Steelers, Chiefs advance on Wild, Emotional AFC Wild Card Saturday

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Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY

Playoff football is finally here and what a way to get it started. We had two AFC games on tap Saturday, with the Kansas City Chiefs faced off against the Houston Texans and the Cincinnati Bengals trying to win a playoff game for the first time in 25 years as they took on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Let’s begin with the game in Houston.

Chiefs- 30 Texans- 0

The Chiefs have been riding an improbable 10 game winning streak. They were looking to keep riding that momentum against a Houston team that, like KC, wasn’t expected to make the playoffs. Knile Davis put KC on the board 11 seconds in with a 106 yard kick off return. They didn’t look back from there, as the score above indicates. Five turnovers and 23 points later, the Chiefs had their first playoff win since 1994. This shutout is the third shutout in NFL playoff history of 30 points or more. “It was a huge deal, man. It set the tempo,” Davis of his TD kick return said. “It quieted everybody, kind of made everybody relax.” Quarterback Alex Smith went 17/22, 190 yards, one TD and one INT. “What happened to us a couple years ago, everybody remembers that even the coaches included, so our entire mentality is about finishing,” Smith said about the game and referencing the team blowing a 28 point lead against the Indianapolis Colts in the 2013 playoffs. “The mentality doesn’t change.” Tight End Travis Kelce has emerged as a favorite target and showed up Sunday, with eight catches for 128 yards. Wide Receiver Jeremy Maclin suffered a knee injury in the game and the team fears it is serious. He will undergo an MRI Monday and KC will travel to Foxsbourgh to take on the New England Patriots next week.

Steelers– 18 Bengals– 16

This game was expected to be a shootout, and it was all of that and more. It was a defensive battle through the first half, with the score at half being 6-0 Pittsburgh. Kicker Chris Boswell hit his third field goal in the third quarter from 34 yards out to make it 9-0. Then, a 10 yard pass from QB Ben Roethlisberger to WR Martavis Bryant made it 15-0 and gave the Steelers a very comfortable lead. However, Cincy came back. Running back Jeremy Hill punched it in from one yard out, Kicker Mike Nugent hit a FG from 36 yards out, and rookie QB A.J McCarron connected on a 25 yard TD pass to WR A.J Green to make it 16-15 (Cincy failed to convert a two point conversion after the Green TD). Then, a meltdown that will be long remembered by Bengals fans, players, coaches, and more than likely, management. The Steelers had the ball near midfield with :22 left on the clock. Roethlisberger rifled a pass to WR Antonio Brown, which was incomplete. However, Bengals Linebacker Vontaze Burfict got penalized for hitting Brown with an illegal head to head hit. Then, while medical staff were attending to Brown, defensive back Adam Jones lost his cool during a confrontation with Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter. Both of them were 15 yard penalties and moved the Steelers downfield and gave Boswell a chip shot FG. They’ll face the Denver Broncos next week.

We have NFC Wildcard games on Sunday with the struggling Green Bay Packers facing the rising Washington Redskins and the Seattle Seahawks facing the Minnesota Vikings. Stay here with The Athletes Hub for all NFL playoff news. Like us on Facebook, and follow us on twitter @HubOfAthletes.

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