Welcome to the Convention Semifinals version of the Sunday FreakOut, the place we react and overreact to every thing that occurred on this weekend’s video games. For the complete roundup podcast-style, remember to subscribe to The MMQB Podcast, in your feed each Monday morning…
Table of Contents
Issues That Made Me Giddy
Deebo Samuel’s Successful Run: All season, this man has been like one thing out of these previous SNL Bill Brasky sketches. This run, by which he needed to create the ultimate 5 yards to transform the primary down and arrange the game-winning subject objective, is completely the stuff of legend:
Robbie Gould, By way of the Snow: The sport-winner in Lambeau made it 20-for-20 on subject objectives and 32-for-32 on PATs for his postseason profession. He is an everyday Evan McPherson Jr. However older.
D.J. Reader, Man: On a day when the Bengals had been extremely shorthanded on the line of defense, Reader was constantly the very best participant on the sphere on Saturday. His first season after signing an enormous free-agent deal in Cincinnati was a wash due to harm, however he was typically a difference-maker in 2021, and no extra so than in Saturday’s win.
Ja’Marr Chase After the Catch: Together with the catch that arrange the game-winning subject objective, and a superhuman catch-and-run to arrange a first-half subject objective, Chase had one other catch on a second-and-11 that ought to have been stopped for a yard however as an alternative he changed into an eight-yard achieve to place the Bengals in field-goal vary (Burrow was sacked out of field-goal vary on the subsequent play). Two performs earlier than that, he had made a catch within the flat with two defenders in pursuit, and one way or the other wrecked their angles and turned it right into a 21-yard achieve. The important thing to the Bengals’ win was, on an evening after they had been outschemed, their celebrity playmaker conjuring a handful of performs.
Mike Vrabel’s Protection Was In Full Management: Sure, the Titans line of defense is a lot better than the Bengals offensive line, however not eight sacks higher. That was a product of Vrabel’s sport plan towards empty, sending a blitzer after which retaining a defender in a shallow zone to clog any passing lane. A few of it was his guys successful, a few of it was Joe Burrow not throwing sizzling when he ought to have, however most of it was Vrabel and his employees, who maximized what he received from a protection filled with holes all season, simply having the higher sport plan.
Mike Hilton: The artwork of the slot blitz must be taught in public colleges, and Hilton ought to train each a kind of courses.
Evan McPhersonatieri: Adam McVinapherson? I’ll work on it. The rookie is now 8-for-8 within the postseason, together with a 54-yarder and a game-winning 52-yarder on the highway on Saturday.
Additionally, the Titans’ Go Rushers Completed: We’ve seen teams get free runners at Joe Burrow this yr, and plenty of instances we’ve see Burrow escape after which get the ball downfield. Ending is a ability we regularly overlook, and the Titans’ go rushers completed constantly on Saturday.
Trent Williams In Movement: Hitting Rashan Gary so exhausting that I, as a Gary, additionally felt it.
A Special Teams Meltdown the Likes of Which We’ve By no means Seen: There are solely so many performs a special teams unit participates in each week, and plenty of of them are predictable and mundane. However the Packers’ special teams turned must-see TV for all the more serious causes this yr. On Saturday night time, together with terrible kick protection, they managed to depart three factors on the board by having a subject objective blocked on the finish of the primary half. However unforgiveable was the blocked punt TD they allowed within the fourth quarter, defending a seven-point lead at a time when the snow was falling and the sphere was 700 yards lengthy for the San Francisco offense. Everyone knows the Packers’ special teams have been an issue all season, however this… this was simply too on-the-nose.
Jaire Alexander Has to Make That Deal with: He had an opportunity to get Deebo Samuel on the bottom on the third-and-7 that arrange the 49ers’ game-winning kick. The try wasn’t wherever close to adequate; Alexander regarded like a man who hadn’t made a deal with in three months.
That Simply Wasn’t Derrick Henry: A 250-pound human taking part in an expert soccer sport lower than three months after being recognized with a Jones fracture in his fot is pretty absurd. Henry, although, simply didn’t seem like himself on Saturday. It wasn’t the fourth-and-short cease (Henry wants a runway, if a protection takes it away from him you’ll cease him within the backfield), however there was no breakaway velocity all sport. On the primary play of the Titans’ ultimate possession of the season, he received to the perimeter with a head of steam and solely cornerback Chidobe Awuzie there to cease him, a situation that often leads to the defensive again being stiff-armed into the Earth’s core and Henry taking off for a bit of yards. As an alternative, a gassed Henry whiffed on a half-hearted stiff arm and went to the bottom for a three-yard achieve. Henry’s longest carry of the sport was 9 yards.
49ers Offense Observes Reverse Day for the Recreation’s First 20 Minutes: Jimmy Garoppolo firing on-target passes, receivers dropping them, hamburgers consuming folks, and many others.
Zac Taylor Was Fortunate to Get Out of There Alive: Nobody can rightfully ding a coach who’s going to the AFC title sport with what many people assumed was a 11-loss staff, but it surely took Taylor too lengthy to seek out a solution for his quarterback and get out of these empty units, which the Titans foiled time and again and once more.
Why Did Vrabel Go for Two?: I get that you’ve an opportunity to place the ball on the 1, however in a 6–6 sport, simply take the purpose and the following subject place (proper?).
Jimmy Garoppolo Out-of-Construction: He doesn’t must do it typically, largely as a result of Kyle Shanahan’s offense is so well-designed. The red-zone interception on the finish of the primary half was as unhealthy a throw as you’ll see from an NFL quarterback. (If we’re being trustworthy, nobody ought to get to be this good-looking and catch this many breaks.)
The Bengals’ Non-Joe Mixon Backs: I’ve puzzled all yr why Samaje Perine continues to get a lot taking part in time behind Mixon, but it surely’s clear Perine is trusted. Sadly, he stays extremely restricted within the passing sport. And whereas that often doesn’t end in a devastating Fournette-esque drop-turned-interception in a postseason sport prefer it did on Saturday, that play was a reminder that you simply simply don’t need to be counting on Perine within the passing sport. Rookie Chris Evans is the extra dynamic and succesful pass-catcher, however on quite a lot of his snaps he regarded like he didn’t know the place he was speculated to go in his route. With a most of two video games left within the season, the Bengals are in a spot the place they actually can’t afford to take Mixon off the sphere.
Moments We’ll Inform Our Grandkids About
Jordan Willis for the Block: And for the followers in Lambeau, the terrifying feeling of watching each participant on the sphere frantically making an attempt to determine the place the ball was going to return down.
The Time Eli Apple Made the Play of a Postseason Recreation: The third Ryan Tannehill decide was much less a pressure and extra a quarterback giving a receiver in single protection with leverage an opportunity to make a play. This was a 60/40 ball for the receiver, however Apple received his hand in and triggered the interception.
What We’ll Be Speaking About This Week
Mike Vrabel Can’t Catch a Break: Jeffery Simmons and Kevin Byard are phenomenal. Harold Landry and Kristian Fulton are fairly good. A lot of the remainder of Tennessee’s protection is roster filler, too many for this unit to have been nearly as good because it turned within the second half of the season. They outschemed the Bengals on Saturday night time, they usually’re going house anyway.
Aaron Rodgers’s Future, Once more: [sigh]. Davante Adams, too.
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