The Steelers have a better shot of winning against them.

conservative pilgrim on January 15, 2011 at 8:13 PM

SANTA 126 yards of offense loses games. Well that and turnovers. Ryan Clark is a beast.

Later.

CWforFreedom on January 15, 2011 at 8:18 PM

Congrats STEELERS and fans great comeback great game to watch.

PTN 39 on January 15, 2011 at 8:27 PM

I’d like to see the whole run-back for a touchdown on tape and see this “holding call”. It just looked pretty weak, since the returner way almost in the endzone when that flag was thrown twenty yards back. That said, it sure looked like the Ravens recievers just choked droping crutial passes at the end.

Rovin on January 15, 2011 at 8:40 PM

Rovin on January 15, 2011 at 8:40 PM

I got a good look at the holding. It was definitely a hold, it lasted a long time, and it was what allowed the man to score. Without the holding, the tackle would have been made, it wasn’t one of those away from the ball deals. Good call.

forest on January 15, 2011 at 8:48 PM

@Rovin–

Watching it live, I caught the holding. I was screaming at the TV. You can see the Steeler defensive guy moving to tackle the runner and the Raven guy grabs his shirt and the Steeler guy’s body jerks awkwardly. I think it’s pretty clear. But I’m sure Raven fans will disagree.

Overall, the refs let A LOT go. They could’ve thrown so many flags for the fighting and “unsportsmanlike conduct” on both sides. I’m surprised there weren’t more of those type of penalties. And I can’t believe how awful the Steelers played in the first half. Elementary mistakes.
It’s a tough loss for Raven fans I’m sure.

conservative pilgrim on January 15, 2011 at 8:48 PM

And it happened on the 19 yard line, so it was a “from the point of the foul” call so the Ravens got the ball on the Steelers 29 instead of it wiping out the whole return. Here it is

forest on January 15, 2011 at 8:54 PM

forest on January 15, 2011 at 8:48 PM

conservative pilgrim on January 15, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Thanks for the link forest, great video, but if that was a hold, I’m a monkey’s uncle. Since when is blocking the man in front of you to the ground called a hold? Watching the slow mo several times, all I saw was the defender’s hand on his sholder—holding onto nothing. As I said in my previous comment, “pretty weak”.

Rovin on January 15, 2011 at 9:26 PM

Woo-Hoo Congrats Steelers!

Philly on January 15, 2011 at 9:27 PM

conservative pilgrim on January 15, 2011 at 8:48 PM

For the record, I didn’t see much of the game CP, I was attending my college wrestling coach’s memorial service, (the man was my mentor and great friend. Also one of the original special forces, later Green Beret of the 82nd.)

I just made it into a local bar to catch the runback live, but I have seen later that the Ravens total yardage for the entire game sucked. I did see several “catchable” passes dropped at the end however and my neighbor said it was two different halves and the Raven did blow it in the second half long before the runback.

Rovin on January 15, 2011 at 9:40 PM

Go Pack Go!!

El_Terrible on January 15, 2011 at 9:43 PM

On to the next game, Ryan’s gotten too greedy and the Packers are killing the Falcons. (whoops, forgot “killing” isn’t allowed anymore—metaphor madness)

Rovin on January 15, 2011 at 9:45 PM

On to the next game, Ryan’s gotten too greedy and the Packers are killing the Falcons. (whoops, forgot “killing” isn’t allowed anymore—metaphor madness)

Rovin on January 15, 2011 at 9:45 PM

In the earlier game, when the Steelers scored the first touchdown, the commentator said they “drew the first blood.” I’m like, hmm, if Sarah said this about taking a Senate seat on the East coast or something, liberals would continue to go berserk.

El_Terrible on January 15, 2011 at 9:48 PM

Rovin on January 15, 2011 at 9:26 PM

He couldn’t have moved him in that direction without yanking. The Raven was inside the Steeler and was in a position to only push the Steeler to the outside, but somehow, the Steeler got yanked back inward, away from the runner. But that wasn’t even close to being the most flagrant hold of the night, I’ll give you that.

forest on January 15, 2011 at 10:25 PM

#1) The NFL should forget having bye weeks EVER AGAIN.

That said, the Packers are a machine right now, and even if the Falcons had not had a week off, I still think they would have been handed their lunch for one reason—Aaron Rogers and his recievers. Barring any major injuries, I see this team in the SB against……….

Rovin on January 15, 2011 at 10:39 PM

Funny the idiots missed the hit to the helmet on the Ben fumble/TD play. You haters always love to point out only one side. Had that been called against the Ravens the TD would not have counted and it would have been a first down for the Steelers.

CWforFreedom on January 15, 2011 at 11:37 PM

Funny the hit below Ben’s knee not called…..or the offensive pass interference on the Ravens final driver…..or the personal foul that should have been called when Ward was called for it. hmmmm weird.

CWforFreedom on January 15, 2011 at 11:43 PM

CWforFreedom on January 15, 2011 at 11:37 PM

The massive blow the the face from Ngata in the regular season that turned Roethlisberger’s nose sideways didn’t get called either. And Harrison getting held 8 times per game, etc, etc. The missed calls tend to balance out though.

New England and the Steelers are the best franchises year after year, so the losers have to make up excuses about cheating and crazy conspiracy theories about the officiating to compensate. It’s just human nature I guess.

forest on January 15, 2011 at 11:50 PM

Rovin–

Sorry to hear about about your coach.

We’ll have to disagree about the holding call. I saw the play like forest did. The entire game was sloppy and a slugfest tho. IOW–a typical Steelers/Ravens game.

conservative pilgrim on January 15, 2011 at 11:57 PM

Rovin on January 15, 2011 at 9:45 PM

Earlier tonight the headline on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel read:

Packers shoot down Falcons in 48-21 triumph

Hmm. Violent rhetoric by the media?

Go Pack!

NebCon on January 16, 2011 at 1:53 AM

Last nights Ravens vs. Steelers game, was an embarrassment, for both the Ravens, and for NFL Refs.

The Refs were not paying attention.

Yes I know all the Steeler fans are saying “Well the Ravens got lucky they didn’t get so many penalties for what they did”

Frankly, you guys got even more lucky. Because of some the actions I caught the Steelers performing AFTER plays were far worse than some of the contact that happened during players from the Ravens, (Such as the head butting and several punches and slaps I saw)

That said, as much as I like to groan about the reffing… it came down to Ravens Offense screwing up and making the Defense have to work extra. Fumbles on snaps, failing to tuck the ball in while running, leading to a fumble, were bad enough and made the Ravens look like little league team. Boldin gets my “worse receiver of the game award” for giving up way too many easy catches, and his terrible choice to call for it, early in the 3rd QTR, only to catch it and slammed right away by a Steelers defender for a loss of two. And Flaco needs to go to QB rehab and obviously relearn QB Basics 101 of what NOT to do as a QB

Razgriez on January 16, 2011 at 6:58 AM

Last nights Ravens vs. Steelers game, was an embarrassment, for both the Ravens, and for NFL Refs.

The Refs were not paying attention.

I agree. There were tons of holding offenses, mostly by the Ravens, that didn’ get called.

There was a late hit by Keomoatu that should have beeb flagged too.

Also a little headbutt by Steelers 24 on TJ after a play while TJ was clowning. Shoulda been flagged, bu TJ retaliated by doing the same thing back – offsetting fouls.

The Steelers were just better in the game. The Ravens were only able to put together one drive in the whole game

forest on January 16, 2011 at 8:52 AM

Thanks for the link forest, great video, but if that was a hold, I’m a monkey’s uncle. Since when is blocking the man in front of you to the ground called a hold? Watching the slow mo several times, all I saw was the defender’s hand on his sholder—holding onto nothing. As I said in my previous comment, “pretty weak”.

Rovin on January 15, 2011 at 9:26 PM

http://www.footballsfuture.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=10960268

Sorry….Smith flagrantly grabbed Allen by the jersey….that’s a hold. Will get called every time if the official sees it.

Dreadnought on January 16, 2011 at 9:48 AM

Well, we have the Coronation of the Pats and the Pack for the big game.

It frequently does not work out that way.

And I thought Philly came close to beating the Pack. Now the Pack is supernatural.

Hhhhmmm..

Ravens were beaten and the Raisin fans who cry should be at a two year olds’ birthday party.

IlikedAUH2O on January 16, 2011 at 10:31 AM

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