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The New York Jets open the quarter with a Mark Sanchez to Jerricho Cotchery pass and run for 57 yards. They're in the red zone, and on third down santonio olmes makes a circus catch in the end zone. Touchdown Jets.
With 13:00 left in the game, the Jets make it a two score game.
The Pats will start from their 18. They get a first, but every yard is contested, the Jets are anticipating nearly every move the Patriots make. Deion Branch gets a first, and gets up in the Jets defenders faces. Tempers are high. danny Woodhead puts his head down, and gets a first, he follows with another seven yards, they're at the Jets 35. A false start sets them back, but Wes Welker gets the first on a screen. A run stuff and a sack make it third and 13. A long incomplete and it's fourth and 13. Antonio Cromartie is down on the field, there's a timeout.
They go for it, and Deion Branch can't hang on. The Jets take over on downs at their 34. They go three and out. The Pats call timeout with 3:42 left in the game.
The Jets punt, and Julian Edelman goes 42 yards, and the Pats are in Jets territory. A couple quick passes, and they're at the 30. A Jets player takes an injury timeout, and the crowd boos, as it seems like the Jets are injured whenever the Patriots are moving the ball quickly, and New York isn't getting to get set. nd they keep returning after one play.
Rob Gronkowski picks up 12, and an incompletion stops the clock with 2:25 left. Another incompletion, and the Pats are disorganized.
They go for the field goal, and the Jets call timeout, right before the snap. Shayne Graham from 35 is good.
1:57 left, and the Pats have two timeouts,and so do the Jets.
The onside kick squirts past the first line, and right to Antonio cromartie, who picks it up and runs it to the New England 20.
Two plays later, the Shonn Greene scores. He gets an excessive celebration penalty, to be assessd on the kickoff.
With 1:41 left The Kets kick from their 15. Brandon Tate takes it out to the 40 yard line. Danny Woodhead runs it out to the 50, Then Wes Welker to the 38. Woodhead to the 23. An incomplete at the goal line, then at the 12 a first down. Welker drops one in the end zone.
Deion Branch hauls one in with 24 seconds left.
The onside kick is recovered by the Jets.
28-21 Jets final.
Congratulartions to the New York Jets and their fans.
The New England Patriots receive the ball to start the second half. Tom Brady and the Patriots come out sharp, moving the ball, but run out of steam near midfield. The punt goes for a touchback, and Mark Sanchez and the Jets will start from their 20 yard line.
The Patriots defense is smothering, and the Jets go three and out. They punt.
The Patriots start from their 20. Danny Woodhead gets the Patriots first, first down of the half, on a reverse. Brady steps up and launchs downfield to Brandon Tate, but it's incomplete. On the next play Brady gets hammered, and fumbles, the Pats recover. They can't convert third and 22, and Brady keeps getting hit.
The punt goes to the 25, and Mark sanchez and the Jets will take over. Shonn Greene is finding some huge holes in the Patriots defense, the Jets are moving the ball and killing the clock. When they rely on Sanchez's arm they end their progress. On third and long, he goes incomplete, and there's an injury timeout for the Patriots. Rob Ninkovich is down.
After the punt out of bounds the Patriots will start from their 20. Brady hits Rob Gronkowski deep, and the Patrots are in Jets territory. From the 42 he hits Deion Branch, who spins for the first down yardage. At the 30, he hits Branch again, for 16. With 1:36 left in the quarter, and the Patriots threatening, Rex Ryan calls timeout.
A false start makes it first and 15, from the 19. BenJarvus Green-Ellis leans forward for 10, Wes Welker picks up seven yards and the first. It's first and goal from the two.
Brady finds Alge Crumpler for the touchdown.
They'll go for a two-point conversion, and Freddie Morris punches through for the score.
13 seconds left in the third quarter.
Antonio Cromartie takes it out to the 25, and they get four yards over the middle to end the quarter.
The New York Jets start the quarter just over the line into New England Patriot territory. The Patriots stiffen, and the Jets will punt. It's a touchback, and Tom Brady and the Pats will start from the 20.
The Patriots can't move the ball, and on third down Tom Brady gets pounded for a third sack. After the punt, the Jets are near midfield, on the Patriots side. A false start sends them back over the line. They get nine, and then Mark Sanchez goes deep for Braylon Edwards to the Pats eight yard line. two plays later he hits LaDanian Tomlinson for the touchdown.
The Patriots bring the ball out to the 27 yard line. They're giving Brady lots of time, but nowhere to throw, and they go thre and out. They punt and the Jets take over from their 25 yard line. An interfence penalty moves the chain. Santonio Holmes appears to get a first down, but Belichick throws the challenge flag at the last second.
The ruling stands and the Jets have a first at the 50, with a littl over five minutes. hey can't convert, they'll punt. It goes in for a touchback.
The Jets are limiting Brady's options to short gains along the line of scrimmage, so far it seems to be working. They fake the punt, the runner fumbles. He recovers, but he doesn't get the first.
The Jets take over and LaDanian Tomlinson sorints up the middle for 17. From the 20, they give to him again, he gets five and stops the clock out of bounds. With 45 seconds left, Sanchez throws, but it's defended incomplete. On third down, Braylon Edwards catches the ball and takes it in draped in defenders.
With 33 seconds left, the Jets kick and Brandon Tate finds a hole, he takes it to the 45. Brady hits Deion Branch, but Darrelle Revis fights for it, and it goes incomplete.
On second down, they get three and lose 15 on a personal foul, with some shoving going on after the play.
The Pats take a knee, and they'll get the ball to start the second half.
The Chicago Bears have just defeated the Seattle Seahawks 35-24, they will host the Green Bay Packers next week for the NFC Championship.
The New York Jets meet the New England Patriots in Foxboro, in the final Divisional Playoff of the weekend. Although Jets head coach Rex Ryan says it's him against Bill Belichick, neither are active for this game.
Wes Welker will be benched at the beginning of the game, for breaking Belichick's rule against smack talk, apparently.
The Patriots win the toss and defer, they'll kick off. Antonio Cromartie takes it for the four, 27 yards to around the 30. Mark Sanchez and the Jets offense starts. LaDanian Tomlinson gets four, and loses his helmet in the process. Jerricho Cotchery brings it across midfield, but they can't convert. Thay'll punt.
Tom Brady and the Pats will start from their own 16 yard line. A screen to Danny Woodhead gets 19 yards. A Brandon Tate reverse gets 11. Darrelle Revis breaks up a pass. The Patriots cross midfield on the next play, and Rob Gronkowski bulls for another ten yards BeJarvus Gree-Ellis gets another first. They're driving, but David Harris picks off Brady, and runs it back to the Patriots 12 yard line.
The Jets lose eight yards on the first two plays from scrimmage, and they send Tomlinson, and he gets back to the 12. They'll kick the field goal. Nick Folk misses the 30 yarder.
Welker is in on their second series, that opens with a sak on Tom Brady. They commit a facemask, and move the chains for New England.
The Pats drive across midfield, and a pass to Alge Crumpler brings them into the red zone. The Jets can't get set, and an injury on the defense forces a timeout, as the Pats are threatening. But on third down, Brady takes a sack. They'll bring out the field goal unit.
Shayne Graham is good from 34 yards.
With 1:12 left in the quarter Cromartie takes the ball out to the 40. They'll cross midfield, and let time expire.
Good afternoon and welcome to the SBN Chicago coverage of the Divisional round of the 2011 NFL Playoffs. We will be bringing you live updates of both of today's games, for the Seahawks @ Bears at 1:00 p.m. EST (noon CST) click here. For the Jets @ Patriots 4:30 p.m (3:30 CST), just stay right here.
Seattle Seahawks: Linebacker Lofa Tatupu (concussion) has been given clearance to play. He was not able to dress for practice this week, but is expected to start today.
Chicago Bears: Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa will start Sunday, after sitting out of practice with a knee injury. Wide receiver Charles Tillman (ankle) will be available, after missing the final game of the regular season.
New York Jets: Wide receiver Brad Smith (groin) is questionable, and will be a game-time decision. Receiver Santonio Holmes (quad), and quarterback Mark Sanchez (shoulder) are both listed as probable, and are 99.9% certain to play.
New England Patriots: Tight end Aaron Hernandez (hip) is listed as questionable, as is receiver Deion Branch.
At the start of the fourth, the Falcons have the ball at the Green bay 13, and Brian Finneran gets them to the eight. Matt Ryan hits Roddy White, who goes in for the touchdown.
The Falcons onside kick, and Brian Finneran recovers, but it's ruled Green Bay's ball. They start with excellent field position at the Atlanta 39 yard line.. They can't advance, and they miss the field goal, so Atlanta takes over at the 40. Matt Ryan is sacked on first down, for nine yards by B.J Raji, who is injured on the play. A defensive holding play results in an automatic first down. Two plays later the Falcons fumble and Clay Matthews recovers for Green Bay.
Aaron Rodgers takes over and the Packers continue to drive the ball at will. They get to the 15, before they lose ten on a sack. They kick the 43 yard field goal, with 6:29 left. The Packers ate over five minutes off the clock, on a 19 yard drive.
Eric Weems brings it out to the 21. Matt Ryan and the Falcons have little choice but to let fly. An incomplete, and an offsides penalty, an incomplete, and a complete short of the first. The Falcons make the catch, but the ball is stripped and Green Bay recovers. It's the fourth turnover for the Falcons.
The Packers will start from the Atlanta 33 yard line. Matt Flynn taks over at QB for Green Bay, and he'll keep feeding it to James Starks. They're in the red zone, and as the time winds down to the two minute warning the Packers send out Mason Crosby, who makes the 32 yard field goal.
The Falcons will field the line-drive kick, and Weems takes it to the 27. An incomplete, and a sack, followed by a Michael Turner push for three yards. Atlanta lets the clock wind down to 31 seconds, and they'll punt.
The Green Bay Packers did not punt in this game.
Tramon Williams calls for a fair catch, and the Packers take a knee on first down to end the game.
Congratulations to Green Bay and their fans.
The Green Bay Packers will receive the ball to start the second half, they take a knee in the end zone, they'll start at the 20 yard line. John Abraham sacks Aaron Rodgers for 10 yards, he mimics Rodgers 'look at me, I'm wearing a belt!' dance. but two plays later he finds James Joyce for a first, and then Greg Jennings for nine. James Starks goes up the middle for about a dozen, and they're in Atlanta territory, and he follows up with another eight. Aside from the first play, the Packers are moving the ball at will.
From the 35, Rodgers goes incomplete to Donald Lee, Starks for four, and a 14 yard completion to Jordy Nelson.
The packers have first and ten at the 18, and Rodgers takes a timeout.
He hits Jordy Nelson, for another first, and it's first and goal. Rodgers goes into the end zone himself for the touchdown.
With 8:28 left, Eric Weems takes the kickoff, he'll get to about the 28 yard line.
Matt Ryan throws a quick slant incomplete, then a 24 yard completion to Michael Jenkins is challenged by Green Bay, as it looked like the ball was bobbled as the receiver went to the ground out of bounds.
The pass is ruled incomplete, and the Falcons will punt.
Tramon Williams is back for Green Bay, but the punt is shanked and the Packers will take over at the 50 yard line.
The Falcons can't close the door on Green Bay, who just keep moving the chains. They methodically close the distance to the goal line, and at the 2:41 mark, John Kuhn pulls in the pass and leaps into the end zone.
Eric Weems brings the ball to the 27.
Matt Ryan seems to get a rare first down, but it's called back on an offensive pass interference penalty. Tony Gonzales gets his first catch of the day for seven yards, but is injured on the play. Two plays later, Ryan does get the first, on a 22 yard strike to Michael Jenkins, then another to Roddy White, and on the last play of the quarter he hits Brian Finneran for the hat trick. The falcons are driving.
As the second quarter begins, the Green Bay Packers are driving in Atlanta Falcons territory, and on second and goal Jordy Nelson catches the ball and falls over the pylon for a touchdown.
7-7 tie game
Green Bay kicks off and Eric Weems takes it from one end zone, down the middle, to the other end zone. A 102 yard kickoff return for a Falcons touchdown.
Atlanta kicks off with 11:50 left in the half. James Starks lets the kick fall out of his hands, and out of bounds at the eight yard line. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers come out on offense. Donald Driver is brought down hard after a 24 yard reception, and gets up swinging. No flags. Greg Jennings brings it to midfield on the next play. Two plays later, Riodgers escapes pressure and hit James Jones, who takes it down the sideline to the Atlanta16 yard line. Starks runs for two, Jones gets another five on the sideline, a Rodgers sack is nullified by a contact penalty in the secondary, making it first and goal.
James Starks gets two up the middle, then another contact penalty makes it first and goal from the one yard line.
Starks is stuffed on first down, but John Kuhn lumbers forward and scores on second down
14-14 tie game
With 6:06 left in the first half, Jason Snelling takes the ball out to the Atlanta 35 yard line. The Atlanta Falcons offense hasn't been on the field much this quarter. But after two quick passes, they're on the 50 yard line. A persoanl foul for roughing the passer on Cullen Jenkins brings them to the Green Bay 35. The Falcons are moving the ball on every down. they're in no-huddle, and have penetrated the red zone. A false start slows their progressand they lose more yards on a sack from Charles Woodsen. It's third and 21 from the 24. Michael Jenkins falls down in the end zone, and Tramon Williams intercepts Matt Ryan.
The Packers take over at their 20, with 2:21 left. They have all their timeouts,and the two minute warning stops play on second and six. A neutral zone infraction gives Green Bay the first down. Rodgers scrambles out of bounds, gaining six, they follow up with a delay of game.
Rodgers finds Greg Jennings in the middle of the field, they're in Atlanta territory. After a Green Bay timeout, he hits Andrew Quarless at the 40 yard line. An incomplete, and then a scramble and pass to Donald Driver, and they're at the 20. An Atlanta injury tiemout with 0:48 left, and he hits james Jones who wrestles it down in the end zone.
With 42 seconds left the Falcons field a line drive kick, and they'll start at the 35, A couple short passes, and Sam Shields is called for pass interference for 24 yards, and Tramon Williams is called on the next play for the same thing. They're at the 24, and Clay Matthews hammers Ryan at the 35 yard line. Atlanta uses their last timeout, with eight seconds left. And Tramon Williams picks off Matt Ryan and goes all the way for a touchdown, with no time left.
Welcome the SBN Chicago updates for the NFC Divisional Playoff game with the Green Bay Packers vs. Atlanta Falcons, at the Georgia Dome. The noise inside the dome is deafening, as the Falcons faithful are enjoying their first post-season game since 2005.
A stirring rendition of the National Anthem is delivered by some good old boys who have stained their beards for the occasion.
The Falcons receive and will start at their 20 yard line. Matt Ryan goes incomplete on a quick slant to Roddy White, but the pair convert on third down. A combination of Michael Turner runs, and Roddy White receptions and the Falcons cross midfield. They stall on the Packers 45, and they'll punt.
The Packers and Aaron Rodgers will start from their own 11 yard line. James Starks loses three yards on first down. an incomplete, and their backed up quickly on third down. A completion to a streaking Greg Jennings looks to be a huge gain, but he fumbles, and Atlanta recovers.
The Falcons start just inside Packers territory, a Michael Turner run, and a Michael Jenkins catch, and they're inside the 25.
On second down the Packers defense storms in on a blitz, and Clay Matthews wraps up Ryan. White gets close and on fourth and inches, they go for it. Ovie Mughelli gets just enough, and they move the chains. Michael Turner refuses to go down in the next play, and he spins into the end zone.
With five minutes left Atlanta will kick. James Starks takes it out of the end zone, but can't cross the 20 yard line. An offsides penalty and a couple James Starks runs, and the Packers get a first. Brandon Jackson follows with a 14 yard rush up the middle. Green Bay keeps it on the ground, then gets a first on a screen to John Kuhn. The first quarter ends with consecutive passes to Donald Driver, and Greg Jennings, the Packers are driving.
It's third and 11, from the 24, and a screen to Antonio Brown gets ten. Pittsburgh goes for fourth and one and Ben Roethlisberger sneaks it over for the first down. They have first down at the 12 yard line, but can't convert. Terrell Suggs gets another sack, and the Steelers go ahead on a field goal.
With 12:10 left, The Ravens will start their drive just behind their own 20 yard line. On third down, they convert their only first down of the half. Joe Flacco finds T.J. Houshmandzadeh goes across the middle and brings the ball to around the Baltimore 45 yard line, but the Steelers defense answers the bell again. On third down James Harrison chases Flacco out of bounds. He's out of breath and is slow getting up. It's 4th and 19, and Antwaan Randle El snakes his way to near the 12.
With 7:27 Ben Roethlisberger and the steelers go three and out. The punting unit comes on, and commits another penalty. A false start takes them back.
The Ravens nullify a Ravens touchdown on the return, with a holding penalty. They start from their 30, and Flacco nails the ball to Todd Heap's chest at the Pittsburgh eight yard line, for first and goal.
Five minutes on the clock, and the Steelers hold . Antwan Boldin dropped a low, but catchable pass in the end zone. John Harbaugh sends out his field goal unit, and the kick is good.
24-24 tie game
With 3:48 the Steelers start at their 35. Roethlisberger bounces off his would be tacklers, and throws out of bounds. He's knocked down as he throws on second down, incomplete, but hits Hines Ward on the slant for exactly enough for the first down.
Roethlsiberger is gang-sacked on first down and it's second and 19 from the 38. Second down is a long incomplete, Third and 19, and Roethlisberger calls timeout with 2:07 on the clock.
Roethlisberger rears back and hits Antonio Brown in stride. He runs out of bounds inside the five, and the Steelers will have first and goal with less than two minutes left in regulation.
First down is an overthrow out of bounds, second down Rashard Mendenhall gets the ball and can't close the deal, but a defensive holding call, makes it first and goal from the one.
John Harbaugh is on the field screaming and waving for a timeout after first down. The ball is marked at the two yard line, and Baltimore uses another timeout. There's 1:39 on the clock.
Mendenhall pushes through for a touchdown. An unneccessary roughness call against Pittsburgh will be assessed on the kickoff.
The Steelers will kick from their 15 yard line, with 1:33 left. each team has one timeout. A squib kick is returned to the steelers 48 yard line. Flacco overthrows Todd Heap on first down, and William Gay nearly picks off the long bomb on second down. He's sacked hard, it's the fifth sack of the day for him.
It's fourth and 18, and the Ravens use their final timeout at the 1:09 mark.
The pass to Houshmenndzadeh is broken up by William Gay, and the Ravens give up the ball on downs.
The Steelers will let time run out, and they advance to the AFC Championship game.
Congratulations to the steelers and their fans.
The Pittsburgh Steelers receive the kickoff toopen the third quarter, Antonio Brown fights to get to the 25, and Ben Roethlisberger and his offense starts the half dinking and dunking. They get one first down, but Baltimore stiffens, collects another sack and Pittsburgh kicks it away.
The Ravens start at their own 21, another special teams penalty on the Steelers moves it one yard. Joe Flacco gets sacked hard on first down. The Pittsburgh defense hasn't worked in Baltimore's side of the field since the first quarter.
Flacco dumps off to Ray Rice, who fumbles and the Steelers recover. They'll have the ball at the 23.
Rashard Mendenhall bulls his way to the nine for a first and goal. On the next play, Ben Roethlisberger finds Heath Miller all alone in the end zone for the touchdown.
The Steelers kick to Baltimore with 9:11 left in the quarter. Jalen Parmele is upended near the 30, and the Ravens offense takes the field.
A fired up James Harrison comes off an attempted block by Willis McGahee, and levels Flacco for the sack. McGahee fares no better as the ball carrier on second down. The Steelers defense bats down the the third down pass attempt and the Ravens punt.
With 7:23 left in the third the Steelers offense takes over at the 33 yard line. Emmanual Sanders gets a quick first on a post screen. And Hines Ward and Ed Reed are still pushing and shoving, no flags this time. second and eight finds Sanders getting the first in Baltimore territory. Josh Wilson saves a touchdown breaking up a pass to Sanders, and the Steelers lose six on the next play, a handoff that falls apart. After a false start Roethlisberger throws into traffic, incomplete. They punt to the Baltimore five yard line, and there's a flag.
And it's off-setting penalties, and a re-kick. Pittsburgh's special teams are getting penalties on nearly every play. Another flag goes against the Ravens, who will ultimately begin from their own ten. More chipping accompanies every play on special teams.
First and ten, from the ten with 3:49. They have -4 yards thus far in the quarter. The situation does not improve, as Flacco throws long as intercepted by Ryan Clark, and returned to the 25 yard line.
Rasahrd Mendenhall brings in to the 12 on the next play. Terrell Suggs brings down Roethlisberger who scrambles for a couple, Heath Miller gets a couple more. Pittsburgh can't get set, and uses it's first timeout of the half with 1:26, third and six coming.
From the shotgun, he hits Hines Ward who falls into the end zone for the score.
21-21 tie game
With 1:15 left in the quarter, Baltimore will take over at their 23. The Steelers defense is swarming and Flacco has to throw it away. Baltimore still has under 100 yards of offense. They won't get to that number in this quarter, as the snap is fumbled and the Steelers have recovered.
1:04 from the 23 yard line, and they give to Mendenhall who gets four, he lose those fours on the next play. The Steelers tackle, Chris Scott is down. The Steelers are getting very thin on the offensive line due to injury. He walks off under his own power. They will let the clock run out.
Ben Roethlisberger starts the second quarter with a sack, under heavy pressure from Ray Lewis. The Steelers go three and out, and they punt.
Ladarius Webb takes the ball at the Ravens 16, and is wrapped up almost immediately. Joe Flacco and the Baltimore offense will start near the 18 yard line with 14:05 on the clock. T.J. Houshmandzadeh gets a first, but the Steelers defense stuffs them on the next two plays, and a screen to Ray Rice is far short, and the Ravens will punt.
As is becoming customary, the Pittsburgh Steelers are called for a penalty on the return, for a block in the back. Half the distance to the goal, and big Ben and company will start from the four, with about 10:30 left in the quarter. Rashard Mendenhall can't get much on two plays, but illegal contact on third down gets them a first, and a little elbow room. From the 12, Roethlisberger's pass is tipped high in the air, but it falls incomplete.
Mendenhall fumbles on the next play, and Ravens' Ed Reed recovers, and they have the ball on Pittsburgh's 16 yard line. The Steelers defense stiffen, but on third down Flacco scrambles and dumps off to Ray Rice, and it's first and goal. Three plays later Joe Flacco finds Todd Heap in the end zone.
Baltimore has capitalized on the two turnovers in the half, pulling away from the Steelers in what would otherwise be another close game. Ravens coach John Harbaugh may decide to play ball control the rest of the way through, and force the Steelers to try for big risk/reward plays. The Steelers have a lot invested in this next series.
Antonio Brown takes the ball to the 26 and with 5:36 the Steelers offense will try again. Terrell Suggs sacks Roethlisberger for a loss of nine. They follow that up with a delay of game penalty, and Roethlisberger is clearly unsettled. A pass to Emmanuel Sanders moves the chains on third and long. Mewelde Moore gets a first on a couple of runs, and a quick pass brings the ball past midfield before play stops for the two minute warning.
The Steelers are driving in hurry-up mode first and ten from the Ravens 28, and with 1:22, Baltimore calls time out.
Roethlisberger overthrows Heath Miller, and a second down pass is broken up. Third down is short, but Pittsburgh gets set to go for it on fourth down. The Ravens don't bite, and the Steelers call timeout and send in the field goal unit.
The kick is wide, and Baltimore takes over on downs. Their offense come out and takes a knee, as time runs out.
At halftime, it's 21-7 Ravens.
The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsgurgh Steelers NFL Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh is underway. This is the third meeting between these teams. They split their regular season series at a game apiece. This is becoming a legendary rivalry, and this game promises to be a memorable chapter.
The Steelers won the toss, and elected to kick off.
Ladarius Webb appeared to be tackled near the 35 yard line. But not hearing a whistle, he continued running to the 50 yard line. The challenge flag was immediately thrown by Pittsburgh, stopping play with only 11 seconds expired.
The runner was ruled down at the 35, the game clock was reset for 14:55, and Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense will come in.
Flacco gets his first, first down, with a smooth screen pass over the blitz, to Todd Heap, his go-to guy of last week. The Steelers defense stiffens and breaks up a couple pass attempts. and the Ravens punt into the end zone.
Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers will take over at the 20 yard line. Hines Ward and Ed Reed are scrapping after the play. Oddly, only Ward is flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, backing the Steelers up half the distance, to the 10. They get it back and more with two pass plays. Mike Wallace bringing it to the 38, and to the Ravens 25 yard line after a pass interference play on Ravens CB Cary Williams.
Roethlisberger scrambles close to a first down, and he doesn't slide. They get the first on the next play. Rashard Mendenhall takes over near the end zone. On first and goal Ed Reed stands him up, but he punches it through on second down, the tenth play of the drive.
On the kickoff, Webb brings the ball out near the 32, and the Ravens will take over with 6:12 left in the quarter. On first down offensive pass interfence is called. Steeler CB Ike Taylor is hurt on the non-play and Pittsburgh is charged with an injury timeout.
The Ravens get a first down on a defensive holding call in the secondary, and the 'let them play' officiating philosophy of last week, is not in eveidence here so far today. These two teams are getting chippy after just about every play.
A screen pass to Willis McGahee gets a first down past midfield, but Flacco is sacked for a five yard loss on the next play. Flacco goes deep on third and fifteen, incomplete but a pass interference gives them the first on the 19 yard line. Ray Rice takes the handoff on the draw and runs it on the the tenth play of the drive. The two penalties on the possession broke the Steelers back, partcularly the 33 yard P.I. call
7-7 tie game
The Ravens kick with 1:20 left in the quarter.
There is a flag on the 20 yard runback, holding on the Steelers. They'll start from the 10. Roethlisberger is hit below the waist on an incomplete, and gets up limping. He stays in the game, he's hit by Suggs again, and the ball is ruled a fumble. It was eventually picked up by Ravens DT Cory Redding and run into the end zone. A touchdown is called but Pittsburgh challenges the ruling the ball was a fumble, rather than an incomplete.
The ruling stands, and the Steelers cannot challenge for the rest of the game.
Antonio Brown returns the kickoff to the Steelers 29. They give to Mendenhall for 3 yards and let time expire in the first quarter.
Baltimore Ravens: Cornerback Chris Carr (hamstring) is a game time decision for Baltimore.Safety Ed Reed missed a day of practice, having traveled home due to the disappearance of his brother, but is expected to play.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Safeth Troy Polamalu (achilles/ankle) has been labelled probable for today's game.Polamalu, one of the stalwarts of the Steelers defense, has been held out of contact in practice this week but will almost certainly play. Cornerback Bryant McFadden (abdomen) returned to practice Thursday, and is also listed as probable'.
Green Bay Packers: On offense, center Jason Spitz (calf), and full back Korey Hall are questionable. On defense, safety Atari Bigby is questionable and linebacker Frank Zombo is out.
Atlanta Falcons: Receiver Roddy White (knee) is listed as questionable, as is linebacker Curtis Lofton (knee), cornerback Brian Williams (knee) is doubtful for today's game.
Keep your eye on SB Nation Chicago, we will be keeping you updated on all the week's NFL news along with live reports during every game. Add @sbnchicago and @BabylonDon1 to your Twitter account, and be informed of every 2011 playoff update on SB Nation Chicago
The Green Bay Packers Vs. Atlanta Falcons Divisional Playoff begins Saturday, at 7:00 CST. For previews of the Jets @ Patriots, and Ravens @ Steelers, scroll down in this StoryStream.
The Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons have already met in the regular season in the Georgia Dome, with the Falcons coming away with the Week 12 victory on a 47 yard field goal with nine seconds left in regulation. Falcons receiver Roddy White, knew well what a loss could have meant, down the line. "I have no intention of going to Lambaugh Field in January", White said.
And who can blame him? The middle of Wisconsin is no place for a guy from Dixie, in the dead of winter. The only two things that make Green Bay worth seeing are the Packers and their fans, both of whom will be well represented in the Georgia Dome come Saturday. Atlanta (The city, if not the ball club) is already preparing to greet Packers fans, who have chartered a jet (Delta, of course. Their main hub is Atlanta) to wear polystyrene cheese-themed headgear, and cheer on the Pack.
Besides Atlanta has been experiencing some unusually wintry weather of it's own. Several inches of snow fell in Georgia recently, and it might as well have been several feet, because they don't have the equipment to deal with such a rarity. Many Falcons players and coaches had to bunk in, at their practice facility in Flowery Branch, and the rest had to carpool, making it through the conditions as best they could.
It has to be said, that although Atlanta is playing at home, and they've already beaten the Packers there once this year, a lot of the 'experts' are picking Green Bay. And they were dong so before running back James Starks had his breakout performance against the Philadelphia Eagles. Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers has had his share of believers all season long, but the presence of a running game makes the Packers hard to resist.
Of course, that's what sometimes happens when you get the bye week. Out of sight, out of mind. The Falcons have led the field in the NFC for a majority of the season. Their 13-3 record was only bested by the Patriots, who garnered the number one seed in the AFC.
Third year Falcons QB Matt Ryan led Atlanta to nine wins in their last ten games, and has been almost unbeatable on his home field. Ryan has never played in a playoff game before, but Aaron Rodgers had never won a playoff game, before last week.
Look for the Packers to try to strike early, and take the noisy, dome crowd out of the game. The Falcons haven't made a playoff in six years, and Green Bay will be counting on the lack of post-season experience to attempt to control the tempo.
They'll be looking to make 'Matty Ice' live up to his reputation, as an unshakable passer, who assembles come from behind victories at home, all the time.
Keep your eye on SB Nation Chicago, we will be keeping you updated on all the week's NFL news along with live reports during every game. Add @sbnchicago and @BabylonDon1 to your Twitter account, and be informed of every 2011 playoff update on SB Nation Chicago
The Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Divisional Round Playoff, starts at 3:30 Saturday, the first game of the weekend. Which is fine with most players on both teams. They've seen enough of each other. Just as they do every year, both being in the AFC North, they've already played twice this season. They split their series this year, each team winning (or losing) by a field goal. They both ended the regular season with a 12-4 record. And both they, and their fans, must be tired of hearing about the similarities between their two teams.
But realistically, any comparison between the two teams, can only lead back to that same place: These teams are nearly a mirror image of one another. The blue-collar work ethic that Pittsburgh and Baltimore are both known for, are evident in the make-up of their teams. Finesse is adding an elbow to the side of the head, before the punch in the mouth. Or in the nose, as Ben Roethlisberger can attest.
You have to go back to 2007 to find a regular season game with a victory margin of over four points. In fact, to a casual observer, it's tempting to suggest these two teams have each been built specifically with defeating one another in mind.
There is a sense of resignation in their tone, when players on either side talk about the upcoming game. Roethlisberger recently said, "I hate playing these guys because they're so good, especially on defense."
And they are. Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is the leader and motivator of their bruising defense. Safety Ed Reed is all over the field delivering jarring hits. And Terrell Suggs when not holding forth for the press, can usually be found assaulting an offensive back.
Of course, the Pittsburgh Steelers have long been the blueprint for punishing defenses. Troy Polamalu may be the most difficult man in the league to contain. He will literally fly over an offensive line to break up a play in the backfield. And if he's not in your backfield, you better make sure he's not within 10 yards of your receiver, or he's going to end up with a defended pass or an interception. It's almost a given. And James Harrison has a reputation for physical play, so much so that he may be the first player to ever end a season losing money playing professional football, with all the fines levied against him. The rumor in Pittsburgh is that the NFL recently fined Harrison for hitting the showers.
Maybe he should take out his frustrations on Roethlisberger. He seems to be the one quarterback in the NFL it's still okay to hit with impunity. It could be that he's built more like the linebackers hitting him, than a typical QB, but even a casual observer would have to say that he absorbs some hits that would result in fines, maybe even suspensions if they were delivered on some other passers in the league.
But Ben, and the Steelers can take it. Dish it out, too. Likewise the Ravens. The games are close, with one constant. Ravens QB Joe Flacco, has never beaten Big Ben in head to head competition.
A New Tradition?: Last week, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, took a left-handed swipe at New England QB Tom Brady, while complimenting Colts QB Peyton Manning, who the Jets faced in the wildcard round. The Jets beat the Colts, and are now preparing to take on Brady and the Pats in the divisional round.
Did that give Ravens LB Terrell Suggs an idea? In a radio interview while praising Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, he called Brady's three Super Bowl rings "questionable". Maybe we're witnessing the new NFL good luck superstition. Take a pot shot at Brady, and maybe you'll advance to play him next week.
No one can say that New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, doesn't know how to work a crowd. He's been promoting this weekend's match-up between his team and Bill Belichick's New England Patriots, as if it was a WWE pay-per-view cage match. You almost expect him to arrive at the podium through a wall of smoke, with his own theme music blaring in the P.A. system. The AFC East rivals will play the last game of the Divisional Round weekend, and if the reality is equal to the rhetoric, it'll be quite a game, indeed. The AFC North Baltimore Ravens Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers meeting is likewise already producing enough quotes to require extra bulletin boards to be shipped into their respective locker rooms.
In comparison, the NFC's Green Bay Packers vs. Atlanta Falcons, and Seattle Seahawks vs. Chicago Bears rematches, seem almost tame. Probably because, while the teams have met this season, they don't see each other enough to clultivate the enmity the AFC division rivals have. Maybe if the Packers and Bears meet for the NFC Championship game we can work up some good old-fashioned divisional hostility.
I'm not sure what Rex Ryan is trying to accomplish with his seemingly endless banter, and his public attempts to draw the focus of his team's upcoming playoff game on himself and Belichick. Is it an attempt to rally his team? Does he think he can get into Belichick's head, maybe make him lose his cool?
The former seems more likely. Ryan has repeatedly maintained that the two teams are evenly matched, even though results-based evidence suggests otherwise. The Jets beat the Pats 28-14 in Week 2, but were beaten fairly convincingly by a score of 45-3 in Week 13. Tom Brady is healthy, not to mention the smart money favorite for the league's MVP this year, while the Jets' Mark Sanchez is playing with an injured shoulder. Not a very favorable comparison, in my opinion.
But The Jets are buying into the Rex Ryan swagger. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie, had some salty words about Tom Brady, the nicest ones being that he "hates him". The rest were far too profane, for a person of my gentle sensibilities, to repeat here. The Jets are actively working to cast Brady as a bad guy, as contrary to most people's perceptions as that may seem. You can only hope that they've got some kind of game plan that involves more than just taunting the Patriots head coach and star quarterback.
Whatever else you can say about Bill Belichick, he's awesomely prepared on game day. I don't see how there could be any type of advantage in trying 'to get into his head'. Just his team's margins of victory over the last half of the season, should suggest that attempting to shake his confidence is a losing battle. And he doesn't strike me as all that easy to distract.
But this is the game that most people who voted in the poll at the bottom of the page said was the rematch they were most excited to see, so maybe there's something to all the smack talk.
We'll take a look at what the other playoff teams are saying, over the course of the week. We'll also be looking at who's in, and who's injured, and other news and reports. Stay tuned!
Round one of the 2011 NFL Playoffs is over, and the teams in the next round all look pretty familiar, especially to one another.
In the AFC Rex Ryan and the New York Jets will play their AFC East rivals, Tom Brady's New England Patriots. They split their regular season series, and on their last meeting the Pats shredded the Jets 45-3. The war of words began for this rematch last week when Ryan couldn't manage to compliment Colts QB Peyton Manning without throwing a left-handed dig at Tom Terrific. TV cameras and microphones are going to orbit Rex Ryan like satellites around a big, green, planet this week, waiting for him to open his smack-hole about the number one seeded Patriots.
The two teams from the AFC North also split their regular season games, and closed 2010 with identical 12-4 records. The Pittsburgh Steelers took the AFC North crown by virtue of a tiebreaker, but the Baltimore Ravens are every bit as formidable as the Steelers. Both teams have hard-hitting defenses, and plenty to play for. You may have seen these two duke it out in the past, but this won't be a rerun by any stretch of the imagination.
The NFC Divisional games may not be between division rivals, but both games are rematches, right down to the home field advantage. The Green Bay Packers met the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome in Week 12, and the Falcons managed to hold on and win a close game, 20-17.
Now doesn't that sound like an exciting weekend of football? I'll be once again manning the SB Nation Chicago Playoff Bunker all weekend long. And armed only with my laptop, some hot wings and a variety of nutritional beverages, I will bring you all of the weekend's proceedings right here.
So keep your eye on SB Nation Chicago, we will be keeping you updated on all the week's NFL news along with live reports during every game. Add @sbnchicago and @BabylonDon1 to your Twitter account, and be informed of every 2011 playoff update on SB Nation Chicago.