By Ryan O'Halloran
Thoughts and observations from this weekend’s NFC playoff games:
* Let's start with the best game of the bunch -- San Francisco's win over New Orleans on Saturday. There were lead changes at the 4:02, 2:11, 1:37 and :09 marks ... of the FOURTH quarter. And these weren't fluke plays either. Both offenses got a big chunk or two but it wasn't the result of a turnover or on-side kick or huge pass interference penalty. It has to be considered one of the best final five-minute stretches in league history.
* Tight end Vernon Davis, the former Terp, capped the game with a catch at the goal-line and he finished with seven catches for 180 yards (the latter a playoff record for a tight end). Davis is an example of how some guys just need time to develop and most definitely an example of needing the right coach to push the buttons. That was obvious with his outpouring of emotion with Jim Harbaugh after the game-winner.
* As for the Saints, they have to be really kicking themselves this morning -- had they won, they would have hosted the Giants in the NFC title game. New Orleans is 0-5 all-time in road playoff games.
* Reports are linking Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to St. Louis and old boss Jeff Fisher. Maybe 'The Genius' figures that kind of loss means it's time to high-tail it out of town. But Williams and Fisher have remained close and the move makes total sense.
* Now for The Upset. The Packers became the first 15-win regular season team to go one-and-done in the postseason. The Giants exposed Green Bay's pitiful pass defense -- Eli Manning threw for 330 yards and Hakeem Nicks joined a small group of receivers who had 100-plus yards receiving and two TD catches in their first two playoff games.
* Green Bay's off-season priority is to clearly re-build the secondary. This game wasn't a fluke (only the part where the Packers' offense stinks, too).
Contact O'Halloran at firstname.lastname@example.org