Well, this certainly put the “wild” in Wild Card.
For the first three quarters of the Steelers-Bengals playoff matchup Saturday night in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh was in control with a 15-0 lead going into the fourth. It was a tough contest, to be sure, with both Pittsburgh’s and Cincinnati’s defense coming on strong in inclement weather. And it was as tense as predicted, with the two teams combining for 11 penalties for 104 yards in just the first half alone. In the end, the Steelers prevailed 18-16.
But it was the late fourth quarter infractions that ended up killing the Bengals. And Vontaze Burfict. And the rain. And pure stupidity. And and and …
Continuing Reading: Nobody’s Burfict: Bengals implode, Steelers advance.
+ Read Big Ben’s “Willis Reed” Moment: Big Ben came back to lead Steelers to victory.
- Bengals come back but still lose
- The Bengals, who trailed 15-0 after three quarters, came all the way back to take a 16-15 lead before dropping a heartbreaking 18-16 decision to the Steelers. Cincinnati became the sixth team to erase a fourth-quarter deficit of 15+ points in a postseason game. Just two of the six eventually won the game: the Cowboys (at San Francisco) in December 1972 and the 49ers (vs. the Giants) in January 2003. The teams that, like the Bengals, fell short, were the 49ers in January 1984 (at Washington), the Steelers in January 2008 (vs. Jacksonville), and the Seahawks in January 2013 (at Atlanta).
- Boswell scores four three-pointers
- Chris Boswell kicked four field goals, including the game-winner with 14 seconds remaining, in the Steelers’ 18-16 win at Cincinnati. Boswell, who made his NFL debut in October, is the first rookie or first-year player to score four field goals in a postseason game.
- Lewis falls to 0-7 in the playoffs
- The Bengals fell to 0-7 in the playoffs under Marvin Lewis. Lewis is the first head coach in NFL history to lose seven consecutive postseason games.
When the game is pretty much settled within the first few seconds of a game, you know you’ve had a rough day.
The Chiefs opened up wild card weekend in Houston with a 106-yard kickoff return, and it only got worse from there for the Texans, who were booed off the field at the end of first half. Kansas City won, 30-0. And it wasn’t even as close as that.
You have to wonder where the Texans defense went after holding the Chiefs to 13 points in the first half, but it was quarterback Brian Hoyer — and by extension, Bill O’Brien’s decision to try and get by with mediocre talent at QB — that ultimately was Houston’s undoing.
Hoyer had four picks — and should have had six — but O’Brien stuck with him for the entire game (not that he had tons of better options).
– Ryan Burns (@FtblSickness) January 9, 2016
Of course, you need to credit the Chiefs defense, which served the first playoff shutout since the Panthers blanked the Giants in 2006. Kansas City dominated every……
Continue Reading: Chiefs blank Texans and move to divisional round.
- Chiefs score in record time, coast to shutout win
- Knile Davis returned the opening kickoff 106 yards for a score 11 seconds into the Chiefs’ 30-0 win at Houston. That was the earliest scoring play in NFL postseason history. No team had pitched a shutout after scoring a touchdown on the opening kickoff in an NFL game, regular-season or playoffs, since November 12, 1939. On that day, Washington won 42-0 in a regular-season contest against the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field after Andy Farkas took the opening kick to the house.
- Three of the four previous teams that scored a touchdown on the opening kickoff in the postseason went on to lose that game: the 49ers in December 1972 (Vic Washington TD), Dolphins in December 1974 (Nat Moore), and Bears in Super Bowl LXI (Devin Hester). The only other team to win a playoff game after returning the opening kickoff all the way was the Giants, against the Eagles in January 2001 (Ron Dixon TD).
- Kansas City’s blowout-shutout
- The Chiefs’ 30-0 win represented the third-largest margin of victory by a road team in a postseason shutout. The Bears won 73-0 at Washington in the 1940 NFL Championship Game, and the Colts won 34-0 at Cleveland to capture the 1968 NFL title before losing Super Bowl III to the Jets.
- Reid finally keeps his opponent off the scoreboard
- Kansas City’s 30-0 win was Andy Reid’s first shutout as a head coach in either the regular season or playoffs. Reid’s 272 regular-season games are the most in NFL history by a head coach whose team never blanked its opponent.
- Hoyer’s rough playoff debut
- Brian Hoyer threw four interceptions in his first postseason game Saturday. Hoyer is the third player in the last 30 years be picked off four times in his playoff debut, and the Chiefs have been involved in all three. The Raiders’ Todd Marinovich threw four interceptions at Arrowhead Stadium in December 1991, and Kansas City’s Mark Vlasic, in relief of starter Steve DeBerg, was picked off four times by the Bills a week later (Jan. 5, 1992).