Packers 32, Rams 18
GB- A. Rodgers, 23-36, 8.2 ypa, 2:0 TD:INT
LAR- J. Goff, 21-27, 6.4 ypa, 1:0
GB- A. Jones, 14 carries, 7.1 ypa, 1 TD
LAR- C. Akers, 18 carries, 5.0 ypa, 1 TD
GB- A. Lazard, 4 catches, 24.0 yards per reception, 1 TD
LAR- J. Reynolds, 3 catches, 21.7 yards per reception, 0 TDs
- Saturday’s first divisional game featured the youngest head coaching postseason matchup in 50 years with Rams HC Sean Mcvay (34 years) facing off against Matt LaFleur (41 years). The two worked together in Washington and Los Angeles.
- Previously, the youngest playoff matchup occurred when Hall of Famer John Madden beat Hall of Famer Don Shula in the latter’s first playoff game with the Dolphins.
- Los Angeles entered this game severely undermanned. Aaron Donald was playing with torn rib cartilage. While he did play 40 total snaps, he only registered one pressure (season low), and only had 13 second-half snaps.
- On offense, Cooper Kupp was unavailable because of a knee injury, while Jared Goff continued to battle through a broken thumb he suffered in Week 16, and that prevented him from starting in the wild-card round.
- The Packers, who led the NFL by scoring on their opening drive 13 times, were able to score on their first two possessions. After a short Mason Crosby field goal, Aaron Rodgers connected with Davante Adams on a 1-yard TD pass to take a 10-3 lead. Adams becomes just the sixth player in the NFL with 19 TDs in a season, including postseason. Green Bay did an excellent job using pre-snap motion to separate Adams from CB Jalen Ramsey. According to NextGen Stats, Green Bay leads the NFL in shift/motion plays resulting in TDs and use shift/motion on 65% of red-zone plays (third highest rate in the NFL)
- On the first play of the second half, Aaron Jones gashed L.A. for a 60-yard gain, on a play with only five expected rush yards. He was able to burst through the middle with Donald on the sideline. Jones was able to push it in from one yard out to give the Packers a 25-10 lead.
- In the first half, Goff was 9-for-10 for 91 yds with a TD, and was kept clean, only being sacked once. In the second half, the Packers did a far better job of pressuring Goff, leading to three more sacks.
- Rodgers improves to 10-1 in his playoff career when leading at halftime. It is also his ninth career playoff game with a passer rating over 100. Green Bay will face Tampa Sunday in Lambeau with a Super Bowl berth on the line.
Bills 17, Ravens 3
BUF- J. Allen, 23-37, 5.6 ypa, 1:0 TD:INT
BAL- L. Jackson, 14-24, 6.8 ypa, 0:1
BUF- D. Singletary, 7 carries, 3.6 ypa, 0 TDs
BAL- G. Edwards (and J. Dobbins), 10 carries, 4.2 ypa, 0 TDs
BUF- S. Diggs, 8 catches, 13.3 yards per reception, 1 TD
BAL- M. Brown, 4 catches, 21.8 yards per reception, 0 TDs
- Seeking his second career playoff win, Lamar Jackson struggled to gain any momentum in the first half. The Ravens failed to score on their first six possessions and managed just a field goal on their final drive of the first half. Justin Tucker hit the upright twice after missing only two field goals the entire regular season. He has now missed field goals in consecutive games for the first time since 2015, and it is the first time he has ever missed multiple field goals under 50 yards in the same game. The wind was undoubtedly a factor on both misses.
- Josh Allen entered the divisional round after becoming the first QB under 25 with over 300 yards and a 70% completion percentage in a postseason game in the Bills’ win against the Colts.
- Buffalo began on offense with 10 straight passes in the first quarter, the first team in the last 30 postseasons with zero rushes at the end of the first quarter. They, too, managed only a first-half field goal, and the game entered halftime tied at 3.
- This was just the fourth playoff game in the last 20 years to be 3-3 or lower at halftime. A big reason for that was the Ravens secondary. According to NextGen Stats, Marlon Humprhey, Jimmy Smith and Marcus Peters only allowed six completions and 64 yards in coverage in the first half.
- Buffalo was able to open the second half with the first touchdown of the game, capped off by a 3-yard Stefon Diggs TD reception. Allen has thrown 43 TDs to 0 INTs in the red zone since entering the NFL.
- After leading a 15-play drive on the following possession, Jackson had an opportunity to tie the game on a third-and-goal. Instead, he was intercepted by Taron Johnson, who returned it 101 yards for a TD. Up until that point, Jackson had also thrown 49 TD passes without an INT in his career in the red zone.
- Trailing by 14 late in the third quarter, Jackson’s head hit the turf as he attempted to throw a pass away after a bad snap. He would be evaluated for a concussion and would not return, ending most of the hope Baltimore had to make a comeback.
Chiefs 22, Browns 17
KC- P. Mahomes, 21-30, 8.5 ypa, 1:0 TD:INT
CLE- B. Mayfield, 23-37, 5.5 ypa, 1:1
KC- D. Williams, 13 carries, 6.0 ypa, 0 TDs
CLE- N. Chubb, 13 carries, 5.3 ypa, 0 TDs
KC- T. Hill, 8 catches, 13.8 yards per reception, 0 TDs
CLE- R. Higgins, 5 catches, 17.6 yards per reception, 0 TDs
- The Chiefs were able to score on their first possession after a balanced drive resulted in a 1-yard Patrick Mahomes rushing TD, his third straight playoff game finding the end zone. It is the 60th straight game the Chiefs have held a lead in a game.
- After losing LT Jedrick Wills to an ankle injury, the Browns were able to get on the board with a field goal in their first possession. It would be the only points they scored in the first half.
- Meanwhile, the Chiefs scored on all four of their first-half possessions and recorded 11 first downs on their first 20 plays of the game.
- The play of the first half came just inside the two-minute warning. After Rashard Higgins hauled in a 25-yard reception, he fumbled reaching for the goal line, resulting in a touchback. K.C. was able to respond with a field goal before half to give them a 19-3 lead.
- After pulling within nine, Cleveland had K.C. in a third-and-short scenario around midfield. Mahomes scrambled for the first down but was hit around his head and was visibly unstable after. He would enter the concussion protocol and not return. Chad Henne, who started Week 17, came on in relief.
- Browns rushing yards in the first half: 18; in the third quarter: 72
- Cleveland’s 18-play drive to make it 22-17 was the longest drive of the season for the Browns
- Leading by only five after Cleveland pulled even closer, the Chiefs were faced with a fourth-and-1 from their own 48 with under two minutes to go. They went for it. Instead of running it, Henne was able to connect with Tyreek Hill on a 5-yard completion to seal the game.
- Kansas City will face Buffalo Sunday in the AFC title game. K.C. won the Week 6 matchup, 26-17
- The Chiefs are the first team to host three straight conference championship games since the 2002-04 Eagles. Andy Reid coached both teams.
Buccaneers 30, Saints 20
TB- T. Brady, 18-33, 6.0 ypa, 2:0 TD:INT
NO- D. Brees, 19-34, 3.9 ypa, 1:3
TB- L. Fournette, 17 carries, 3.7 ypa, 0 TDs
NO- A. Kamara, 18 carries, 4.7 ypa, 0 TDs
TB- C. Brate, 4 catches, 12.5 yards per reception, 0 TDs
NO- T. Smith, 3 catches, 28.3 yards per reception, 2 TDs
- Tom Brady has 75 passing TDs in the playoffs, most in NFL history
- The Saints were without Latavius Murray and Taysom Hill, which changed the dynamic of their short yardage situations.
- Sean Murphy-Bunting joined Ronde Barber as the only players in team history with interceptions in back-to-back postseason games
- When Saints backup QB Jameis Winston came in to throw a second-quarter TD pass, it was the longest scoring pass for New Orleans all season (56 yards)
- Winston is the first former first overall pick to throw his first playoff touchdown against the team that drafted him
- The Buccaneers are 10-1 this season when leading or tied at the end of the third quarter (this game was tied at 20 at the end of the third)
- In the past 20 postseasons, teams are 51-3 when they have a turnover ratio of plus-3 or better. The Buccaneers were plus-4 on Sunday
- Tom Brady is 16-2 in the playoffs when his team scores 30 or more points