NFL Super Wild Card Weekend Recap
Full Recap From First Week Of Playoffs
Super Wild Card Weekend is in the books, and what a weekend it was. Not to mention, I was a perfect six-for-six with my playoff predictions! From blowouts to heartbreaks, Super Wild Card Weekend was one for the ages. With that said, let's break down the action.
AFC Wild Card Playoffs
5) Raiders: 19, 4) Bengals: 26
Final Line: CIN -6.0 Jake's Pick: CIN2
Bengals End Their 31-Year Drought, Hold On to Beat Raiders, 26-19:
It felt like the entire city of Cincinnati was going to crumble when the Bengals capped off their first playoff victory in 31 years. Joe Burrow threw for two TDs, including a controversial TD to Tyler Boyd (more on that in a minute), and rookie kicker Evan McPherson became the first rookie to make four field goals without a miss in a postseason debut. Burrow, making his first postseason start, went 24 of 34 for 244 yards. The Raiders' secondary had no answers for the rookie phenom Ja'Marr Chase. The star wideout kept victimizing the Raiders with nine catches for 116 yards.
The Raiders opened the scoring with a Daniel Carlson 47-yard field, but the Bengals immediately countered with a 7-yard pass to TE C.J. Uzomah, who made quite an impact on the offense hauling in six catches for 64 yards. The Bengals followed that up with a Trey Hendrickson strip-sack of Carr, which led to a field goal.
Cincy ended up controlling the first half, scoring on each of their four drives, while Vegas struggled to move the ball. However, QB Derek Carr ended the first half on a good note with a 14-yard pass to Zay Jones to make it 20-13.
With the Raiders down 26-19 in the fourth quarter, all they needed was a TD to tie the game, but Bengals' DB Germaine Pratt sealed the win with an interception. The Raiders had brought it all the way down to the nine yard-line but failed to get the job done. Now, the Raiders have to decide whether or not to keep Rich Bisaccia, which I think is a no-brainer.
The win meant so much for Cincinnati that HC Zach Taylor went to a few bars and gave game balls to the city and the owner Mike Brown after the game.
The Bengals may have won this game, but it comes without a bit of controversy in the second quarter. On the Boyd TD, Burrow rolled right to avoid pressure and threw from close to the sideline. The play continued despite an early whistle, and Boyd caught the 10-yard TD. The early whistle was because the official thought Burrow had stepped out of bounds before the throw. Long story short, the play counted, as the Raider protested the call, claiming the TD should not have counted and that the ball should return to the previous spot. The result: the Raiders lost by seven. Not to mention, the referee Jerome Boger isn't going to be around for the rest of the postseason.
What's Next for the Bengals:
The Bengals will go to Tennessee to take on the top-seeded Titans in the Divisional Round.
The Raiders have a lot of business to clean up. As I'm writing this down, Vegas is figuring out a replacement for their GM, Mike Mayock, and the future of Rich Bisaccia is in the balance.
AFC Wild Card Playoffs
6) Patriots: 17, 3) Bills: 47
Final Line: BUF -4.5 Jake's Pick: BUF
Allen-Bills Shine, Throttle Divisional Rival Patriots 47-17
No one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills! If you had any doubts about the Buffalo Bills heading into their game on Saturday, you quickly realized that this team is legit. There was absolutely no way the Patriots would win this game from the start. Josh Allen and the Bills got the ball seven times, and they scored on all seven possessions. Bill Belichick had no answer for the high-flying Buffalo offense. Allen finished 21 of 25 for 308 yards and five TDs, including two to TE Dawson Knox.
Overall, this might've been the most complete game Buffalo has played all season. Allen was dynamite in the air, and Devin Singletary got things going on the ground, rushing for 81 yards and two scores.
The defense played its part as well, picking off rookie Mac Jones twice and ending his rookie season on a sour note. The 47-17 defeat at the hands of the Bills marked the most significant playoff deficit for New England under Belichick's tenure, which began 22 years ago. Jones struggled to get anything going on offense, throwing 232 yards with two TDs and two INTs, and their defense couldn't keep Buffalo off the field.
The Bills Mafia also played their part (queue the dildo).
Are the Bills the Team to Beat in the AFC?
Following their dominated win over the Patriots, I think people are finally starting to notice the firepower the Bills possess on both sides of the ball. Josh Allen is a top-tier QB when he's on, and guys like Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer add to an already stout Buffalo defense. All eyes will be on the Buffalo Bills and whether or not they can make a Super Bowl run.
What's Next for Buffalo?
The Bills will head to Arrowhead for a highly-anticipated rematch with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in the Divisional Round.
The season is over for the Patriots, but I have a feeling they will be back in the playoffs next season.
NFC Wild Card Playoffs
7) Eagles: 15, 2) Buccaneers: 31
Final Line: TB -7.0 Jake's Pick: TB -7.0
Brady Throws 2 TDs, Defending Champs Fly Past Eagles 31-15
Was there ever a doubt in Tom Brady. Despite being without many weapons on offense, the defending Super Bowl champs took care of business against the Eagles. Brady threw for 271 yards and two TDs, while WR Mike Evans hauled in nine catches for 117 yards and one TD. With Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones unable to suit up for Sunday's game, the Bucs relied on the RB tandem of Keyshawn Vaughn and Giovanni Bernard, and they more than delivered. Vaughn led the team in rushing with 53 yards and a TD, while Bernard ran for a TD.
For most of the game, the Bucs did an excellent job keeping Philly's dominant rushing attack intact. When forced into obvious passing situations, Jalen Hurts couldn't do anything with the football, and the Eagles only managed 97 total rushing yards. I have to credit Philly's defense, which recorded four sacks on the day.
I didn't expect the Eagles to win this game, but if you are an Eagles, you have to be satisfied with the team, as this young team's future looks very bright. However, it'll be interesting to see what they do with Jalen Hurts moving forward.
Injuries Continue to Pile on For Tampa
Heading into this game, Tampa was without fifty percent of their offense with Chris Godwin out for the season and Antonio Brown; well, I don't need to tell you what happened with him. Not to mention, all-pro RT Tristan Wirfs limped off with an ankle injury in the first quarter. He would return briefly in the second quarter before taking the rest of the day off.
What's Next for Tampa
Tampa will play host to Matthew Stafford and the LA Rams in the Divisional Round.
Philly will have to figure out what to do with their three first-round draft picks and whether or not Jalen Hurts is worth keeping.
NFC Wild Card Playoffs
6) 49ers: 23, 3) Cowboys: 17
Final Line: DAL -3.5 Jake's Pick: SF
Niners hang on to beat Cowboys 23-17 in a chaotic finish:
The anticipation leading up to this game was epic, as fans rushed into AT&T Stadium to get to their seats. Only for Cowboys fans, it was only to watch their beloved team fail in the playoffs, yet again. That's right, the San Francisco 49ers came into Dallas and shocked the Cowboys, 23-17, in a wild finish that caused many disgruntled Dallas fans to throw trash at the referees.
Towards the final seconds of the game, Dallas was trying to drive the field's length to win the game. With little time left in the game and Dallas having no timeouts, the Cowboys got into Niner territory with just under 20 seconds left. Instead of throwing the ball out of bounds, Prescott took off on a designed run and slid at the end of a 17-yard gain. The umpire then bumped into the QB as he was trying to get the ball; Dallas couldn't get the snap off, and the Cowboys lost.
Going back to the actual game, the Niners had control for pretty much the entire game. Their running game, led by Elijah Mitchell and Deebo Samuel, ran all over the Cowboys' stout defensive line, and their defense was all over Dak and the Cowboy offense.
They did suffer massive blows to their defense, as their top players, DE Nick Bosa (head) and LB Fred Warner (ankle), left the game and could not return. Bosa is currently in concussion protocol, while Warner is day-to-day with an ankle injury.
The score got so close because of the Niners' miscues on offense. Jimmy Garoppolo threw a costly interception in the third quarter, which led to a Dak Prescott TD run to bring Dallas within six.
Garoppolo finished 16-25, 172 yards, and one INT. Mitchell led the team in rushing yards with 96, while Brandon Aiyuk led the team in receiving yards with 66. While the Niners picked up the win, they should've won by a lot more. They were the better team on Sunday, but Garoppolo made one terrible throw to get them back in the game. If they want to beat Green Bay next week, they have to clean up the mistakes on offense.
Dallas' Playoff Woes Continue:
You can always count on the Dallas Cowboys to lose a playoff game. Since winning the Super Bowl in 1995, the Cowboys have 11 playoff appearances with zero NFC Championship appearances.
After this year's terrible loss, Jerry Jones has to decide whether or not to keep Mike McCarthy after many people thought of the Dallas Cowboys as Super Bowl contenders this season. Despite having the number one scoring offense and a dominant defense, they were the most undisciplined by far; a league-high 127 penalties, and that's not including the 14 penalties committed in the Wild Card game on Sunday.
Dallas had multiple chances to win this game, especially after the Garoppolo INT and making big stops on defense. The offense failed to get anything going, and to top it all off, the horrible play-call that would decide the game. Overall, this loss will be a tough pill to swallow for Cowboys fans. Hopefully, they are staying away from social media.
What's Next for San Fran:
The Niners will move to the Divisional Round, where they will face Aaron Rodgers and unstoppable Packers at Lambeau.
Who knows what the Cowboys will do, but I know Stephan A. Smith loves every minute of this. HOW BOUT THEM, COWBOYS!!!!!
AFC Wild Card Playoffs
7) Steelers: 21, 2) Chiefs: 42
Final Line: KC -12.0 Jake's Pick: KC
Mahomes leads the Chiefs to 42-21 beatdown over Steelers in Wild Card Matchup:
The Steelers looked to be hanging with the high-flying Chiefs to begin the game. The defense, led by T.J. Watt, kept making big plays in the first half. After a scoreless first quarter, the scoring opened up following a scoop-and-score by Watt, who also forced an INT earlier in the game to give Pittsburgh the early lead. At that point, I was convinced the Steelers would make this a game. However, that play only added to the fire of Patrick Mahomes, as he went on to throw five TDs in 11 minutes, as the Chiefs throttled the Steelers 42-21.
Mahomes led the Chiefs on three-straight scoring drives to end the half following the turnover. Following that, it was all KC, as Big Ben had no answer for Mahomes and company. TE Travis Kelce also had a big night for the Chiefs as not only did he catch five passes for 108 and one TD, he also threw a TD pass and got a surprise from his mom after the game.
Was This The Last Game For No. 7?
The biggest storyline surrounding the game was the possibility of it being Ben Roethlisberger's last game. If watching the game told me anything, it would be that he should retire. The Steelers couldn't get anything going on offense, as they only managed 12 yards in the first quarter. Big Ben also doesn't have the mobility he once had, and he has no time in the pocket to extend the play, as his o-line is awful. It was only fitting that the first points for Pittsburgh came from their defense. In total, Roethlisberger finished 29-44, 215 yards, and two TDs. Overall, it is an end of an era in Pittsburgh, and Canton will surely add Big Ben's name to the Hall of Fame soon. He was one of my favorite players to watch growing up, as his toughness and ability to extend plays were second to none.
The Chiefs will keep the home field in the divisional round as they take on Josh Allen and the high-flying Bills offense.
The Steelers will likely say goodbye to their beloved QB, so they will have to figure out which problems they should address in the upcoming draft; either draft a QB or improve a weak offensive line.
5) Cardinals: 11, 4) Rams: 34
Final Line: LAR -3.0 Jake's Pick: LAR
Stafford Finally Gets First Playoff Win, Rams Dominate Cardinals:
It took 13 years, but Matthew Stafford finally got it done. In his first season with the Rams, he got to experience winning a playoff game for the first time, as the Rams dominated on both sides of the ball and thumped the Cardinals. Stafford finished 13 of 17 with 202 yards and two TDs; he also ran for a TD.
Arizona didn't have a chance from the moment the game kicked off. The Rams started things off early with an OBJ touchdown. Stafford then utilized the QB sneak to put the Rams up 14-0. Cardinals' QB Kyler Murray struggled throughout the first half, as Arizona's offense couldn't find any rhythm on offense. Murray's first-half numbers were 7 of 17 for 28 yards and two interceptions, including a careless INT, leading to six points from his end zone. Just like that, the Cardinals trailed 21-0 at halftime, and it didn't get any better.
Also, it wasn't a good start for Peyton Manning, as he couldn't hear shit! Just listen to this funny soundbite from the Manningcast.
Despite Stafford only attempting 17 passes, the Rams ran a balanced offense and got things going on the ground. RB Cam Akers, who came back from an Achilles injury last week, had 95 total yards, and Sony Michel led the team in rushing with 58. Both Odell and Cooper Kupp were on the receiving end of Stafford's touchdown passes. Overall, this was a satisfying win for the Rams, and now the Cardinals will have to figure out what went wrong down the stretch.
After starting the season 7-0, they dropped six of their last nine games before getting killed in the Wild Card round. I think inexperience finally got to this team, and they will have to figure out how to get better moving forward.
The Rams will travel to Tampa to take on Tom Brady and the Bucs.
The Cardinals are left to wonder what went wrong after a near-perfect start to their season.
Jake Klausner covers all things sports for ThePyrrhic.com. Keep your eyes peeled for NFL Analysis, World Series Recaps, and more from Jake. Follow him on Twitter @jake_klausner Want more Sports content? Check this out: