Let’s start with the first game. The Ravens lost to the New England Patriots 23-20, thanks to a missed kick by their normally reliable kicker Billy Cundiff in the last few seconds of the game. Ravens QB Joe Flacco thoroughly out-played his counterpart Tom Brady the entire game. Hell, Brady didn’t even have a touchdown pass. At any rate, the Ravens forced the Pats into a few turnovers and clearly out-hit them.
I think it’s wrong to place the blame squarely at Cundiff’s feet – though he will get the lion’s share of the blame. I blame the missed opportunities. The Ravens had opportunities to extended their lead over New England in the 3rd quarter after that fumble recovery during the Pat’s kickoff return. Simply put, you cannot – I repeat CANNOT – settle for field goals on the road in the playoffs, let alone against the Patriots. But no Ravens fan is as irate over that as they are over Lee Evans’ drop near the end of regulation that would have won the game for them. He should have caught that ball, period.
Now as for the second game, what else is there to say? I mean the 49ers’ defense played their asses off. QB Alex Smith had a decent day throwing the ball, tight end Vernon Davis continues to ball like the stud that he is (did you see him run away from defenders on that first touchdown pass?), and coach Jim Harbaugh coached a good game. Alas, mistakes on special teams – namely Kyle Williams – did them in. Williams’ two fumbles – the first muff on a punt return was a head-scratcher (just get the hell out of the way, dude!) – gave the New York Giants 10 points. Oh by the way, the Giants won 20-17 in overtime.
The good news is the future is bright for the Ravens (namely Flacco) and the 49ers. I just hate seeing games, especially championship games, decided my mistakes like that.