Cam Newton Makes First Pro Bowl

Cam Newton was named to his first NFL Pro Bowl today with Eli Manning needing this coming Sunday off to prepare for a slightly bigger contest. I couldn’t be happier for the kid. As I watched him over the course of this season I really did feel that I was watching one of the best in the game; and you can relive a lot of the highlights with a nice 2011: Best of Cam Newton from NFL.com.

He was also the Sporting News Rookie of the Year.

They’re at it again: Giants upend Packers 37-20 in NFC Divisional Round

To me, this felt like a foregone conclusion for most of the week. The Giants feel to me like the New York Giants of 2007 (and the 2008 postseason) that rolled through the playoffs and got hot at just the right time. Absolutely amazing performance this past Sunday that ended in a 37-20 win for my wife’s Giants; and should have been a complete blow-out if not for the help of referee Bill Levy. 

I thought the biggest play of this game was Hakeem Nicks’ Hail Mary touchdown catch at the end of the first half to put the Giants up 20-10. That was the backbreaker.

This was one of the finest, most steady performances I’ve seen from Eli Manning in his entire career. In terms of the postseason, it was maybe the most complete. It was his first game over 300 yards in the postseason, and he rarely made a poor throw or decision. Manning threw three touchdown passes, the final one which was the dagger to Mario Manningham, Manning scanned the field and looked tall and comfortable in the pocket in finding Manningham for what would be the knockout punch.

Manning isn’t the only story.

The Giants defensive line did a good job harassing Aaron Rodgers most of the day and didn’t allow a Green Bay offense to get in rhythm. As time ticked away, you just kept saying to yourself that the Giants were playing a Hell of a game on both sides of the ball, and you continued waiting for the Packers to come storming back. The Giants made every play when there was a coinflip that could have swung things either way.

This coming Sunday will be a test, evoking memories of my first NFC Championship game that I can ever remember. It seems like it would be the year that San Francisco would sneak back into the Super Bowl with a first year head coach. It’s a matter of time before that happens and I have a gut feeling that lady luck shines on the Niners this Sunday. But for the hopes of my family and the general good will I have towards Manning and the Giants, I hope we’re watching them Super Bowl Sunday.

An NFL Instant Classic in San Francisco

NFL moments like this, you never forget where you were. It lasts forever, for a lifetime.

Vernon Davis’ catch at the goal line; in collision with Roman Harper at the exact time the ball arrived immediately reminded me of Terrell Owens catch to beat the Packers some 14 years ago in Adam Koloff’s living room. Vernon Davis crying. The view of the Candlestick landscape. Oh yeah. We’re going back in time for just a few moments of life that we watched so long ago.

This time it was Drew Brees (rather than Brett Favre in January 1999) who was on the other end of this. The Saints were not easy to knock out of this tournament. They wouldn’t stop fighting. They wouldn’t quit. They just ran out of time.

Absolutely classic. People who follow the NFL will never forget this game on NFL Divisional Round Saturday 2012.

A Family Affair

My brother-in-law and father-in-law were featured in a post this morning in the New York Times 5th Down Blog, leading into tomorrow’s Giants Packers game.

For tomorrow’s game my wife is making some Chilli among other goodies and we’re having our friends over who are Giants fans. This is a time of year where it’s kind of great to have several different teams you pull for. Really hope to see Eli work his Lambeau Field magic. I’ll be up bright and early tomorrow morning to start scribing about it. 

Giants dismantle Falcons on Wildcard Sunday, 24-2

Finally, the Giants have come back to tasting postseason victory. 
My wife and my father in law can rest easy, although I felt the uneasiness of the Giants crowd early yesterday afternoon as the Giants got down early 2-0 to the Falcons and had trouble establishing the offense. You could tell Tom Coughlin was thinking ‘here we go again’ and I even saw him mouth “what the Hell is going on out there!?!” after Eli Manning’s pass under duress was ruled intentional grounding in the end zone for a safety. 
It wasn’t long after that that Eli became masterful. He went 23 of 32 on the day for 277 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. 
The Giants confirmed what I thought I knew; I thought they would beat Atlanta going away and they did. Two 4th and 1 stops of Matt Ryan curling into the fetal position really swung the game, and the Giants defensive line continued to swarm and make plays. 
And now I think I am onto something else about the Giants. This team is a lot like the 2007 team–they’re hot at the right time, unheralded, and could really be dangerous under the radar in these playoffs. I think they’ve got an excellent shot to beat Green Bay on Sunday night. Eli has done it before, though this time it’s not going to be quite as cold. 
This is one of; if not the most dangerous team in the playoffs. I’m happy for Eli and Coughlin; and I’m happy for Brandon Jacobs. While Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are new to the party, this is a lot of the same old cast of characters that went on that historic ride through the playoffs in 2007. This is going to be fun to watch.