Hey people, how was that for a weekend of college and pro football?!
The bowls are set after all those conference championship games, with my Buckeyes now going to the Orange Bowl against Clemson thanks to a heartbreaking loss to Michigan State—after 24 straight wins over two seasons.
We got the sacks this week. We didn’t give up big, explosive pass plays. We made them try to nickel and dime their way down the field.
And then the NFL had one crazy day, with a record 90 touchdowns being scored along with the “snow bowls” in Green Bay and Philly. There were four TDs in 90 seconds in Baltimore’s shootout with Minnesota. And in the Superdome, our super fans were trying to break the record for “loudest crowd roar” with the Guinness reps in attendance—our fans were just insane!
We had the Sunday night game, and we wanted to come out swinging against division rivals Carolina after our loss against Seattle last Monday. In that game, nothing went right. When we stopped the run, we gave up a couple of long gainers. When we covered their receivers, Russell Wilson scrambled for big yards. Then when we put a “spy” on him, they started running the ball. We struggled all night and it was just one of those games.
Against Carolina, two early sacks of Cam Newton and our D’s aggressive play helped set the tempo for our whole team, and we beat the Panthers 31-13. At 10-3, we’re still seeded no. 2 in the NFC, right behind 11-2 Seattle. So what did we do differently in this game? We got the sacks this week. For the most part we were able to pressure Cam with a four-man rush. We also kept the ball in front of us—we didn’t give up big, explosive pass plays. We made them try to nickel and dime their way down the field.
Also, Drew Brees became the first quarterback with eight straight 4,000-yard seasons, and also just the fifth QB to reach 50,000 career passing yards. As Coach Payton noted after our win, we’re so accustomed to Drew breaking records that when they announced it, we just kept playing. It’s pretty phenomenal what he consistently produces every Sunday.
We still have a mathematical shot at the no. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Playing at home is a clear advantage, so that’s a big carrot. But we’ve got to take care of business first. We’ve got the Rams next, and they always play us tough. We can’t overlook them before another tough road game at Carolina.
With just three games to go, every matchup really matters, which makes it fun. And I’m glad to finally be off primetime TV—we’ve had about four in a row, every rival plays their hardest in primetime, and it’s been a little tiring, LOL! I’m looking forward to an early kickoff.
As for my Buckeyes, when I went into a Saints team meeting, Ohio State was down 17-0, and all my teammates were giving me flak, laughing it up at my expense! By the time we got out of the meeting, we had tied it up and my confidence was back. Then I sat in my room watching, and things just kind of unraveled. But by no means has this season been a failure. Everyone in Buckeye country is proud of what the team accomplished over the past two seasons, and we’re excited to go to the Orange Bowl. It should be excellent to watch.
Rock Avenue Bow Ties just did a huge Cyber Monday sale, and it went really well. With each purchase we included a signed football player card as a stocking stuffer. Please check out the site, as there will be more holiday specials coming up soon.
Hopefully when you hear from me next, I’ll be a proud Papa… or I’ll have an upset wife who’s really late.
—As told to Ashley Jude Collie