December 9, 2023

NFL playoffs: divisional round summary

This archived article was written by: Tai Justice

What a weekend of football. These were three-heavy weight battles and then one game that ended up being more competitive than anyone thought it would be. These really were some great games. Let’s talk about all of them.
Seattle @ Atlanta. This was the first game of the weekend. The first quarter had all the makings of the Seahawks walking into Atlanta and stealing this game, but a holding call on a big punt return by Devin Hester really cost the Seahawks. From that point on, the Falcons dominated the game. Matt Ryan was brilliant. Seattle didn’t have a chance of covering all of Atlanta’s weapons on offense. The Falcons moved the ball at will and killed the usually un-killable Seahawks to advance to the NFC Championship Game with a 36-20 win over the Seahawks.
Houston @ New England. This was the night game on Saturday. Honestly, the Texans were much more competitive than I, or anyone else thought they would be. They hung in the game until the fourth quarter by playing tough defense and hitting Tom Brady on almost every play.
Ultimately, the Texans couldn’t move the ball at all. Another terrible game by quarterback Brock Osweiller. I think with a half decent quarterback, the Texans could’ve maybe won this game. On the New England side, they have to play much better if they want to advance to the Super Bowl.
Pittsburgh @Kansas City. What a game this was. It moved from an early Sunday game to a night Sunday game. This was a slug fest; both teams trading big hit for big hit.
At the end of the day though, the Chiefs couldn’t stop Le’Veon Bell. He had 30 carries for 170 yards. The Chiefs had no answer for him. The Steelers controlled the ball and the game clock, but couldn’t score touchdowns. They had to settle for six-field goals.
The Chiefs had a chance to tie the game on a two-point try, but they were called for holding and the Steelers won, 18-16. Pittsburgh @ New England for the right to go to the Super Bowl this Sunday.
Green Bay @Dallas. It’s now time for me to go into full-homer mode. I think we really need to appreciate the epic-ness of Packers 34, Cowboys 31. I think this game was one of the greatest games of all time. In between having a heart attack on every play, I thought to myself, “This is history. We are watching history.” Two-heavy weight teams, star studded on both sides, trading blow for blow with the season on the line. It was incredible. Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott was great, Zeke Elliott was not going to be stopped and Dez Bryant saved his best game for when the Cowboys needed it most.
Now, it’s time to talk about Aaron Rodgers. For Rodgers this was the next step in what he’s been constructing since late November. It was clear from the start of this game that Rodgers was locked in. Rodgers is routinely making throws that should make us reconsider the natural laws of the universe.
When Rodgers trotted on the field with 35-seconds remaining, no one watching could say they didn’t expect another magical late-game performance by number 12. It was his time.
Cowboys safety Jeff Heath sacked Rodgers on that drive for a 10-yard loss. That play should’ve ruined Rodgers moment. All it did was enhance it. Packers 34, Cowboys 31. Green Bay @ Atlanta for the NFC Championship Sunday afternoon. Will Rodgers do it?