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As The Ball Bounces: Wild Card

Bob George
Bob George on Twitter
Jan 6, 2004 at 5:00am ET

Ah, the kicking Zendejas family. The Houston Oilers got a good taste of that family as they had the good fortune of Tony's first six years in the NFL. He hit on 81.5 percent of his field goals in 1986, his second year, and on 73 percent of his field goals until 1990, when he was let go in midseason. His replacement? You gotta be kidding. The guy who replaced Tony Franklin in New England, Teddy Garcia. Oh well, Houston at least had the good sense to keep Zendejas as long as they did. He steps into one and it comes down at the five-yard line to…

One has to wonder if those Budweiser commercials starring Bad Attitude Leon ("Ain't no 'I' in team…ain't no 'we', either!") are really an expose on Randy Moss?

The first thing that Brian Billick should do is to clear up the question of whose decision it was to not sick Jamal Lewis on the Titans.

Were you the Patriots fan watching Peyton Manning and the Colt offense closely and yelling out loud, "The Patriots wouldn't allow that!" or words similar?

Sure enough, the Denver papers were all over Mike Shanahan.

And it was all Shanahan's fault that Al Wilson, Lenny Walls and Kenny Herndon stood there arguing while Marvin Harrison got up running, right?

Whose fault is it really? Read on.

The Packers won not because of Brett Favre, but because the Seahawk defense was too tired to stop Ahman Green in the fourth quarter, and because Matt Hasselbeck isn't man enough yet to back up guarantees to score in the playoffs on the road.

We did say "yet".

Who's Brandon Stokely? Ask Denver. Better yet, ask Baltimore.

Tedy Bruschi will perhaps lose a bit of sleep this week. Reason: how to contain and stop one Steve McNair.

Geek of the week: Three-way tie. It was their fault.

I still say: Ed Reed, you're no Rodney Harrison.

Don Cheadle is a terrific actor and a decent ad spokesperson. But he doesn't write 'em. His "tribute to the number seven" is one of the most inane and non-substantive commercials out there.

And the best ad? What else but Dancin' Cedric and that fire in his pants. Ooooh, Cedric.

Hate Ray Lewis all you want for his brush with the law a few years ago, but you cannot argue that the guy plays football with a passion that nobody else in the league can match.

"We must protect this house!!!" Lewis did not. Manning did.

And over the next two weekends, so should Tom Brady.

Anyone out there hear anybody say anything that sounds like "Boy, did Carolina play well Saturday night!"?

Or was all you heard was stuff like "Bill Parcells must be disappointed, but gosh, what a great year he had!"?

At this moment I'm feeling less contempt for Jeff Triplette and more contempt for Orlando Brown.

Wanted: quality quarterbacks. Contact: Bill Parcells (972) 556-9900. Contact: Brian Billick (410) 654-6200.

You want to explain how come Indianapolis finally figured out how to stop Denver backs so suddenly?

Maybe you'd be better off explaining what went wrong with the Colts two weeks ago, which made everyone feel the way they did.

Mike Cloud, stay ready.

The next time Patriot Nation can breathe easier is when the Packers get bounced from the big dance.

Back to school: Someone in the NFL looking for a head coach will show Nick Saban the money. Not that he'll take it, but he'll see it.

Back to school II: We understand that they are changing the name of this school in Tallahassee, Florida from "Florida State U" to "Wide Right U".

Good to see the good people of Charlotte having such a great time Saturday night.

Unfortunately, television executives likely don't want to see that much enthusiasm in such a small market.

Bill Belichick may be the NFL's top coach this year, but even though he may outcoach Jeff Fisher, Tony Dungy or Dick Vermeil, it won't be a slamdunk like it is against Bill Cowher, Mike Martz, Gregg Williams, Dave Wannstedt or Brian Billick.

The key here is that Belichick can out-adjust anyone in the NFL.

That was one dandy of a game in Green Bay.

For those of you whom this matters a great deal: The Ravens draft 21st in the first round. That pick, of course, was traded to the Patriots.

Don't know what you think, but that M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore is one damned imposing edifice.

And there are those who believe that it was that stadium which gave Bob Kraft the inspiration for Gillette.

Dan Neil got four penalties on Sunday. If you ask the Patriot defenders, they will tell you that the Bronco offensive line blocks dirty. And Tom Nalen might be the dirtiest of them all.

Remember them: Ooooh, you don't perchance remember who handed the Patriots their only home playoff loss in team history? Yeah, the forerunners of the Titans, the old Houston Oilers. It was New Year's Eve, 1978, and they were led by a fine tight end named Mike Barber. He caught five passes from Dan Pastorini, two for touchdowns, as the Oilers trounced a demoralized Patriot squad, 31-14. It was the final game for Chuck Fairbanks as Patriot head coach. By the way, Pastorini had a passer rating of 163.2 in that game; a perfect rating today is 158.3.

Which was Manning's rating on Sunday.

The beat goes on. Twenty years now since Seattle's last playoff win. Your day will come, Hawks.

What is nicest about the Panthers is how many home grown players they have, led by the cornerstone of their future, UNC's Julius Peppers.

Here now is our take on the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

Favre is terrific when pushed to the brink.

He wins at Lambeau, but not at The Linc.

For quick program turnarounds, look to the Fox.

But out at Ed Jones, Rams knock him out of the box.

A shootout at KC, nobody can stop the run.

The Colts do it better and have all the fun.

The Titans have a prime stud in Steve McNair.

But who has the best team? Pats fans know where.

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