Hell of a game between the 49ers and Patriots.
The Pats nearly pulled off a once-in-a-half-century comeback... Colin Kaepernick looked like a QB that could take this 49ers team to a Super Bowl... There was even a controversial 4th-down call by Bill Belichick...
We already knew the 49ers and the Pats were elite teams. And that the Pats' D was leaky but it's offense was capable of scoring in bunches on anyone (even the standard-bearing 49ers D). If you want to place an overly symbolic emphasis on anything, it would be Kaepernick coming into Foxboro in December in the cold rain in primetime and showing nothing but swagger.
It's not like the level-headed Alex Smith had a bad year last season -- he did lead the 49ers to the NFL's final four. But there was something about Kaepernick's ability to perform in a context that was just about as tough as it gets outside of the playoffs that stood out about this game.
ESPN.com's Ashley Fox was entirely fair in suggesting this was the Game of the Year in the NFL.
And SportsOnEarth.com's Mike Tanier put it nicely: This would make for a phenomenal Super Bowl match-up.
Question of the Day: How many fantasy playoff games were won (or lost) thanks to Kirk Cousins?
(Given how few playoff teams probably started Cousins -- even those who might have needed a handcuff for RGIII -- he more appropriate question is how many fantasy playoff games were won thanks to Russell Wilson, who has proven himself every bit as worthy of Rookie of the Year as RGIII and Andrew Luck, a fairly remarkable thing if you think about it.)
Huge win for the Cowboys: The final two weeks of the NFC East playoff race are going to be fantastic, and let's hope it comes down to a playoff-ish play-in between the Redskins and Cowboys in Week 17.
Huge win for the Falcons? OK, they destroyed the Giants. No, I still don't buy them as a legit Super Bowl contender.
Meanwhile: The "just like last year" playoff field is rounding into form -- the league is worse off for it, by the way.
The amazing Adrian Peterson: How can you not be rooting for him to break Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record?
MLB: The Mets giving up on RA Dickey -- regardless of who they got back in a trade from suddenly fascinating Toronto -- is worse than the Knicks giving up on Jeremy Lin.
(There aren't many stories in sports better than Lin's -- in 2012 or ever -- but Dickey's is one of them. Dickey is also more productive than Lin, with a better chance at maintaining his peak form for the length of his contract extension.)
NBA: Andrew Bynum's point that Kobe stunted his development is entirely well-taken, but he's not really in a position to be griping about it right now.
CBB: Love the little details coming out about how Butler's Brad Stevens and Indiana's Tom Crean were sniping at each other from the sidelines throughout Saturday's game.
MNF: Is it too much to ask for the Jets to finally give Tebow a chance to succeed? Probably, but for the 15th straight week, I'll be watching just in case.