Matt Bryant was happy to make the game-winning kick against Seattle, and even happier that guard Mike Johnson didn’t jump directly on top of him.
(AP Photo/David Goldman)

Matt Bryant was happy to make the game-winning kick against Seattle, and even happier that guard Mike Johnson didn’t jump directly on top of him.

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

NFC West Champions sweatshirts, the perfect gift for the under confident 49er fan in your life.

NFC West Champions sweatshirts, the perfect gift for the under confident 49er fan in your life.

emilyheller:

Sean Keane made me do this

emilyheller:

Sean Keane made me do this

The Playoffs Are About QBs: Brady vs. Schaub

The NFL playoffs always come down to quarterback matchups. Let’s look at these guys head-to-head. Let’s look at Tom Brady vs. Matt Schaub, AKA, New England vs. Houston.

Archenemy:

  • Brady: Waterslides
  • Schaub: Male pattern baldness
  • Advantage: Brady

Rings:

  • Brady: Three Super Bowl rings
  • Schaub: Missed last year’s playoffs with a case of ringworm
  • Advantage: Brady

Historic antecedent to his team:

  • Brady: Irish guys tossing around a pig bladder and punching each other.
  • Schaub: Houston Oilers
  • Advantage: Schaub

Brazil:

  • Brady: Married to supermodel Gisele
  • Schaub: Deathly allergic to Brazil nuts
  • Advantage: Brady

Pro Bowl:

  • Brady: Never plays because he’s in the Super Bowl
  • Schaub: Won MVP in 2009
  • Advantage: Brady

Post-NFL career plans:

  • Brady: Congressman
  • Schaub: Founder of his own discount brokerage, Charles Schaub.
  • Advantage: Brady

Tom Brady takes it 5-1, while Matt Schaub pulls a hamstring just participating in this matchup.

"I wanna get you in the Georgia Dome on the fifty yard line While the Dirty Birds kick for t’ree”
- Ludacris Falcons placekicker Matt Bryant

"I wanna get you in the Georgia Dome on the fifty yard line
While the Dirty Birds kick for t’ree”

- Ludacris Falcons placekicker Matt Bryant

The Playoffs Are About QBs: Rodgers vs. Kaepernick

The NFL playoffs always come down to quarterback matchups. Let’s look at these guys head-to-head, next up, Aaron Rodgers vs. Colin Kaepernick, AKA, Green Bay vs. San Francisco.

Shoes to fill:

  • Rodgers: One of the greatest QBs of all time
  • Kaepernick: Alex Smith
  • Advantage: Rodgers

Pitching:

  • Rodgers: State Farm Insurance
  • Kaepernick: 92 MPH fastball
  • Advantage: Kaepernick

Doppelganger:

Checkdowns:

  • Rodgers: Discount, doubled
  • Kaepernick: Generally go to Delanie Walker
  • Advantage: Rodgers

Crappy hometown:

  • Rodgers: Chico
  • Kaepernick: Turlock
  • Advantage: Neither

Career playoff losses:

  • Rodgers: Two
  • Kaepernick: Zero
  • Advantage: Kaepernick

In a huge upset, Kaepernick beats Rodgers 3-2-1 (you know Kaepernick loves ties). This is rigorous science and has nothing to do with my being a giant 49er fan.

The Playoffs Are About QBs: Manning vs. Flacco

The NFL playoffs always come down to quarterback matchups. Let’s look at these guys head-to-head, starting with Peyton Manning vs. Joe Flacco, AKA Denver vs. Baltimore.

Famous sibling:

  • Manning: Eli
  • Flacco: Rapper Waka Flacco
  • Advantage: Manning

Saturday Night Live:

  • Manning: Hosted
  • Flacco: Lost ticket lottery for 6th consecutive year
  • Advantage: Manning

Home city role model:

  • Manning: John Elway
  • Flacco: Stringer Bell
  • Advantage: Flacco

Forehead:

  • Manning: Bright red from overly tight helmet
  • Flacco: Is overshadowed by his unibrow
  • Advantage: Manning

Audibles:

  • Manning: Calls a lot of them
  • lacco: Barely is when he speaks
  • Advantage: Manning

Fuse:

  • Manning: Neck vertebrae
  • Flacco: His favorite TV channel
  • Advantage: Flacco

Really good at:

  • Manning: Selling out
  • Flacco: Losing the AFC Championship Game
  • Advantage: Flacco

By a 4-3 count, the matchup goes to Peyton Manning. It’s just science.

Your NFL Playoff Fact of the Day

sportscentr:

Adrian Peterson finished nine yards short of Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record. In 1984, Dickerson’s Rams lost in the wild card round, just like Peterson’s Vikings. Dickerson ran for 107 yards in his loss; Peterson went for 99 - this time, he was eight yards short.

Colts at Ravens: The Intangibles Bowl

by @steven_lebron

The main storyline was clear heading into the divisional round match-up between the Colts and Ravens: #CHUCKSTRONG.

It went from a hashtag, to a movement, to a full blown playoff rally cry for the Indianapolis Colts, who really did win 11 games this season. Curtis Painter, we barely remember you.

But by mid-week, with news that Ray Lewis will be retiring after the season, the whole intangibles meter swung a bit back to the home team. Here stands their leader, win or lose this week, likely playing in his final game in Baltimore.

Despite the inconsistency of the Ravens all year, and a defense that is more reputation than performance at this point, you have to figure that Lewis’ swan song and the home field advantage will matter.

Everyone’s excited for this one, except for Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, who continues to just stare at something in the far distance, we’re just not sure what.

Speaking of legacies, welcome back to the spotlight Joe Flacco. He is elite, in a fleeting, once in a while type of way. He can amaze. He has amazed. But he’s incredibly frustrating as well. Which kind of describes the last decade of Ravens football. A few solid regular seasons, a couple of divisional titles (back to back AFC North champions), but whether it be the Steelers, their own kicker, or the Steelers again, that second Super Bowl appearance has eluded Lewis and crew.

But under John Harbaugh, they have yet to go one-and-done in the post-season.

The Colts have been a wonderful story, but they’re also faced one of (the?) easiest schedule of the season and been incredible in close games. I’m starting to sound like Bill Barnwell.

But it feels like this is what happens: Joe Flacco shows glimpses of being great again, the defense rises one more time, the rookie quarterback gets an important road playoff lesson for the future, and yes, Jim Caldwell will even crack a smile at the end of the game.

Ravens win 34-10.

Your NFL Playoff Fact of the Day

The last time the Cincinnati Bengals won a playoff game, Andy Dalton was two years old. Russell Wilson was one. Andrew Luck was three months old. Robert Griffin III hadn’t been born yet.

Championship Game Commercial Predictions
  • If the 49ers win, expect Alex Smith to immediately sign a deal with Domino’s Pizza. “Everyone thought I sucked, and then I got a lot better. While that still only bumps me up to mediocre, I’m also cheap.”
  • If the Giants win, Eli Manning will film another Double Stuff Racing League commercial, but his new partner will be Andrew Luck.
  • Depending on his postgame press conference, Tom Coughlin could end up a miniature coach in a beer commercial within two years. It would be easy to suggest that his face has also been “frost-brewed.”
  • Any win by a Harbaugh brother will set up a “Who’s Got It Better Than Us?” campaign for Best Western.
  • Joe Buck will work the phrase “Jumbaco” into the broadcast, because he is the fucking worst.
  • A triumphant Tom Brady will film a Mitt Romney endorsement at midfield; a losing Tom Brady will film himself shame-eating a giant sundae from the Coldstone Creamery in the back of his town car.
  • Rex Ryan will shill for Six Flags. “Since I’m clearly not going to Disneyland any time soon, I might as well visit Six Flags. But I’m not taking Mark, because he’s scared of roller coasters.”
  • You’ll hear the song “Bad Day” more than thirty times today, while an announcer suggests, incorrectly, that it’s perfectly acceptable to start playing fantasy football in late January.

(Sean Keane)

The fantastic Joe Mande called it; Alex Smith is the closest thing the NFL has to Dillon Panthers quarterback Matt Saracen, from Friday Night Lights. Let’s explore the parallels.
- Alex’s final drive on Sunday contained a miraculous last-second touchdown pass, like in the Season One state championship game, and a heart-breaking comeback from the opposing team, like the Season Three state championship game, and everyone cried tears of joy, like when Tami Taylor found out she was pregnant. (Please no spoilers, I’m still in the middle of Season Four) - Matt Saracen had to care for his elderly grandmother, who was in the  early stages of dementia. Alex Smith had to deal with offensive  coordinator Jimmy Raye, who occasionally forgot what down it was. Once,  in a goal-line situation, Smith had to burn a timeout AND sing “Mr.  Sandman” to Raye just to get him to send in a play.
- Neither Matt Saracen nor Alex Smith has ever had a legitimate wide receiver to throw to. The emergence of Delanie Walker as a receiving threat is kind of like the episode where Landry caught a touchdown pass and Coach Taylor still called him “Lance.” Although Delanie Walker never murdered anyone.
- What they did have were Tim Riggins and Vernon Davis. Both are former disciplinary problems turned team leaders. Both started off as blockers, but when they were actually made a part of the offense, they became devastating weapons. Each has a brother with a drinking problem. Also both looked like full-grown men as teenagers, although for Riggins, that  was because he was played by a 28-year-old.
 - They also had Frank Gore and Smash Williams. Both running backs had obvious talent, but were ignored due to a knee injuries, and eventually paid huge dividends for the team that took a chance on them. Frank Gore never resorted to steroids, but then again, he also never had to work at an Alamo Freeze.
- Saracen was abandoned by his mentor, Coach Taylor, who left for a better  job at TMU. Smith was abandoned by his mentor, Norv Turner, who left to  run the San Diego Chargers into the ground. Frankly, I don’t think Norv  is even qualified to be the head coach of TMU.
- Later, Coach Taylor chose J.D. McCoy over Saracen, and blew the state  championship game because of it. Coach Mike Singletary started Troy  Smith ahead of Alex, and blew the easily winnable 2010 NFC West  division.- Smith also lost his job to J.T. O’Sullivan, which might  as well have been the name of a Friday Night Lights character.  Offensive coordinator Mike Martz preferred O’Sullivan to Smith, just  like Wade Aikman supported J.D. McCoy.
- In his title game win, Saracen defeated his archrival, Voodoo Tatum. In his division round win, Smith defeated a team from New Orleans, the most voodoo-friendly city in America.
- Matt Saracen had sex with his coach’s daughter. On the sidelines, Coach Mike Singletary once angrily suggested that Alex Smith go have sex with himself.
So what are we to expect as fans on Sunday? Will Alex Smith triumph against the New York Giants, the Arnett Meade of the NFL? Will the rain turn Candlestick into a Mud Bowl? Will Alex Smith be distracted by his father’s unexpected return from Iraq? Did anyone ever find out what happened to the Latino kid that Buddy Garritty adopted?
All will be answered soon. Who’s got clearer eyes and fuller hearts than us? Nobody!
(Sean Keane)

The fantastic Joe Mande called it; Alex Smith is the closest thing the NFL has to Dillon Panthers quarterback Matt Saracen, from Friday Night Lights. Let’s explore the parallels.

- Alex’s final drive on Sunday contained a miraculous last-second touchdown pass, like in the Season One state championship game, and a heart-breaking comeback from the opposing team, like the Season Three state championship game, and everyone cried tears of joy, like when Tami Taylor found out she was pregnant. (Please no spoilers, I’m still in the middle of Season Four)

- Matt Saracen had to care for his elderly grandmother, who was in the early stages of dementia. Alex Smith had to deal with offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye, who occasionally forgot what down it was. Once, in a goal-line situation, Smith had to burn a timeout AND sing “Mr. Sandman” to Raye just to get him to send in a play.

- Neither Matt Saracen nor Alex Smith has ever had a legitimate wide receiver to throw to. The emergence of Delanie Walker as a receiving threat is kind of like the episode where Landry caught a touchdown pass and Coach Taylor still called him “Lance.” Although Delanie Walker never murdered anyone.

- What they did have were Tim Riggins and Vernon Davis. Both are former disciplinary problems turned team leaders. Both started off as blockers, but when they were actually made a part of the offense, they became devastating weapons. Each has a brother with a drinking problem. Also both looked like full-grown men as teenagers, although for Riggins, that was because he was played by a 28-year-old.

 - They also had Frank Gore and Smash Williams. Both running backs had obvious talent, but were ignored due to a knee injuries, and eventually paid huge dividends for the team that took a chance on them. Frank Gore never resorted to steroids, but then again, he also never had to work at an Alamo Freeze.

- Saracen was abandoned by his mentor, Coach Taylor, who left for a better job at TMU. Smith was abandoned by his mentor, Norv Turner, who left to run the San Diego Chargers into the ground. Frankly, I don’t think Norv is even qualified to be the head coach of TMU.

- Later, Coach Taylor chose J.D. McCoy over Saracen, and blew the state championship game because of it. Coach Mike Singletary started Troy Smith ahead of Alex, and blew the easily winnable 2010 NFC West division.

- Smith also lost his job to J.T. O’Sullivan, which might as well have been the name of a Friday Night Lights character. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz preferred O’Sullivan to Smith, just like Wade Aikman supported J.D. McCoy.

- In his title game win, Saracen defeated his archrival, Voodoo Tatum. In his division round win, Smith defeated a team from New Orleans, the most voodoo-friendly city in America.

- Matt Saracen had sex with his coach’s daughter. On the sidelines, Coach Mike Singletary once angrily suggested that Alex Smith go have sex with himself.

So what are we to expect as fans on Sunday? Will Alex Smith triumph against the New York Giants, the Arnett Meade of the NFL? Will the rain turn Candlestick into a Mud Bowl? Will Alex Smith be distracted by his father’s unexpected return from Iraq? Did anyone ever find out what happened to the Latino kid that Buddy Garritty adopted?

All will be answered soon. Who’s got clearer eyes and fuller hearts than us? Nobody!

(Sean Keane)