Today's Names to Know: Pats, Ryan Grant, Kevin Love,
Pats dismiss Jaguars, doubters to advance to AFC title game: It was close for a half-plus, then not so much. I had been saying that the Jaguars had a "puncher's chance," and going toe-to-toe for a half or so is about right in that construction.
But they couldn't stop the MVP, who saved his best performance of a truly spectacular season for the biggest game yet -- the Pats' playoff debut.
Tom Brady was simply incredible: 26-for-28 for 262 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs... a staggering 141.4 QB rating. He broke Phil Simms' record for highest completion percentage in a playoff game (92.9 to 88.0).
As soon as the Pats complete the Perfect Season and presuming Brady continues to have games even close to that sick, he will pass Montana, Elway or any other QB as the greatest QB in NFL history. Performing in the regular season, performing in the playoffs, performing year-after-year... amazingly, given the season (and career) he has had, he's even better now than before.
As you all know, I had held hopes of a Jags upset; now I'll join the rest of the country looking ahead to a Pats-Colts AFC title game that will be as monumental as any conference championships in recent memory (last season's is the gold standard, and is threatened to be eclipsed... at least by the hype.)
Packers shut down Seahawks in the snow: Undrafted, unheralded RB Ryan Grant takes his place in mythology among Packers fans, after rushing for 201 yards and 3 TDs in the blizzard-ish conditions.
As for the losers: Was this Mike Holmgren's final game coaching the Seahawks? Can the Jaguars build on this breakthrough season behind David Garrard, or will they have to petition to move to the NFC?
CBB: UCLA holds off Washington State, 81-74. Wazzu made 7 3s in the final two minutes of the game to make it interesting. Otherwise, Kevin Love continued to establish himself as arguably the best freshman (perhaps even the best player) in college hoops: Love had a career-high 27 to go with 14 rebounds (his 8th double-double in 17 games this season), in the biggest game of the season so far for UCLA – and the biggest intra-conference game you'll see this year. (Yes, even more than UNC-Duke, which gets more pub, but is less meaningful this year.)
College Hoops Futility Watch:
Vanderbilt loses for the first time this season: The good news is that it was in double-OT (VU is putting up a fight); the bad news is that they lost to
(Patrick Patterson, who is battling Kevin Love and Michael Beasley for the title of Freshman of the Year, had 23 and 12. Isn't it interesting that all three are power forwards? Derrick Rose and Eric Gordon are in the mix, too. Put those five in a starting lineup and you could beat any college team in the country; might be your NBA Draft Top 5, too.)
NBA: Celtics lose on the road to the Wizards. It was the C's 2nd loss in 3 games. More troubling for
More: Do you think Isiah Thomas would actually tell the media the truth -- one way or the other -- about the rumors that he's going to resign as coach?
Roger Clemens meets the Texas High School Baseball Coaches: Needless to say, "training methods" weren't on the table as the boot-licking coaches made sure to kiss the needle-marked ass of the Rocket. "But what about the children?" indeed.
NFL Draft: Darren McFadden's dad ("McDadden?") says his son hasn't filed paperwork with the NFL to turn pro, which is curious. What is he waiting for?
NFL Front Office Moves: The Falcons might not be close to hiring Pete Carroll, but they ARE close to poaching from the Pats – Tom Dimitroff, director of college scouting, as their new GM. The Falcons can expect to receive tons of kudos, because anyone who works for the Pats MUST be a genius.
Recruiting: Text-message ban upheld. 241 of 306 schools voted to uphold the ban, which showcases the association's Luddite backwardness. Now, does that include email viewed through cell phones or Blackberries and Sidekicks? I'm sure the NCAA hasn't thought about it that much, given that they barely seem to understand what texting is all about. (Memo to Urban Meyer and the others who love to text: Sure, they've banned texting, but have they banned posting to Facebook pages? Not yet!)