Wow! That would have to be the most exhilirating “Super Sunday” in years (even if it is Monday afternoon over here). I decided to watch the games live, and it was worth every minute!
Good to see that the Chargers took my advice, and went after Brady. They penetrated the previously impervious Patriots offensive line on several occasions, and this pressure together with their excellent secondary led to three interceptions. This is the first time Tom Brady has ever been intercepted in a post-season game.
On the offensive side of the ball, Philip Rivers has shown that he has come of age as a quarterback through this post-season. He was able to stand firm in the pocket, and find the gaping holes in the Patriots secondary. Not having Tomlinson for most of the game didn’t help, and the rushing game was somewhat limited.
The key to the game was the Patriots excellent red zone defence. The Chargers had more scoring drives (4-3), fewer interceptions (2-3), but came up short because they could not get the full 7 points out of their drives. They should be very proud of their performance – they have the talent and depth to go deep into the playoffs for the next few years.
In the NFC, the Giants have shown that they truly deserve to represent their conference in the Superbowl. They have won well on the road in hostile conditions, and Eli Manning has also finally delivered on the promise of his pedigree with consistent performance under pressure. But the most credit should go to the defence. They are fast, tough, and unforgiving.
The Giants outplayed Green Bay for most of the game. The Packers were only ahead because of one huge 90 yard play for a touchdown. Otherwise, their running game was totally stifled, and the Giants’ coverage limited the passing game. If not for two missed field goals, this game would have been over much sooner. It was good old fashioned Giants football, with control of the lines of scrimmage and the clock.
Now to the Superbowl. The Giants are a genuine chance to go all the way. They have the defence to bring pressure on Tom Brady and shut down the run. Their offensive line is dominant, and Manning’s stability and consistency have improved out of sight in the last few weeks. Finally, they have shown throughout the season a mental toughness and self-belief that means they can come from behind if necessary.
This has been the most exciting post-season in years. Only 13 more sleeps to Superbowl XLII.