The NFL Playoffs began on Saturday with Super Wildcard Weekend producing some close games along with a couple of blowouts. A look at the key games from Saturday and Sunday’s action sets the stage for what’s coming next.
Bills Dominate Patriots
The Buffalo Bills made easy work of the New England Patriots in this matchup of division rivals. The Bills scored touchdowns on their first seven possessions in their 47-17 win over the Pats.
QB Josh Allen was 21-25 and threw for 308 yards and five touchdowns. He also ran the ball six times for 66 yards. RB Devin Singletary scored two rushing touchdowns and ran for a total of 81 yards in the victory.
The Bills will now travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs in a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game. The Bills lost that game but defeated the Chiefs in Week 5 this season by a 38-20 score. Allen had three touchdown passes in the win, and Buffalo’s defense intercepted Patrick Mahomes twice.
49ers Upset Cowboys in Dallas
San Francisco dominated the Cowboys for three quarters but had to hold off a fourth-quarter rally to get the upset win in Dallas. QB Jimmy Garoppolo only passed for 172 yards and was intercepted once, but the running game overwhelmed the Cowboys as they ran for 169 yards and two touchdowns.
The 49ers’ defense came up big, sacking Dak Prescott five times and intercepting him once. Elijah Mitchell carried the ball 27 times for 96 yards and a touchdown for San Francisco. Wide receiver turned running back Deebo Samuel had 10 rushes for 72 yards and scored on a 26-yard touchdown run.
San Francisco must now travel to Green Bay and try to do something no other team has done this season, which is winning at Lambeau Field against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The Niners lost a close game in Green Bay back in Week-3, in which the Packers came from behind to win on a last-second field goal, 30-28.
Bucs Send Eagles Packing
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 31-15 in Sunday’s Wild Card game in Tampa. The Bucs led the game 31-0 after three quarters with QB Tom Brady throwing for 271 yards and two touchdowns.
Mike Evans caught nine passes for 117 yards receiving and scored one touchdown in the blowout victory. However, Philadelphia did score 15 fourth-quarter points to make this game look much closer on the scoreboard than it was.
The defending Super Bowl Champions await the winner of Monday night’s game between the Rams and Cardinals. The Bucs didn’t play against the Cardinals in the regular season but lost to the Rams in Los Angeles in Week-3 by a score of 34-24.
Big Ben Loses Final Game in Kansas City
Ben Roethlisberger lost in the final game of his storied NFL career by a score of 42-21 against the Kansas City Chiefs. After leading the game 7-0 on a TJ Watt fumble return for a touchdown, the Steelers were thoroughly dominated for the remainder of this game.
Patrick Mahomes was 30-39 for 404 yards and five touchdowns in the victory for the Chiefs. Travis Kelce came up big once again, catching five passes for 108 yards and a touchdown.
Roethlisberger moved into third place on the all-time playoff passing list in the game, moving ahead of both Joe Montana and Brett Favre. He trails only Tom Brady and Peyton Manning for most yards thrown for in the postseason.
The Chiefs move on to face the Buffalo Bills in next week’s Divisional Round at home, where they hope for a berth in their fourth straight AFC Championship game.