Baltimore Ravens, 38 - Denver Broncos, 35
-- This was the fourth longest game in NFL history. It lasted 76 minutes and 42 seconds.
-- Joe Flacco just earned himself a new contract. He entered the league in 2008 and has led the Ravens to the playoffs every season since. He's only 27 years old and has 5 playoff road wins. Not 5 playoff wins total - 5 playoff ROAD wins! That ties Eli Manning for most in NFL history. His playoff performances have been getting better every season: 2008 - 1 TD, 3 INT; 2009 - 0 TD, 3 INT; 2010 - 3 TD, 1 INT; 2011 - 4 TD, 1 INT; 2012 - 5 TD, 0 INT (of course, this year is still going). Congratulations Joe, you're an elite quarterback.
-- Peyton Manning tied Brett Favre for most postseason losses among starting quarterbacks with 11. Ironically, Manning lost his 11th playoff game the same way Favre did - by throwing an interception across his body.
-- Credit the Baltimore coaching staff for figuring out a way to get pressure on Manning. In the first half, Manning wasn't hurried or sacked once. In the second half, he was pressured 10 times and had 2 turnovers (including the interception referenced above).
San Francisco 49ers, 45 - Green Bay Packers, 31
-- Prior to last night, Michael Vick had the best single game rushing day of any quarterback in NFL history (he also had the 2nd best and 4th best). Colin Kaepernick now holds that record. Kaepernick ran for 181 yards and 2 touchdowns, helping the Niners set a franchise playoff record for yards gained in a postseason game (579).
-- Did Kaepernick (and Jim Harbaugh) just change the way offense is played in the NFL? The read option has been used by many teams this year - Washington with RGIII, Seattle with Wilson, even Miami with Tannehill (trust me, I saw it happen) - but this was arguably the most successful it's been all season and it happened on the biggest stage. In the short run, I see more team's adopting it just like they did the Wildcat a few years ago. In the long run, I see the NFL changing to more of an "option" league, with athletic, accurate quarterbacks who can dictate a game on multiple levels (hmm...maybe I'll write more about this).
-- The key to Kaepernick's running was that he never took hits. Do you remember him taking one shot from Matthews, Hawk or Woodson? I don't. Well the stats back it up. Of the 181 yards he had on the ground, 178 came before he was touched.
-- Michael Crabtree is blowing up. As I wrote about in yesterday's fantasy predictions, Crabtree's stats have soared since Kaepernick took over. In plays that go for 15 or more yards since Kaep took over, Crabtree has 11 catches, 286 yards and 3 touchdowns. With Alex Smith he had 3 catches for 66 yards and 1 touchdown.