Sunday, January 12, 2014

Football 2013 - Week 19

by Bill Holmes

My recap of the only football games that matter

The 2013 college football season is now over. The FSU Seminoles are the best team in the country. All 35 bowl games have been played. There were two bowl teams that ended up with losing 6-7 records. About a dozen finished with stellar 7-6 records. Most of the lesser bowls that I glanced at had tons of empty seats. I think the worst attended game was the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Official attendance was 20,053. I bet actual butts in the seats was lower. It seems that fans, baseball or football, don't want to go to the Trop. I do have to admit that the BCS bowl games were pretty good this year. Of the major conferences, the SEC had the best record (7-3) in the bowls.

          2013 BOWL RECORDS

Sun Belt201.000
Big 1233.500
Mountain West33.500
Atlantic Coast56.454
Big Ten25.286

College football cranks up again in nine months but it's now all NFL, all the time with the Divisional round of the playoffs.

The first game was New Orleans at Seattle. The Seahawks with a 13-3 record are the #1 seed in the NFC and had a bye last week. The Saints at 12-5 are a wildcard that beat Philadelphia last week to advance. Seattle won a 12/2/13 game between the teams 34-7. It was a rainy, windy day in Seattle. The Seahawks dominated the first half and led 16-0 at the break. I watched parts of this game and it looked to me like Seattle was dominating. The final score and stats don't confirm that view. The Saints outgained the Seahawks by over 100 yards and had 12 more first downs, They got within eight points early in the fourth quarter. They also had a chance at the end of the game for a tie after recovering an onside kick. Time ran out and Seattle won 23-15.

The next game was also played in the rain. It was Indianapolis at New England and it wasn't close. The Patriots never trailed and although the Colts were within seven at the end of the third quarter, they were shutout in the fourth as the Pats scored 14. Andrew Luck threw four interceptions that kept the Colts from staying in the game. It was an unusual game for Tom Brady. He is usually the main offensive weapon for New England but the ground game took over as they ran for 234 yards, 166 yards and 4 TDs by LeGarrette Blount. Final score Pats 43 Colts 22.

In the Sunday games we start with San Francisco vs Carolina. There was good weather in Charlotte. This game was some smash mouth football with plenty of extracurricular pushing and trash talking. The 49ers made two goal line stands in the first half and scored a TD with five seconds remaining for a 13-10 lead at intermission. The tough football continued in the second half but SF was tougher. They held the Panthers scoreless while scoring 10 points themselves. Final score was a 23-10 win for the 49ers. They advance to play at Seattle for the NFC title. Those teams split their two meeting this season.
The final divisional game was San Diego at Denver. It was the third meeting between the teams. The Chargers were the only team to win in Denver this season. The Broncos got off to a 14-0 lead in the first half which should have been 21-0. SD had an interception in the end zone with under a minute to go in the second quarter. The lead got to 17-0 before the Chargers finally scored in the fourth quarter. They pulled to within seven with four minutes to go after a TD, onside kick recovery and FG but ran out of time. Denver wins 24-17 and now hosts New England for the AFC championship. It will be Peyton Manning vs Tom Brady, the two premier quarterbacks of the last decade. Wonder what the weather will be like in Denver for that game?

A couple of observations. It seems to me that the officials are making more errors and bad calls than they used to. Maybe it's because we have more and better camera coverage or maybe it's because there are so many new rules to mitigate concussions and other injuries. I think the helmet to helmet, roughing the passer and a couple of other subjective calls should be reviewable. I feel sorry for the defensive players who get penalized for playing tackle football. 

Only three more football games this season. By then it will be almost time for baseball spring training.


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