As the snow and cold continues to pound away outside, today seems like a perfect day hit some of the major stories around the sports world so let me put the coffee down and get to it.
You certainly could not have asked for two more exciting games to open the National Football League Playoffs. The Indianapolis Colts rallied from a 28-point second half deficit to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 45-44 in the opening game yesterday. While the Chiefs’ defense will take a large portion of the blame and rightfully so, the offense didn’t help much in the second half either.
With running backs Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis both knocked out of the game, the Chiefs were forced to try their already short passing game in order to move the ball and it just wasn’t happening. The Colts survived two Andrew Luck interceptions in the second half which turned out OK considering he sprinkled in four touchdown passes.
The Colts will await the winner of today’s Cincinnati-San Diego game to see if they head to Denver or New England next week.
The night game wasn’t quite as exciting as the opener but still had some drama at the end. New Orleans, desperate to kick the ‘can’t win outside’ moniker, did just that by beating Philadelphia 26-24. The win came off the foot of recently acquired Shayne Graham who nailed the winning field goal as time expired.
Both teams struggled to put points on the board in the first half and Philly didn’t take their first lead until the fourth quarter. Drew Brees, himself under the gun to play well outdoors, did that in the second half after two first half interceptions. Credit must go to Sean Payton and the dedication to the running game despite not having leading rusher Pierre Thomas who was out with a chest injury.
Back-up Mark Ingram rushed 18 times for 97 yards and a touchdown. New Orleans will now travel to Seattle for a second shot at the Seahawks.
It appears Charlie Strong has finally decided to accept the job at the University of Texas after a period of about 48 hours where he seemed unsure about leaving Louisville. On the surface, we outsiders were thinking, “Why are you waiting Charlie?” Louisville is and always will be a basketball school and in Austin, good seasons will make you a god.
Strong is a great defensive mind and is a tremendous recruiter which appeals to Texas who needs to keep its’ homegrown talent in Austin. That will be Strong’s first challenge although winning the Big 12 will help too.
Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers is out three to five weeks after he separated his shoulder the other night. The loss of Paul hurts for obvious reasons but also because the Clips are trying to hold off both Golden State and surprising Phoenix in the Western Conference’s Pacific Division. They lead those teams by a half and full game respectively.
The injury comes at time when trade rumors are surrounding a ‘Blake Griffin for Carmelo Anthony’ deal. Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers called the rumors “stupid” which doesn’t mean it won’t happen but I tend to think it won’t happen either.
Also in the NBA, the Pau Gasol for Andrew Bynum deal appears to be getting closer. The Lakers would save about $20 million by trading Gasol and then cutting Bynum after the trade. Bynum is currently suspended by the Cavaliers for ”conduct detrimental to the team.’ I honestly don’t know why any team would want the troubled big man on it’s’ roster.