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Wild Card Weekend Recap: What Happened?

When you have eight teams competing for a spot in the NFL Divisional Rounds, you can always expect there to be no shortage of surprises and plenty of hard-hitting football action. Just in case you missed them, here’s a recap of what happened in this weekend’s wild card games.

Kansas City Chiefs vs Houston Texans

It was no contest, as the Kansas City Chiefs leveled the Houston Texans to the tune of 30-0 last Saturday. Perhaps helped by a dismal performance by Texans’ quarterback Brian Hoyer, the Chiefs are now underway to face off against the New England Patriots on Saturday, January 16th.

It’s no exaggeration to say Hoyer played horribly. After completing only 7 of 14 passes for a paltry 61 yards in the first half with three interceptions and a forced fumble, Hoyer had a total of 5 turnovers that made the Chiefs job look easier. This is to say that the Chiefs didn’t play particularly well but did play well enough to win the game. Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith came back after throwing an interception in the first half to complete 17 of 22 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown. An additional 143 rushing yards were added via the ground game. The Chiefs took the early 13-0 lead just before the half and capped it off with a second touchdown in the second half to take a 27-0 lead that was sealed with a fourth quarter field goal that ended the game.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cincinnati Bengals

As many as 35,000 signatures were collected online in outrage over the controversial win by the Steelers against the Bengals. Pittsburgh just barely held on to win 18-16.

Cincinnati had their sights set on breaking through to their first win in the postseason since 1991, when Boomer Esiason was at the helm as quarterback. However, it was close but no cigar for the Bengals after running back Jeremy Hill fumbled the ball that was then picked up by the Steelers and led to the game winning drive. After the fumble, Ben Roethlisberger took the offense to the Bengals 47-yard line with 22 seconds to go. A penalty was then called on Bengals’ linebacker Vontaze Burfict which took them 15 yards closer and finally another penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct was called on Adam Jones which landed the Steelers at the 17-yard line, allowing first year kicker Chris Boswell to score the game-winning field goal.

Despite winning the game, the Steelers now find themselves in a perilous spot. Big Ben Roethlisberger suffered an injury, which puts him as dubious for their game against Denver next weekend. And, without their star quarterback, it’s doubtful that the Steelers make it through the Divisional Round.

Seattle Seahawks vs Minnesota Vikings

It was the closest of scores as the Seattle Seahawks toppled the Minnesota Vikings by the sole point 10-9. The loss was even more wrenching for Vikings fans, considering kicker Blair Walsh missed a field goal with 22 seconds left in the clock which would have won them the game. Minnesota took the ball to their 39 yard line with just 1:42 left in the clock, however Walsh was unable to convert and killed their hopes of making it through. Walsh now is the fourth Vikings kicker to miss a field goal in the past 20 postseasons. Morten Andersen had a 27-yard field goal blocked in the 2004 wild-card round, Gary Anderson missed a 38-yard field goal in the 1998 NFC Championship Game, and Eddie Murray missed a 48-yard attempt in the 1997 wild-card round.

The Seahawks had a great rally where they put up 10 points over 3 minutes of play time to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Much of the credit goes to quarterback Russell Wilson who drove the offense to a score after getting the ball back from a forced fumble. The game-winning field goal was then scored by kicker Steven Hauschka. The Seahawks now head to Carolina, home of the Panthers in what’s expected to be one of the best games of the Divisional Round.

Green Bay Packers vs Washington Redskins

One could argue this was the best game of the weekend, Considering Green Bay couldn't have entered the postseason looking much worse than it did. The offensive line wasn't protecting quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and the running game was almost nonexistent. However, after a slow start in the first quarter, the Green Bay Packers came to life after the second quarter and beat the Washington Redskins by a score of 35-18.

Led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Packers managed to control the game, scoring four touchdowns and a field goal in their final three possessions of the first half and their first two possessions of the second half. Rodgers went 21-of-36 for 210 yards and two touchdowns, while running backs Eddie Lacy and James Starks combined to gain 116 yards on 24 carries. There was nothing the Redskins could do to take Rodgers off the field. In fact, after the game Redskins head coach Jay Gruden commented: “We couldn’t get them off the field, Aaron did what he did. Had a great game. They had a good game plan for us. Both sides of the ball.”

As the Packers now head to Glendale, Arizona to face the Cardinals, this win undoubtedly gives them plenty of motivation. And they’ll need plenty of it, if they’re to beat the Cardinals at home. Just a couple of weeks back Arizona beat Green Bay to the tune of 38-8. This sets up another great game for betting fans everywhere.

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