It goes without saying that that was the most incredible weekend of playoff football... maybe ever. Four games, four walkoff wins, only one of the top-2 seeds is still in the postseason.
It also goes without saying that we’ll be rooting for the AFC in the Super Bowl, as either the Los Angeles Rams or San Francisco 49ers will be the NFC representative. Maybe watching a rival win the Super Bowl for the first time in the Pete Carroll era will be the boot up the ass that the Seattle Seahawks need, but I’d rather not deal with an offseason of unbearable gloating heaped on top of what was a miserable regular season.
The Divisional Round began with the Cincinnati Bengals getting a late interception off of Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, followed by Joe Burrow leading the Bengals into field goal range for rookie sensation Evan McPherson to split the uprights for the 19-16 victory and the first road playoff win in franchise history.
Then the Green Bay Packers put on a special teams shitshow for the ages, with a blocked field goal and blocked punt for a touchdown, as well as only 10-men on the field for the deciding field goal by the San Francisco 49ers’ Robbie Gould. We knew Green Bay’s special teams would be a humongous liability, but that was like the Brandon Bostick game times 10. The 49ers pulled off the 13-10 upset despite Jimmy G’s best efforts to throw the game away. Perhaps a certain MVP should be taken to task for the 10 points his offense scored. The Packers are now 7-7 in their last 14 games at Lambeau Field... sadly the Seahawks comprise roughly half of their wins.
Sunday was a day for the ages. The Los Angeles Rams raced out to a 27-3 lead on the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers... then bullshit ran amok. LA lost three fumbles in the 2nd half, including one literally a play after they recovered a Tom Brady fumble, and another one by Cam Akers (his second of the game) that gifted Tampa Bay their eventual tying touchdown. It was an all-timer of a comeback/collapse up until Matthew Stafford found Cooper Kupp wide open on the worst timed Cover 0 blitz you’ll ever see in a playoff game. Matt Gay haunted his old team by booting one through for the 30-27 winner.
...Now imagine Tom Brady getting eliminated in epic fashion not being remotely close to the best game or best finish. That’s because Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes had one of the great quarterback duels in NFL history. The 4th quarter and into overtime was better than most full games. We had four lead changes after the two-minute warning! Gabriel Davis had 8 catches for 201 yards and 4 touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with 13 seconds left to make it 36-33.
Too much time for Mahomes.
A bad decision not to squib kick and then even worse defense left Mahomes with two plays to get into field goal range. Harrison Butker, who’d missed a PAT and a field goal, sent the game into overtime. The coin toss went KC’s way, and the rest is history. Cue up another debate about the overtime rules and whether we need to see both offenses (barring a defensive TD or safety) guaranteed one possession. From 23-21 Chiefs at the start of the 4th quarter to 42-36 Chiefs in overtime.
Mahomes and Allen combined for 7 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 707 yards passing, and 137 yards rushing. There were no turnovers and only four accepted penalties. You’d be hard-pressed to find cleaner, more dramatic games than that. Hug a Bills fan because they’ve now got a new depressing chapter of playoff heartbreak.
Yeah I’m pissed that our rivals are in the NFC Championship Game, but it’s overtaken by how much kickass football we ended up watching. We were owed that after that awful Wild Card round.
So here are your two matchups for next Sunday:
Sunday, January 30th
Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs, 12:05 PM PT on CBS
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams, 3:40 PM PT on FOX
Rematches. Cincy won at home against Kansas City in Week 17, whereas the 49ers have swept the Rams each of the last three seasons.
I might as well do an Enemy Reaction of all of these endings, shouldn’t I?