NFL is Shaping Up

WHAT IS IT? What is “The Moment”?

A very basic dictionary definition describes a moment as “a very brief period of time”.

How does that relate to football? Simple. What we’ve been told – like many other sports – is that a game is made up of of these “moments”. As we have seen numerous times before, any one of those singular moments that occur within a game, can change the outcome of said game.

In the playoffs, these moments become magnified. That moment – when it transpires – can make an individual a hero, and even a legend or on the flip side, the goat. And we are not talking about the greatest of all time.

So in that moment, who are you?

WHO IS MADE FOR IT?

Those who are made for it always seem to be the ones who don’t fear it. They often don’t just embrace it, they revel in it. See NBA legend Michael Jordan. His teammate Scottie Pippen once said “in those moments, Mike would tell us to just get him the ball”. He wanted it because he believed he would thrive in that moment.

Hall of Fame, NHL goalie, Patrick Roy, was similar. During his 1993 Stanley Cup run with the Montreal Canadiens – which included an NHL record 10 consecutive overtime victories – his teammates said that between the 3rd period and overtime he would tell them “when you feel like scoring to end this, score, ‘cause they are not going to score on me”.

Now back to football, see Joe Montana. In Super Bowl 23, with the San Francisco 49ers trailing by three points and with 3:10 left on the clock, inside their own 10-yard line, 49ers offensive lineman, Harris Barton, recalled Montana telling him, in the huddle no less, to look down at the other end of the field, because John Candy was standing there. He didn’t fear the moment.

WHO IS NOT MADE FOR IT?

The direct opposite of those who are. The make mistakes, turn the ball over, take stupid penalties and cost their teams game(s) or in some cases, championships. We will refrain from naming names.

WHO WILL FAIL IN IT?

As mentioned, those who fear it. Those who are unwilling to embrace it.

So who will these be in the 2019 NFL Playoffs?

WHO THRIVED, AND WHO SUCCUMED TO IT?

It’s become quite obvious that Houston Texans’ quarterback DeShawan Watson was one who thrived. After going down 16-0 in the 3rd quarter, he found his resolve, leading Houston back to a 22-19 overtime win. From that point – trailing by 16 – Watson went 13/ 14 for 193 yards and TD, as well as a rushing TD and a rushing 2 pt. conversion. After converting a 3rd and 10 on the game winning drive, he had the Great Escape – avoiding being sacked by two Buffalo Bills’ defenders – while being able to stay on his feet and complete a pass to set up the game winning field goal.

Tennessee Titians running back, Derrick Henry. The 2019 league’s leading rusher, ran for 182 yards on 34 carries, against the New England Patriots 6th ranked rush defense. Henry had 106 yards in the first half vs. that defense that gave up and average of 95 yards a game all year.

Not to mention Henry had to overcome his QB, Ryan Tannehill, who may have not succumbed to the moment but left a lot to be desired. He completed 8 of 15 passes for a paltry 72 and a TD (not to mention throwing an ill-advised interception and fumbling two snaps which cost them two plays/ downs), thus leaving Henry to shoulder the load.

The Patriots inept offence. While their defence carried them for much of the season, they did so against the Titans, allowing only 14 points (before Tom Brady’s pick six to end the game). Still, they couldn’t do much, scoring just 13, and zero in the 2nd half. They certainly succumbed to the moment.

Ironically, the oft chastised Kirk Cousins, due to his inability to perform well in these moments came up big for the Minnesota Vikings. In overtime he connected on a deep pass to Adam Thielen that got them to the two-yard line, then threw a game winning touchdown to tight end Kyle Rudolph on the 3rd down. Subsequently his counterpart, the New Orleans Saints, Drew Brees, (who we thought would thrive) didn’t. He threw a costly interception at the end of the first half which enabled Minnesota to score a touchdown –it ended up being the margin of victory, 26-20.

We’ll continue to monitor who thrives and who succumbs to the moment.

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