Twelve teams battled this weekend but only six advanced in the NFL’s Super Wild Card. Some teams were upset while others lived up to expectations and advanced to the next round. Here is a recap of all of the action.
Bills vs. Colts
The Buffalo Bills hosted the Indianapolis Colts in the first game of the AFC Wild Card. The Bills were 13-3 during the regular season and were 6.5 point favorites to win over the Colts. The Colts finished the regular season 11-5 but were no slouches coming into this game.
The Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs combo has been one of, if not the hottest QB-WR tandems this season. Vs. the Colts, Diggs accounted made six receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown. Allen had 324 passing yards and two passing touchdowns while also leading the team with 54 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown.
Phillip Rivers threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough. A failed “Hail Mary” attempt ended the Colts’ game and Rivers’ career. Rivers said earlier this season he would retire to fulfill his dream to become a high school football coach. The final score was 27-24. The Bills win their first playoff game since 1995.
Seahawks vs. Rams
The Seahawks hosted the LA Rams in a heated game on Saturday. The Seahawks were 12-4 and won the gauntlet that is the NFC West. The Seahawks clinched the division against the Rams in week 16 of the regular season.
The Rams faced some QB issues early in the game as John Wolford went out with a head/neck injury. But Jared Goff stepped in and led the Rams. Goff threw for 155 yards and a touchdown to help the Rams. Cam Akers had himself a game as the RB ran for 131 yards and one touchdown.
For Seattle, Russell Wilson struggled. Wilson only completed 11/27 (40%) of his passes for 174, two touchdowns, and one interception. Wilson began this season as one of the favorites for MVP but wasn’t very consistent throughout the back half of the schedule. Wilson was also sacked five times, two of those by Aaron Donald. In the end, the Rams defeated Seattle 30-20 to advance to the NFC Divisional Round.
Football Team vs. Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Bucs traveled to Landover to take on the NFC East champ Washington Football Team. The Football team was without their most successful QB, Alex Smith, but they had a secret weapon for the Bucs. Tom Brady was coming into his 41st playoff game (NFL Record) but his first in the NFC. The Football Team started Taylor Heinicke for his first playoff start and second overall start in his NFL career.
Tom Brady and the Bucs had control over the game, but Taylor Heinicke played excellently and kept Washington in arms reach throughout the game. Heinicke finished the game with 306 yards passing, one touchdown, and one interception. The young QB also ran for 46 yards and a spectacular diving touchdown. Despite his outstanding performance, it just wasn’t enough for the old vet Brady. Brady threw for 381 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Bucs to victory. The final score was 31-23, and Tampa Bay will advance.
Ravens vs. Titans
The Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans have developed some animosity towards each other. Last season, the Titans upset the top seed Ravens in the playoffs last year. Earlier this season, the Titans beat the Ravens and had some confrontation before and after the game.
This time around, Lamar Jackson was dominant. Jackson threw for 179 yards and ran for another 136 yards and one touchdown. The Ravens defense also shut down the NFL’s rushing leader Derrick Henry to only 40 yards on the ground. Late in the game, Ryan Tannehill threw an interception to Marcus Peters, and the entire Ravens defense let the Titans know about it. Baltimore won the game 20-13 and will advance to the AFC divisional round.
Saints vs. Bears
Drew Brees and the Saints hosted the Chicago Bears in their wild card bout. Drew Brees is still knocking the rust off after missing most of the season due to his rib/lung injury early in the season. But today vs. Chicago, he looked like the Drew Brees of old. Brees threw for 265 yards and two touchdowns for New Orleans. Alvin Kamara also ran for 99 yards and one touchdown.
The Bears’ offense struggled as they failed to score a touchdown. The final score was 21-9, and the Saints advance to the NFC Divisional round.
Steelers vs. Browns
The Browns clinched their first playoff spot in 18 years and had to play division rival Pittsburgh Steelers. The Browns won in week 17 to get there, but many didn’t give Cleveland a chance to win. The game started off very ugly for Pittsburgh, as they went down 28-0 in the first quarter. The Browns were hitting on all cylinders and dominated the Steelers physically. They held Pittsburgh to just 52 rushing yards. Baker Mayfield also threw for 263 yards and three touchdowns. The Steelers managed to attempt a comeback behind Ben Roethilisbergers 47/68 (Both playoff records), 501 passing yards, and four touchdowns. Ben also threw four touchdowns in the game.
The Browns won their first playoff game since 1994 by a score of 48-37.
NFL Divisional Round Matchups:
#1 Chiefs vs. #6 Brownns
#2 Bills vs. #5 Ravens
#1 Packers vs. #6 Rams
#2 Saints vs. #5 Buccaneers