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Sunday, January 09, 2005 

Road Warriors

Both home teams had their chances yesterday, but couldn't make the big play when they needed it. Seattle's drops are getting a lot of attention. I admit this was the first complete Seattle game I've watched since they played New England in October, and I was surprised to see that they still had problems catching the ball. But during yesterday's game, I never had the feeling that Seattle was going to win. It just seemed that St. Louis was able to make plays when they needed them, especially on some long third downs. Bobby Engram's drop in the end zone, on a somewhat difficult play that would not have been deemed spectacular, was symbolic of the Seahawks season.

The late game was another matter. San Diego played well at times, and while I thought their lack of playoff experience would be a factor, I was impressed by the last drive in regulation as Drew Brees made several key plays. The Chargers kept Curtis Martin in check on the ground (66 yards) but his 47 yards receiving included a couple of great runs after the catch. In the end, the Jets had made enough plays early in the second half so they could hold on for the win. Unfortunately, the officials nearly gave the game to San Diego at the end of regulation. I know you can't rough the QB, but the pass was already incomplete. Eric Barton's shot to Drew Brees's head had no effect on the play; the fact that Barton nearly sacked him did, as the pressure made Brees throw the ball before he was ready. With a fresh set of downs, Brees threw the tying TD pass to send the game to overtime.

But overtime was another adventure. Nate Kaeding's missed FG reminds me of other close calls Marty Shottenheimer has had; I remember a playoff game that Kansas City lost on a missed FG while he was the coach. The Jets then drove right down the field to set up for a 28 yard FG, which Doug Brien had to make twice because the officials allowed the Chargers to call a late timeout. I agree the officials on this one, since that's a tough spot - what if the Chargers have determined that they have too many men on the field, try to call a timeout, the officials don't let them call it, and the Jets miss the kick but get a second chance because the officials do call the penalty?

Here's hoping today's games are as closely contested. Enjoy!

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