Saturday, February 4, 2023

NFL Playoffs: Wildcard Round Review


Up to date:

Jan 20, 2023

After 18 weeks of motion, we are actually within the playoffs. 14 groups stay within the hunt for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. This week, the Wildcard spherical, the place each staff bar the highest seeds performs. So, allow us to evaluation what was a Tremendous Wildcard Round.

AFC

Los Angeles Chargers @ Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars had been at one level within the season on track for an additional number-one choose within the draft. They then circled their season, establishing a winner takes all matchup in opposition to the Tennessee Titans, who had been on a large shedding streak. The Jags gained that recreation, giving them the AFC South title and a spot within the playoffs because the quantity 4 seed. Their opponent was the Los Angeles Chargers, who completed their season with a 10-7 document and made the postseason for the primary time since 2018.

The sport began within the worst potential manner for Jacksonville. On the second play of their opening drive, Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence was intercepted by the Chargers, who returned the ball into the Jags RedZone. It then took the Chargers two performs to place a rating on the board, with the purpose coming from a 13-yard speeding landing by Austin Ekeler. 

On the Jags’ subsequent drive, Lawrence can be intercepted once more. Whereas he was in a position to transfer the ball to the Chargers’ 33-yard line, Lawrence was intercepted on a 4th down try. They need to have chosen to kick a discipline objective to not less than get one thing from that drive. With regards to discipline objectives, the Chargers would kick a 22-yard discipline objective on their subsequent drive. This got here after Chargers’ Quarterback  Justin Herbert took his staff all the way down to the Jags’ 4-yard line, however the drive stalled there. 

Late within the first quarter, Lawrence can be intercepted once more, and this may result in one other speeding landing from Austin Ekeler, this time from 6 yards. The Chargers would rating once more in the course of the second quarter, this time from a 9-yard move from Herbert to Gerald Everett. This gave them a 24-point lead. The Jags needed to reply rapidly. 

Surprisingly nobody at this level, Trevor Lawrence was intercepted once more. Fortunately for him, the Chargers had been compelled to punt on the following drive. However, the Chargers recovered the ball after the Jags muffed the catch. This gave them a wonderful discipline place to increase their already massive lead. This drive went nowhere, and Chargers kicker Cameron Dicker (and that does rhyme)  kicked a 23-yard discipline objective to place extra factors into the Chargers’ basket. 

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Simply earlier than halftime, the Jaguars had been in a position to rating. A 9-yard move from Lawrence to Evan Engram discovered the endzone to provide the Jags one thing from this half. At halftime, the Los Angeles Chargers had a 27-7 lead over the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

I’ve talked about lots this 12 months that halftime adjustments groups. That is a kind of video games. On their first drive of the second half, the Jags drove the ball all the way down to the Chargers’ 6-yard line. Then, Lawrence threw a 6-yard landing move to Marvin Jones Jr, to begin what may very well be a comeback for the Jags. 

Dicker would kick a 50-yard discipline objective on the subsequent drive for the Chargers to barely lengthen their lead. However, Lawrence struck again, throwing a 39-yard landing move to Zay Jones. The Jags determined to go for a 2-point conversion, nonetheless, this failed. 

After a missed 40-yard discipline objective for the Chargers, the Jags would rating once more. Lawrence would discover Christian Kirk for a 9-yard landing. They’d once more try the 2-point conversion, which this time would achieve success. This second-half cost decreased the Chargers’ result in 2 factors, with solely 5 minutes to play. 

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The following Chargers drive went nowhere. This gave the ball again to the Jaguars, who knew what they needed to do to win. Lawrence and firm moved the ball all the way down to the Chargers’ 18-yard line. Then, as time ran out Jaguars kicker Riley Patterson kicked the sphere objective to provide the Jacksonville Jaguars a 31-30 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

This win places the Jaguars into the Divisional spherical and continues Trevor Lawrence’s streak of by no means shedding on a Saturday. If solely the Tremendous Bowl was on a Saturday. 

Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Payments

The Buffalo Payments are one of many favorites to win the Tremendous Bowl. Bar a number of video games, the staff has been very robust, successful 13 of the 16 video games they’ve performed. Nonetheless, a kind of losses got here in opposition to the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins scraped into the playoffs because the quantity 7 seed within the AFC and had been enjoying their third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson. This meant that coming into this recreation, they’d the biggest odds in Wildcard week historical past. May the Dolphins pull off a large upset?

Buffalo’s opening drive was not the most effective. Whereas quarterback Josh Allen was in a position to transfer the ball down the sphere, this drive stalled on the Dolphins’ 32-yard line. The Payments then determined to play on fourth down. Allen’s move was incomplete, and possession was given to Miami, who was not in a position to transfer the ball and rapidly punted it away. 

There was much more success for the Payments on their subsequent drive. Aided by a 52-yard move from Allen to Steffon Diggs, the Payments had been rapidly deep into the Dolphins’ RedZone. Then, a 6-yard move from Allen to Dawson Knox discovered the endzone, giving the Payments the lead. 

Issues would get even higher for them quickly after. Dolphins quarterback Skylar Thompson can be intercepted. This achieve in possession would rapidly result in the Payments’ second landing of the sport, which got here from a 12-yard rush by James Cook dinner. The Payments would lengthen their lead on their subsequent drive. After a landing move was dominated out, Josh Allen was sacked. This led to Payments kicker Trevor Bass kicking a 33-yard discipline objective. Miami would rating subsequent, by means of a 40-yard discipline objective of their very own. 

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Then, that drawback that has plagued Josh Allen all 12 months returned. Allen was intercepted by the Dolphins after his lengthy throw was caught by the objective line, after which ran again by the Dolphins to the midway line. Nonetheless, they may not take full benefit of this, solely scoring a 48-yard discipline objective. One other discipline objective would observe for the Dolphins. 

Allen can be intercepted once more afterward within the half, this time in a way more favorable discipline place for the Dolphins, who capitalized on this and scored a landing. A 7-yard move from Thompson to Mike Gesicki. The Dolphins then determined to go for two factors. This try was profitable. The Payments would rating one other discipline objective earlier than halftime, which means that they’d have a 20-17 lead over the Miami Dolphins because the groups went into the locker rooms. 

The Payments’ challenge with ball safety grew to become a good bigger drawback at the start of the second half. Josh Allen was sacked after which fumbled the ball. This ball was then scooped up by the Dolphins’ protection, who ran the ball in for a landing and an unlikely lead. 

After the subsequent few drives that resulted in punts, the Dolphins’ subsequent drive didn’t finish effectively. Thompson was intercepted. This gave the Payments a very good discipline place to take the lead once more. Allen shook off his earlier errors and drove the offense down the sphere. He then threw a 6-yard landing move to Cole Beasley to provide the lead again to Buffalo.

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The lead can be prolonged a number of drives later when Allen threw a 23-yard landing to Gabe Davis. Miami would rating a one-yard speeding landing in an try to carry them again into the sport, but it surely was not sufficient, because the Buffalo Payments held on to defeat the Miami Dolphins 34-31. 

This can be a recreation that ought to have been a one-sided affair. Buffalo nonetheless have issues with their ball safety. These issues will should be fastened if they’re to problem for the Tremendous Bowl. 

Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals

Within the remaining week of the common season, the Baltimore Ravens performed in opposition to the Cincinnati Bengals. One week later, The Baltimore Ravens performed in opposition to the Cincinnati Bengals within the WIldcard spherical of the playoffs. Cincinnati gained final week’s encounter and was the heavy favourite to defeat the Lamar Jackson-less Ravens. 

The Bengals opened the sport effectively. Of their opening drive, Bengals’ quarterback Joe Burrow drove the ball all the way down to the Ravens 21 yard line. Nonetheless, the drive stalled there, and the Bengals needed to depend on a 39 discipline objective from Evan McPherson to provide them the opening rating of the sport. 

The identical couldn’t be mentioned for the Ravens’ opening drive of the sport. With out star quarterback Lamar Jackson, Baltimore has struggled on offense, however quarterback Ty Huntley has tried exhausting to fill the hole left by Jackson’s absence. On his opening drive, Huntley was intercepted by the Ravens. From this interception, the Bengals moved the ball all the way down to the Ravens’ 7-yard line. Then, Burrows discovered his most dependable goal in Ja’Marr Chase for a 7-yard landing move. Nonetheless, the additional level was missed. 

The Ravens struck again after this. A 17-play drive took Baltimore from their very own 25-yard line all the way down to the Bengals 2 yard line. This drive ended with  J.Okay Dobbins catching a 2-yard landing move from Huntley to place the Ravens inside 2 factors of the Bengals. Issues grew to become even higher for Baltimore not quickly after. Cincinnati fumbled the ball, and this was recovered by the Ravens in Bengals territory. 

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Whereas Huntley and firm might drive the ball all the way down to the Bengals 4 yard line, they may not transfer any additional and needed to kick a 22-yard discipline objective. With this, because the groups went into the locker rooms at halftime, the Baltimore Ravens had an unlikely 10-9 lead over the Cincinnati Bengals. 

The Bengals would get the primary rating of the second half. On the Ravens’ 19-yard line, burrows thought he had scored a landing. Nonetheless, the play was reversed, and as a substitute of a landing, the Bengals had been on the one-yard line. From this, Burrows scored the one-yard landing. The Bengals then determined to try a 2-point conversion, which was profitable. 

Baltimore would rapidly rating after this play to maintain them within the recreation. Tyler Huntley would throw a 41-yard landing move to Demarcus Robinson to tie the scores at 17-17. May the Ravens be on track for an unlikely win over their divisional rivals?

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It seems, they weren’t. On a drive that took the Ravens all the way down to the Cincinnati 1-yard line, the Ravens had been wanting very more likely to rating and obtain this upset. Then, the Ravens fumbled the ball, which was recovered by the Bengals. Cincinnati would then run the ball 98 yards for a landing. 

After a number of drives that resulted in punts, the Ravens had the ball with the hope of not less than tying the sport. Nonetheless, they may not do that. As time ran out, it grew to become official. The Cincinnati Bengals had crushed the Baltimore Ravens 24-17. 

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NFC

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers

What might be mentioned that already has not been mentioned about 49ers Quarterback Brock Purdy? He’s destroying his opponents and at present has not misplaced a recreation thus far. This recreation will likely be his largest take a look at. Seattle made the playoffs final week after beating the poor-performing Los Angeles Rams in extra time, and with the Inexperienced Bay Packers shedding their recreation in opposition to the Detroit Lions final week, the Seahawks claimed the quantity 7 seed within the NFC. 

It will be the 49ers who would have the primary rating of the sport. Their opening drive, which took them into the Seahawks’ RedZone, stalled on the 16-yard line. Then, 49ers kicker Robbie Gould kicked a 34-yard discipline objective to provide San Francisco the lead. 

They’d add to this lead on their subsequent drive, which began with a 68-yard rush from Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey would additionally discover the endzone on this drive, catching a 3-yard landing move from Brock Purdy. 

The Seahawks would strike again from this. Kenneth Walker would rating a 7-yard speeding landing to place them again into the sport. Robbie Gould would rating a 33-yard discipline objective for the 49ers to widen their lead.

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However then, this lead can be misplaced. The Seahawks had been on the 50-yard line. It was third down. Seahawks quarterback SmithMith then threw a 50-yard landing move to D.Okay Metcalf to provide Seattle the lead. A pair of discipline objectives for every staff earlier than halftime meant that because the groups returned to the locker rooms, the Seattle Seahawks would have a 17-16 lead over the San Francisco 49ers. 

San Francisco would enhance their lead at the start of the second half. Purdy would rating a one-yard speeding landing. The Seahawks regarded like they’d reply to the 49ers’ landing on their subsequent drive. Geno Smith led the Seattle offense to the sting of the  San Francisco RedZone However then, all of it went improper for the Seahawks. Smith was sacked after which fumbled the ball, which was recovered by the San Francisco protection. From this achieve in possession, Purdy moved the ball all the way down to the Seahawks’ 7-yard line. Then, Purdy threw a 7-yard landing move to Elijah Mitchell. They then determined to go for a two-point conversion, which was profitable. This gave them a two-touchdown lead. 

The lead would develop into even bigger quickly after. In a drive that lasted two performs, Purdy threw a 74-yard landing move to Deebo Samuel. On the subsequent play of the sport, Geno Smith can be intercepted in Seahawks territory. Fortunately for them, the next 49ers’ drive resulted in a 31-yard discipline objective. 

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Seattle did rating a meaningless landing late within the fourth quarter. D.Okay Metcalf caught a 3-yard move from Smith, however the Seahawks failed their 2-point conversion. All of that is redundant contemplating the lead the 49ers had. On the remaining whistle, the San Francisco 49ers had crushed the Seattle Seahawks 41-23. 

This recreation was settled very early on. With this victory, Brock Purdy goes 6-0 in his profession. Will he lose this 12 months? 

Dallas Cowboys @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This battle was attention-grabbing. The Dallas Cowboys have a historical past of collapsing within the playoffs. However, Tom Brady has a historical past of performing effectively within the playoffs (simply so long as he doesn’t should play the New York Giants). These two groups met on Monday Evening, which is bizarre for a playoff recreation. 

After a few drives from each groups that resulted in punts, we’d lastly get some motion from the Cowboys. Dallas would transfer the ball all the way down to the sting of the Tampa Bay RedZone. Then, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott would throw a 22-yard landing move to Dalton Schultz, giving Dallas an early lead. 

On the Buccaneers’ drive following the landing, Tom Brady and firm would transfer the ball all the way down to the Cowboys’ 5-yard line. However then, Brady can be intercepted. Nonetheless, the Cowboys wouldn’t achieve lots from this, because the ball went for a touchback. Whereas they didn’t achieve any yards from the interception, they did achieve factors on the subsequent drive. Prescott drove the ball all the way down to the one-yard line. Then, on the fourth down, he scored a 1-yard speeding landing. Nonetheless, the additional level was missed. 

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The Cowboys scored once more simply earlier than halftime. Prescott and Schultz would pair up once more, this time for an 11-yard landing move. The additional level was missed once more. This gave the Dallas Cowboys an 18-0 lead over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at halftime. 

Dallas would proceed their scoring at the start of the second half. Prescott discovered Michael Gallup for a 2-yard landing move., however once more, the additional level was not profitable. This landing was the fourth of the sport for Dallas, and the third extra-point try they’ve missed. 

Tampa Bay was in a position to lastly rating on the finish of the third quarter. Tom Brady discovered Julio Jones for a 30-yard landing move. The Buccaneers determined to try a 2-point conversion, however this was unsuccessful. 

Prescott would rating his fifth landing of the evening quickly after. This time, it was from an 18-yard move to CeeDee Lamb. The information bought even higher for Dallas, as their extra-point try was profitable. 

Brady would rating yet another landing for Tampa Bay, however it could solely be a comfort rating, because the Dallas Cowboys had defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-14.

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This was not a shock. Dallas has been a powerful aspect all season, enjoying within the strongest division within the NFL (the NFC East, which produced 3 playoff groups). However, Tampa Bay struggled all 12 months. They had been fortunate to make the playoffs and got here into this recreation with a shedding document. Is that this lastly the top of the street for Tom Brady? We’ll discover out quickly. 

New York Giants @ Minnesota Vikings

This recreation was in all probability the sport that nobody might predict coming into it. Each of those groups have had wonderful seasons. The Minnesota Vikings convincingly gained the NFC North this 12 months and gave us the most important comeback in NFL historical past, once they got here from 33 factors all the way down to defeat the Indianapolis Colts. Whereas it is a good accomplishment, the truth that they had been 33 factors down reveals us how dangerous their protection is. The New York Giants have had a season to recollect. Going into the season, nobody anticipated the Giants to be aggressive, not to mention make the playoffs. However, they made it. May they go on a run to win the Tremendous Bowl?

The sport began with the Vikings displaying us how robust their offense is. On their opening drive, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins broke by means of the weak Giants’ protection to achieve the Giants’ 6-yard line. He then threw a landing move to Justin Jefferson, however this move was then dominated out. Cousins would then rating a one-yard speeding landing to provide the Vikings the preliminary lead. 

The Giants rapidly responded to this by scoring a landing of their very own. Saquon Barkley ran for a 28-yard speeding landing, which tied the scores up once more. 

After a Vikings punt, the Giants would discover the endzone once more, by means of a 14-yard landing move from Giants quarterback Daniel Jones to Isaiah Hodgins. 

Now, allow us to speak concerning the drive that took a lot of the second quarter. From the Giants’ 9-yard line, Jones practically single-handedly moved the ball all the way down to the Vikings’ RedZone. There was a set of 4 performs on this drive the place Jones scrambled for each considered one of them, and in considered one of these scrambles, he gave a Vikings defender the stiff arm. This all reveals how versatile Daniel Jones is. The Giants had been on the  Vikings’ 4-yard line, and Jones ran the ball in for a landing. This might have been the fairytale ending for this drive and would have put the Giants’ 2 touchdowns clear. Nonetheless, on the play, the Giants had been penalized, wiping the landing off the board. They settled for a 25-yard discipline objective however knew that they need to have scored the landing. 

Earlier than halftime, the Vikings scored one other landing. Cousins threw a 9-yard landing move to Okay.J. Osborn. With this, it meant that at halftime, the New York Giants had a 17-14 lead over the Minnesota Vikings. 

It will be the Giants who would have the primary possession of the second half. It will even be the Giants who would have the primary rating of the second half. Constructing on their momentum from the primary half, New York moved the ball all the way down to the Minnesota 9-yard line. Then, Jones threw the 9-yard landing move to Daniel Bellinger to place them 10 factors forward. 

The Vikings would rapidly reply to this rating with a rating of their very own. Cousins threw a 3-yard move to Smith, which might discover the endzone to maintain Minnesota within the recreation. The scores can be stage quickly after, with Vikings kicker Greg Joseph kicking the sphere objective. 

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We had been now within the fourth quarter. That is traditionally the quarter when the Giants carry out very effectively. In the present day was no exception. Jones and firm drove the ball all the way down to the Vikings’ 2-yard line. Then, Saquon Barkley rating what may very well be the successful landing to provide the Giants the lead within the recreation. 

After two drives that resulted in punts, the Vikings had the ball with the Giants needing solely a defensive cease to win the sport. Kirk Cousins moved the ball to the Vikings’ 48-yard line. The Vikings’ third down try was incomplete, which means that they needed to convert on fourth down, or it could be over. They wanted 8 yards. Cousins handed to Hockenson and was tackled by Xavier McKinney 3 yards after the throw.

The Giants had accomplished it. The New York Giants had crushed the Minnesota Vikings 31-24. That is the primary playoff win for the Giants since Eli Manning led the Giants to victory in Tremendous Bowl XLVI. For the Vikings, whereas they’ve performed effectively all 12 months, they may not ship when it mattered. 

The Playoff Image

With the Wildcard spherical now over, we flip to the Divisional Round, the place the primary seeds (Kansas Metropolis and Philadelphia) enter the hunt. 

Within the AFC, The Kansas Metropolis Chiefs host the Jacksonville Jaguars, whereas the Buffalo Payments face the Cincinnati Bengals.

Within the NFC, The Dallas Cowboys go to the San Francisco 49ers, and the Philadelphia Eagles face the New York Giants.

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