NFL Divisional Round Recap

After one of the most eventful weekends of football most of us have ever seen, the National Football League conference championships are quickly approaching.

In the first game of the divisional round, we got to see a young and entertaining Bengals team lead by confident star quarterback Joe Burrow and rookie receiving yard record holder Jamarr Chase go up against the Tennessee Titans, who were just getting their star running back Derrick Henry back off of injured reserve. There was a lot of question as to if Henry would recover in time, given he suffered a fracture in his foot in week 8, but after one play it was clear that he wasn’t their biggest worry. Throughout the game, Ryan Tannehill was an obvious liability for Tennessee, throwing for 220 yards and 3 interceptions, with one being very costly, halting the Titans potential game-winning drive. With 20 seconds left, the Bengals drove down just in time for rookie kicker Evan McPherson, who nailed a 52-yard field goal as time expired to win with a score of 19-16l, giving the Bengals their first conference championship appearance in 33 years and their first road playoff win in franchise history.

Later that Saturday, the 49ers squared up against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.  Many doubted the 49ers, as the 6th facing the 1st seeded Packers. With 4° temperatures at game time, the game started out slow offensively, with only 10 points scored total in the first three quarters. After a Packers punt, however, the 49ers flipped the momentum, blocking and taking a punt for a touchdown. Following the blocked punt, the Packers went 3 and out, setting up the 49ers for a potential game-winning drive. After a few clutch plays from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and gadget wide receiver/running back Deebo Samuel, kicker Robbie Gould was set up for a 45-yard field goal, and made it, knocking out the 1 seeded Packers with a score of 13-10.

After two crazy game-winning field goals on Saturday, the start of Sunday’s first game seemed like it would be the opposite when the underdog Rams outscored the Tom Brady led Buccaneers by 17 at halftime. At one point, Brady and the Bucs were down 27-3, but he’s come back from worse in the past. After a blink of an eye, it was a one-score game and the Rams had potentially fumbled away their season. After Bucs running back Leonard Fournette rushed in for a touchdown on 4th and 1, Matthew Stafford found star wide receiver Cooper Kupp on the next drive for two clutch receptions of 64 yards, giving the Rams plenty of room for kicker Matt Gay, and knocking the greatest quarterback of all time out of the playoffs with a final score of 30-27.

Three games, three last-second field goals, and three road wins for underdogs. Quarterback Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills were hoping to replicate this pattern going into Arrowhead Stadium to face off against one of the best teams in the league, the Kansas City Chiefs. After going back and forth for the first three quarters, both teams exploded for four total touchdowns in the 4th quarter, with three of them being in the last two minutes of regulation. Bills’ wide receiver Gabriel Davis recorded two touchdowns in the last two minutes, and four in total, with Chiefs’ wide receiver Tyreek Hill taking one in for them. With the game knotted up at 36 going into overtime after a game-tying field goal at the end of regulation by Chiefs’ kicker Harrison Butker, a common controversy was reintroduced, when Buffalo lost the coin toss and Kansas City scored a touchdown to win the game before Josh Allen could even see the field. Many believe that these rules should be changed so both offenses at least see the field once. 

This Sunday, both games being played are rematches from the regular season where the Bengals defeated the Chiefs 34-31 and the 49ers defeated the Rams twice, with scores of 31-10 and 27-24. This sets the stage for what should be another great weekend of football. 


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