NFL Playoff Saturday Review
Colts @ Bills | Rams @ Seahawks | Buccaneers @ Washington Football Team
Colts @ Bills
Bills Mafia is BACK! Buffalo was granted the ability to host fans for the first time all season for their playoff matchup against the Colts. Looked like a hell of a lot of fans too. The Bills started a little slow falling behind 10–7 and had it not been for a clutch goal line stand by the Bills defense, it would have been a 17–7 game nearing halftime.
A combination of curious decision making and good defense from the Buffalo D kept the MVP candidate, Josh Allen in the game. Huge mistake by the Colts. They have not played very sharp all season, their wins are sort of ugly but they are victoires nonetheless. However, that is what it came down to. Colts head coach Frank Reich will be kicking himself for the 4th and goal gamble that led to 0 points rather than a sure 3. That 4th down stop truly was the turning point in the game. That turnover led to a 89-yard drive late in the 2nd quarter led by Josh Allen and Buffalo Wide Receiver, Gabriel Davis who made two great catches leading to the score.
After that momentum swing, it was over for the Colts. A missed chip-shot field goal by Rodrigo Blankenship took the last bit of wind out of Colts sails.
Then the 4th quarter came around. The Colts had a hail mary attempt to win the game in the closing moments thanks to a blown call by the refs that was even reviewed and still called incorrectly… Buffalo would have had a real argument with the NFL had the Colts pulled off the miracle with the help of terrible officiating.
The Bills, and Bills Mafia are headed to the 2nd round after their first playoff victory in 25 years.
Final Score: Colts 24 | Bills 27
Rams @ Seahawks
The Rams were forced to go with backup John Wolford to start the Wildcard game as Jared Goff is still recovering from thumb surgery from an injury he suffered 2 weeks earlier. However, Wolford went down in the first quarter after taking a shot to the head while diving forward for more yards… This forced Sean McVay to throw Jared Goff back out there with the thumb injury on his throwing hand which is never a good sign for a quarterback.
Both offenses struggled to get anything going for much of the 1st half. The Rams defense stepped up and shut down Russell Wilson and the Seahawks by dominating the line of scrimmage. Aaron Donald was an absolute beast and Jalen Ramsey locked down DK Metcalf. A pick-6 from the Rams defense late in the 1st half put the Rams up 20–10 lead after the first 30 minutes of play.
The 2nd half was slow, and allowed the Rams to chew clock with the running game of rookie, Cam Akers. Since Goff was hindered by his thumb injury, he was not forced to throw for much of the game as the Rams led most of the way. Late in the 4th quarter, the Rams went up by 3 scores. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks tried to comeback, but their efforts fell short. The Rams move on to the 2nd round, but the injury to Jared Goff, and the late game injuries to Aaron Donald, and Cooper Kupp will be a topic of conversation going into the divisional round.
Final Score: Rams 30 | Seahawks 20
Buccaneers @ Washington Football Team
Alex Smith may very well be the comeback player of the NFL season due to the leg injury he has overcome and leading this team to the postseason. However, he was unable to play in the Wildcard round, so Taylor Heinicke was given the starting spot. Heinicke played well when he was thrown into the fire late in the regular season, and now he will go head to head with Tom Brady for a spot in the divisional round.
Heinicke played very well aside from one interception. He kept the Washington Football Team in the game and gave them a shot at taking the lead late in the 4th quarter. Heinicke made a few unbelievable plays that made everyone wonder why he has not been given a legit NFL chance sooner…
Unfortunately for the NFL, we had yet another example of poor officiating. This blown call came when the Washington Football Team had a 1st and 10 where they swung the ball out to running back JD McKissic who bobbled the ball but seemed to regain possession before fumbling out of bounds. What would have been a gain of 5 yards turned into an incomplete pass according to the officiating crew. The next two plays resulted in a loss of yards putting the Washington offense in a 4th and long situation in order to keep their drive and playoff hopes alive.
Ultimately, Tom Brady and the Bucs pulled out a victory to advance. Brady looked better in primetime than he has all season. Dropped balls from Mike Evans and Chris Godwin could have given Brady the stats needed to make his bid for the Hall of Fame…