Rand: A grand Saturday for NFL football

  • Updated: January 13, 2013 - 8:48 PM

The Vikings season ended a week ago, but the NFL playoffs are too woven into our collective sports DNA to dismiss.

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Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones celebrated his 70-yard touchdown reception with 31 seconds to play, which forced overtime against the Denver Broncos on Saturday. The Ravens won in OT 38-35.

The Vikings season ended a week ago, but the NFL playoffs are too woven into our collective sports DNA to dismiss. As such, those who bleed purple and couldn't look away from the divisional round this past weekend were reduced to: 1) hoping merely to see competitive and entertaining games; 2) making a date with schadenfreude and hoping to derive pleasure from the misery of others.

And, well, Saturday couldn't have gone any better based on that limited script. Here's why:

Ravens' improbable victory at Denver

The Ravens' thrilling victory over the Broncos was one of the more entertaining games you will ever watch without a rooting interest in either side. What's more, it might have helped cleanse our collective palate of three agonizing Vikings NFC title game losses.

1998? Denver now inherits the Curse of "Take a Knee" after John Fox did the same thing Denny Green did 14 years ago against the Falcons. Despite having the second-most-prolific scoring offense in the NFL this season, Fox ordered Peyton Manning to sit on the ball instead of try for the winning score in the waning moments of regulation.

2000? Denver's coverage that led to Baltimore's game-tying score was so terrible that it immediately brought to mind the secondary play of the Vikings against the Giants in the 41-donut game. Allowing Jacoby Jones to catch that deep ball is more egregious than anything we saw from Wasswa Serwanga on that fateful day in the Meadowlands.

2009? If Peyton Manning's interception in overtime, which led to the game-winning field goal, looked exactly like Brett Favre's late and over-the-middle pick against the Saints ... well, then your memory has been erased better than ours has. Manning's, though, was even worse.

Kaepernick's total destruction of Packers

If you're a Vikings fan, you became a 49ers fan quickly on Saturday because no self-respecting fan of the purple would shift allegiances to the Packers.

And you saw this: Colin Kaepernick is exactly the quarterback Vikings fans wanted Joe Webb to be -- a dynamic runner AND a deadly passer. (The QB the 49ers benched, Alex Smith, seems to be exactly the QB the Vikings brass wants Christian Ponder to be, but that's a story for another day.)

Kaepernick rushed for 181 yards, a quarterback record, engineering an offense that torched the bewildered Packers for 45 points and 579 yards. As noted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Green Bay has given up 133 combined points in its past three playoff losses. Perhaps that was a catalyst for the web page we found Sunday afternoon, www.firecapersnow.com.

Yes, Vikings fans can delight in the loss (if they choose) and know their team played at least a small role in it. If Green Bay had won in Week 17, knocking Minnesota from playoff contention, the Packers would have had a first-round bye and the divisional game would have been at Lambeau Field.

Instead? Well, like we said, it was a grand Saturday for football.

MICHAEL RAND

 

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Cincinnati - WP: A. Simon 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Samardzija 1
St. Louis - M. Wacha 6:05 PM
Washington - G. Gonzalez
Milwaukee - K. Lohse 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - C. Morton
Toronto - D. Hutchison 6:05 PM
Cleveland - J. Masterson
LA Angels - J. Weaver 6:08 PM
Detroit - D. Smyly
Atlanta - A. Harang 6:10 PM
NY Mets - J. Niese
Baltimore - C. Tillman 6:10 PM
Boston - J. Lackey
NY Yankees - H. Kuroda 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - E. Bedard
Seattle - C. Young 6:10 PM
Miami - N. Eovaldi
Chicago WSox - F. Paulino 7:05 PM
Texas - M. Perez
Minnesota - R. Nolasco 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Vargas
Philadelphia - J. Pettibone 7:40 PM
Colorado - T. Chatwood
Houston - J. Cosart 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
San Francisco - M. Cain 9:10 PM
San Diego - T. Ross
Arizona - W. Miley 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Montreal 6:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Detroit 6:30 PM
Boston
Dallas 9:00 PM
Anaheim
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
Oct 13 - vs. Carolina NoonX35-10
Oct 21 - at. NY Giants 7:40 pmX23-7
Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay 7:30 pmX44-31
Nov 3 - at Dallas NoonX27-23
Nov 7 - vs. Washington 7:25 pmX34-27
Nov 17 - at Seattle 3:25 pmX41-20
Nov. 24 - at Green Bay Noon26-26
Dec 1 - vs. Chicago NoonX23-20
Dec 8 - at Baltimore NoonX29-26
Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia NoonX48-30
Dec 22 - at Cincinnati NoonX42-14
Dec 29 - vs. Detroit NoonX14-13
 
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