Only four teams remain. After an action packed divisional round, the Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, and New England Patriots are the only teams who still have a chance at winning the Super Bowl. From a double-overtime win to nearly blowing a 20-point lead, each of these teams were able to find a way to win with their backs against the wall.
To put it in perspective, this week’s round of playoffs was the highest scoring round in NFL history. In his first playoff start, 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick ran for 181 yards, which ranks him most all-time in the post-season. In the meantime, Seattle Seahawks’ rookie quarterback, Russell Wilson mounted a 20 point comeback before losing on a game-winning kick.
It is fair to say that each game this weekend looked like it was over before it actually was.
To support that statement, the Falcons took a 27-7 lead going into the fourth quarter before the Seahawks came back to take a 28-27 lead with 31 seconds remaining. Finally, it was over and the Falcons moved on to the NFC Championship game behind the leg of their kicker, Matt Bryant, who drilled a 49-yard field goal with eight seconds left.
Then there were the Baltimore Ravens who were playing catch-up for most of the game. Down seven points with under a minute to go, it looked all but over. That changed in the matter of one hurl of the pigskin, when quarterback Joe Flacco launched a 70-yard touchdown pass with 31 seconds remaining. After multiple attempts by both teams to win the game in 15 minutes of overtime, the Ravens will continue their season due to the leg of their kicker whose 47-yard field goal ended the Denver Broncos season.
The Green Bay Packers were feeling pretty good after they intercepted Colin Kaepernick’s second pass of the game for a touchdown. Unfortunately for the Packers, that was just about the only mistake Kaepernick made the entire night. Precisely 444 yards and four touchdowns later, Kaepernick would earn his first post-season win.
Once the Patriots took a 25-point lead early in the fourth quarter, it looked like a done deal. However, little did the Patriots know that it was the weekend for sizable comebacks. The Houston Texans rallied answering 15 of those points, and gave all of New England a scare. The Patriots were still able to prevail and move onto the AFC Championship.
At one moment, it looked like all of the divisional round games were going to be blowouts. Then before you knew it, it seemed as if you had never seen so many close games.
By the numbers, the divisional round went almost exactly how they were supposed to. The only change was that the Broncos lost and all football fans got way too scared for one week of football.
Nonetheless, the conference championships are set. Next week, the New England Patriots will be at home against the Baltimore Ravens, while the San Francisco 49ers travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons.