The Saints won their first home playoff game since 2012 on Sunday, and they did so at the expense of the NFC South-rival Panthers, whom they defeated three times this season.
In a group including Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, Smith is a graybeard, a 12-year veteran who turns 34 in May. They were collectively untouchable in the first half Saturday. But Kelce was lost to his concussion in the second half, Hunt barely touched the ball, Hill became invisible, and one of the most explosive units in the game got shut out and sputtered to 61 second-half yards. As much as the Titans defense deserves credit, the Chiefs failed from disuse and misuse.
We’ve got a long way to go, a lot of work to do, and we’re anxious to get after it.
The Giants (3-13), who ended the season with an 18-10 win over the Redskins, will pick second overall while the Colts (4-12) have the third pick. The Broncos (5-11), Osweiler’s current team, will select fifth.
But any good feelings the coaches may have had after the game sure didn’t show up in their postgame exchange.
It’s not the first time Payton has had a hard time controlling his temper this season. He made a choking motion at Devonta Freeman right before the Saints choked their Week 14 game away to the Falcons. And Payton may well have cost his team the win in that one by drawing a flag for charging a ref on the field, which earned him a $10,000 fine.
It’ll be worth keeping an eye on the postgame handshake when these teams meet up next season.
Even if it was acknowledged by officials, it wouldn’t be surprising if they were willing to let something like that go by in a big playoff game like this one. Though Pouncey’s looks a little more obvious than Lynch’s did.
Before the injury, Brown was on his way to a potential MVP campaign. Despite playing just 14 games, he still led the NFL with 1,533 receiving yards and reached 100 catches for the fifth straight season. His impeccable chemistry with Ben Roethlisberger makes him possibly the most dangerous receiver in the game, and an irreplaceable cog in the Steelers’ offense.
Against the Redskins, back in Week 10, their work spoke for itself. Early in the second quarter, Thielen caught a linebacker napping over the middle, cut hard into space and gained 38. EHH! AHH! POW! Five plays later, third-and-goal from the Washington three-yard line, Diggs sprung into the flat for his fifth of eight TDs this season. He celebrated by mimicking an airplane and jump-hugging the goal post, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct flag. Thielen, of course, provided backup, protesting to an official: “He accidentally ran into the pole!”