In this weekend’s Wild Card games we had two that were complete blowouts that don’t need to be discussed, and two that were absolutely cringe worthy if you’re a fan of either the Bengals or the Vikings. In quickly speaking about the Chiefs and Packers wins, the Chiefs dominated the Texans and the game was over roughly 11 seconds in when Kniles Davis returned the opening kick 108-yards. The score turned out to be game winning play as the Chiefs shutout the Texans 30-0 in an ugly playoff showing by the AFC South representative.
The Packers similarly cruised after falling behind 11-0. Washington had a nice opening quarter but then proceeded to get outscored 35-7 for the rest of the game and lost by 17. The two weakest teams in the playoffs showed their true selves as they lost by a combined 47 points. The Redskins entered the playoffs 9-7 hailing from a pitiful division. The Texans entered with the same record from an arguably worse division and promptly got shown the door of the NFL Playoffs in what was the Chiefs’ eleventh straight victory.
The two games of the weekend that have everyone talking is the undisciplined meltdown of the Bengals and the unforgivable miss by K Blair Walsh that should’ve sent Minnesota to the desert from 27 yards away. The late game on Saturday Night was an AFC North tilt between the sixth seed Steelers and the third seed Bengals in Cincinnati. The Steelers were in control for most of the game, but towards the end AJ McCarron made some plays eventually finding fellow SEC teammate AJ Green for a 25-yard touchdown reception that gave the Bengals a one point lead with under two minutes to go in the game.
On the ensuing drive Landry Jones who was in for the injured Ben Roethlisberger threw what should’ve been a game winning interception to the Bengals’ Vontaz Burfict. Unfortunately that wasn’t what happened because on the first play after the turnover Jeremy Hill had the ball stripped from him giving the Steelers new found life. Roethlisberger would come back for the last drive of the game and after a few completions and couple stupid penalties on the undisciplined Bengals the Steelers would see their kicker knock one through to send them on to Denver next weekend, something the Vikings weren’t as fortunate to have happen.
The early game on Sunday was the most compelling, dramatic, and heartbreaking of any of the four game this weekend. Not only because of the way that it ended, but because of the way it played out. The game was played in arctic temperatures as expected with a kickoff temp of -4. By the end of the game the temp did rise to 0, but the weather did play a factor throughout the game and on the last play it was a reason why the holder didn’t spin the laces.
The whole game was dominated by the Vikings defense as Blair Walsh would hit his first three field goals to give Minnesota a 9-0 lead into the fourth quarter. Eventually Seattle would get on the board thanks to a heads-up play by Russell Wilson who had a ball go over his head on a bad snap. Eventually Wilson would get the ball and find Tyler Lockett wide open in the middle of the field who eventually brought it to the four. Wilson would find Baldwin two plays later to make it a 9-7 game.
The real misery started for the Vikings when on the next drive after the Baldwin TD, Adrian Peterson was stripped by Chancellor turning into a field goal for the Seahawks. The Vikings and Seahawks would trade possessions before the one of the saddest plays in the NFL this season would take place. The Vikings matriculated the ball down the field with the key play coming on a Kyle Rudolph reception that Chancellor gambled on in man-to-man coverage. After a few short runs that brought the ball inside the Seahawks 20-yard line, Mike Zimmer would call his last timeout with 26 seconds left to go in the game. From the left hash mark Blair Walsh lined up what should’ve been a 27-yard field goal that in all likelihood would’ve been the game winning points for Minnesota. That wasn’t the case as Walsh would hook the ball hard left into the netting giving the Seahawks the improbable win.
The miss is all anyone can talk about today and rightfully so as there was a 93% probability he’d have made the kick. Next weekend’s matchups are KC @ New England 3:35 on Saturday and GB @ Arizona 7:15. On Sunday it’s a normal schedule with the first game being Seattle @ Carolina at 12:05 and then Pittsburgh @ Denver at 3:40.