Takeaways From The Best Weekend of NFL Football - Ever?
This past weekend of NFL action was anything but predictable.
With the four divisional round games in the books, there is a lot to unpack. Every game was decided on the final play of the game, which has many fans saying this is one of the best, if not the best, weekends of NFL football they have ever seen.
Let’s recap all of this past weekend’s games.
Cincinnati Bengals 19, Tennessee Titans 16
Heading into this game on Saturday, the biggest storylines were the return of running back Derrick Henry and how the Bengals’ offensive line would hold up.
The top-seeded Titans were expected to get a gigantic boost to their offensive attack, as Henry returned to the field for the first time since Week 8. Contrary to expectations, the running back did not contribute much and only rushed for 62 yards on 20 carries, although he rushed for a touchdown in the second quarter.
The Bengals offensive line was shaky all season long, and they certainly were against the Titans defensive front. The group allowed the Titans to sack Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow a whopping nine times. Burrow still managed to complete 28-of-37 passes for 348 yards to lead his team to a victory.
The game’s outcome was decided on the final play, as rookie kicker Evan McPherson nailed a 52-yard field goal for the Bengals as time expired. This was setup by the last of the Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s three interceptions and a 19-yard completion from Burrow to sensational rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase.
San Francisco 49ers 13, Green Bay Packers 10
The top-seeded Packers were expected by many to win this game, however a quiet outing from their quarterback Aaron Rodgers and an amazing performance by the 49ers special teams unit squashed their hopes of being victorious.
Led by NFL MVP frontrunner Aaron Rodgers and one of the best wide receivers in the game in Davante Adams, the Packers were considered by many the Super Bowl favorites out of the NFC.
Although Rodgers’ statline doesn’t look too bad, completing 20-of-29 passes for 225 yards, he was very hesitant to throw to anyone besides his two favorite targets in Adams and running back Aaron Jones. This resulted in San Francisco’s defense to start double covering the two, shutting the Packers’ offense down.
The 49ers’ win was a huge result from their excellent special teams play. The unit blocked a field goal as time expired in the first half, and also blocked a punt that was returned for a touchdown.
49ers kicker Robbie Gould, a Penn State alumni, kicked the game winning field goal to advance his team to the NFC Championship Game.
Los Angeles Rams 30, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27
The Rams outlasted the Buccaneers in a thriller, but the game once was poised to end in a blowout.
The Rams led 27-3 at one point in this game, but sloppy play helped the Buccaneers mount a comeback. Rams running back Cam Akers fumbled twice in total, once on the goalline. as the Rams fumbled a total of four times and also missed a field goal.
With 42 seconds left in the game, Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette scored a touchdown to tie the game at 27 a piece. With the remaining 42 seconds, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Cooper Kupp led the team down the field to get within field goal range.
Rams kicker Matt Gay, who was cut by the Bucs in 2020, kicked a game winning field goal as time expired to secure a date with the divisional rival 49ers in the NFC Championship game.
Kansas City Chiefs 42, Buffalo Bills 36
This was easily the wildest NFL game in recent memory, and many people are saying it was the best game they have ever seen. The end result has many fans criticizing the NFL overtime rules as well.
The game went back and forth all night long, as it was an incredible duel between Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
Mahomes passed for 378 yards, three touchdowns and had 33 completions on 44 attempts. Allen passed for 329 yards, four touchdowns and had 27 completions on 37 attempts. All of Allen’s touchdowns were caught by wide receiver Gabriel Davis, who had a historic postseason performance, posting up eight catches for 201 yards and a postseason record four touchdowns.
The game went down to the wire, and 25 points were scored in the final two minutes of regulation, including the Chiefs’ miraculous 44 yard drive with only 13 seconds left that ended in a field goal to force overtime.
The Chiefs won the coin toss in overtime, elected to receive and drove down the field with ease. The game ended with Mahomes passing a game-winning touchdown to star tight end Travis Kelce in the back corner of the endzone.
Jonathan Hartley is a first-year student majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.