The Divisional Round of the playoffs gave us some great games, with no one team dominating another. The Panthers kept it close against the heavily favored Seahawks at home. The Ravens blew two 14 point leads against the Patriots to end their season. The Cowboys feel what it’s like to disagree with a controversial call in a loss to the Packers and the Broncos watched their window for a Super Bowl win close after losing to the Colts. Check out our odds on the Super Bowl right here.
Here’s the Divisional Round gifs. We’ll see you after Championship weekend:
The Ravens have been known to give the Patriots fits in the playoffs in Foxborough and this game began to look like it may be more of the same. The Ravens raced out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter before the Patriots tied the game late in the second quarter. The Ravens would find the end zone one more time, 10 seconds before halftime on this 11 yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco threaded between three Patriots defenders from to Owen Daniels. Looks like we have another full offseason of “Is Flacco elite?” to endure.
The Patriots found themselves down by 14 points twice in the game and came back both times to earn the 31-35 win. When you have a legendary quarterback like Tom Brady, you tend not to take the ball out of their hands, which is exactly why no one would expect a trick play. Brady laterals to Julian Edelman, who hits Danny Amendola in stride for a 51 yard touchdown. The Ravens could only muster a field goal in the fourth quarter for a small lead, but Brady managed to lead the Patriots in a game winning drive that ended in a 23 yard touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell, ending the Ravens season. Don’t tell Tom, but Edelman throws a prettier deep ball than him.
No one gave the Panthers much of a chance heading into their game against the Seahawks in Seattle, but they proved to be a worthy opponent. It wasn’t until late in the first half, game tied 7-7 that the Seahawks would begin to claw ahead, starting with this 63 yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Jermaine Kearse. Bene Benwikere had perfect coverage, but Wilson dropped the ball in even more perfectly, while Kearse makes it look easy with the one armed grab. Exactly how long did Wilson train with Yoda on his throwing mechanics?
The Seahawks won 31-17 when all was said and done, but the game was much closer in the final minutes before Cam Newton threw an interception returned by Kam Chancellor for an 89 yard return to seal the win for the Seahawks. Throughout the game, Newton willed his team against Seattle’s defense, throwing lasers for completions and picking up first downs with his feet. Here he’s seen obliterating Earl Thomas, one of the best safeties in the league, with a huge stiff arm. Newton’s new law of physics: a Cam in motion will stay in motion if a defensive back half his size attempts a lame arm tackle.
The Cowboys were riding high after their controversial wild-card win last weekend. They would find themselves in the middle of another controversial play this week against the Green Bay Packers, who are unbeaten at Lambeau this season. The game was close throughout, and Dallas needed a score to regain the lead after going down 21-26 late in the fourth quarter. On 4-2, Dallas went for it. Tony Romo lofted a ball down the left sideline for Dez Bryant who appeared to make an incredible catch, falling at the 1 yard line. The Packers challenged and the call was overturned. The ruling on the field was that Bryant did not have complete control of the ball through the process of the catch and wasn’t able to establish himself as a runner before the ball hit the ground. Incomplete pass. The Packers would take over on downs. Yes, there are enough of Jerry Jones’ tears to sustain ALL of us throughout the offseason.
The game wasn’t quite over after the Dez Bryant non-catch. The Packers still needed to earn a few first downs before they could take victory formation. Aaron Rodgers quickly marched the Packers into Dallas territory. Here was a crucial third down that would ice the game. Dallas got enough pass rush with Tyrone Crawford able to tip Rodgers pass. Randall Cobb somehow found the ball just before it hit the ground and was able to secure the pass and the win. A few kneel downs later and the Packers would win 21-26. How Cobb was able to take off the human sleeping bag Orlando Scandrick to catch this ball is beyond me.
People will always seen a Colts vs. Broncos game as a changing of the guard of sorts, with Indianapolis cutting Peyton Manning so they could draft Andrew Luck in 2012. Last night seemed to validate the Colts decision to secure their future after going into Denver as underdogs and beating the Broncos 24-13. Manning was inaccurate and inefficient against a stout Colts defense that gave the Denver offense little. Luck, on the other hand, was able to do just enough to get points on the board needed to win. Here’s Luck’s 3 yard touchdown threaded between three defenders to Dwayne Allen that would put the Colts up for good. Great catch by Allen while sporting an Aquib Talib jacket.
The Broncos did manage a bit of a come back late in the game, but Indianapolis’ defense kept shutting down any opportunity Denver could muster to score. Early in the fourth quarter, trailing 21-10, the Broncos went for it on 4-1 from the Colts 46. CJ Anderson evaded three defenders to gain seven yards and a first down. If the Colts could score a touchdown on this possession, they would be within striking distance. Again, the Colts defense quickly stalled the Broncos drive, forcing them to settle for a field goal and eventually an exit from the playoffs. I’ve seen better tackling in electric football.