Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 1/16/12
Did You See That?! This week was full of spectacular plays and huge momentum swings. Nobody will forget the 49ers and the Saints duke it out at Candlestick Park; An instant classic. Joe Flacco led the Ravens to a 20-13 win while only gaining 227 total yards. The Pats showed complete dominance as Brady entered the record books multiple times. The Giants hit Hakeem Nicks to take the wind out of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and drive home a great upset. Wherever you looked, whoever you watched, there were plenty of spectacular plays, only making this list that much more difficult.

#5: Ed Reed Seals The Game Late in the fourth quarter, Ed Reed snagged a deep ball destined for Andre Johnson. This play ended the Texans last minute attempt at tying the game with about two minutes left. This would be the third INT by the Ravens this game. Although the pick in and of itself was not spectacular when judged relatively to all the other amazing plays this weekend, it signified a dominant Ravens defense. Joe Flacco and company only gained 227 total yards on the day. Even so, the Ravens kept the Texans in check, limiting their scoring chances and forcing three INTs and four turnovers on the day. Reed's interception showed that a dominant defense is required to be a top flight team.
#4: Brady To Gronk The Patriots were dominant all game long. However, the first TD to Gronkowski was their first display of total dominance. Gronk reaches out and snags the ball with his fingertips, collects it, and falls for a New England touchdown. This would be the start of a record-setting day by Tom Brady. This TD to Gronkowski showed that the Broncos had no answer to a Patriots offense. There were many big plays, almost all of which were for the Pats. This play was most important because it established dominance early on, and it completely deflated any confidence the Broncos defense had.

#3: Umenyiora Strips Rodgers Early in the third quarter, Green Bay was trailing by ten. Rodgers moved the ball downfield with ease and was set for a nice TD. Osi Umenyiora didn't like that idea. Instead, Umenyiora reached Rodgers from behind to strip the ball and the Giants recovered. Now, with possession and up by ten, the Giants stepped up and took control of the game. Umenyiora reminded Rodgers and the Packers that the Giants defensive line is still in this game. This play showed Green Bay that sometimes 15-1 means nothing if you can't win in the Playoffs.


#2: Manning to Nicks... TD! Six seconds left in the first half. This would be a 50+ yd field goal. The Giants have no timeouts left. Maybe they are going to get a quick out to make it easier on Tynes. The ball is snapped, Manning steps up, heaves in high... Nick has it! Nicks has it, Giants TD! This, or a similar dialogue, is exactly what every single person watching that game was thinking. Tom Coughlin took a risk, something he never does. The payoff was huge. With a score at the end of the first half, the Giants jumped to a 10 point lead. More importantly, the Giants sucker punched the players and fans in Green Bay. If it weren't for Vernon Davis and Jimmy Graham, this would have been the play of the week.
#1: Jimmy Graham Goes All the Way! And So Does Vernon Davis... Without a doubt, the greatest moment of the weekend and possibly the entire playoffs happened in Candlestick Park. No one play is big enough, so let's recap the final four minutes; four of the most exciting minutes in football history. The Saints were down by six with four minutes left. They would go on to score. And then the 49ers would score just before the two minute warning, they would also miss a 2-pt conversion. The Saints now had the ball, down 24-29. Moments later, Jimmy Graham highlighted an impressive rookie season with a sixty-six yard break to take the ball all the way to the house, with only 1:37 left on the clock. It was over, the Cinderella story had come to an end. The New Orleans Saints had come back to win the game that everyone expected them to win, the final score: 32-29. After all, Alex Smith has no chance at driving the ball all the way down the field and scoring. The guy was completely discounted coming into this game. Too bad the Saints secondary is only barely better than the Packers, because Alex Smith did just that. Driving to Saints 14-yd line, Smith put his team in position to tie the game with only NINE SECONDS left. Instead of wrapping up the game, Harbaugh had Smith try for the game winner. Sure enough, Vernon Davis was in man coverage and took advantage as he snagged a laser to seal the game. There is no better ending to a game. How could one be upset with a game like that?
Honorable Mentions: Dashon Goldsons INT. Donte Whitners forced fumble. Any of Tom Brady's TD passes. Tim Tebow's Heart; the kid just wouldn't give up. Arian Fosters 132 yard game against Ray Lewis.

There were just too many great plays, let me know what you think about my selections.
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