Every week of the Browns season we do the (sometimes comical) “Browns will win if…” articles here on WFNY. Usually it was something about Peyton Hillis being healthy, Colt McCoy finding some rhythm with his receivers, Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin stopping the run, or Phil Dawson hitting eleventeen field goals as the keys to victory. It was always interesting to see how the games turned out to see if any of our “predictions” or key matchups became as key as they felt on Friday afternoon as we were making things up. In the end, the NFL has become a game of predictions between Vegas and Fantasy and, really, nobody knows what is actually going to happen. Nothing could have been illustrated more perfectly than that sentiment yesterday during the NFL playoffs.
Peter King pointed it out in his MMQB column and it is true.
1. Sterling Moore.
2. Billy Cundiff.
3. Kyle Williams.
4. Jacquian Williams.
Sterling Moore stripped Lee Evans of what should have been a Ravens touchdown. Billy Cundiff missed the game-tying field goal. Kyle Williams fumbled two punts in his attempt to fill in for Ted Ginn. Jacquian Williams dislodged the ball from Kyle Williams in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal.
An undrafted 21-year-old player from Southern Methodist University, a kicker on his 9th NFL team from Drake, a 23-year-old 2010 sixth rounder from Arizona State and a 22-year-old 2011 sixth rounder from South Florida all were pretty intimately involved with games that ultimately will drive storylines about guys like Alex Smith, Frank Gore, the Harbaugh brothers, Eli Manning’s legacy, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s legacies and countless others.
I know I’ve talked about him too much lately, but this reminds me of a really smart thing I heard Peyton Manning say.
“You’ve seen all the highlights with the rookie hazing and haircuts,” Manning said Tuesday. “We don’t do that around here, because we don’t treat the guys like rookies. We expect those guys to play this year and to play well.”
I am guessing Tom Brady didn’t have much time during training camp to attach Sterling Moore to the field goal post with athletic tape even if Bill Belichick would somehow allow that.
Also, it just goes to show how hard it is to build a professional football team. It takes finding good players from the starting quarterback who must take the majority of the bullets for all those backup linebackers, receivers and defensive backs that make up special teams blocking and tackling units. You must have affordable depth so that when you are calling on your sixth round linebacker deep in overtime of a playoff game that he just might strip the other team’s sixth rounder to win the game.
It is not proof of much, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find it interesting that Sterling Moore overcame Lee Evans to help the Patriots advance to the Superbowl. That doesn’t mean that you should never acquire veterans for much younger counterparts because there are no hard, fast rules for this kind of thing. Still, it should raise everyone’s eyebrows.
It’ll hopefully make me think a little bit harder when we do the “BWWI” thing next year. Maybe I’ll write about Buster Skrine. Better yet, maybe I’ll write about the importance of the long-snapper before the game instead of afterwards.