BALTIMORE -- How do you slow down Tom Brady?
"You have to try and confuse him," Webb said.
Good luck with that. Brady, like the other top quarterbacks, has a way of knowing where he's going with the football before the snap. He's great at those pre-snap reads.
The Patriots don't really stretch the field all that much, but Brady excels at getting the ball to the receiver or tight end with the best match-up. Tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez and receiver Wes Welker are all good at winning against man coverage.
"Tom is playing excellent up there, and what they did to the Broncos last night, I think they sent a message to whoever was coming up there," Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said. " So, we’ve got our hands full and we’ve got to go up and get ready to play in the AFC championship.”
You can't expect the Ravens to stop Brady. They can only hope to slow him down.
• Look, I've stated my opinion about Tim Tebow's ability to play NFL quarterback the right way. I didn't need his performance against the Patriots Saturday night to convince me that he's far from being able to lead a team from the pocket. The Broncos gimmicked up the offense for him to help offset his inability to throw from the pocket. Until he learns how to do that, and throw into tight windows, there will always be doubts. He didn't lose that game to the Patriots. Hell, John Elway in his prime wouldn't have won that for the Broncos. But expect Tebow to be pushed in training camp by somebody. Or the Broncos will be in a lot of trouble moving forward.
• The NFL considering full-time officials makes no sense to me. What they need to do is add an extra official on the field. The game is too fast now to just have seven officials on the field. One more would help compensate for the speed of the game advancing to where it is now. Plus, more passing means that the officials have to expand their focus to a wider perspective. So say no to full time officials, but yes to adding one more on the field.
• Lewis wasn't too happy that a Baltimore writer questioned the way he and Reed played the final few games of the season. He took exception to the criticism of their tackling. Truth be known, neither one tackled that well down the stretch. It's hard to believe after 16 years, Lewis still gets worked up over the critics.
• I love the hire of Dirk Koetter by the Atlanta Falcons as offensive coordinator. Koetter and Matt Ryan will work well together. And for those worried about Koetter being too conservative, he was forced to be that way under Jack Del Rio. He often had game plans adjusted by the head coach. That won't happen in Atlanta. This is Koetter's chance to show how good a coach he can be. I bet he excels.
• I like the idea of the Miami Dolphins hiring Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. He is a damn good coach whose time has come to be the top man. Zimmer is fiery coach, but his players love him.
• Fear the Texans next year. That is a talented football team. Who knows how good they could have been if Matt Schaub didn't go down? That defense can be special. They do have to decide what to do with Mario Williams? Do they tag him? That would cost $22 million. That's way too high, considering they played without him for most of the season and finished second in total defense. Rookie Brooks Reed and Connor Barwin are both good players at outside linebacker. If Williams hits the market, he will be by far the highest-paid free agent out there.
• Just a thought, but if Jeff Fisher is worth $8 million a year what is Tom Coughlin worth?
• The Saints might lose defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to the Rams. He would join good buddy Jeff Fisher, the team's new coach. Here's what I wonder: Do the Saints really care? Williams loves to blitz, and he was undone by it against the 49ers Saturday. His defenses have struggled to defend the pass in New Orleans.
• Did Alex Smith show what he could do when given the chance to throw against the Saints? Has he been held down his entire career? It's a legitimate question. Smith looked great in the fourth quarter and his last-minute drive was something you'd expect from Joe Montana. He was accurate, throwing into tight windows. Smith has always been a stand-up guy. It's nice to see him having some success. He's a class kid.
• Admit it. When you watched 49ers tight end Vernon Davis lighting up the Saints for 180 yards and the game-winning touchdown, you asked why he doesn't do that more? I think the 49ers need to get him involved in the offense more.
• Memo to those out there touting the Giants as a defensive team: They were eighth in scoring offense and 25th in scoring defense. They are an offensive team that has a pass rush. Period.
• Of the four teams left in the playoffs, the team that finished highest in rushing yardage was the 49ers. They were eighth. You don't run it to win anymore. You just don’t.