After a breathtaking Wild Card weekend, here are my thoughts on six big storylines from the opening round of the playoffs.
Given we were live in the studio for approximately 15 and-a-half hours over the course of Saturday and Sunday, sleep was not something that was enjoyed in an abundance.
So I will be keeping my thoughts relatively brief before I head back to bed!
Brady to play on?
I think Tom Brady regressed badly during the course of the 2019 season to the point where he was the league’s lowest-rated passer in the second half of the campaign. Yet after crashing out to Tennessee 20-13 at home on Saturday, Brady seems to be hinting at a return in 2020.
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I think he should retire because I’m not sure he is wanted back by Bill Belichick and I do not want to see this living legend playing anywhere else. Brady will turn 43 on the eve of the 2020 season and I think he should give it up now and go out relatively near the top.
Magicians on the move
Brady looks like a quarterback from a bygone era in terms of his lack of movement when under pressure these days. The same cannot be said for Watson, of the Houston Texans, and Russell Wilson, of the Seattle Seahawks.
Both star quarterbacks made big plays with their legs as well as their arms over the weekend and that is the future – and the present – of the position, alongside the likes of Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.
The unstoppable force
The Titans handed the football to Derrick Henry 34 times on Saturday night and the giant-sized running back was too much for the Patriots to handle. New England knew Henry was getting the ball and there was not a damn thing they could do to slow him down. Belichick so often takes away the opponent’s biggest threat but he was powerless to do so in the Wild Card round.
I have had quite a few chances to work closely with Kirk Cousins over the years and he is one of my favourites. We exchanged text messages after Minnesota’s big win over the Saints and needless to say Kirk was excited about the way that game played out with the Vikings winning 26-20 in overtime.
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Kirk is one of the NFL’s good guys and he deserved to have a big moment in a big game. His 43-yard throw to Adam Thielen was the best of his career and one of the greatest in this season. He topped the drive with the game-winning score to Kyle Rudolph and I could not have been happier for a genuine guy who has been slammed so often for not winning the big games.
Injuries hit hard to the very end
It’s been a horrible year for injuries in Philadelphia and, sadly, they suffered another big one in their final game of the season. Carson Wentz attempted just four passes in his playoff debut before suffering a head injury when he was struck behind by Jadeveon Clowney on what should have been a foul.
Josh McCown entered the fray as a 40-year-old playoff debutant on his 11th team and he kept the Eagles competitive. If Doug Pederson’s team get some injury luck in 2020, they can contend next season.