"It's a crazy world, so sports and athletics and music can be a form of escapism."
― Eddie Vedder
Wild Card Weekend: Titans Historic Comeback; Saints Brush Past Panthers
By Zach Wargo '20
With the regular season over and the playoffs beginning, it’s no better time to be a football fan. Four games were played over the weekend, and the winners would move onto the divisional rounds the following week. Their were 12 teams entering their bid to win Super Bowl LII, but only one team would become world champions of the NFL.
In the first game of the weekend, which was probably the best game was the Tennessee Titans at the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs had lost five straight home playoff games, which the last quarterback to win a home playoff game was Joe Montana. The Titans who were looking to play spoiler, got off to a very slow start, and suffered miscues early, and the defense looking tired. The Titans were down 21-3 at halftime, with only 30 minutes left in their season. The Titans quickly played defense for the entire 2nd half, limiting the Chiefs defense to zero points, and taking the lead late in the fourth quarter. One of the marquee plays was made by quarterback Marcus Mariota who threw a touchdown pass to himself, the first in postseason history which sparked the Titans offense. The titans would later win 22-21, moving on to play New England Saturday night. In the second game the Falcons would roll past the Rams, 26-13, ending the historic season by the Rams. The Falcons will play the Eagles Saturday evening at 2:20 PM.
Photo Source: Tennessee Titans
The next day two more games took place, in the first time since 1999, the Bills made it to the playoffs, taking on the Jaguars, in the lowest scoring wild card game in NFL history, the final score was 10-3, Jacksonville won on the games only touchdown, and moving on to play the Steelers on Sunday. The last game of the weekend was the Panthers against the Saints. The Saints took control early with an 80 yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees to Ted Ginn Jr, to take an 7-0 lead. Later on the Panthers would answer with a field goal as at halftime Saints led 21-9. In the second half the Panthers would put more pressure on Bree’s to pass the ball, as the Panthers outscored the Saints 21-10 in the second half. It wasn’t enough as the last plays of the game ended on multiple sacks, and defensive plays. The Saints will play the Vikings Sunday at 2:45 PM. All eight teams in action this weekend will be looking for spots in their respective conference title games.
Alabama Wins National Title In Overtime
by Zach Wargo '20
In the week prior to the national championship game, the Georgia Bulldogs,had historically pulled off the largest comeback history of the rose bowl, with the Bulldogs being down 14 points at halftime. Georgia pulled off many spectacular plays in the 2nd half to pull off the comeback. The game was the first rose bowl to go into overtime, which meant an instant classic, Georgia would move on to the National Championship for the first time in 35 years. The 2nd game on New Years Day consisted of more defense, Alabama controlled the game from the start with its fast, and powerful defence, only to defeat Clemson to go to its third straight National Title game.
Alabama was the heavy favorite to win the National Title with many people not giving Georgia a chance at all against its defence. The game went as not many people expected too, with Alabama’s offense struggling in the first half and the Georgia offense breaking down the opposing team’s defense. Georgia lead at halftime 13-0. Alabama made many adjustments going into halftime. By switching to their inexperienced freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who is from Hawaii, and had not played a snap in college until then. The freshman quicked sparked the offense, with escaping sacks, and making plays with his feet, The freshman quickly made great throws, to make the Bulldog defense second guess the play calling.
Photo Source: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
In the fourth quarter the Bulldogs scored an 80 yard touchdown to go back up by 10, with 17 minutes left in the game. Alabama did not let their head down, as they took plenty of time off the clock and were only down by seven with 7 minutes left in the game. Alabama played great defense for the entire second half, only limiting Georgia to seven points the entire half. Alabama took only 4 minutes to score again, tying the game with a seven yard pass to Calvin Ridley to time the game 20-20. With Alabama having the ball again with 3 minutes left, after a defensive stop, they only needed a field goal. Alabama got a few completions down the field to set them up with a 36 yard field goal to win the National Title, which was later missed, as the crowd was stunned and excited with the shanked field goal.
In Overtime, Georgia had the ball first, with an incomplete pass play, and a short run play for two yards, on third down Alabama’s defense once again got a key sack, setting up Georgia for a 51 yard field goal, which was good to put Georgia up 23-20 in OT. Alabama only needed two plays to win the game, the freshman quarterback took a disastrous sack which led them to a 2nd and 26, only to win the game on the next play with a 41 yard pass to Devonta Smith. The Champions were Alabama once again, putting head coach Nick Saban tied with Bear Bryant for the most National Titles in the Poll era. The game was the first title game to go into overtime in 15 years.