NEW KID IN TOWN
"Michael (Dunn) got hurt and a guy named Blake who I literally introduced myself to before the game stepped up in the fourth quarter."
-- Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield made a new friend during the AFC wild-card game after offensive lineman Blake Hance clocked his first official NFL game minutes filling in for an injured Michael Dunn. Hance signed to the team in Week 17 out of dire need for lineman depth. (Emmanuel Acho via Twitter)
"We got one practice in last week, but with all the COVID going around, obviously everyone was staying very far apart from each other, we didn't even go in the locker room or anything. So there's a ton of guys that I didn't really get a chance to meet yet.
"Saw Baker in the locker room before the game, so we got a chance to quickly meet. But then Michael Dunn, he played a really great game. He stepped up big-time in his first start. And so I was bummed for him to see him go down. Didn't really have much time to think about it before running out there."
-- Hance on his experience preparing for his first NFL game during COVID and meeting Baker. (NFL.com)
ANALYTICS TWITTER, EXPLAIN YOURSELF
"I think the analytics were a fairly strong go."
"If you don't make it, they're backed up, they're likely going to be conservative and you have a chance to get it back."
-- Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich did not have any regrets on his decision to go for it on fourth down late in the second quarter in an attempt to take a 17-7 lead in Buffalo. A Philip Rivers pass fell incomplete to wide receiver Michael Pittman, and the Bills drove the length of the field to score a touchdown and take a 14-10 lead. (Joel Erickson via Twitter) (Joel Erickson via Twitter)
"Immediately after, I was thinking, should have just run it up the gut. ... Then on the two-point later, ran it up the gut with our best play, didn't work."
-- Reich cited the play previous as a point of real regret, where a toss to Jonathan Taylor was blown up for a loss of 2 yards. (Joel Erickson via Twitter)
"We just didn't do enough. We didn't position 'em in enough good circumstances. We didn't make enough plays, particularly in the critical moments. We were a group that died on the vine."
-- Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin in reaction to the team's 48-37 loss to the Cleveland Browns in the wild-card round. The Steelers started off the season 11-0 before going 1-5 in their last six games. (NFL.com)
"I'm sorry, brother. You're the only reason I wanted to do this, man. Oh, I feel worse for you than me. I hate it, man."
-- Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and center Maurkice Pouncey shared a tender moment on-field following the game. Pouncey has since announced his retirement. (Brooke Pryor, ESPN via Twitter)
"I could have been better. Will definitely look at the film and be better. This game will humble you. Got to keep working."
-- Tennessee Titans running back and NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry took accountability for his poor performance in the wild-card round against the Baltimore Ravens. Henry posted 40 yards on 18 carries, season lows in total yards and yards per carry. (John Glennon, Broadway Sports via Twitter)
"I will share this with you: we have to run the ball better. Not even better, we have to run it more. We have to dictate what's going on with the people that we're playing, and that's one of the ways to do that. I know the fans aren't real jacked about hearing that, but [Russell Wilson] knows it too. We need to be able to knock those guys into the scheme we want to throw at, which was happening more earlier in the season and we took full advantage of it."
-- Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll announces that the offense's primary focus going into 2021 will be to run the football more often. (Billy M, Catscratch Reader via Twitter)
NOTHING IS EASY IN FOOTBALL
Q: Ohio State has a really good front. How were you able to expose those holes so effortlessly?
Najee Harris: "Effortlessly? You didn't see what they was doing? They was blowing my ass up, what you talking about? It wasn't effortlessly, I tell you what. They did their bring, Bro, to be honest with you. It was just, you know, what they did is every time we did a play-action, they just shot the gaps, shot the gaps. The linebackers, we got a couple of them to play a lot of fakes, that's why we're able to throw so much bubbles and slants and all that. But bro, they was blowing my ass out, you trippin', it was not easy. I am hurting."
-- Alabama Crimson Tide running back Najee Harris didn't take his 158 total yards and three total touchdowns for granted against Ohio State. (Jason Priestas, Eleven Warriors via Twitter)
PACK YOUR BAGS
"Sent them boys to Cancun"
-- Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods used his Instagram caption to celebrate sending division rival Seattle Seahawks packing after a win in the wild-card round.
"Right to Cabo wit they hats & shirts"
-- Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey chimed in in the comments, referencing the Seahawks' hats and shirts won for clinching the NFC West. (Lindsey Thiry, ESPN via Twitter)
WHAT'S THAT PHRASE ABOUT HOUSTON AND PROBLEMS?
"If I'm [Deshaun Watson] I will stand my ground. The Texans organization is known for wasting players' careers. Since Jack Easterby has walk into the building nothing good has happened in/for the organization and for some reason someone can't seem to see what's going on. Pathetic!!!"
-- Former Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson made his first non-sponsored Twitter post in nearly a year to go to bat for quarterback Deshaun Watson amidst frustration with the organization.
"When Dre speak listen."
-- Arizona Cardinals wide receiver (and Watson's former teammate in Houston) DeAndre Hopkins echoed the sentiment supporting his old quarterback. (Deandre Hopkins via Twitter)
'WHAT IS IT EXACTLY THAT YOU DO HERE?'
"Have we gotten the quarterback situation right? No. Have we won enough games? No. But everything else is there."
-- An excerpt like this from Chicago Bears president Ted Phillips shouldn't exactly instill confidence in Bears fans. (Kevin Fishbain, The Athletic Chicago via Twitter)
THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA
JUST BROWNS BEING BROWNS
Browns playing corvette corvette for JuJu 😂 pic.twitter.com/WrmaMFPGlA
— Lds831 (@lds831) January 11, 2021
-- Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt went live in Instagram during the team's wild-card postgame celebration to throw some jabs at Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who claimed before the game that "The Browns is The Browns." Smith-Schuster followed up after the game by saying he didn't regret his comments and that Cleveland just "played a hell of a game."
-- Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool doesn't like the Browns' chances this coming weekend against the Kansas City Chiefs.
BALTIMORE IS STILL TIPPIN'
— Master (@MasterTes) January 11, 2021
-- Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson couldn't help himself when asked questions by a reporter who happens to share a name with Houston rapper Mike Jones.
"I gotta see what this Mike Jones guy is about." 🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/HYFjFwG2R9
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 12, 2021
-- Ravens head coach John Harbaugh may be outsourcing some of his pregame pump-up to Mike Jones after some further research. Jones reached out to the Ravens Twitter to "Tell Coach I got 'em," linking one of his songs.
HEY FATHER TIME, YOU MISSED A COUPLE
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) January 12, 2021
-- Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady dropped the promotional material we didn't know we needed for this weekend's NFC divisional round matchup between the Bucs and the New Orleans Saints.
"I thought it was hilarious. They made me look like the dad from Family Ties. … I didn't like the hairline to be honest. … I would've liked a little more hair on top."
-- Saints quarterback Drew Brees on his ancient counterpart. (Luke Johnson, New Orleans Advocate via Twitter)