By Justin Brisson > Sports Blogger
New Years is a time of rebirth for a lot of people. Many use the beginning of the new year as a launching point to cut out bad habits, establish better ones and move on in a positive direction with their lives. It is only fitting that the NFL Playoffs kicked off last weekend with a theme of rebirth.
In Seattle, receiver Mike Williams’ story this year has been an interesting one, to say the least. The effort that this man has put forth to get back to playing great football is unbelievable. If it weren’t for Michael Vick, Williams would be the Comeback Player of the Year. So seeing Williams play well on Saturday shouldn’t have been a surprise. However, watching teammate Marshawn Lynch play the best game of his career was special. Lynch ran for 131 yards on 19 carries, one of which was a 67-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that already has some ESPN-folk calling it the greatest postseason run of all time. Just three months ago, Lynch was traded to Seattle as a Buffalo Bills castoff.
Williams has come along way from being cut by the Detroit Lions
Indianapolis hosted quite a game of its own on Saturday. There we witnessed the rebirth of formerly "washed up" New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson. Tomlinson surprised many with his play this season, shaking off doubt that he still has the ability to be an effective runner in the NFL. Against the Colts, Tomlinson ran for 82 yards on 16 carries, including two touchdowns down at the goal line.
In Kansas City, it was the rebirth of the aging Baltimore defense that surprised many, including myself. I’ve never doubted their front seven, but even the secondary played good enough coverage to allow the pass rush to affect Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel severely. The old, fearsome Ravens defense is gone, and Kansas City showed that you can run the ball effectively against these guys. However, the veteran leadership of the Ravens proved too tough for the inexperienced Chiefs.
Finally, on Sunday I was pleasantly surprised to see the rebirth of the Green Bay Packers’ running game. Absent for most of the season due to injury and a lack of depth, running back James Stark was able to bring it back by stepping up to shoulder the load for the Packers. Starks ran for 123 yards on 23 carries, and really gave Green Bay great balance and the ability to keep the Eagles’ offense on the sidelines. Starks only had 29 carries in his career prior to Sunday.