- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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Football Outsiders discussed Bengals-Texans and Colts-Ravens as they unfolded.
The Patriots' rout of the Texans turned on five plays, says Dale Robertson of the Houston Chronicle.
That regular-season game in New England was too big for the Texans, says John McClain of the Chronicle. “This is a chance for the Texans to earn redemption, to make up for a performance that caused them to be ridiculed from coast to coast.”
The Patriots are a dividing line for the Texans, writes Brian T. Smith of the Chronicle.
To which I say: A scenario where Houston could advance deep in the playoffs without beating New England was really unlikely. But it’s hard not to wonder about how it would be different had the Texans earned a home game this round.
In New England, at least one writer thinks the Texans will barely be a speed bump for the Patriots, says Jerome Solomon of the Chron.
Pete Prisco of CBS Sports doesn’t see the Texans going to New England and matching Tom Brady.
The end of the Colts' season is really just the start, says Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star. Said owner Jim Irsay: “There's not much you can say except if adversity builds greatness and strength and those things, then we just added a lot of adversity in our bank."
The Ravens exposed all the Colts’ major flaws, says Mike Chappell. It showed us just what GM Ryan Grigson has to work on this offseason -- better protection for Andrew Luck, upgraded cornerbacks, improved run defense.
The Colts got to the 30 or closer five times but never got into the end zone, says Phil Richards of the Star.
The Ravens' big plays will haunt the Colts for the whole offseason, says Phillip B. Wilson. The Ravens gained 273 of their 441 total yards on just eight plays.
“Now all of a sudden we’re playing against an 11-5 watermark,” said Irsay. Wilson has what the owner said after the game.
Breaking down Denis Pitta’s touchdown catch and run which evolved out of pressure from Dwight Freeney on Joe Flacco. From Zak Keefer of the Star.
Breaking down Ray Rice’s 47-yard reception before halftime. From Mark Alesia of the Star.
Steve Keim of the Arizona Cardinals front office remains in the mix to become the next general manager of the Jaguars, says Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union.
“(Shad) Khan and the new general manager won't have an easy decision as they decide (Mike) Mularkey's fate,” says Vito Stellino of the Times-Union. “Firing him would be the easy part. Finding a better replacement could be more difficult.”
To which I say: In Carolina, they've decided to keep Ron Rivera as coach before signing a GM. Khan's approach is better.
Season-ending awards for the Titans include Derrick Morgan as defensive player of the year, from Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.
Colin McCarthy’s was the injury that hurt the Titans the most in 2012, says David Boclair of the Nashville City Paper.
To which I say: Can the Titans count on him as their middle linebacker going forward considering how injury prone he is?