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The Hangover: We cut the brakes on these playoffs!

The neurotic roundup reaches the postseason and finds matters in disarray and confusion.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Hangover is a fevered attempt to collect thoughts on the NFL and anything else stuck in the craws of the brain the day after all football has burned out. All opinions belong solely to the author and all facts belong to that evil new war god of unfeeling thought.

It finally came.

Those ripe rotten bastards made it worth our time, at last. Sure, the quality of football was pretty awful, as to be expected of a year where every fault, failure and fallacy of the Shield was on display for the viewing audiences around this great nation. But for every game, a story, and for every story a whole trough of nonsense and alcohol-soaked fear. It's Monday. We don't know where our keys are. Someone punched the television. We didn't win the Powerball either.

Let's talk about it.

A Commotion

There was a brief moment shining in the depths of the mind that Texans-Chiefs would be a respectable game of football and not remind the world why the current playoff system continues to reward the AFC South as it festers with boils and lesions. Then I remembered Brian Hoyer was starting; and then he reminded us.

What a useless team. Those marauding scumsucks put J.J. Watt in at quarterback (Vince Wilfork at fullback just for good measure!) for a wildcat play that lost two yards. Did these pedestrians think they could retain my attention or loyalty by pulling this tripe off before my eyes?

There wasn't a prayer in the mounting heavens for these poor souls.

What kind of sick, demented, turpentine-infused brew have you been sipping on, Bill O'Brien? Did you truly believe you could trot out this gibbering gaggle of ungulates and expect us to place our hopes and dreams upon your shoulders? The toolbox was empty and you insisted on trying to fix the car anyway. Given the choice between Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer, the Texans stuck with Hoyer for the suitable wild card shutout. Well done. You can't say you didn't try.

The Texans draft 22nd in a class where the best options for quarterback are Connor Cook and Paxton Lynch, and Cleveland is once again feeling its axe-murderer mood when it looks at the crop available.

The AFC South deserves nothing better than this for decades of useless football. Three teams with young starling quarterbacks sitting at home as the Texans diddle with disaster.

Maybe Kevin Johnson can work at wildcat next time. It has the merit of never being tried before.

The Chiefs, by the by, march on. Sure, they'll play the Patriots and all hope takes flight for those in the southern lands when that name is called, but Kansas City is unconquered since Minneapolis and that dreary October day. Andy Reid and Alex Smith are made Caesars. Veni, vidi, vici. If the Patriots can't stop them this war machine may be realized in full.

Fear and Loathing...well, just Loathing

Christ. Cincinnati hasn't witnessed a disaster like this since some worthless cretin decided to open a place called Skyline.

Let's start from the top. This is a primordial game, this venture of American football. It's a foul and nasty business driven on adrenaline, pain, fear and anger. The snap of the ball begins a firefight and everything in-between is gruesome anticipation. Rage is, by its definition, uncontrollable. It can only be directed temporarily while the world holds its breath, waiting for the meltdown.

And yet the demand in football is that one must be an uncontrollable monster destroying life and limb during those seconds of mayhem and instantly transform himself into a scholar and gentlemen when the whistle blows that destruction dead. This is about as obtainable as clean coal.

When Joey Porter sauntered onto the field at Paul Brown Stadium, it was a catalyst designed to radiate the whole of Ohio and Kentucky with gamma rays. Wipe it all out. Pfft! Just like that. The integrity of the reactor had been compromised long ago in the game, with Vontaze Burfict bouncing around the way he was. All it took now was introducing Porter to Adam Jones to end it all.

The Steelers knew exactly what they were doing, or at least Joey Porter did. The Bengals played all year on the edge of insanity. That same defense had just demolished Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, to say little of their kill score from the season. That rage was finding the lines blurred.

No one got out alive. The Bengals imploded in a fashion that hasn't been seen before and might not be seen again. Handing a game away in such fashion is rarely obtained in the playoffs. Art, really. Marvin Lewis sits at 0-7 and could not control his team; he survives at head coach for now. Burfict and Jones sit at ground zero. Instagram got wiped out by the latter. Andy Dalton narrowly escaped this mayhem because he never played.

And the Steelers? We'll have to wait for the injury report to take a full assessment of this butcher's bill.

Winter gone

What happened in Minnesota...I don't think I'm ready to talk about it. The curse that came from Gjallahorn's shattered form was quickly made evident. The fall of a great civilization of Midwestern values was sudden and destructive, the second bomb dropped on the sleepy region.

But what better way to drop it than a missed field goal from 27 yards out? Against a team that's quickly become hated villains in these lowlands? They rushed out of Minneapolis praising their war god up on high, preparing to raid again as they range further south. The destruction in Seattle's wake was evident.

The life of the kicker has little analog in sports. Not even the goaltenders of hockey or soccer must endure this ignominy. Blair Walsh contributed to exactly 100 percent of the Minnesota scoring capability. None of that matters. Not a single point. Midnight arrived and the Minnesota Nice evaporated and the slavering hordes want to chop off his foot.

And those victors? I don't know of many quarterbacks in this league that can spin gold from refuse like Russell Wilson. A botched snap and ensuing scramble to recover the ball should leave everyone watching in dread and despair. And yet I watched and knew there was going to be a miracle made out of this. It's just what that ripe bastard is capable of doing.

Seattle's coming to Charlotte and Panthers fans are already feeling the dread take their bodies. The Narrative is being spun before our eyes, and it's a renewed belief in the invincibility of the Seahawks.


There was a brief moment of shining insanity where I believed Washington had a prayer in this game. I told Jeremy Reisman that, in truth, I had no real analysis or reason to clutch this myth to my chest. It was reckless non-analysis, the sort that would readily get me a job with a conservative-aligned think tank.

Sure enough, that sort of nonsense was dashed the minute the second quarter started. The only people who profited from Washington's game were gamblers who took the insurmountable odds on a first score safety prop. This was, like Houston, an awful team that had no business taking the field here. They were dispatched as such.

Perhaps the Kirk Cousins legend dies here. But as with all things in our nation's capital, it's more likely that reality will continue to warp and twist. The same people who claimed they would take Cousins over Aaron Rodgers for their hypothetical team have probably dismissed this drubbing from their skulls already. It never happened. No, Senator, I cannot recall those events. Ho ho.

The Packers appeared to sleepwalk through the first part of this game and still managed to take the lead before halftime. One wonders when this rickety wagon finally breaks, but for now they follow the time-honored tradition of aging Midwesterners leaving their frozen wastelands and fleeing south, to Glendale.

A plug

Forgive the self-importance, but I happen to run a college football podcast on the side. It's an ancient project from an older time, but it's still maintained like any good clunker. It's run with friends and acquaintances, and I like to think it lives up to his billing as, to quote a review on iTunes, "poor quality and blasphemous host." The national championship game is Monday night, and we put together a preview some time ago. As this Hangover is coming out on Monday, we won't have time to recap whatever nonsense Clemson and Alabama subject us to. Instead, subject yourself to this.


The Martian was a comedy? Huh. I never knew. Alright, Hollywood.

This is our last dance. This is ourselves.

Goodbye, my friend.