Cardinals 14 @ Saints 45
The O line let QB Warner down. It had played so well last week but folded under the pressure of the Saint D this week. The WRs didn’t have time to get open. Warner went 17-26 for just 205 and no TDs. That was not enough to offset the Saint O.
After a single run 70 yards the Saints shut the run down. With the Cards forced to pass on every down, the D line just opened up and rushed the passer.
The Cards D was unable to cover the Saint receivers early. When the Cards fell behind by 14 in the first quarter, the D couldn’t stop the run. Injuries to key players also contributed to the Saints scoring 45 points.
The Saint O had struggled in the last few games. In the last three games all of which were losses the Saints O scored only 44 total points. But someone flipped the switch for the playoffs and the O came alive. The passing game got them up by 14 after the 1st quarter and they did whatever they wanted after that. QB Brees was 23-32 for 247 and 3 TDs. RB Thomas carried 13 times for only 52 yards but RB Bush had 5 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown. The O line kept the ball moving by excellent pass and run blocking. The Card D was exhausted.
The Saints D was outstanding as well. They had played well in the losses at the end of the season but were let down by the lack of O. They allowed only 67 points in the 3 losses. Against the Cards they caused 3 fumbles (recovering 1) and a pick. The Cards just could not move the chains and keep the ball.
Cowboys 3 @ Vikings 34
This is the Boys we have come to see in the playoffs. They couldn’t get out of their own way. They couldn’t protect QB Romo. He was running around like a butcher shop delivery boy surrounded by a pack of wild dogs. Romo was 22-35 for 198 and a pick. The over rated Boy O line was unable to either open holes for the running game or protect their QB. RB Jones broke one run for 17 yards but had 13 attempts for 52 yards otherwise. Barber got just 8 attempts for 14 yards. The O committed penalties, missed assignments, and were unable to handle the D line of the Vikes.
The Boys D was equally inept. They did do a reasonable job against RB Peterson holding him to 63 yards on 26 attempts. But time after time, Favre hit a pass that moved the chains and kept the Boys D on the field.
This game was why the Vikes had to sign Favre. He was the difference in this game as he had been in so many of the Vikes wins before. He was only 15-24 for 234 yards but threw 4 TDs. When the Vikes got a 14 point lead, the game was over. The O just kept the ball away from the Boys and wore the Cowboy D to a frazzle. It was a perfect combination of passing keeping the chains moving. The 14 point explosion in the 4th quarter was due to a totally defeated D giving up because the Boys O was totally outclassed by the Vikes.
One problem exists that will prevent the Vikes from getting to the Super Bowl–The O line has to be able to get Peterson running room. If they can not run the ball against the Saints, they will lose.
The Vikes D did what was expected. They harassed Romo and prevented the run from hurting them. They sacked Romo 6 times and made the tackle when he completed a pass. The Boys got just 3.8 yards per pass attempt. That is not nearly enough to get a win. They held the run to just 3.8 per attempt. This D is the real thing. The Vikes have had the D, O line, and running back to win in previous years. They one thing they lacked was a QB to get it done. With Favre they have that now.
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Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on
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