Clemson Rolls The Tide
January 12, 2017
Clemson football fans had a chance to show their loyalty Monday night, or should I say Tuesday morning. It took until past midnight for the Tigers to cap off a remarkable rally to beat top-ranked Alabama, 35-31, and bring the program its first national title in 35 years.
The game was a rematch from last year’s title game and it gave Clemson a chance to showcase its season-long motto of ‘let’s finish.’ And finish it did as quarterback Deshaun Watson connected on a two-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow with one second left in the contest to ‘finish’ the comeback.
The Tigers got off to a slow start and trailed 14-0 early before quarterback Watson heated up. The junior, who finished the contest throwing for 420 yards, got Clemson on the board with an athletic scoring run to get the Tigers back in the game.
The top two teams in the country traded points the rest of the way before the Tigers erased a 10-point fourth quarter deficit, captured its first lead of the game with less than five minutes remaining. Alabama answered with a touchdown of its own before Watson got the ball with just over two minutes left on the game clock and marched down the field to set up the late heroics.
Alabama and most of the nation had to be shocked at the outcome. The Crimson Tide are the ones who wear teams down as evidenced by the fact that Alabama entered the night 97–0 under Nick Saban when leading by double-digits in the fourth quarter. But it was the Tide defense that wore down as Clemson ran a remarkable 99 plays from scrimmage.
It’s amazing what a simple two yard touchdown pass did. It meant that Alabama failed to win back-to-back titles, failed to win an unprecedented fifth national title in eight seasons and ended a 26-game winning streak.
NFL Playoff Preview
I sure hope week two of the NFL playoffs tops week one. Wild-card weekend was forgettable. Four games, four blowouts.
This week will be better, much better.
We should have great matchups in three of the four games, while the Patriots will send Houston packing. Let’s take a quick look at the four games.
Seattle at Atlanta (Saturday at 4:35 pm)
Classic matchup of offense (Atlanta) against defense (Seattle). Falcons’ quarterback and MVP candidate Matt Ryan gets a chance to show he can perform in the playoffs as his history to date in January is not good. It will be fun watching Atlanta super wide out Julio Jones square off against Richard Sherman of Seattle. The Seahawks beat the Falcons 26-24 in October. I expect another close game with the winner doing what usually happens in games like this one. It will go opposite of what is expected. Who will play better, the Seattle offense or the Atlanta defense?
Houston at New England (Saturday at 8:15 pm)
I do not see any scenario that has Houston beating New England at New England. The Pats beat the Texans 27-0 in Week 3 action with third-string QB Jacoby Brissett playing due to Tom Brady’s suspension.
Houston has a very good defense but it will eventually wear down and Brady will exploit it. That’s enough about this mismatch.
Pittsburgh at Kansas City (Sunday at 1:05 pm)
The pressure is all on Kansas City in this contest. Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Alex Smith have won a lot of games together over the past four years. Forty-three to be exact but they have only one playoff win to show for it.
Everything is set for Kansas City. They got a week of rest and are playing at home. Yet, I am going with Pittsburgh. The Steelers destroyed the Chiefs by 29 points back in Week 3. And that was without RB Le’veon Bell who just happens to be the best back in the NFL.
Green Bay at Dallas (Sunday at 4:40 pm)
This is not what Dallas was hoping for as the number one seed. Sure, they got a first round bye, but they have to meet the now-dangerous Packers. The same Green Bay Packers who demolished the New York Giants, 38-13, last week in the wildcard round. The same Giants who beat the Cowboys twice this season.
Rest easy Dallas fans. You will win your game because of Ezekiel Elliott. Green Bay struggles to stop the run and Elliott will keep Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense off the field. I see Dallas scoring touchdowns and Green Bay kicking field goals. Have you ever noticed that the team who kicks the most field goals usually loses?
Anyway, that is what happened back in October when Dallas went to Green Bay and completely dominated the Pack in a 30–16 victory.