What a game.
I'll have my full Fan Notes up tomorrow - I was a little hydrated for the game last night and am going to have to go back through for typos, profanity, and a steadily repeating stream of the letter G that may or may not have resulted from my face meeting my keyboard for a quick nap at halftime - but for now I just wanted to offer a few quick-hit thoughts about yesterday's game.
Back-to-back-to-back AFC Championship Games. If we were Jets fans, we'd all be partying in the streets right now. Belichick would have gotten multiple Gatorade baths and we would be talking about this season for years to come. But we aren't Jets fans. We have been here before - three years straight now. And because of that, we know that yesterday's game doesn't mean anything if New England can't deliver next week. But the fact that the Patriots are now playing in the AFC Championship Game for the third straight year, especially coming off a season where pretty much anyone that could have gotten hurt got hurt, is a very special thing, and I think we should all take a moment today to appreciate that.
Not bad for the worst QB in the playoffs. Earlier this week, Tom Brady was crowned the worst quarterback in the playoffs. The whole thing was ridiculous, of course, but regardless there was an article out there (which I won't be linking) that had Tommy B as the worst QB left in the postseason. Well that worst QB in the playoffs has been a starter in the NFL for 12 seasons. He has been to the AFCCG eight times. Eight out of Twelve. Brady is one game away from the Super Bowl for the eighth time. Man, that guy sure does suck.
Hey Jamie, let's hit that Blount and get High. Jamie Collins and LeGarrette Blount were yesterday's Defensive and Offensive MVP respectively, and deservedly so; I'm sure we're going to be rightly singing their raises a lot over the next few days. However, I wanted to give a ton of credit to Dont'a Hightower, who once again put up a monster performance. Not only did he have a huge pick to stall an Indy drive before halftime that would have ended in at least three points, but he was an absolute beast at the line of scrimmage and blew up the run on multiple occasions. Hightower has really answered the bell as of late, and as someone who never hesitated to knock Hightower for poor play, it's only fitting that I give him his due.
Tight ends unsung heroes. Matthew Mulligan's plea to Hulk Hogan aside, New England's tight ends came up huge yesterday. While they only had one catch between them, they were absolute animals in the blocking game and helped spring Blount and Ridley for the majority of their big gains. Stats like that never show up on the sheet, so I wanted to make sure I gave Hoo-man and Mully their props.
It's hard not to like Andrew Luck. He's just an all-around good guy. Was all class during his postgame press conference, put all the responsibility on himself, praised his coach and his teammates, and expressed optimism about next year. Indy, you guys have a winner there, and he's going to bring home more rings to your city than Manning did. Book it.