Atlanta Falcons, 30 - Seattle Seahawks - 28
-- This was Tony Gonzalez's first career playoff win. This is his 16th year in the NFL.
-- I'm not going to lie...I was really into the Seahawks. I loved the swag. I loved the uniforms. I LOVED Russell Wilson. In 1937, Sammy Baugh threw for 335 yards in a postseason game for the Redskins. That record stood until yesterday, when Wilson had 385. Bye-bye, Russell (tear).
-- Matty Ice finally got one. This is how he did it: 7-for-9, 111 yards and 2 touchdowns when facing a defensive back blitz. This scheme was the bread and butter for Seattle all year. When blitzing a defensive back during the season their opponents completed 47% of their passes and threw 5 interceptions. Ryan figured it out and burned them on it.
-- That 111 yards included 41 on Atlanta's final drive, which of course set up the final score from Matt Bryant.
-- Matt Bryant is money. On his last 10 field goal attempts past 49 yards, Matty Ice II has hit all 10.
New England Patriots, 41 - Houston Texans, 28
-- Tom Brady passed Joe Montana for most postseason wins with 17. Best. Quarterback. Ever.
-- Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen have given New England a new wrinkle to their offense this season: a running game. They combined for 123 rushing yards (219 if you add receiving) and 4 touchdowns yesterday. Ridley himself had 1,263 rushing yards during the season, which was 7th in the league. The last time the Patriots had a rusher in the top 15 was Corey Dillon in 2004.
-- To me, the Texans lost this game on their first drive. Danieal Manning (who had a great day in the return game) took the opening kick back to the New England 12. Three plays later - a short run, a sure TD drop by Graham, a bad throw by Schaub - and the Texans were settling for a field goal. What a statement a touchdown would of made. Two minutes in and the Patriots would have already been on their heals. Instead, they're only down by 3 and the defense has a sense of momentum. The Texans had their moments and put some points on the board, but I think the game was over after the first minute.
-- It was surprising that Wade Phillips blitzed as often as he did. I don't pretend to know what schemes a defensive coordinator should call when playing in a divisional playoff game on the road against the greatest quarterback ever, but history shows that blitzing Brady is a backfire waiting to happen. You need to get pressure with your front four (think both Super Bowls against the Giants). Case in point: Brady was 12-for-19 with 208 yards and 2 touchdowns against 5+ pass rushers. This is not new. When the Pats played the Texans a month ago, he was 13-for-19 with 148 yards and 3 touchdowns!
-- This will be the first AFC Championship rematch since "The Drive" and "The Fumble" (Broncos at Browns, '86 and '87). Sorry Browns fans. Prepare for Elway and Byner highlights all week.