Wild-Card Weekend Indepth Recap
Packers 35 Redskins 18
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense is getting a lot of love after trouncing the Redskins in their own stadium. This game was not the test that next week will be when Rodgers has to contend with the much nastier Arizona defense.
While Washington’s defense was bullied, the Packers D did just what they needed to in order to control Kirk Cousins, who was coming into the game as one of the hottest quarterbacks in the League.
The Skins gave up 141 yards on the ground while Green Bay only allowed Cousins to throw one TD when he had 11 in the past three games. The reversal on DeSean Jackson’s apparent TD certainly didn’t help matters.
Green Bay managed to sack Cousins six times when he had done a great job of getting rid of the ball most of the regular season. Rodgers, on the other hand, was sacked just once.
Eye-Popping Stat: 17 targets for Jordan Reed as Cousins tried to force it to his go-to guy when the offense started to sputter.
Seahawks 10 Vikings 9
Blair Walsh could have been the hero of the game and the most valuable player since he had scored all of Minnesota’s points. Missing the chip shot field goal at the end turned the kicker into a pariah in Minnesota though.
The Vikings got a break with the brutally cold weather that clearly affected the Hawks’ revamped passing attack. The gameplan worked to perfection as they controlled the clock and game flow. Adrian Peterson was ineffective the entire game, but the team was chewing up clock all the while, waiting Seattle out.
Everything was in place for the upset. Then things fell apart with Kam Chancellor taking the ball from AP, leading to a field goal from Seattle to make it 10-9 the visitors way.
All Seattle’s points came in the last quarter with the key play of the game coming on a broken play in which Wilson showed why he is the best pure football player in the League. Kid scoops up a fumbled snap 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage and finds Tyler Lockett over the middle to set up the game’s sole touchdown two plays later.
Walsh’s miss from just 27 yards away to lose the game is inexcusable, but so was AP’s mere 45 yards and crucial fumble late in the game.
Eye-Popping Stat: A winning QB doesn’t go 13/26. A winning football player does. There is no game scenario in which I don’t trust Wilson.
Chiefs 30 Texans 0
We all knew that the winner of the AFC South was going to mar up the playoffs with a bad showing. I still held out hope that the Texans defense would be at least interesting with JJ Watt maybe going off for three sacks or scoring an offensive TD.
That clearly didn’t happen, and even DeAndre Hopkins was a non-factor. The most targeted WR in the NFL did catch six passes but only gained 69 inconsequential yards.
The Chiefs got off to a great start when Knile Davis took the opening kickoff the distance to go up 7-0 in an instant. The Texans never recovered. The best thing that happened on the Texans’ first five drives were two punts. The two picks and one fumble derailed any chance of getting the offense in rhythm.
KC will head to Foxboro next week to test the shaky offensive line in front of Brady.
Eye-Popping Stat: 5 turnovers by Houston, all by Hoyer.
Steelers 18 Bengals 16
This was the best game of the weekend, though was fairly predictable until late in the game. About the time Vontaze Burfict cracked Ben Roethlisberger’s chest open is when things got interesting.
The Steelers led 15-0 after three-quarters of football. After Big Ben had been carted off, the Bengals scored on their next three drives. TD, FG, TD…..17 unanswered points.
Pittsburgh’s next three drives totaled just nine plays with Landry Jones filling in at QB.
The third drive ended with Jones being picked on a great play by Vontaze Burfict. That INT should have sealed the deal for Marvin Lewis, who was seeking his first playoff win ever as head coach.
It was not to be as the Bengal’s Jeremy Hill coughed up the ball on the next play, giving the Steelers life with just 1:23 to play.
Those unanswered points were about to be answered as Ben Roethlisberger made his way back into the game. The final drive was nine plays and ate up 74 yards. 30 of those yards came with just 18 seconds left when Burfict was flagged for a headshot on Antonio Brown, then a follow-up penalty on Pacman Jones for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Those penalties moved the ball close enough for a 35-yard field goal try, which Chris Boswell nailed to give the Steelers the lead 18-16 and eventually the win.
This was a nasty game at the end that erased a great comeback by the Bengals who were about to avenge so many playoff letdowns. To quote Dan LeBatard, “It seems like 17 years ago that AJ McCarron threw the TD pass to AJ Green to take the lead.” Lack of self-control at the end turned an epic win into just another postseason fiasco for Cincinnati.
Eye-Popping Stat: Ones ——1 assistant coach pulling the hair of a player, 1 assistant coach drawing a 15-yard flag on a defender, 1 QB shot up with Area 51 DNA to get back in the game.