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NFL Divisional Games Offered Up Surprises

The Divisional Playoffs featured four of the most exciting games of any NFL weekend in recent memory, with all of the victors coming from behind to win on the last play of the game. Here’s a rundown of this past weekend’s games, which featured three surprising upsets.

Bengals Surprise Titans to Advance

The Cincinnati Bengals are moving on to the AFC Championship game for the first time since 1988 after their upset win on the road against Tennessee. Rookie Evan McPherson was the hero in this NFL game, hitting four of four field-goal attempts, including a 52-yarder as time ran out to give the Bengals the win.

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QB Joe Burrow was sacked nine times by the Tennessee defense, which is a postseason record. It’s also the first time any team survived that many sacks in the playoffs and still went on to win the game. Burrow threw for 348 yards and didn’t have a TD pass but moved his team into field goal range on four different occasions, which was the difference in this game.

Cincinnati will face the Kansas City Chiefs next week in the AFC Championship game

49ers First to Win at Lambeau in Advancing to Championship

The San Francisco 49ers became the first team to win at Lambeau Field this season as they upset the Green Bay Packers 13-10 and will move on to the NFC Championship game next Sunday. The 49ers’ special teams came up huge in this game, blocking a 39-yard field goal attempt to end the first half and then blocking a Green Bay punt with 4:41 to go in the game that was returned for a touchdown to tie the score at 10-10.

The 49ers used their running game to dominate the fourth quarter and drove 44 yards in 9 plays on their final possession to set up the 45-yard game-winning field goal by Robbie Gould to end the game. The defense also held Aaron Rodgers to just 225 yards passing and no touchdowns as they sacked him five times.

The 49ers will travel to LA to face the Rams for the NFC Championship.

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Stafford Helps Rams Secure Home-Field in NFC Championship

The Los Angeles Rams escaped Tampa Bay with a victory on Sunday to advance to the NFC Championship, which will be played at home against the Niners, who helped make it possible with an upset win over the Packers. Matthew Stafford was 28-38 and threw for 366 yards and two touchdowns in the victory. He also ran for one score.

WR Cooper Kupp hooked up with Stafford for two huge plays on the game-winning drive, which ended with Matt Gay’s 30-yard field goal as the clock reached zero. Kupp finished with nine catches for 183 yards and a touchdown. 

Bills Suffer Heartbreaking Loss in OT

After capping a 75-yard drive with Josh Allen throwing a 19-yard touchdown to Gabriel Davison on their last possession of the game, the Bills had a 36-33 lead with 13 seconds left in regulation. Almost anyone would think the game would be over at that point, except for Patrick Mahomes. It took him and the Chiefs only 10 seconds and two plays to get all the way to the Buffalo 31-yard line and set up a game-tying 49-yard field goal by Harrison Butker, which would send the game to overtime. 

Mahomes wasn’t finished as the Chiefs won the coin toss and proceeded to go 75 yards on eight plays, culminating in an 8-yard touchdown pass to Travis Kelce to seal the team’s third straight trip to the AFC Championship game. 

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Both starting quarterbacks had outstanding games as Mahomes was 33-44 for 378 yards and three touchdowns and seven carries for 69 yards and a touchdown. Josh Allen was 27-37 for 329 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for 68 yards on the ground. This was the first postseason game in history in which opposing quarterbacks had a passer rating of 123.0 or higher.

The Chiefs will play at home in next week’s AFC Championship vs. Cincinnati.

Erik is a writer and a sports nut who has had the good fortune to be able to experience a wide variety of world sports action up close and personal. He enjoys staying on top of the changing world of athletics and capitalizing on his writing skills to offer a unique take on what's going on in the ever-changing athletics ecosystem.

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