WASHINGTON — Perhaps more than ever before, Wild Card Weekend was aptly named.
The 2018 season has been defined by off-the-charts offense, but defense took the forefront in the first four games of the playoffs. The Colts and Cowboys were the only teams to score touchdowns in the first half of their games, and the weekend’s 58 combined first-half points was the second-lowest in the last 15 postseasons.
Points were at a premium, and so are the slides in this week’s recap.
Look at Cody Parkey’s Bears 15 game-ending missed field goal. It’s the sixth time he’s hit the crossbar this season, and it doinked off everything before falling no-good. It’s significantly harder to do that than it is to actually make a field goal. Perhaps if they kept Robbie Gould, Chicago wouldn’t have wasted an awesome defense that is now the first to lead the league in both scoring defense and takeaways, but fail to win the Super Bowl.
And when does Nick Foles’ deal with the devil expire? All he does is come up clutch, get paid handsomely for it and make people question whether he should be their franchise QB instead of Carson Wentz. If he leads an upset of the Saints, who crushed Philly by 42 points in November, perhaps he should be.
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
(AP/Nam Y. Huh)
Ravens 17 The second time really was the charm in Charm City: L.A.’s creative strategy harassed Lamar Jackson — the youngest starting QB in postseason history — into seven sacks, two turnovers and the Ravens’ worst first-half playoff performance, while Mike Badgley made a Chargers-record five field goals to help Philip Rivers advance to face old (emphasis on old) rival Tom Brady in a playoff match-up a week earlier than I expected.
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Getty Images/Patrick Smith)
Dallas got an Cowboys 24 Emmitt Smith-like performance from Zeke Elliott and took advantage of Seattle’s bad breaks to snap the Seahawks’ NFL-record streak of nine straight victories in playoff openers. We’re in for a helluva game in Los Angeles on Saturday night.
(AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Indy gashed Houston’s top ranked run defense for 200 rushing yards, Andrew Luck looks like an MVP again, and the Colts defense made one of the most exciting young passers look like Josh Johnson, en route to Texans 7 the worst loss of Deshaun Watson’s pro career. Kansas City should be as scared of matching up against Indianapolis as I am of seeing T.Y. Hilton’s pregame apparel and Jim Irsay’s postgame remarks.
(AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
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