This past weekend in the NFL Divisional playoff round was one of the most exciting in recent memory. Every game came down to a field goal at the end of regulation, and one game went to overtime. Both number one seeds got knocked out at home in shocking upsets. Let’s spotlight a few of the games.
Bengals 19, Titans 16
With Derrick Henry returning in full force, the 1st seed Titans were the clear favorites to win this one. However, Joe Burrow and the underdog Bengals pulled off an upset away from home, thrusting them into the AFC Championship. It was evident from the get-go that it would be a tough day for Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, as he threw an interception on the first play from scrimmage, leading to a Bengals field goal. Most of the game was a defensive struggle, as the Bengals were ahead 9-6 at the half, and held Derrick Henry to a minimal effort (he finished the game with just 62 yards on 20 attempts). When the dust settled, the game was tied 16-16 with just over two minutes left. The Titans were driving to win the game. With 20 seconds left, Tannehill attempted a short pass on the sideline to get a better field goal attempt. The throw was intercepted, and Joe Burrow was able to lead his offense into field goal range with 4 seconds left. Rookie kicker Evan McPherson rose to the occasion, nailing his 4th field goal of the day to cap off an amazing upset.
49ers 13, Packers 10
In an incredibly cold and snowy night at Lambeau, the scoring was kept to a minimum. The Packers capitalized early, driving down the field methodically, which resulted in an AJ Dillon touchdown. The rest of the first half was pretty unmemorable, except for with 3 seconds left when Mason Crosby lined up for a field goal. San Fran’s front line blocked the kick, and it gave them momentum heading into the half. In the third quarter, Aaron Jones ran all over the 49ers defense (he had 170 total yards), but Green Bay was unable to score. With the score at 10-3 with just 5 minutes left, San Francisco looked to convert a 4th and 1. They were unable to make it, and Green Bay took over, where they promptly went three and out. The punt was blocked and returned for a touchdown, tying the game up. Again, Aaron Rodgers had the ball in his hands with a chance to win, and again they sputtered on offense, allowing Robbie Gould to kick a game winning field goal as time expired. “He’s as good as gold,” said 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The 49ers pulled off an incredible upset without even scoring an offensive touchdown, continuing the Packers’ losing streak in the playoffs.
The Other Games:
Rams 30, Buccaneers 27
Chiefs 42, Bills 36
Next weekend, the playoff hopes continue for the winning teams, as the conference championships will commence on January 30. The Chiefs host the Bengals at 12pm, and the 49ers face the Rams at 3:30.