NFL wild-card weekend was the truth is very wild, particularly after Chicago’s heartbreaking loss to Philadelphia. Trysta Krick recaps the loopy weekend.
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The 32 issues we discovered heading into the 2018 NFL playoff divisional spherical:
1. If it appeared the wild-card spherical was chock stuffed with recent faces and groups, properly, it was. Not one of the eight golf equipment competing within the opening spherical was in motion for final season’s wild-card video games, and solely the Eagles (a No. 1 seed with a bye in 2017) even reached the playoff area a 12 months in the past.
1a. However you may see largely acquainted characters within the divisional spherical with Philadelphia returning together with the 4 groups on bye — the Chiefs, Patriots, Rams and Saints, all postseason entries final 12 months, too.
1b. The final crew to advance to the Tremendous Bowl after enjoying on wild-card weekend was the 2012 Ravens, who received Tremendous Bowl XLVII. The following 10 convention champs have all had first-round byes.
2. Gen X-er Philip Rivers, 37, needs to be the sentimental favourite to win all of it, proper? No quarterback in league historical past has thrown for extra yards (54,656) or extra touchdowns (374) but by no means performed on Tremendous Sunday.
2a. And the way nice (and entertaining) wouldn’t it be to see Rivers’ Chargers tackle the Saints … and former Bolts QB Drew Brees, who saved Philly Riv on the bench for 2 years?
Three. However in case you’re into unminted Millennial passers, Patrick Mahomes (23), Jared Goff (24), Dak Prescott (25) and, most definitely, Andrew Luck (29) may journey nice story strains all the way in which to Atlanta, web site of Tremendous Bowl LIII.
four. Three quarterbacks made their playoff debuts throughout wild-card weekend. Deshaun Watson, Lamar Jackson and Mitch Trubisky all misplaced.
5. Welp, Matt Nagy, guess you shoulda laid down for the Vikings in Week 17 reasonably than invite a matchup with the Iggles and your outdated buddy Doug Pederson.
6. Did anybody else need Eagles-Bears go into time beyond regulation (perhaps double OT) simply to see how NBC would deal with its Golden Globes protection, which started minutes after Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth wrapped?
7. Tough evening for Chicago’s Cody Parkey, whose would-be, game-winning field goal attempt from 43 yards hit the upright then the crossbar earlier than caroming into the top zone. No good. Parkey drilled the Soldier Discipline uprights 4 instances Nov. 1. Uncanny.
eight. But when I’ve discovered something this season, it is that Parkey is about to get a flood of support from kickers all through the league as he copes with this unlucky bounce. Bounces.
9. Nick Foles was picked off twice in Sunday’s win over the Bears. The final time he threw a number of INTs in an Eagles uniform, Oct. 26, 2014, Chip Kelly was their coach and Foles had but to play for the Rams or Chiefs.
9a. The final time Philadelphia performed the Saints in postseason, the 2013 wild-card spherical, Foles was additionally the quarterback (in a shedding effort) — Kelly’s solely NFL playoff look.
10. Congrats to Eagles WR Golden Tate, who scored the game-winning TD at Chicago, immediately justifying the scrutinized commerce deadline deal for him — which price Philly a third-round decide that appeared awfully costly given the struggles to combine Tate into the offense.
10a. Congrats to Eagles LT Jason Peters, RB/KR Darren Sproles and LB Jordan Hicks, who all missed the 2017 Tremendous Bowl run with accidents however tasted a playoff victory Sunday.
10b. Really feel for you, Wentz.
11. Was wild-card weekend’s MVP Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley? His unit was on the brief finish of a 22-10 loss to Baltimore two weeks in the past. Sunday, it showed the rest of the league how to contain Jackson — basically deploying a protection comprised of linemen and defensive backs to shadow, flummox and batter the rookie.
12. Jackson, who turns 22 on Monday, turned the youngest quarterback to start out a playoff sport in NFL historical past. He regarded prefer it. Make no mistake, the Ravens do not win the AFC North with out Jackson’s heroics within the second half of the season, when he went 6-1 because the starter. However Bradley and the Bolts supplied a blueprint to stopping him and a recent reminder that, although Jackson stays an elite athlete and extremely efficient with the ball in open area, he is acquired a protracted, lengthy approach to go to be a fully-formed professional quarterback. He was sacked seven instances, picked off as soon as and fumbled thrice, shedding the ball on his crew’s closing possession.
13. Who figured on Chargers rookie Okay Mike Badgley outperforming Ravens all-pro Justin Tucker? Badgley set a Bolts’ postseason report with 5 made area targets, whereas Tucker was 1-for-2 on three-point tries. Tucker missed 5 FGs this season, three towards L.A.
14. Who figured on Chargers FB Derek Watt making an extended playoff run this season than brothers J.J. and T.J.?
15. The Chargers have not overwhelmed Tom Brady since 2005. Rivers is 0-7 head-to-head against TB12, together with two losses in postseason.
15a. However Sunday, the Chargers turned the one crew within the league to win eight instances on the street this season. A go to to Foxborough, daunting as it’s, will not section them.
16. The final time Rivers appeared in a playoff sport at Gillette Stadium, the 2007 AFC Championship Sport, he performed on a torn ACL.
17. Baltimore’s second-ranked run sport, which had averaged practically 230 yards in Jackson’s seven regular-season begins, was restricted to 90.
18. And large props to Dallas’ run protection, which held Seattle’s top-ranked speeding assault to 73 yards, the Seahawks’ lowest output since Week 1. Can it do the identical to Rams all-pro Todd Gurley and/or funky recent backup C.J. Anderson?
19. John Harbaugh’s seventh postseason journey with Baltimore was additionally his first one-and-done end. However his rebooted crew overachieved by most accounts.
20. Pete Carroll’s seventh postseason journey with Seattle was additionally his first one-and-done end. However his rebooted crew overachieved by most accounts — clearly by mine — and, as all-pro LB Bobby Wagner, told me before the game, “There’s nonetheless room for us to get higher, however you have gotta like the place we’re going for certain.” For certain.
21. Nonetheless, I might recommend that the Seahawks’ resident Australian, Michael Dickson — the punter had a improbable rookie season, garnering Professional Bowl and all-pro honors — spend somewhat extra time buffing up his American place-kicking expertise subsequent 12 months ought to his crew once more discover itself in a bind, particularly if 40-year-old Sebastian Janikowski stays on the roster.
22. The Ravens entered the weekend with the very best successful proportion (.652) in playoff historical past. However their loss dropped them to .625 — and second place — behind the Patriots (.630).
23. The Cowboys’ win Saturday gave them 35 in postseason, second most all time. They will tie the Steelers’ mark of 36 subsequent weekend.
23a. Since successful Tremendous Bowl XXX to cap the 1995 season, Dallas is Zero-5 within the divisional spherical.
23b. The Cowboys and Rams have break up eight playoff conferences.
23c. Dallas’ final playoff go to to the L.A. Coliseum occurred Jan 7, 1979. Roger Staubach’s Cowboys beat Pat Haden’s Rams 28-Zero.
24. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett changed his predecessor, Wade Phillips, halfway by means of the 2010 season. Phillips can be on the opposite sideline subsequent Saturday evening, operating the Rams protection whereas persevering with his quest for a second ring (2015 Broncos) since Dallas fired him.
25. The Colts are 4-0 all-time in the playoffs against their next opponent, the AFC’s top-seeded Chiefs.
25a. Most not too long ago in postseason towards Kansas Metropolis, within the 2013 wild-card spherical, Luck (443 yards, four TDs) led Indy again from a 38-10 second-half deficit to beat the Chiefs 45-44 within the second-greatest comeback in postseason historical past. (Why does it really feel like nobody offers this exceptional sport its due?)
25b. The biggest playoff comeback (32 factors) was engineered by former Payments quarterback, and present Colts coach, Frank Reich towards the Houston Oilers within the 1992 playoffs.
25c. The Colts’ playoff success towards the Chiefs started within the 1995 divisional spherical, when Jim Harbaugh and Co. began Kansas Metropolis’s nonetheless ongoing six-game postseason shedding streak at Arrowhead Stadium.
26. Colts GM Chris Ballard was beforehand the Chiefs’ director of soccer operations. In order that’s one spectacular crew in Ballard’s rear view, and one other that is arrived before anticipated.
27. Keep watch over second-year Indianapolis RB Marlon Mack, whose 148 speeding yards Saturday established a brand new crew playoff report. Kansas Metropolis allowed 132 yards per sport on the bottom within the common season, worst amongst his season’s playoff golf equipment.
28. The NFL’s regular-season chief in tackles, Colts LB Darius Leonard (163), is now it is present playoff chief (13), too. He acquired my vote for defensive rookie of the 12 months.
29. What’s subsequent for Houston? The Texans turned solely the second crew to win a division title after an Zero-Three begin, largely because of a midseason nine-game successful streak. However they by no means registered a really spectacular victory and regarded completely outclassed Saturday by the AFC South rival Colts. With Jadeveon Clowney headed towards free company, does Houston attempt to re-sign him and proceed on with what can be a top-heavy wage cap, or try to unfold the wealth into the run sport, offensive line and retaining inexpensive gamers like Tyrann Mathieu?
30. Talking of recent contracts, getting awfully onerous to argue Prescott does not deserve a big-money deal this spring, the primary time the 2016 fourth rounder is eligible to money in. His base wage has by no means been greater than $630,00Zero, nevertheless it seems like Jerry Jones is able to maintain him — although that might imply robust selections with different gamers (Demarcus Lawrence, Amari Cooper) about to receives a commission.
30a. Fairly onerous to forge a Cowboys quarterback legacy while you’re making an attempt to interrupt into the Staubach, Troy Aikman, Tony Romo pantheon. However Saturday, Prescott became the first in the team’s illustrious history to go for and run for a landing in a playoff sport.
31. Playoff beards. Lastly, a good suggestion the NFL borrowed from the NHL.
32. Dearest mom — @CaptAndrewLuck and his Colts carried out valiantly as soon as extra. However legendary Chief Mahomes, along with his famend long-range artillery, awaits on the Western Plains — the place He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His horrible swift sword. Our fact is marching on.
Comply with Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis
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