The triple-header is without a doubt here to stay! Who can resist the temptation of more playoff football?
On a cold January weekend in this COVID world where, let's be honest, there isn't a whole lot to do. it sure was tremendous to dial in to 11 straight hours of playoff football only to repeat the process the next day.
Over the course of the weekend, some valuable lessons were learned.
No player was under more pressure to deliver a win than Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. After losing his first two playoff games, Jackson helped lead a 10-point comeback and silenced plenty of critics on the road to his first postseason win.
We learned that Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen has come of age in his third season and flourished into the league's biggest stars, but he also showed off his ability to bounce back from his rough playoff debut a year ago to answer the bell a year later against a very talented Colts defense.
Yes, the young guns flexed their muscles at the quarterback position, but the stage was also set for two future Hall Of Famers in Tom Brady and Drew Brees to duel, perhaps for the final time, on Sunday.
Sure we learned about quarterbacks, but the value of persistence was the theme for the Cleveland Browns. Without their coach and top two corners due to COVID protocols, the Browns went to Pittsburgh and won their first playoff game in 26 years and sent their hated rivals home packing.
The LA Rams took a page out of the persistence playbook from the Browns. Even with their quarterback Jared Goff two weeks removed from thumb surgery, the Rams found a way to take down Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, because the Rams have quite possibly the best defense still playing pro football.
And don't forget, defense travels!
So yes, it was a great weekend of football, but it was also a clinic on cowardly coaching.
There's a mantra that gets repeated in the Jastremski cave quite a few times throughout the football season, "Kicking is for Losers." Don't kick unless you absolutely have to!
In two instances, Titans coach Mike Vrabel and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin made two head-scratching decisions to punt that were momentum killers for their team: Vrabel on a 4th-and-2 in Baltimore territory in the fourth quarter down four points and Tomlin around midfield on a 4th-and-1 while down 12!
For me, both decisions were easy first guesses and should be put in a handbook for coaches as examples of terrible coaching in playoff games.
After all, as former Jets coach Herman Edwards once said, "you play to win the game!"
But all in all, the first-ever Super Wild Card Weekend was a tremendous success that taught us quarterback play matters, defense travels, and kicking is for losers.