Exciting Start to the NFL Playoffs: Breaking Down Wild Card Weekend


The NFL Wild card games are over and the Divisional Round of the 2012 NFL Playoffs are set.  Before we look ahead to the games next weekend, here are some reactions to last Saturday and Sunday’s games:

Jan 5, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans running back Arian Foster (23) runs the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals during the third quarter of the AFC Wild Card playoff game at Reliant Stadium. The Texans defeated the Bengals 19-13. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Texans 19 – Cincinnati Bengals 13:

Houston RB Arian Foster is the reason the Texans won this football game.  He rushed for 140 yards, scored the Texans lone touchdown, and consistently made plays when the Texans needed him to.  In the passing game, TE Owen Daniels was QB Matt Schaub‘s go to target.  He made big catch after big catch (9 receptions for 91 yards).  Defensive end J.J. Watt was his normal fantastic self, but the Bengals made it pretty easy on them.  Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton once again had a stinker of a game, and the Bengals’s offensive gameplan was odd. Even though they had success running with the “Lawfirm”, but didn’t call on him enough. Even more strange, the Bengals didn’t target WR A.J. Green even once in the first half.  That is a recipe for disaster.  The Bengals have a good nucleus and will be around next year, but they need to iron things out if they want to win a playoff game.  For the Texans, they get a rematch with the New England Patriots, who beat them on December 10, 42-14.

Jan 5, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joe Webb (14) is sacked in the first quarter of the NFC Wild Card playoff game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay Packers 24 – Minnesota Vikings 10:

It was a surprise to everyone when, before the game started, Viking’s QB Christian Ponder was ruled inactive with a bruised elbow and Joe Webb was named the starter. Webb hadn’t thrown a pass all season long (first player in NFL history to start a playoff game without throwing a pass during the regular season). Yet, Vikings fans have consistently been asking for him to play whenever the young and inexperienced Ponder struggles. Perhaps those cries will go silent following Webb’s performance in the Vikings 24-10 loss.

The Vikings’s first possession with Webb at the helm was good; he led the Vikings to a field goal, but he did that without completing a pass. The Vikings, like the Bengals had some odd play calling. Webb ran well, yet the Vikings called a lot of passing plays for him. With the Packers so geared to stop RB Adrian Peterson, it would have made a lot of sense for the Vikings to run a pistol style offense like in Washington and let Webb utilize his biggest asset: his speed. The game got out of hand in the second quarter when the Packers scored a touchdown late with under a minute to go to take a 17-3 lead.

Jan 5, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) is tackled in the backfield by Green Bay Packers strong safety Charles Woodson (21) in the first quarter of the NFC Wild Card playoff game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Packers DB Charles Woodson made his impact felt on defense. The Packers welcomed him back with open arms and he made a lot of plays; Woodson was a big reason the Packers defense was able to limit Vikings RB Adrian Peterson to 99 yards. Not surprising the Vikings lost. They still had a phenomenal season.  The Packers get to head to San Francisco now for a matchup with the 49ers Saturday night. You’ll recall that they lost to the 49ers week 1 in Green Bay. Perhaps they’ll return the favor?

Jan 6, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis (52) during the AFC Wild Card playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts at M

Baltimore Ravens 24 – Indianapolis Colts 9:

This could have been the last game that Ravens legend LB Ray Lewis ever played in, you knew the Ravens were going to do everything in their power to win for him. They did just that with a dominating 24-9 victory over the Colts. Lewis was great making 13 tackles, but it was Ravens QB Joe Flacco making big throws down the field, especially to WR Anquan Boldin that made the difference in this game. The Colts had the ball fifteen more minutes than the Ravens and Andrew Luck threw it 54 times, but they could not find the endzone. They had plenty of untimely drops too which cost them chances at extending drives and getting points. As a result, the Ravens get to live another day, but they face the Denver Broncos next Saturday in Denver. The Broncos crushed the Ravens in Baltimore back in December. Good luck!

Jan 6, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) is tackled on a run by Washington Redskins defensive end Stephen Bowen (72) and strong safety Reed Doughty (37) during the second quarter of the NFC Wild Card playoff game at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Seahawks 24 – Washington Redskins 14:

With the Redskins up 14-0 in a pumped up Fed Ex Field, the Seahawks looked like they were in trouble. Whether it was RGIII hurting or just a change in the wind, the Seahawks took over the game from there on out, scoring the last 24 points in the 24-14 win. The Seattle defense gave up almost 130 yards in the first quarter, but they gave up fewer than a hundred yards the rest of the game.

The Seahawks chipped away at the lead until RB Marshawn Lynch “Skittles” went beastmode with his 27-yard touchdown run to put them ahead 21-14 after the two-point conversion. Then, the play that everyone will be talking about, a low snap and RGIII having his knee give way with the Seahawks recovering the fumble at the Redskins five to pretty much ice the game.  RGIII’s injury is going to be talked about a lot, especially give the report in USA Today that Dr. James Andrews never cleared RGIII to back into the Ravens game after he injured his knee. This could be a lingering issue. Let’s hope not. RGIII is something special. Maybe Redskins owner Daniel Snyder needs to invest in some new turf. That field was awful. The Seahawks are very good. The Atlanta Falcons should be very fearful of them next Sunday.