Frank Gore

Ravens, Niners Move On. Major League Really Comes to Cleveland

Peyton Manning threw away Denver’s Super Bowl chances while Colin Kaepernick taught the Green Bay Packers a lesson.

The two playoff games on Saturday had plenty of offense and some exciting moments. But let’s take a step back for a second. Let’s not talk about those playoff games for a second. What the hell is going on in Cleveland?

Happy for a reason.

Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s playoff time. We should be concerned about nothing other than the playoffs. Trouble is, what has happened in Cleveland over the past week means we’ve essentially taken the premise of the movie Major League and moved it from the Cleveland Indians to the Cleveland Browns.

The premise of the classic baseball move, of course, is that the Indians get a new owner and she wants to move the team to Miami. In order to do that, she needs the team to lose and the attendance to drop below a certain level. Naturally, she tries to lose on purpose.

This week, it appeared as if the new Cleveland Browns owner (a guy who has spent his entire life cheering for the Pittsburgh Steelers) was going to try to lose on purpose, as well. He hired Dave Chudzinski as head coach. Chudzinski was the offensive coordinator in Carolina. He is the guy most responsible for making Cam Newton a horrible quarterback. Now it appears Norv Turner, late of the San Diego Chargers, and the man who made Philip Rivers a horrible quarterback, is going to become the team’s offensive coordinator.

Oh, my goodness.

Norv Turner: Oh, my goodness.

There is a very good chance that the Cleveland Browns will not score a single point next season. Is new owner Jimmy Haslam, the lifelong Steelers fan, trying to go 0-16 so he can move the team to Los Angeles? It really looks like Major League 4: It’s the Browns Turn is about to be shot in Cleveland next season.

Okay, now that I’ve had my fun, it’s back to the playoffs.

Yesterday in Denver, Peyton Manning brought back every horrendous memory that Minnesota Vikings fans had of Brett Favre. He rolled out, threw across his body, had the pass intercepted and watched as the Baltimore Ravens kicked a field goal to win. It wasn’t entirely Manning’s fault. The Denver defensive secondary was embarrassingly bad. But the Broncos could have won the game in overtime if one of the greatest aging quarterbacks in football history didn’t try to be a hero.

By the way, is this Karma? Peyton Manning failed to win a playoff game this year. Tim Tebow won a playoff game as starting quarterback in Denver last year. Just sayin’.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, Kaepernick kicked the crap out of the Packers and as a result, both Harbaughs won playoff games. John Harbaugh’s Ravens got the job done in Denver while Jim Harbaugh’s Niners did it up big at home at Candlestick.

Time to take a close look at Saturday’s post-season pair:

AFC Divisional Final:

A winner and a loser.

Baltimore 38 Denver 35 (2 OT)

The Broncos defensive secondary was so absolutely rotten, it made Joe Flacco look like, well, Peyton Manning. In the end rookie Justin Tucker kicked a 47-yard field goal, 1:42 into the second overtime, to win it for a Ravens team that looked pretty much dead, trailing 35-28,  late in the fourth quarter. But the Ravens forced the overtime when Flacco hit Jacoby Jones on a 70-yard touchdown pass against defensive set that was designed to be nothing other than ‘prevent.’  The Broncos sent three rushers and put eight men back on the receivers and yet Denver’s horrible secondary fell asleep and allowed Jones to get behind the safeties. Flacco completed 18-of-34 passes for 331 yards and three touchdowns while Manning completed 28-of-43 passes for 290 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Torrey Smith caught three passes for Baltimore for 98 yards and two touchdowns. The big story for Denver was return man Trindon Holliday, who took a punt 90 yards for a touchdown and a kickoff 106 yards for another TD.

NFC Divisional Final:

Frank Gore

San Francisco 45 Green Bay 31

Colin Kaepernick, the man who stole Alex Smith’s job, made Jim Harbaugh look like a genius again on Saturday by putting up some of the greatest numbers in NFL history. Kaepernick completed 17-of-31 passes for 263 yards, two touchdowns and one interception but it was on the ground where he set an NFL rushing record for quarterbacks. He carried 16 times for 181 yards and two touchdowns in a virtuoso performance that made Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers look like an idiot. Aaron Rodgers led Green Bay with 26 completions on 39 attempts for 257 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, but this game was over by the end of the third quarter. The Niners were simply better and they will now play in next week’s NFC championship game.

Tomorrow at Noon (CST), it’s Seattle at Atlanta. Atlanta is now favored by 2 ½. And at 3:30 p.m., it’s Houston at New England. The Patriots are now favored by 9 ½.

Tom Brady goes Sunday afternoon.

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