Even though the Bears‘ season is over (sigh), it doesn’t mean football season is over. Wild-Card Weekend featured plenty of teams the Bears faced this season (5), ex-Bears runners, a crumbling dynasty, an ex-Chicago team and a hated Bears rival in an instant classic. Here’s my wrap-up:
Jets 24, Bengals 14
Ex-Bears ran wild in this game, especially Cedric Benson, who ripped off 169 yards and a long TD run in a losing effort. Former teammate Thomas Jones added a TD of his own as the Jets cruised past the Bengals behind Rex Ryan (yes, Buddy’s son) who runs a lot of the old Bears 46 defense.
The loneliest guy in Cincinnati has to be Shayne Graham. It seemed like every time the Bengals tried to close the gap, he was missing a short field goal. It’s going to be a loooong offseason for that guy.
The Jets head to San Diego to take on Phillip Rivers and the red-hot Chargers.
Cowboys 34, Eagles 14
Take that, non-believers! Another playoff collapse? Hell no! The Cowboys were partying like it’s 1996 – the last time they won a playoff game. I was surprised by that stat too. Romo and the ‘Boys took it to Donovan McNabb and his (for now?) Eagles.
Romo may get the pop stars, but Felix Jones did the heavy lifting, toting the rock for 148 yards, including a 73 yard TD run. But the real story for Dallas had to be how their D shut down McNabb and the Eagles. The high-flying Birds barely got off the ground.
Let’s hope Dallas’ D has a little of that left over for Brett Favre and the Vikings.
Ravens 33, Patriots 14
Which of Tom Brady’s four turnovers was the one that signaled the end of his dominance and the Patriot dynasty along with it? Wow, his performance was Cutler-esque. I’m sure the Pats missed Wes Welker, but that doesn’t account for the flat start.
I knew this one might not go the way I expected from jump street when Ray Rice took the first play from scrimmage to the house on an 83 yard TD run. Ray Ray finished the day with 159 and 2 scores and it was 24-zip before the Pats knew what hit ‘em.
As most often the case with the Ravens, the story is their defense – the pressure and attacking style made me miss the ’85 Bears and hate the Cover-2 even more. We’ll see if the Ravens’ ferocious D can get to Peyton Manning and the Colts next weekend.
Cardinals 51, Packers 45
They saved the best for last, as the first three Wild-Card Weekend games were kind of clunkers. That came to a screeching halt in the Arizona desert as the Cardinals and Packers put on an instant classic with an overtime thriller.
It looked like the Cardinals were going to run away and hide, opening up a 17-0 lead early on, but Aaron Rodgers led the Pack back, hooking up for three 4th quarter TD’s. Even with the tremendous comeback, the Cards had a chance to win it in the closing seconds of regulation, but Neil Rackers missed a gimme to force OT. What’s with these kickers this weekend?
The Packers took the ball to start the sudden death session, but a Michael Adams sack led to an Aaron Rodgers fumble, which Karlos Dansby scooped up and trotted in for the winning score, sending the cheeseheads home early this playoff season.
Hope the Cards saved a little offense for the high-scoring Saints, as they head to the Big Easy to take on Drew Brees next weekend. I don’t know what the line is, but I’ll take the Over.
Topics: 2010 Playoffs, Aaron Rodgers, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Cedric Benson, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Donovan McNabb, Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Ray Rice, Thomas Jones, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Wild Card, Wild Card Weekend