NFL Wild Cards, Day 1: Elementary, Watson. And The GOAT is Not a Hero.

Herb Gould

Just a couple of quick thoughts on the first day of the NFL playoffs. . .

I am not a huge NFL fan these days. Actually, I find a lot to dislike about pro football these days. Their offenses are very predictable in comparison with the razzle-dazzle of college offenses. I much prefer the genuine emotion to college ball, rather than the NFL’s sophomoric touchdown celebrations. And the fact that six losses gets you into the playoffs in the NFL is a strange concept. In college, six losses gets you fired.

I could not tell you the last time I watched an entire NFL game, or even a major portion of one.

But Bills-Texans was on from time to time—in between making dinner and watching non-sports programming.

I saw that the Bills led 16-0 and was pleased. Nothing against the Texans, who have J.J Watt and terrific fans. But people who live in snowbound Buffalo need something to cheer about.

The next time I looked, though, I saw that Buffalo was losing 19-16. And I said, WTF?

Intrigued, I stuck around to see what was going on. There was Buffalo driving for a game-tying field goal, if not a go-ahead TD. Then Buffalo was going backwards, taking itself out of field-goal range.

And then there was Houston unable to come up with a game-clinching first down on a fourth-and-short. And Buffalo finally driving for the field goal that sent the game to overtime.

And then there was all kinds of dubious play-calling, decision-making and executing before Houston finally won 22-19.

The play that really stuck out?

Texans QB Deshaun Watson, seemingly caught in the jaws of two converging Buffalo defenders, somehow escaped to throw a pass that set up the game-winning field goal.

It was a marvelous, miraculous play by Watson, who was a winner at Clemson and is a winner in Houston, even if he doesn’t fit the typical NFL QB profile. How could those Bills miss? From what I saw, Buffalo has a pretty good defense.

Could it be possible that the 2019 Bills have something in common with the 1919 Black Sox?


But if Hollywood was doing a storyline like that, that Houdini play would fit the bill, so to speak.

And I still don't know how Bears GM Ryan Pace figured out that Mitchell Trubisky was a better bet than Watson or Mahomes.

Anyway, sympathies to people in Buffalo, who can go back to gassing up their snow blowers.

Later, while we were watching other things, my smart phone kept telling me that Tennessee was beating New England 14-13.

I always like it when the Patriots lose. Yes, the greatness of Belichick & Brady is indisputible. But their repeated and flagrant Nixonian ability to cheat when cheating is grossly unnecessary roughness trumps and tarnishes their many successes.

I did not put that game on immediately. I did not want to be disappointed by the inevitable B&B comeback.

But finally, with two minutes left, I tuned in. And there, miraculously, were the Titans, running out the clock.

When they finally punted, they left Brady at his own 1 yard line—at least 60 yards from field-goal range—with only 15 seconds left and no timeouts.

Even Brady couldn’t pull this game out of the fire.

Adding to the joy of those who are patriots opposed to the Patriots, Brady threw an interception on his final doomed play.

That hardly makes the GOAT a goat. But if he does retire, that would be quite a way to end it all. I expect he will play in the NFL again, if only because he doesn’t want that to be his last play.

But hats off to the Titans for grinding out a tough win.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming. . .


Herb Gould