If any of you watched FOX's pregame show, you'd note that Jimmy Johnson stated that the key is to be the team with the least mistakes. How true this weekend! The losing teams this weekend were the Giants [5 turnovers], Buccaneers , Jaguars  and Bengals  who combined for TWELVE TURNOVERS......while the Redskins , Panthers , Patriots  and Steelers  combined for just ONE.
Here are some recaps on the games.....
REDSKINS 17-BUCCANEERS 10 (Sportz 1-0)
It didn't come down to a Mike Alstott 2-pt conversion this time.
Of course, nothing about this game mirrored the 36-35 Bucs win a few months ago. Instead of the shootout there...it was defensive struggle, and I mean struggle. Both defenses performed great with hard hits, good coverages and excellent tackling. The difference was that the Skins got 3 turnovers to the Bucs 1. And all three turnovers were as huge as you could get.
The first one was a LaVar Arrington pick that set the Redskins offense inside the redzone. Soon after, Clinton Portis ran in the game's first score...a TD run to give Washington a 7-0 lead. A quarter later, Cadillac Williams was nailed, he coughed it up, Marcus Washington ran a bit with it, fumble, and Sean Taylor swooped in and returned it for a defensive TD and a Skins 14-0 lead. The final takeaway was the final play. With the Bucs with a bit momentum and attempting to tie the game, Chris Simms had his pass tipped [which was happening all day] and Marcus Washington picked it off to, essentially, end the game.
And that's about all the excitement for Skins fans during this game. The Skins did everything they could to lose this one. Their offensive output is the worst in postseason history by a winning team. Mark Brunell threw for a mere 41 yards. Sean Taylor gets ejected for spitting in a Bucs player's face [which cost the Skins 15 yards and an automatic first down after Tampa was stopped on 3rd down]. Even the most important punt of the game....one with just over 1:00 remaining...was shanked for 14 yards.
So on to Seattle to face another team the Skins saw earlier this season...the Seahawks in which the Redskins beat in overtime way back in September.
Hail to the Redskins!
PATRIOTS 28-JAGUARS 3 (Sportz 2-0)
Let's talk about respect.
I mentioned that the Jags were getting NO respect from anyone. Well, they showed why. They were handled pretty easily by New England, 28-3.
Tom Brady made a comment that no one respects the Patriots. How can we not? They've won 3 of the last 4 Super Bowls....including the last two. The win over the Jags gives them 10 straight postseason wins....an NFL record. Not to mention they won the AFC East despite being decimated with injuries.
Of course, the Pats are getting to the point where people want someone else to win. I mean, they are entering Lakers and Yankees territory now.
Even if they thought they weren't respected....they freaking took it on Saturday. After a yawner of a first half....New England jumped on Jacksonville in the third quarter and just dominated a rusty Byron Leftwich.
New England now heads to Denver to try to make it 11 in a row. And remember, New England is not scareed to go on the road and win a playoff game. Just ask Pittsburgh. Twice.
PANTHERS 23-GIANTS 0 (Sportz 2-1)
There are some things you just can't explain. How can the #3 offense get blanked?? This was the first time a home team was shut out in a playoff game since Tampa Bay lost at home....in 1980....to the Los Angeles Rams.
This was complete domination.
First Downs: Carolina 23, New York 9
Yards: Carolina 335, New York 132
Rush Yards:: Carolina 223, New York 41
Time of Possession: Carolina 42:45, New York 17:15
Turnovers: Carolina 0, New York 5
A big key was the Panthers ability to lock up Tiki Barber. A buddy of mine said at work today, "they need to get him the ball any way they can." He had just 13 carries and 3 receptions. Jeremy Shockey.....just 3 catches. Plaxico Burress....ZERO. Meanwhile, Carolina's stars went off. Steve Smith caught 10 passes....and scored 2 TDs. DeShaun Foster ran for 151 yards.
Now Carolina goes back to Chicago, where they lost earlier this season 13-3.
STEELERS 31-BENGALS 17 (Sportz 3-1)
It is a shame to think that these Bengals waited 15 years to get into the playoffs....then their best player suffers a horrible injury on his first pass attempt. It could be viewed a dumb-luck. It could be viewed as another notch on the Bengals franchise's history of bad things happening in their shiniest moments [see: Stanley Wilson].
Aside from that, Jon Kitna came in a did quite a job in the first half.....even netting Cincy a halftime lead. But, they wouldn't score again. The Steelers decided edge in experience seemed to take over.
After that point, they essentially shut down any big plays from Cincinnati, and they made fewer mistakes. The Bengals suffered 90 yards in penalties, a 40-yards pass interference call [which cost them the lead]. a failed 4th down and two untimely interceptions.
Pittsburgh goes to Indianapolis to take on the frontrunning Colts.