As I sit back and reminisce about the madness that took place throughout Saturday and concluded just hours ago, I can't help but think that it was arguably the most improbable, incredible and astonishing day in NFL postseason history.
It started with a political outcry which ended as a tragedy; and ended with former Dallas Cowboys' castoff, Nick Folk, drilling a 32-yard field goal to spring the Jets into the next round of the postseason. It was an emotional, hard-fought victory in Lucas Oil Stadium.
There was a 12-hour period yesterday which encompassed events that were nothing short of astonishing. Oh yeah, and the two defending conference champions were eliminated in the the wild card round on the same day (first time in NFL history).
Oh yeah, and Mike Mayock and Al Michaels did commentary for the pair of games, which was a tremendous upgrade from one of those two being replaced by the
wonderful eardrum-splitting duo of Theismann/Millen. It was nice to not be forced to watch a football game on mute.
And the best part, as John recapped earlier, Gang Green went into Indianapolis and stunned the Colts, a little payback for the AFC Championship game last year.
Follow me after the jump, as we explore the days' events in a bit more detail and try to make sense of them all.
(SPOILER: We'll conclude with a video of Folk's game-winning field goal)
Timeline from the events occurring on Jan. 8, 2011:
At approximately 2:30 p.m., EST; various news outlets reported U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords had been shot and killed while hosting a public event. (This would later prove to be untrue, but when this initial piece of news broke, it swept the nation like the plague.)
In a tragic event, Congresswoman Giffords was shot in the head, but would later have surgery and is now expected to survive. Unfortunately, others did not share her fate. Six people were killed; including a 9-year old child and a Federal judge. It was a sad day for U.S. history, as partisan politics once again splits the country apart.
22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner is the accused assailant, suspected of opening gunfire on the public appearance with a semi-automatic assault pistol. He is now in custody, and was tackled by two bystanders.
May the six victims rest in peace: our (GGN's) prayers go out to their families.
The Seahawks won only seven games in the regular season this year, and had lost five of six games until beating the Rams in Week 17 to secure a last-minute postseason berth.
When the two last met six weeks ago, the Saints dominated and won, 34-19, and were not even fully healthy yet.
Sean Payton is arguably one of the best head coaches in football, so there's no way he was going to lose to Pete Carroll in his first year with the Hawks, right? I mean, Carroll fled the NCAA to the NFL, seeking refuge after destroying USC's football dynasty. And need I mention his short, little stint with the Jets?
After a lot of fireworks, little defense, and a heavy dose of Marshawn Lynch Vs. Saints' passing game; Matt Hasselbeck's Seahawks would emerge as the victor, as the
old mansavvy veteran quarterback threw four touchdown passes as Seattle pulled off one of the most improbable upsets in NFL history.
At approximately 11:40 p.m., EST, Nick Folk drilled a game-winning in the final seconds to help the Jets beat the former AFC champions (Colts) on their home turf.
Going into the game, QB Peyton Manning was 5-1 career against Rex Ryan's defenses. The Jets had never beat him in a game he started and finished.
The Colts managed to take a 7-0 lead into halftime after a Sanchez interception left points on the board with one minute remaining. The Jets now found themselves down a touchdown against one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history regarding making (second half) adjustments. It was going to be an uphill battle, and Colts were going to roll to victory and outscore Jets 17-0 in second half like they did last year, right?
The Jets received the football first in the second half, and Schotty dialed up a very solid, balanced drive which lead to a touchdown to tie the game. Gang Green would later put together a near 10-minute drive which was capped off in the fourth quarter by a LaDainian Tomlinson touchdown, giving the Jets a 4-point lead, 14-10.
Jets defense continued to "bend but not break" and played strong, giving up an Adam Vinatieri field goal which cut their lead to one point. Later, with just minutes remaining, they had a chance to ice the game with two first downs. Facing a "3rd & 5," they decided to air it out down the sideline to Braylon Edwards and give Manning a 'free' time out on an incomplete pass.
Manning would go on to lead the Colts down the field, but Jets' defense once again came up strong when called upon, clamping down and forcing Mr. Clutch (Vinatieri) into kicking a 50-yard field goal. Of course, he nailed it. He never misses against us, or ever, for that matter.
This game is over; less than one minute remains. We've seen this story before.
Not if Antonio Cromartie had anything to say about it. 'Cro' would return the kickoff to midfield, and Sanchez would later go back to targeting Edwards, hitting him on a key third down in which he made a diving catch on a comeback route to put the Jets' on Indy's 15-yard line.
Oh my god, I can't take another Doug Brien moment.
And then, as if to say "these are not your father's Jets," Nick Folk steps up and drills the game-winning 32-yard field goal.
Cue Rex and Schotty mauling Folk, and the rest is history.
Really? The Jets held Peyton Manning to one touchdown pass and Nick Folk drilled a game-winning field goal on the road in the postseason? Did this all happen today?
Yes, it did. If it still feels like a dream, pinch yourself. Then, proceed to watching the glorious video below: Nick Folk's 32-yard field goal which would mark the first time in NFL history the two defending conference champions would be knocked out in the wild card round the following year.