- Patriots over Steelers
This game illustrates why it can be good not to gamble. Despite my picking the Steelers, I throughly enjoyed the Patriots' victory. They are a spunky team. I also give credit to Drew Bledsoe for being ready to perform when called upon when Brady went down. About five years ago, after Randall Cunningham was unseated as the Eagles' QB by Rodney Peete, Peete was injured in a playoff game against the Cowboys. Cunningham was completely unprepared, giving the Eagles no chance of winning. It would have been easy for Bledsoe to sulk similarly; it's good to see he didn't.
Special teams were the difference. I think it's interesting that you never hear about a team picking up someone specifically for their special teams, other than a big-time kicker like Morten Andersen or returner, like Desmond Howard. Mostly they're guys who weren't good enough to make it as LB's, TE's or RB's, who worked to contribute to the team in this way. New England showed yesterday that it matters who you put out in these situations.
- Rams over Eagles
I'm sure I'll be subject to some ribbing at work today, since I put a "Go Eagles!" sign on my desk yesterday. Oh well.
The Rams won because they have better players. Sounds simple, but a lot of people forget things like that. The Eagles just had no answer for Marshall Faulk, the NFL's best player, and probably my favorite athlete of all time. This guy just does everything possible to help his team win. You think you need a big back at the goal line? Faulk ran as tough an anyone on his two one yard TD runs.