2010 NFL Playoffs
Bengals went into playoffs with no momentum
The Cincinnati Bengals were a stunned and shocked football team following Saturday’s 24-14 loss at home to the New York Jets.
After claiming the AFC North division with a 10-6 record, Cincinnati had a prime opportunity to win their first playoff game since 1990, getting a home wild card game against what many considered to be the weakest AFC playoff team in the field, despite the Jets being the No.5 seed.
However, the writing was on the wall that the Bengals were not going to be a factor in the playoffs. They went into the playoffs with absolutely no momentum after losing 3 of their final 4 games, that included a 37-0 shutout loss to the Jets in week 17.
The Bengals rushing attack was dominate in Saturday’s loss as Cedric Benson rushed for 169 yards and they had good field position early as Bernard Scott had 74 kickoff return yards on 2 runbacks.
The Jets rushing attack was just as good as rookie Shonn Greene rushed for 135 yards. Both teams rushed for a total of 171 yards.
What this game came down to was quarterback play and rookie quarterback Marc Sanchez outplayed Carson Palmer by a wide margin.
Sanchez was 12/15 for 182 yards and 1 touchdown. Sanchez managed the game and made a big play when needed finishing the game with a 139.4 quarterback rating.
Meanwhile, Carson Palmer was 18/36 for 146 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Palmer had a quarterback rating of 58.3 and averaged an abysmal 4.1 yards per completion.
Palmer wasn’t a difference maker for the Bengals and he hasn’t been much of the season, despite the Bengals winning 10 games.
The Bengals passing game struggled down the stretch and the results were the same in their first round playoff exit.
Palmer continues to get the benefit of the doubt since blowing out his knee in January 2006 but he has not been an elite quarterback in nearly five years.
The Bengals made the playoffs because of an impressive 6-0 division record but they ended the regular season as maybe the third best team in their division.
Ravens stun New England
On the first play from scrimmage, Ray Rice ran for an 83 yard touchdown as the Baltimore Ravens jumped out to a 24-0 first quarter lead and never looked back, beating the New England Patriots 34-14 at Foxboro.
Rice put on a dominating performance, rushing for 159 yards and two TD’s while Patriots quarterback Tom Brady lost a fumble and was picked off three times.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was not a factor in the game but improved his playoff record to 3-1. Flacco went 4 for 10, throwing for 34 yards and one interception.
Baltimore will meet the No. 1 seed Indianapolis Colts next Saturday. The New York Jets will travel to No.2 seed San Diego on Sunday.
Cowboys a threat to win it all
The Dallas Cowboys are the hottest team in the NFL and are a serious threat to reach the Super Bowl out of the NFC.
The Cowboys are the most complete team in the NFC with a dominate running game along with a quarterback in Tony Romo who appears to have taken the next step to elite status.
However, the Cowboys pass rush is what has elevated this team to a Super Bowl contender. The Cowboys pass rush has given star quarterbacks Drew Brees and Donovan McNabb fits over the past couple weeks and they will do the same to Brett Favre next weekend.
No. 2 Minnesota and No. 1 New Orleans have a tough road to reach the Super Bowl with Dallas peaking and the No. 4 Arizona Cardinals likely being a factor next weekend.