“Wild” card was a fitting way to describe last weekend’s slate of NFL games, where eight teams battled to remain in contention for a trip to this year’s Super Bowl. These games didn’t disappoint, with three of the four contests being decided by a field goal or less. The following is a rundown of the action.
On Saturday, quarterback Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts staged one of the biggest playoff comebacks in the history of the league, rallying from 28 points down and defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 45-44.
The Colts looked atrocious in the first half of play but Luck conjured up memories of Peyton Manning in the second half where he tossed three of his four touchdowns and even picked up a fumble on the goal line and rushed it in for a touchdown.
While Indianapolis was not impressive in the least on defense, they did manage to mount a late-game defensive stand, aided by an intentional grounding called on the Chiefs, to win the game.
You have to feel for the Chiefs, who blew the game as much as Indianapolis won it. First-year coach Andy Reid really whipped this team into shape and quarterback Alex Smith got to return to a starting role after losing his spot with San Francisco while on the mend from injury. The upside for Kansas City fans is that it looks like the Chiefs are here to stay.
The New Orleans Saints gutted out the franchise’s first road playoff victory at chilly Philadelphia. The Saints squeaked the victory out over the Eagles 26-24.
It looked like the Eagles might hand New Orleans yet another road playoff loss when Nick Foles found Zach Ertz in the end zone with less than five minutes left to take a one-point lead. However, the Saints mounted one more offensive drive that ended with a 32-yard field goal by Shayne Graham.
This was a familiar scenario in Saturday’s ice cold game between San Francisco and Green Bay, played on the subzero tundra of Lambeau Field. The 49ers, who look primed for a return trip to the Super Bowl, gutted out a 23-20 victory.
With a tied game and the 49ers facing a late-game 3rd-and-8, it looked like the Packers were going to get the ball back and have one last chance at winning the game. However, quarterback Colin Kaepernick sliced through the Green Bay defense and earned a first down, which would eventually set up a 33-yard field goal by Phil Dawson for the victory.
Kaepernick finished the frigid game with 227 yards passing and 98 yards rushing. The Packers stammered out of the gates in this one, and came up short when it was all said and done.
Finally, the San Diego Chargers defeated the favored Cincinnati Bengals by a score of 27-10. Even though it didn’t come down to late-game heroics, it was still a competitive game. The Chargers featured a three-headed offensive backfield of Ronnie Brown, Danny Woodhead, and Ryan Mathews, all of whom had over 50 yards rushing on the game. Brown and Woodhead also had touchdowns.
These crazy wild card games have given way to the following match-ups this weekend.
• New Orleans at Seattle
• San Francisco at Carolina
• Indianapolis at New England
• San Diego at Denver
Who’s going to come out on top and come within one win of Super Bowl XLVIII?