The NFL Divisional Round is complete. In the Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, we now know the four teams who will play on Championship weekend next Sunday.
There were a combined 159 points scored across the weekend. Let’s take a look at how the four games unfolded.
Hennething Is Possible
There is only one place to start and that’s arguably the game of the weekend.
Kansas City led 19-3 at half time against the Cleveland Browns. Midway through the third quarter, star quarterback for the Chiefs Patrick Mahomes went down after a hit from Browns linebacker Mack Wilson.
He struggled to get up and did not return to the game after going through concussion protocols. Former Miami Dolphin and Jacksonville Jaguar Chad Henne came in to replace Mahomes.
Kansas City looked comfortable until this point. Cleveland soon had Chiefs fans fearing the worst, especially when Kareem Hunt scored a rushing touchdown to make it 22-17 Kansas City.
Henne threw a needless interception on the next play, giving the Browns the chance to take the lead on the next play. They could not get the touchdown and needed a third or fourth down stop to keep themselves in the game.
There was two crucial plays involving Henne late on in the fourth quarter.
On the first play after the 2 minute warning, it was 3rd and 14. Henne made the play of his career.
Henne looked in trouble in the pocket but managed to scramble all the way for a 13 yard gain. It initially looked like Henne had got the first down but he was in fact short.
The Browns did not have any timeouts, and the Chiefs were expected to run the ball to get over the line and get a first down.
Head coach Andy Reid decided to go for it and went for a passing play. Henne found Hill, throwing to the wide receiver in the flat and subsequently sealing the game.
Browns could have had more timeouts available to stop the clock earlier, but decided to use a timeout on a challenge that was unsuccessful. Head coach Stefanski also decided to punt the ball with four minutes left.
The first year coach showed his lack of experience in this game, as both the challenge and punt were not needed.
Cleveland fans should be happy with their head coach despite this, as their team looks to have a good future. They reached a round in the playoffs they had not played in since the 1990’s.
Offensive Player Of The Week: Aaron Rodgers (Quarterback- Green Bay Packers)
Rodgers secured his status as the MVP this weekend after another excellent performance from the 37 year old.
In Green Bay’s 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams, Rodgers had three total touchdowns and 296 passing yards.
Wide receiver Davante Adams was restricted to 66 yards in the game but as predicted in the preview to the game, Rodgers found Allen Lazard when he needed to.
With just under seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, Rodgers found Lazard on a 2nd and 6 play, for a 58 yard touchdown. This helped the Packers get back their two touchdown lead. This was a touchdown that ultimately ended all hope for L.A.
Defensive Player Of The Week: Devin White (Linebacker- Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
This was a choice between White and Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes.
My award goes to White as he was dominant in the Buccaneers’ defense against the 30-20 win over the New Orleans Saints.
Four turnovers from the Saints helped the Buccaneers towards victory and Devin White was everywhere.
White had 11 total tackles in the game along with 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception, 1 pass deflected and 1 stuff.
His interception was one at a crucial time, with 7.10 left of the fourth quarter and just three points separating the two teams.
Tampa would score a touchdown on the resulting play to go ten points ahead.
White was the fifth overall pick in the 2019 draft and has had an excellent sophomore season. He will be key against the dangerous offense of the Packers.
Elsewhere In The League
Is this the end of Drew Brees’ NFL career? It certainly felt that way.
Brees and the Saints lost to Tom Brady and Tampa Bay and the former Charger struggled, with 134 passing yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.
He waved to the New Orleans crowd and from what we have seen after the game, it looks likely that Brees will call time on his career. What a player he has been.
Brees is a one-time NFL Super Bowl champion and is a thirteen-time Pro Bowler. He won Comeback Player of the Year after the 2004 season.
Brees has also broken NFL records, with the most career passing yards and most career pass completions in NFL history. He has the highest single-season completion percentage (74.4%) in history, most consecutive games with a touchdown pass, most pass completions in a season and the most 5,000 passing yard seasons
NFL Divisional Round Scores
Los Angeles Rams 18-32 Green Bay Packers
Baltimore Ravens 3-17 Buffalo Bills
Cleveland Browns 17-22 Kansas City Chiefs
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-20 New Orleans Saints