Packers and Rodgers choke again in playoffs

Aaron Rodgers loss to SF in 2022 playoffs

Despite being one of the most talented quarterbacks to ever play the game, the legacy of Aaron Rodgers keeps taking more hit with each playoff loss. How many times can he and the Packers come up short in critical playoff games?

The conditions yesterday were atrocious, and both offensive lines had a lot of trouble in pass protection. Still, Rodgers and the Packer offense couldn’t muster much production after their opening touchdown drive. And of course, the Packer special teams unit lived up to its horrible reputation and basically handed the game to the 49ers, but there’s not excuse for Rodgers and this high-octane offense to lay an egg in this game. The Packers entered the game as solid favorites over the Niners and were the clear favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Jimmy Garopollo was also battling injuries to his throwing hand and shoulder. The Packer defense held up strong, but the offense behind Rodgers didn’t hold up its end of the bargain.

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Rams bully Cardinals in Monday Night playoff game

Kyler Murray INT vs Rams in playoffs 2022

The NFL continues to cash in, now adding a Monday night playoff game to its annual bundle of playoff goodies.

The game wasn’t very competitive, however, as the Los Angeles Rams bullied Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals. I suggested laying the points in this one and it was pretty much over in the first half.

Murray was a mess the entire game, making one wonder the extent to which he’s still feeling the effects of his ankle injury. We didn’t see the explosive running, but being banged up is reality in the NFL, particularly for quarterbacks who run around. Murray has been playing hero ball all season, and it caught up to him big time last night. The low point was an embarrassing interception where Murray just flung the ball to avoid a sack, leading to an easy pick-six for the Rams.

Meanwhile, Matthew Stafford earned his first playoff victory and Cam Akers returned to spark the Rams running game. The Rams travel to Tampa for a date with Tom Brady and the reigning Super Bowl champs. That one should be fun . . .

Cowboys implode again in playoff loss to 49ers

Dak Prescott loses to 49ers in 2022 NFL playoffs

The Dallas Cowboy find ways to lose. It’s been a staple of this organization for a while, and Mike McCarthy has kept this tradition going. His clock management has been a disaster all year long, and now his incompetence has helped to lose a playoff game. The quarterback draw with Dak Prescott at the end of the game was inexcusable.

Meanwhile, Kyle Shanahan did his best to keep the Cowboys in the game, dialing up some strange play calls when all he had to do was run out the clock with a lead. Jimmy Garappolo contributed with a brutal interception that gave the Cowboys life. Then Shanahan was afraid to go for it on fourth and inches, giving Dallas another shot.

This game was very entertaining and featured two good teams, but the fourth quarter was a complete mess. Dak Prescott didn’t live up to his enormous contract, and Jimmy G threw one of his signature interceptions to stain what otherwise was a solid performance.

Jerry Jones has put together a decent roster in Dallas, and some of their coaching moves have panned out like the Dan Quinn hire. But Jones needs to take a hard look at his team and probably move on from Mike McCarthy.

Chiefs dominate Steelers in lopsided playoff win

Travis Kelce TD versus Steelers 2022 playoffs

The Pittsburgh Steelers somehow snuck into the NFL playoffs after beating two depleted and injured division rivals. But everyone knew this team didn’t belong in the playoffs. And a matchup against the Chiefs was al almost certain blowout in the making. I said on Saturday that the Chiefs -13 was my favorite bet of the day, and they and the Steelers didn’t disappoint.

Ben Roethlisberger has very little left in the tank, and he showed that repeatedly last night. The Steelers defense made some plays early in the game to keep things interesting, but then Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense asserted itself. Travis Kelce had quite a night with receiving and passing TDs to contribute to the laugher.

The Chiefs get the Bills next in what could be one of the best matchups in the playoffs.

Bengals defeat Raiders; officials steal the spotlight again

Joe Burrow in Bengals win over Raiders 2022 playoffs

The officials have been a problem all year in the NFL, so we shouldn’t be surprised to see bad officiating impact playoff games and possible the Super Bowl. The controversial play in this game involved an early whistle on a Bengals touchdown. That call helped the Bengals get their first playoff win since 1991 with a 26-19 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.

Joe Burrow led the way, completing 24 of 34 passes for 244 yards and two touchdown passes – one to tight end C.J. Uzomah and receiver Tyler Boyd. Burrow played like a seasoned veteran, which is what we’ve all come to expect from this talented quarterback. Meanwhile, Derek Carr had plenty of chances throughout the game and in the fourth quarter, but he couldn’t make the plays when needed. Carr is a solid quarterback, but he showed again that he’s not among the elite passers in the NFL.