Truth or Dream?

by Nathan Hague

You ever have those dreams where you know it’s a dream, you tell yourself that and then do whatever the heck you want while hoping to stay asleep? Or maybe it’s a bad dream, but you know it’s a dream and you remind yourself of that to take comfort in it. That’s kind of what the division round of the playoffs was for me, except I never woke up, probably because I wasn’t asleep at all despite the fact I tried telling myself it was just a dream.

After the Baltimore Ravens tied the game up on a 70-yard touchdown pass, I was certain I was either dreaming or there was a flag on the play. I still wasn’t convinced after seeing no flags on the field and the Ravens tied it up with the extra point.

I’m not a Denver Broncos fan by any means and if I had any reason to root for them it was that I had picked them to go to the Super Bowl back before the season. Denver had it all wrapped it up but it was one thing after another that went wrong for the Broncos. They couldn’t convert the first down and were forced to punt.

So with the time ticking and a 7-point lead, all Denver has to do is stop the Ravens from driving 70 yards. Pretty simple right? Not so much apparently. The Broncos had their chances in overtime as well and the Ravens sealed up the win in double-overtime.

The Broncos lost. It wasn’t so much the Ravens winning. Denver’s secondary was flat out terrible. Yes Joe Flacco deserves some credit but when you see Champ Bailey and other defensive backs getting burned like he did, one would figure the proper adjustments would be made.

Then there was the Packers and 49ers game. If Alex Smith had been the starter, you’d have the major storyline of Smith vs. Aaron Rodgers, two guys drafted the same year as one fell way further than most projected…OK, you know the rest. Instead though, the 49ers are led by a second-year quarterback in his first year as the starter and he looked like Steve Young. (Actually, now that I think of it, I’m pretty sure Colin Kaepernick turned into Young, which is why I was pretty sure I was dreaming.)

The Packers were my other preseason Super Bowl pick. I lost both of them back-to-back and thinking of it as some sort of dream was the only conclusion that made any sense in my head.
If it was all a dream, it continued into Sunday.

The Atlanta Falcons led by 20 points before losing that lead late in fourth quarter. When the Seattle Seahawks took the 28-27 lead with under a minute left, I thought it was over. It seemed like a far-fetched dream already but how much more so would it be for the Falcons to march down the field and kick the winning field goal?

Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant missed the kick, but not before Seattle coach Pete Carroll called a timeout and then acted like he never did. Bryant got another shot and split the uprights to advance the Falcons to the NFC Championship game against former AFC East foe San Francisco.

The nightmare continued while watching the Houston Texans. Since my Cowboys were out, I figured I’d root for the other Texas team. I went into with low expectations much like I do for the Cowboys but a trailing by only 4 at the half made me think the Texans might make it a game.

When the Patriots pulled away in the second half, I realized I wasn’t dreaming. It would’ve been way too far-fetched for the Texans to knock out Tom Brady and company.

If It was all a bad dream, it’s not over. As a Cowboys fan, I have to root for an Atlanta vs. Baltimore match up. If the 49ers win, they’ll have six Super Bowls. If the Pats win it all, Brady will have more rings than Troy Aikman. I’m not sure I can handle that.

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