By: Bob George/
January 19, 2006

NFL Notes: Julian Edelman makes presence felt with Patriots
Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower returning to practice field an encouraging sign
Why was Patriots LB Kyle Van Noy doing pushups at a bowling alley?
Patriots owner Robert Kraft owns no concerns that Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are missing OTAs
New NFL policy lets players who don’t want to stand for anthem stay in locker room

You won't remember Don Bitterlich. Well, maybe you do if you live in Alaska. Only the most hardened Seahawk fans would remember this guy. He was the first kicker in Seahawk history, kicking in the first three games in franchise history in 1976. He hit on only one of four field goals, that being a 27-yarder in the franchise debut against the Cardinals. He would be replaced by longtime Buffalo Bills kicker John Leypoldt, and Bitterlich never kicked in the NFL again. But he can say that he did kick the first field goal in Seattle Seahawk history. He shanks one out of bounds, and the receiving team gets the ball at the 40.

Nick Harper, meet Irving Fryar.

Colt Nation feels a thousand times worse than Patriot Nation does right now. Think for a second about what they let slip through their fingers on Sunday.

They were 13-0 at one time, yet wound up going one and done in the playoffs. Again.

Jerome Bettis fumbles at the two, and Indy has plenty of time and timeouts to win the game, never mind settling for a field goal which sends the game to overtime.

And all Peyton Manning can do is to set up Mike Vanderjagt for a 46-yard field goal attempt.

Which the much-disliked kicker pushed wide right.

So, at least the Colts cannot blame the weather, the officiating, or the Patriots.

And the Colts have no (substitute your favorite word for "intestinal fortitude” right here), especially after being called out this week by Joey Porter.

And finally, please stop all this trumpeting about how great Manning is until he actually does something.

Geek of the week: Porter was the popular choice here for his calling out the Colts, but he backed it up. Give it to Bettis and that unspeakable fumble.

Tom Brady was so mad in that press conference Saturday night that he looked like he was going to bite off the microphone.

First drill at Foxborough in July: Two hands on the football.

Jake Plummer has a long way to go before the entire football world believes in him.

If this is it for David Givens in Foxborough, he is a marvelous poster boy for all seventh round draft picks everywhere. Let's hope that somehow he can stay.

Good luck in Joisey, Eric Mangini. Hard to pass up a head job, but you might wonder if he would have been better advised to wait for a better offer in a year or two.

One good thing about an early end to the season is that Bill Belichick has plenty of time to retool for 2006. Under the heading of "retooling”, you should see "new offensive coordinator” at or near the top of the list.

Despite opinions to the contrary, it is perfectly okay to complain about the pass interference call on Asante Samuel.

And about Champ Bailey fumbling out of the end zone.

But in the end, it really was about five turnovers.

And an interrupted dynasty, not an ended dynasty.

So now, Denver gets perhaps the best road playoff team in recent memory in their crib this weekend. Enjoy, Broncos.

Back to school: Bush, Leinart and White all gone. And Pete Carroll is a defensive guy. Happy recruiting, coach.

Rex Grossman had a much better game than many folks thought he would.

With that Bear defense, 21 points should have been enough.

That is why bigger days lie ahead for the Carolina Panthers.

Whew. Thank goodness Seattle was able to hang on and defeat the offense-challenged Redskins.

But the Seahawks can't go into battle without Shawn Alexander.

Matt Hasselbeck won't be enough. Not against that Panther defense.

Which features former Seahawk Ken Lucas.

Steve Smith is still someone you don't root for to do well, but you cannot ignore the great day he had in Chicago.

Jake Delhomme still looks like he did in Super Bowl XXXVIII when he throws a touchdown pass.

Joe Gibbs once won a Super Bowl with Mark Rypien as his quarterback. So why can't he win one with Mark Brunell? Give the old lefty one more year and let's find out.

Both Pittsburgh and Carolina have a chance to duplicate the 1985 Patriots and make it to the Super Bowl with three road wins. Gosh, what if both make it? Hang on for a second and we'll see if that might just happen.

Remember him: Seattle last won a playoff game in 1984, and had won only three such games in their history before Saturday. All three previous wins were quarterbacked by a guy who hailed from a major football factory named Milton College named Dave Krieg. Krieg played for Seattle from 1980 to 1991, taking over from original quarterback Jim Zorn. Krieg led the Seahawks through their glory years of the mid-1980s, and quarterbacked them to playoff wins over Denver and Miami in 1983 and the Raiders in 1984. In both years the Seahawks lost to the eventual conference champs. Krieg would go on to play 19 total seasons in the NFL, making five stops before retiring as a Tennessee Oiler in 1998. By the way, we were kidding about Milton College as a football power; the college itself closed in 1982, two years after Krieg graduated.

Here we go with our predictions for the conference championship games, and who will be heading for Detroit in three weeks.

Up in Washington, the Seahawks continue their "Qwest”;

Their fans are convinced that their top seed team is the best

They'll entertain guys like Smith, Peppers and Delhomme;

It's them that will head to Motown, with the ‘Hawks staying home.

You won't give a rip who the Panthers will play;

Denver or Pittsburgh, it just happened that way.

Pittsburgh is hot, which is bad news for Plummer;

Cowher may be dumb, but Jake The Snake will be dumber.