Well Week 18 of the NFL season came to an end last night…wait a sec no it didn’t, there is no such thing as Week 18 of the NFL season. But this week’s rundown of pro football will be the shortest one in a long time because there were only four games played this past weekend, and only two of them were played on Sunday. The usual schedule of 20 games on a Sunday was reduced to only two games, that’s because the NFL playoffs are now officially underway.
Here are your highlights for the wild card round. 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick picked up nearly 100 yards in RUSHING last night as Colin the Packer Slayer basically singlehandedly sent the Green Bay Packers home from their own field. I don’t know how he did it but if you happened to select him in your pool, you could be cashing in at the end of it. Over in the AFC, the Cincinnati Bengals were as flat as a pancake in the AFC wild card second half but quarterback Andy Dalton did the right thing afterwards, and blamed himself for it. No doubt Cincy fans left last night up-set.
Indianapolis 45 Kansas City 44: Indy fans thought they were down and out of this game really fast but not in this one. Andrew Luck and his Colts shocked the Chiefs with the second-largest playoff comeback. KC had a 10-3 lead after one quarter and 31-10 lead going into the half. Then the defence hit the showers (really) early and that was all she wrote. The Colts of 2013-14 did to the Chiefs last night what the 2006-07 Colts did that year to the Patriots, down big time at the half time then woke the f&^% up and destroyed ‘em. Indianapolis (12-5) became only the second playoff team to rally from that big a deficit. Buffalo rallied from 32 points to beat Houston 41-38 in January 1993, though that one required overtime.
New Orleans 26 Philadelphia 24: Well well, nobody out there gave the Saints a hope in hell of being about to beat a young Philadelphia team in their own field in the freezing cold temperature but the Saints did it somehow. A field goal from 32-yards out on the final play of the game sent the crowd home unhappy and possibly crushed as the Eagles were the first road team to win in the NFL playoffs.
New Orleans had been 0-5 in postseason games outside of the Big Easy since entering the league in 1967. The Saints (12-5) will play at NFC top-seed Seattle next Saturday; they lost there 34-7 in the regular season.
Brees threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Lance Moore, Mark Ingram rushed for 97 yards and another score, and the Saints’ defense slowed Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense just enough. The Eagles wound up 10-7 in Kelly’s first year as coach. He guided them from worst to first in the NFC East, but they were only 4-5 at home.
“I didn’t think winning the division was a surprise to us, and we’re disappointed we didn’t move forward,” Kelly said. When Riley Cooper, who earlier scored Philadelphia’s first touchdown, had a huge drop in the third quarter, the Saints immediately made Philly pay. A 66-yard drive highlighted by Benjamin’s 27-yard reception led to Ingram’s TD from the 4 for a 20-7 lead.
FUN FACT: Drew Brees and Philly QB Nick Foles went to the same Texas high school and wears the same number on his jersey (#9).
San Diego 27 Cincinnati 10: Each week of the regular season saw at least one upset and even though there are only four games on the schedule here, the trend was bound to continue. When the Chargers headed to Cincinnati for AFC wild card action I don’t think anybody expected them to actually win. The Bengals have been surprising everyone all season long. SD was 4-4 on the road this season, Cincinnati was 8-0 at home. Chargers opened the scoring as that might have thrown Cincinnati off, who couldn’t do anything at all in the entire second half, except turn the ball over three times, as well as a few last-minute plays that were just painful to watch.
San Francisco 23 Green Bay 20: Lambeau Field nightmare. Nothing good game of this game if you are from Green Bay. How quickly we forget, right? The San Francisco 49ers were one goal-line stand away from winning the Super Bowl last season, and somehow we lost track of them as a handful of competitors stole our attention in 2013.
The 49ers are the best team in football, and if they continue to play the way they did Sunday, they will win Super Bowl XLVIII next month, according to some. This was a game that saw one of the strongest QBs in the game run for nearly 100 yards, 42 of those yards came on the same play. They will however have a much bigger test in the divisional round when they take on the Carolina Panthers.
Just for the record, these guys from the Bay Area, playing in the normally freezing Wisconsin winter, showed no signs of being cold. Head Coach Jim Harbaugh refused to wear a parka, and Kaepernick wouldn’t wear sleeves of any kind. “I’ve played in cold weather before,” says Kaepernick. The niners committed just one turnover, were called for two penalties and converted on half of their 3rd down opportunities. I don’t care who you are that is impressive. I don’t even want to know how they did on 4th downs if they opted not to kick the ball. They also held Green Bay to converting only three of GB’s 11 3rd downs.
Especially against Green Bay. Kaepernick has started just 27 NFL games. But he has become a certified Packers killer. It has to be getting on the nerves of Green Bay fans. After all, Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee and lived in Fond du Lac for the first four years of his life.
“[He’s] somebody that answers in the clutch time of the game, on the important down,” Harbaugh said. “He’s Kaepernick tough and I think it’s pretty awesome,” says coach Harbaugh.