The NFL had two extraordinary games today that some of you may have missed based on the teams involved. It's unlikely any football fan wouldn't have watched tonight's game between the Colts and the Jets but this afternoons Saints/Seahawks match up may have been off your radar. If you missed either game, you missed A LOT, so let me catch you up.
Saints @ Seahawks
The Saints came into today's game with an 11-5 record but as the Wild Card team and facing off against the 7-9 Seahawks who actually set a record for the worst record by a division winner. Since the Hawks did win the West, they got the right to host a game that most thought would little more than a warm up for Drew Brees and the defending NFL champs. Most people were wrong. Matt Hasselbeck led his Seahawks offense down the field time after time and threw for 4 TD's in their 41-36 win over the Saints. The game was a close, back and forth shootout until late in the game when the Seahawks D shut down Brees (404 yds, 2TD's on the day) and forced them to punt. On the ensuing drive, Marshawn Lynch (131 yds on the day) took a hand off 67-yards for a TD and broke 8 different tackles in the process. It was an incredible score that gave the Hawks an 11 point lead that they would not relinquish.
Hawks 41 - Saints 36
Jets @ Colts
This one had been brewing all week long. Jets coach Rex Ryan had called out Peyton Manning and made this one personal. Ryan felt like Manning was responsible for last years Colts win and vowed to beat the veteran this year. While this game had almost none of the excitement of the Saints/Seahawks shootout earlier in the day but plenty of intensity. Where the first game was decided by who scored the last TD, this one would come down to the kickers. The Colts came into the game 10-6 and winners in the NFC South facing a Jets team who finished 11-5 behind the runaway Patriots in the East. Neither Sanchez (18/31, 189yds, 1 Int) nor Manning (18/26, 225yds, 2 TDs) was incredibly impressive in the game and their running games were serviceable but uninspiring. Tomlinson ran for 82 yards and 2 TD's for the Jets and Addai claimed 66 yards on the ground. In the end, the game came down to the players often laughed at, the kickers. Adam "Mr. Clutch" Vinateri kicked a field goal with :53 seconds left in the game to put the Colts up 16-14 and setup a match up between Sanchez and the Colts defense. On the ensuing kickoff, Jets returner Antionio Cromartie returned the ball 47 yards which left Sanchez with a short field. Sanchez and the Jets moved down field and stopped the clock with 3 seconds left. This placed the Jets season on the foot of Nick Folk. Folk banged through a 32 yard field goal to win the game for the Jets 17-16 and send the defending AFC champs to the golf course.
Jets 17 - Colts 16