This past weekend’s playoff action saw some surprising results, dramatic finishes, and plenty of close scoring games. Over the course of the playoffs, be sure to follow The Athletes Hub for detailed breakdowns on what happened in each round.
Tennessee Titans 22, Kansas City Chiefs 21:
I really did not expect the Chiefs to lose their sixth straight home playoff game at Arrowhead against the Titans. But alas, the Titans were able to rally from an 18-point halftime deficit to advance to the divisional round of the playoffs against the Patriots. So where did it all go wrong for the Chiefs? For starters, the ghosts of Andy Reid’s playoff past of game management gone wrong crept back up and cost the Chiefs in a very winnable game. The referees even went as far as apologizing for their crew’s performance, but the officiating was not the reason why the Chiefs lost. Instead, it was the grit and refusal to lose by the Titans stars Marcus Mariota and Derrick Henry who led the charge in the second half.
Marcus Mariota out here catching his own passes for TD's pic.twitter.com/MwYl5ktjtY
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) January 6, 2018
Atlanta Falcons 26, Los Angeles Rams 13:
Had the Falcons squandered yet another postseason lead to a good Rams team, questions would come fast and furious about coach Dan Quinn’s job security. Instead, the Falcons showed strong playoff poise and were able to outlast the Rams from wire-to-wire. Matt Ryan had another excellent performance throwing for 218 yards and a touchdown pass to his favorite target, Julio Jones. The Rams and head coach Sean McVay showed a lot of promise this season, and should be a staple of the NFC playoff picture for years to come with their talented roster. Next up for the Falcons are the #1 seeded Eagles, who are in a very rare situation of being underdogs in their divisional home playoff game.
Falcons opened as a 2.5-point favorite over Eagles, marking first time that a No. 1 seed will be an underdog in its first playoff game, according to ESPN Stats & Information. https://t.co/BaXSSoEjAs
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 7, 2018
Jacksonville Jaguars 10, Buffalo Bills 3:
To say that this game was ugly would be an embarrassment to the word “ugly.” In a game that featured two first-time playoff quarterbacks in Blake Bortles and Tyrod Taylor, both appeared to be very shaky throughout the game. In fact, winning Jaguars quarterback Bortles ran for more yards than he did passing the ball. This game was incredibly difficult to sit through, and showed what can happen to franchises when their quarterback situation is less than desired. Now the Jaguars have earned a divisional playoff round game against a team that they roughed up in the regular season, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Expect Ben Roethlisberger to look for revenge in this weekend’s game.
The Bills struggled with dizzying play calls and a lack of aggression from Tyrod Taylor—two things that have plagued the team all season https://t.co/JwNParATp6
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 8, 2018
New Orleans Saints 31, Carolina Panthers 26:
This classic rivalry game was good enough to remove the bad taste in viewers’ mouths from the previous Jaguars/Bills tilt that came before it. Drew Brees was masterful throughout the game, throwing for 376 yards and two touchdowns. On the other side, Cam Newton played well enough to keep the Panthers in the game, and even made a brief exit to the sidelines after being poked in the eye during a play. The Saints controlled the game from the start, and did not let their hometown fans down by holding on for the narrow victory, beating the Panthers for the third time this season. Next up for the Saints are the red-hot Vikings, who are in a unique situation of possibly playing a home Super Bowl game, if they continue to advance.
A season sweep!
The Saints beat the Panthers to advance to the NFC divisional round vs. the Vikings. pic.twitter.com/3pnaKmdf2v
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 8, 2018
Photo Credit: NFL.com
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