In case you were busy trying to concoct a homemade flu vaccine out of common household spices, here's what you missed in sports last weekend.
- The San Francisco 49ers, led by second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick beat the Green Bay Packers, 45-31, in San Francisco to advance to the NFC Championship game. Kaepernick and running back Frank Gore combined for 300 yards rushing against an overwhelmed Packers defense. When told this stat after the game, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said, "That's what it was! Run defense! I knew I was forgetting something. It was on my to-do list. I swear." McCarthy then pulled out a Palm Pilot, poked at it with a stylus for a couple of minutes, and then showed it to the gathered reporters. "Look, right here: 'Go over run defense.' It's always one thing you forget to do, am I right?"
- The Seattle Seahawks rallied from 20 points down in the fourth quarter to dramatically cover the spread against the Atlanta Falcons, 28-30. Russell Wilson threw for 385 yards and ran for 60 more, accounting for three touchdowns in the cover. After the game, when asked about his team's success, Wilson fought back tears, saying, "We fought so hard; we left it all there. I'm just so proud of my whole team. It's hard to put into words what happened tonight. But I still aim to come out even stronger next time we play." The Seahawks will again go for the cover next September against an opponent yet to be determined.
- Patriots reserve running back Shane Vereen scored three touchdowns to lead New England to a 41-28 win over the Houston Texans. "Yes, I'm distantly related to Ben, but I've never met the guy, so please, no more questions about him," Vereen said after the game, in reference to his father's cousin, theatrical triple-threat Ben Vereen. "Hopefully, after this game, people will ask him questions about me instead," the younger Vereen said with a laugh. His hopes were dashed, however, as the media continued peppering him with questions about Ben's work in Pippin, Roots, and Jesus Christ Superstar, asking him nothing about his breakout playoff performance.
- The Ravens won the league's first double-overtime game since 2004, topping Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, 38-35. "Oh, what in the what?" said an apoplectic Manning in the locker room after the loss. "Why didn't any of you jokers tell me you can have two overtimes? Jiminy Christmas! I thought if we tied, the higher seed moved on. Sweet petunia with a Cracker Jack! I definitely wouldn't have kneeled out regulation, like some sort of silly-billy-dilly-dallier, if I had known all this. Golly gee, barnacle on my britches. Don't I feel like a real howdy-doody right now?"
- Heat point guard Mario Chalmers made a team-record 10 3-pointers as Miami topped the Sacramento Kings, 128-99. Asked about his record performance, Chalmers shook his head, "I feel terrible. This city is losing its team, and on the way out the door, I kick 'em in the gut." Chalmers went on to explain, "Honestly, I swear, I stopped trying to make my 3's, I really did, but that somehow only made me more accurate. I wish that was something I could harness; if only I could lie to my heart."
- The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Lakers, 116-101, at Staples Center Friday behind 42 points from Kevin Durant. After the game, all of the players on the Lakers found cookies in their lockers, along with a note that said, "A Team-Building Gift From Kobe." "It's a nice gesture," said reserve shooting guard Jodie Meeks. "I mean, I don't think any of us ate them, but it's still a nice gesture." When told no one was eating his cookies, Bryant stared menacingly off into the distance, before whispering, "I guess I'll need to come up with another way to find some salary-cap relief."
- And then there was one: Michigan is the only remaining undefeated team in college basketball after the Duke Blue Devils fell to in-state rival North Carolina State in Raleigh, 84-76. "Rival?" said insufferable Duke sophomore fraternity member Landon Jackson. "Come on, bro, are you serious? UNC maybe, but NC State? If you ask me, taking academics into account, we don't even have rivals." A ceiling panel then suddenly fell on Jackson's head. "Oh, that shouldn't have happened to me! Someone come fix this now," said Jackson to no one in particular, before walking away muttering under his breath about how hard his life is.
- Oh, wait, wait, wait and then there were none: The last undefeated team in college hoops, Michigan, lost to rival Ohio State, 56-53, Sunday afternoon in Columbus. With no unbeaten teams remaining, expect rankings chaos to ensue, as we come up on College Basketball Championship selection day. Participants will be determined based on a weighted average of human polls and computer polls. Current favorites are Louisville and Kansas, but if they fall, the door will be opened back up to Indiana and Syracuse. As is tradition, other teams will be privileged with the opportunity to play in meaningless games in far-flung locations against non-rivals starting on the vernal equinox, and continuing through Easter Sunday when the Grandmother of Them All will be contested between likely Pac-12 Champion Arizona and Big-10 Champion Indiana. That is, of course, unless Indiana or Arizona qualifies for the title game, in which case a specially trained chicken will get to select the game's participants from a pool of the top 16 teams in the nation by pecking at a list held by NCAA President Mark Emmert. When asked about the system, Emmert responded, "How do you suggest we do it? Without a chicken? You want to put our picking chicken out of work? Well, he has a name, and it's Albert, and I won't stand for that."
- Liverpool fell to rival Manchester United, 2-1, at Old Trafford, their 10th loss in their last 11 matches in the fixture. Before the game, Liverpool players were given cookies, along with a note that said, "A Team-Building Gift From Your Manager, Brendan Rodgers." "It's a nice gesture," said Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard. "Whoever our manager is always leaves some cookies for us whenever we come here to face United. Apparently, that's been true, gosh, since around when Alex Ferguson took over United. I think the whole midfield ate them before the match." When told after the match that his team enjoyed his cookies, Rodgers responded, "What cookies?"