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NFL Wildcard Weekend

The NFL Wildcard round is in the books.  All but one game was decided by less than a field goal with a last second kick deciding both games in the NFC.  Let’s take a look.

(6)San Diego 27 (3)Cincinnati 10 – San Diego took advantage of 4 turnovers to beat the Cincinnati Bengals pretty handedly.  Cincinnati went to halftime with a 10-7 lead and was outscored 20-0 in the 2nd half to seal their fate.  With the defense making big plays and giving the Chargers such a short field, the offense did not have to do all that much.  The Chargers were outgained 439-318, but with 4-0 turnover advantage, the numbers were nullified.  For San Diego, Phillip Rivers went 12-16 for 128 yards and a touchdown.  For Cincinnati, Andy Dalton went 29-51 for 334 yards with a touchdown and 2 interceptions.  Marvin Jones was the surprising star for Dalton, catching 8 passes for 130 yards while A.J. Green was kept pretty quiet.  San Diego moves on and will play at Denver next Sunday for the first intra-divisional playoff game this season.

(4)Indianapolis 45 (5)Kansas City 44 – Andrew Luck has cemented himself as a comeback expert once again by overcoming 4 Colts turnovers and rallying to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs.  The Colts found themselves down 38-10 in the 3rd quarter before Luck and the Colts went to work, scoring 35 points in the last 27 minutes of the game.  Luck accounted for the last 4 touchdowns, which includes recovering a Donald Brown fumble and diving into the end zone and an improbable 64 yard pass to T.Y. Hilton.  Luck finished 29-45 for 443 yards with 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.  T.Y. Hilton was a man possessed, catching 13 passes for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns.  For Kansas City, Alex Smith went 30-46 for 378 yards with 4 touchdowns with Dwayne Bowe being the receiving star, catching 8 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown.  Indianapolis will travel to New England and play the Patriots on Saturday.

(5)San Francisco 23 (4)Green Bay 20 – In one of the coldest games of the season, future hall of fame kicker Phil Dawson kicked 3 field goals to send San Francisco to the next round by defeating the Green Bay Packers.  Dawson kicked a 33 yard attempt as time expired to cap a game where fans were given hand warmers and many players went sleeveless despite subzero wind chills.  San Francisco outgained Green Bay 381-281 with Colin Kaepernick leading the way.  Kaepernick passed for 227 yards with a touchdown and an interception on 16-30 passing.  He also led the team in rushing with 98 yards on 7 carries.  Michael Crabtree had a great game with 8 catches for 125 yards.  He was the only 49er with over 40 yards receiving.  For Green Bay, the team relied on Aaron Rodgers, who was a week removed from returning after missing a couple of months due to injury.  Rodgers went 17-26 for 177 yards and a touchdown.  With this win, San Francisco will play at Carolina in the Divisional round on Sunday.

(6)New Orleans 26 (3)Philadelphia 24 – It took a half century, but New Orleans finally has a road playoff win after defeating the Philadelphia Eagles on a last second kick.  Despite outgaining the Eagles 434-256, the Saints had trouble finding the end zone.  Kicker Shayne Graham ended up 4/4 on field goal opportunities, including a 32 yard kick as time expired to give the Saints the win.  Drew Brees led New Orleans, passing for 250 yards with a touchdown and 2 interceptions on 20-30 passing.  Mark Ingram helped out, rushing 18 times for 97 yards and a touchdown.  For Philadelphia, Nick Foles went 23-33 for 195 yards and 2 touchdowns in the loss.  With this win, New Orleans moves on and will play at Seattle on Saturday.

Host of the OT with Andrew G for the Sports Chronicles Radio Network

Host of The College Cram, NFL and NCAA writer on the National Gridiron Network

Contributing writer for Pro Player Insiders

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Ralph Garcia


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