2019 NFL Wild Card Recap
Seattle Seahawks’ DK Metcalf (14) leaps over Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Mills (31) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, in Philadelphia.
Seattle’s record-tying 11th one-score victory of the season was a tad underwhelming considering it shouldn’t have been a one-score game against such an injury-depleted team. But D.K. Metcalf deserves props for setting a rookie record with 160 receiving yards, the fifth-most in NFL history for a player making his postseason debut.
Meanwhile, Carson Wentz’s playoff debut was short lived for the same reason it took him four seasons to make his playoff debut: Injury. Incidental or not, it was a tough break for the already-shorthanded Eagles, who lost in the Wild Card round for the first time since 2013 despite being a perennial underdog. Josh McCown — who is heretofore “The 40-year-old (Playoff) Virgin” — filled in admirably, but he’s clearly no Nick Foles.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA — JAN. 05: Kyle Rudolph (82) of the Minnesota Vikings makes the game-winning touchdown reception against P.J. Williams (26) of the New Orleans Saints during overtime in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Jan. 05, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
(Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox)
Saints 20 (OT)
It wasn’t quite The Minneapolis Miracle, but the Vikings again beat the Saints on a walk-off touchdown. This time, Kirk Cousins delivered the blow — and then his favorite punchline — to shrug off the “can’t win the big one” narrative that’s dogged him for years.
Now that Kirk “Stop Calling Me Kurt” Cousins is headed to San Francisco to face Kyle Shanahan, Bruce Allen is getting the 2020 he deserves.
But New Orleans doesn’t deserve the bitter pill of becoming the second team to be eliminated in three straight postseasons on the final play of the game — two straight on a shaky pass interference no-call. But with Drew Brees turning it over twice before turning 41, and Taysom Hill enjoying a big game in defeat, it might be time for change in the Crescent City.
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS — JAN. 04: Derrick Henry (22) of the Tennessee Titans carries the ball against the New England Patriots in the second quarter of the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 04, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
(Getty Images/Adam Glanzman)
Speaking of change, New England’s revenge tour is canceled … and their long dynasty might be too. The Patriots’ earliest playoff exit since 2009 looked a lot like their wild card loss from a decade ago, except this time Tom Brady is a 42-year-old free agent with very few weapons around him on an offense threatening big changes. I know it’s unthinkable to see Tom Terrific in another uniform, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him try for one more championship run with a team a QB away from contention. Indy, maybe?
And who better to end New England’s nine-game home postseason win streak than someone who was a part of it? Mike Vrabel beat his former coach and mentor Bill Belichick at his own game, thanks in large part to Derrick Henry celebrating his 26th birthday with two touchdowns and a franchise-record 204 scrimmage yards — the most ever against a Belichick defense in a playoff game. Tennessee will need more from Ryan Tannehill if they want to pull off another stunner in Baltimore.
HOUSTON, TEXAS — JAN. 04: Quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) of the Houston Texans rushes for a touchdown in the third quarter of the AFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Buffalo Bills at NRG Stadium on Jan. 04, 2020 in Houston, Texas.
(Getty Images/Bob Levey)
Texans 22 (OT)
Deshaun Watson is just that dude. He’s making a career out of being a Comeback Kid, leading Houston (who seemingly only kicks off its postseason on a Saturday) to a historic comeback win that removes any question he’s football’s Michael Jordan. If the Texans ever want to have anything close to the Chicago Bulls’ success, they’ll need to find a way to protect Watson from taking seven sacks like he did from Buffalo.
Unfortunately for Bills fans, their week of classy behavior was rewarded with yet another playoff disappointment, extending the drought to 24 years since their last postseason victory — which happens to predate the Texans’ existence by seven years. Buffalo made some positive strides in 2019 and figure to be next in line for AFC East supremacy if, in fact, New England’s long run of dominance really is coming to a close.
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