2019 NFL Divisional Round Recap
Green Bay Packers’ Davante Adams runs to the end zone for his touchdown catch during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis.
Aaron Rodgers may be the face of the Green Bay Packers, but Devante Adams looks like the key to their title hopes after scoring both of Rodgers’ touchdowns and setting a postseason franchise-record with 160 receiving yards. If he can generate even half that against the top-ranked 49ers pass defense next week, the NFC title game will be a good one.
Meanwhile, Russell Wilson’s languishing at Lambeau continued, dropping to 0-4 on football’s holy ground despite staging a late rally to pull Seattle within striking distance of yet another of their patented one-score victories. If the Seahawks are going to keep pace in the increasingly-competitive NFC West, they’ll need to prioritize getting him some more help this offseason.
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI — JANUARY 12: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) of the Kansas City Chiefs scrambles against the defense of Whitney Mercilus (59) of the Houston Texans during the AFC Divisional playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 12, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri.
(Getty Images/Peter Aiken)
If you thought wild card weekend lived up to its name, how wild was this divisional round game in Kansas City? Patrick Mahomes’ Doug Williams impersonation helped the Chiefs become the first team in NFL history to win a game by 20 points after trailing by 20 in a game, which also happened to match the fourth-largest comeback in NFL postseason history. KC’s masterpiece has them on the brink of their first Super Bowl berth in 50 years — but have to go through a Tennessee squad making a habit of taking down teams of destiny.
And Houston has a problem. Deshaun Watson’s Houdini acts are great, but he’s wrong about his coach. The Texans have generational talents in Watson, DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt but only seem to win big games when Watson does something miraculous. There are better options than Bill O’Brien to lead Houston to the next level and the organization should be on the hunt for those options sooner rather than later.
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND — JAN. 11: Derrick Henry (22) of the Tennessee Titans runs in front of Earl Thomas (29) of the Baltimore Ravens during the AFC Divisional Playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 11, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland.
(Getty Images/Will Newton)
Baltimore was supposed to rewrite postseason history, but not like this. In the 86-year history of the NFL playoffs, the Ravens are only the sixth team to win at least 14 games in a season but fail to win a single postseason game. Lamar Jackson — the first player in NFL history with 50 passing attempts and 20 rushing attempts in a game — is set to become the first NFL MVP to lose his first playoff game of the season since Adrian Peterson seven years ago. Even the underrated Ravens defense was no match for the Frankenstein from Madden, leading to the biggest upset to befall the NFL playoffs since Super Bowl IV. Baltimore is in good shape for the future, but they’ll have to work hard to shed this well-earned (and self-appraised) reputation for being playoff chokers.
But Tennessee is legit so let’s give them their due. Derrick Henry’s 561 rushing yards in four career playoff games is more than any other player in the first four games of a postseason career during the modern era, and his 377 yards are the most ever in back-to-back postseason games. We’ll certainly remember these Titans no matter what happens Sunday in Kansas City, but they’re two wins away from reminding us of the 2001 Patriots — a team Mike Vrabel knows well.
SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA — JANUARY 11: Kirk Cousins (8) of the Minnesota Vikings is sacked by Nick Bosa (97) of the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Divisional Round Playoff game at Levi’s Stadium on Jan. 11, 2020 in Santa Clara, California.
(Getty Images/Lachlan Cunningham)
I guess that purple sky wasn’t a harbinger after all. Whether Minnesota’s short week had anything to do with its rough performance in Santa Clara, they couldn’t repeat the 1987 Vikings’ feat and face an offseason rife with questions as to who will run the offense — both at coordinator and quarterback. This may have been the best we’ll see from this iteration of the Minnesota Vikings.
Though Jimmy G recovered well enough from his first meeting with the Vikes to maintain his career-long streak of never losing to same team twice, this game was won by the Niners’ domination of the trenches, especially on defense. With San Fran set to face Green Bay’s 23rd-ranked rush defense after pounding Minnesota for 186 rushing yards — and the 49ers’ biggest championship obstacle (the Ravens) not around to challenge them — the Super Bowl is right there for the taking.
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