NFL Wildcard Weekend
The NFL playoffs kick off with the first round leading up to the Super Bowl.
The season may be over for all three of New York’s NFL teams, but that does not mean fans won’t be paying attention as division rivals compete for the chance to make it to the big show – Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Houston Texans
The first playoff game of 2013 was highlighted by Arian Foster, who led the Texans with 140 rushing yards and the only offensive touchdown of the game in the 3rd quarter. Matt Schaub made his playoff debut, throwing 29/38 with 262 yards and an interception returned for a touchdown by Johnathan Joseph. Andy Dalton on the Bengals was 14/30 for 127 yards and an interception. He connected with his go-to receiver A.J. Green five times for 80 yards.
Although the Texans failed to cash in on several drives, they still managed to pull out a 19-13 win thanks to a defense led by J.J. Watt, who had five tackles and a sack. The Texans will go on to face the New England Patriots next Sunday at 4:30 p.m. in the AFC divisional round.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers
The Vikings and Packers treaded familiar ground on Saturday in their second meeting in less than a week. Although the Vikings won last week, their division rivals weren’t about to roll over for an easy win. Aaron Rodgers had 23 completions, 274 yards and connected with John Kuhn in the end zone for his only pass touchdown of the game. Kuhn also had a rushing touchdown.
The Vikings were without starting quarterback Christian Ponder, and were led by Adrian Peterson. But Peterson’s 99 yards were not enough to defeat the Packers, who won 24-10. The Packers will move on to play the San Francisco 49ers next Saturday at 8 p.m. in the NFC divisional round.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Baltimore Ravens
Ray Lewis, who plans to retire after this year, played his last home game on Sunday. Lewis and the Raven’s defense were all over rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, who had 288 passing yards and an interception. The Colts failed to score a touchdown, settling on three field goals in a 24-9 loss.
Joe Flacco threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns. Anquan Boldin was his main guy; he had five receptions for 145 yards and a touchdown. Boldin also set a franchise record for most yards in a playoff game. Flacco will lead the Colts to Denver in the AFC Divisional Round next Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Washington Redskins
Rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III got his first taste of the NFL playoffs against the Seahawks on Sunday. RGIII was 10/19 with 84 yards, two touchdowns and an interception; however his first playoff appearance was cut short after he left the game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury. The Seahawks’ defense stifled the Redskin’s other rookie - running back Alfred Morris, who was held to 80 yards and no touchdowns.
Russell Wilson was 15/26 with 187 yards and a touchdown, however Marshawn Lynch was the real hero for Seattle. Lynch ran for 132 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. The Seahawks won 24-14, and will play the Atlanta Falcons next Sunday at 1 p.m.