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2002 Playoffs

Wildcard Round
Giants 23, Oilers 21
Raiders 16, Bears 14
Texans 20, Titans 9
Colts 23, 49ers 0

Second Round
Raiders 41, Chiefs 32
Texans 22, Saints 15
Colts 28, Broncos 24
Browns 21, Giants 20

Semifinals
Browns 42, Texans 14
Raiders 14, Colts 7
 

The first day of the LAEFL Playoffs and we had some dandy games played. The field was wide open and any number of teams had a great shot at walking away with the title. The number one seed Browns came in with a 13-1 record followed by the Chiefs at 12-2 and the Broncos at 10-3.

The first game to get started was the Giants at the Oilers. This game went down to the wire as the G-men hung on for a 23-21 victory. Houston who led early couldn’t muster up a running game and it cost them the game. Warren Moon almost brought his team all the way back but Terry Collins and Tiki Barber kept the Oilers from gushing.

The Bears hosted the Raiders, and the Raiders came away with one of the luckiest wins of the playoffs. Trailing 16-14 and with only two minutes to go, the Bears missed what could have been the game winning field goal. The Raiders get the ball and quickly (and I do mean quickly) go three and out. Now this leaves the Bears 1 minute in the game, they have all three time-outs and the ball is at their 38-yardline. Red Grange and Papa Bear Halas drove the Bears down to the Raiders 16-yardline. With only seconds to go the Bears line up for the game winning field goal, all eyes on the kicker as he calmly strolls onto the field. The snap was good the hold even better but the kick sailed wide right and the Raiders all ran onto the field and rejoiced. Best first round game of the day.

The new look Houston Texans took apart the young Titans 20-9. The Texans came in with a good run stop defense and at times a smothering pass defense. The Titans scored late but really couldn’t deal with the hurry up offense the Texans run.

The last game of the first round saw the Forty Niners play at Indy. This game was over before it began. The Niners took the opening kickoff and proceeded to march backwards. 2-0 Indy as Roger Craig was tackled in the end zone. After the Niners kickoff, the Colts take just 4 plays and are now up 9-0. Still unable to get anything started with their running game the Niners try a pass, it was returned for a touchdown. We hadn’t even played 6 minutes and the Niners were down 16-0. The Niners had a chance at putting some points on the board, with 4 seconds left in the half instead of trying a field goal they elect to go for the td. Well, Jerry Rice was open at the goal line but the pass bounced and time ran out. That was it for the Niners as the Colts scored late in the fourth to put the game away and walked out with a 23-0 win.

Ricky Williams and the New Orleans Saints hosted the Texans in the quarter-finals. Two plays into the game after the kickoff, and the Saints are up 7-0. Aaron Brooks was on fire in the first half. After the Texans took the lead on a nice drive, the ensuing kickoff was returned 100-yds and the Saints were back on top 15-8. Ahead and driving for what should have been the final nail in the Texans coffin, the Saints were stopped at the Texans one yard line. Strange play calling by the Saints in the red zone changed the outcome of the game. As just before half the Texans scored but missed the extra point and trailed 15-14 at the half. The Saints offense must have gone to Bourbon Street thinking they had already won the game. The offense started missing more passes and the defense was starting to bend and crack at the seams. Mid way through the fourth quarter the Texans scored to regain the lead at 22-15. Brooks and the Saints drove to the Texans 18 before turning the ball over on downs. The first shock of the quarter-finals. Texans 22 the Saints 15.

They are still “Chomping at the bit”. The Colts got revenge on the Broncos 28-24. The two time runner up in the first two “Shows” was defeated. In his own words, I see a crack I’m going to try and hit the man”, Mike Turner said after the loss. Turner and his Broncos turned the ball over twice at the goal line, once when he was ahead and the second as he was trying to come back. Coach McMillan and his Colts move on to Championship Sunday.

The highest scoring game of the day was between two old rivals. The Number two seed Chiefs came into this game riding a 4 game winning streak and one of the leagues top passing games. Well, someone forgot to tell Coach Eby that the Raiders have a good passing game as well. Raymond Chester had a field day catching passes. He was open like your neighborhood 7/11 store, he was open all night long. At the half the Raiders led 27-25. Every time the Chiefs got within a couple of points the Raiders had an answer. The second half you didn’t have 52 points scored but you did finally see some defense. The Raiders outscored the Chiefs 14-7 in the second half and won 41-32. “This was the most points we gave up all year. We made some adjustments in the second half to contain Chester, but he was too much for us early on”, said a dejected Coach Eby.

The final game of the night saw the G-men come within 5 seconds of pulling off the upset. Driving for the winning score, Terry Collins missed a wide open receiver and the G-men had to settle for a field goal. The snap looked good the hold wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, but the kick was wide left and the Giants lost for the third straight time to the Rookie of the year winner. The Browns who were down 20-7 at one point roared back to take a lead and only have to watch as the Giants began their final march for the win. “We should have beaten this team today”, “We missed two receivers that would have scored and the field goal try what can you say. We missed, game over, season over”, said Coach Campbell.

Championship Sunday Oct. 6th. 2002

Well who would have thought these teams were going to be in the final four. The Raiders were at the Colts and the young Texans went to the Dawg pound to visit the Browns.

The Dawg Pound was a buzz as the Browns were only one game from shocking the league, but the Texans weren't intimidated. The Texans had an early lead but couldn't hold it. They kept getting receivers open but couldn't hit them. They only trailed 15-14 at the half but that was as close as they were going to get. Coach Jackson must have broke a little something off in his teams behind because the Texans didn't see the bus that hit them in the second half. A 27 point second half and a smothering pass coverage earned the Browns their first trip to the "SHOW". The Texans have nothing to be ashamed about. They went further than anyone had thought they would go and they beat some teams they shouldn't have. Next season should be even better for the Texans. Final score 42-14 Browns.

"Chomping at the Bit" should be the Colts title for this seasons year in review video. As they came up short of their goal of making it to the "SHOW". The Raiders beat them 14-7 in a tight hard fought game. After tying the game at 7, the Colts couldn't get anything else going. The Raiders marched down and scored then played keep away and earned Eric Robinson his first trip to the "SHOW". "I had trouble getting receivers open after the first quarter and the Raiders shut down our running game. When I did get a receiver open I was sacked. So congrats to the Raiders and it's back to the drawing board for me", said a pretty subdued Coach McMillan after the game.