The second article by guest blogger, Nicholas M. Logan! Mr. Logan will be joining us from time to time to weigh in on various issues including sports teams in the New York and surrounding areas. Agree or disagree with his NFL Recap? Leave a comment at the bottom of the blog article to discuss…
Anyone Know the Heimlich?
by Nicholas M. Logan
Sunday was a very exciting day of football for fans of the NFL, and those in the Northeast in particular. Two games were played to decide which teams would go to the Super Bowl. Both were great games, both came down to the wire, both were hotly contested throughout, and both had bad plays and questionable decisions by the losing teams which would ultimately swing the momentum the other way. In other words, some guys choked badly.
In the first game, the New England Patriots held on to beat the Baltimore Ravens 23-20 in a thriller after Baltimore’s kicker missed an easy field goal – a ‘chip shot’, in football parlance. However, prior to that fateful play, there were several questionable decisions made by Baltimore’s coach.
With less than three minutes to play Baltimore had a 4th down and 6 at the New England 33 yard line, trailing by 3 points. The coach, John Harbaugh, decided to go for it. In my opinion, that’s a terrible call. With only two minutes and change left in the game, a 50 yard field goal to tie the game is the way to go. If Harbaugh was willing to fail and give New England the ball at the 33 anyway, giving it to them at the 40 if the field goal was missed wouldn’t have made all that much difference.
Luckily for Harbaugh the defense held and Baltimore got the ball back. Several plays later, the Ravens faced a 4th down at the New England 11 yard line with time ticking down as their kicker ran onto the field to try a game-tying field goal. Harbaugh didn’t call a timeout, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me in that situation. Why not call the final timeout here rather than rush? By my count that’s two poor strategic calls in the final three minutes of a championship game made by its head coach. Those calls ultimately were a big part of the reason that the Ravens are home for the Super Bowl and not headed to Indianapolis to participate.
In the late game, the New York Giants defeated the San Francisco 49ers 20-17 in overtime. This game was a true classic. It was close the entire way, and even for someone like me who didn’t care who won, it was edge-of-your-seat excitement for the entire game. There were hard hits, big plays, and just plain great defense on both sides. The Giants caught a couple of big breaks when the 49ers twice blew big opportunities for an interception when defensive backs collided trying to make the play, while the 49ers’ offense was rather bad with the exception of a few big plays. Unlike the first game, the choke was provided by a player – San Francisco wide receiver-turned-punt returner Kyle Williams. Ted Ginn, the usual returner, was injured and did not play. Two fumbled punts later, the 49ers surely wished Ginn had been healthy.
Even with all the misplays, the 49ers were leading 14-10 with the Giants set to punt the ball. A four point lead, and possession. Ask any team in the NFL if they would like a 4 point lead and possession of the ball in the 4th quarter, and they’ll sign on the dotted line. Except……the punt returner inexplicably decided to stand near a ball he had no intention of fielding. The ball glanced off of his knee and was recovered by the Giants, who went on to score a touchdown to take a 17-14 lead.
The Niners later tied the game, and between that point and the game winning field goal in overtime, both teams “D’d up” – an expression meaning that the defenses really stepped up and played great football. The teams traded possessions until……….Williams fumbled another punt. This time he caught it, started to run, and was stripped. Giants recovered, already in field goal range, and the rest is history.
Two games, two wins largely decided by “what was he thinking??!” type of situations. But a great football day nonetheless.
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