The Highs and Lows of Wild Card Weekend

Tom Brady threw for just 154 yards and turned the ball over four times.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - If you didn't select any players in the Green Bay-Arizona matchup, you probably thought this weekend was a nightmare as your team went down to a shocking defeat. But there were actually some solid performances in the three early games too.


Obviously, Aaron Rodgers in defeat and Kurt Warner in victory were both magnificent, making the opposing defenses look silly. Tony Romo was pretty good too, at least in the first half before the Cowboys turned off their passing game in the third and fourth quarters.

Two quarterbacks who were expected to perform and were drafted pretty high, Tom Brady and Donovan McNabb, were extremely disappointing. Brady (23-for-42 for 154 yards) turned the ball over four times, three by interception, and without his safety blanket Wes Welker seemed lost. McNabb (19-for-37 for 230 yards) didn't complete a pass until the second quarter and the team's best passing play of the day was made by Michael Vick, not McNabb. Since it seems likely that the Eagles won't get to another Super Bowl with McNabb at QB, is it time for the "Kevin Kolb Era" to begin?

Carson Palmer and Mark Sanchez weren't expected to do much, and didn't and Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh didn't give Joe Flacco a chance to succeed. Flacco threw the ball just 10 times as the Ravens running game dominated the game from start to finish.

Running Backs

Ray Rice was expected to shine on Sunday and he did just that, right from the first play. His 83-yard touchdown run on the opening play set the tone for the game.

Cedric Benson did all he could to keep the Bengals close to the Jets, but Shonn Greene in a bit of a surprise, overshadowed his more well thought of teammate, Thomas Jones, by rushing for 135 yards and a score.

Felix Jones also had a great day, posting 148 yards on the ground against the Eagles and another 30 yards in the air. Apparently, owner Jerry Jones was right when he demanded at mid-season that Jones start to get the ball more.

At the other end of the spectrum, Brian Westbrook (one touch) did nothing nor did Marion Barber, LeSean McCoy, Ryan Grant or any of the five running backs that Patriots Coach Bill Belichick employs.

Wide Receivers

There was just one 100-yard receiver in the opening three games - Philadelphia rookie wideout Jeremy Maclin. That number jumped to three after the 51-45 shootout in Arizona when Steve Breaston (7-125-1) and Greg Jennings (8-130-1) joined the list.

Tight Ends

Jermichael Finley was a "monster" on Sunday, seemingly open on every play. He finished the day with six receptions for 159 yards. And while the more publicized tight ends Jason Witten (4-27-0) and Brent Celek (3-59-0) were ordinary, the Jets' Dustin Keller was the second-best TE this weekend with a solid 3-99-1 effort.


Overall, the kicking game was atrocious with seven kickers (Akers didn't try one) going seven-for-12 (58.3%). Particularly ugly was Neil Rackers' pull of a possible game-winner from 34-yards out and Shayne Graham's two second-half misses from 35 and 28 yards.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at
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