Super Wild Card Weekend lived up to the hype with a couple close games and some jaw dropping performances in blowouts.
The matchup we all wanted to see is set up in the AFC as the Bills travel to Arrowhead for a battle with Patty Mahomes and KC on Sunday evening in the Divisional Round.
With so many games on it can be tough to keep up with all the action. Here is a debrief from SWCW – by the numbers.
The number of seconds left on the clock in the Cowboys-49ers game after Dak Prescott slid down at the 25 yard line with no timeouts.
I asked some of my friends who played high school and college football if they’ve ever used quarterback draws in a two-minute situation.
The consensus was that quarterback runs are never called in the huddle but QBs will sometimes scramble if they have open field ahead. This one sure looked like a designed run.
That’s on Mike McCarthy for calling it and also Dak for not refusing to run it. C’mon guys?
High school and college QBs have the luxury of running up the middle late in the game and picking up a first down because the clock stops while the chains move. You don’t have this option in the NFL.
Perhaps Dak thought he was still in Starkville, Mississippi and not Dallas, Texas. A more experienced quarterback with more postseason experience would have audibled out of this play or a straight up told his coach that he’s not running it.
Can you see a world in which Tom Brady blindly accepts the call of a QB draw here? Or Aaron Rodgers? Or Patrick Mahomes?
That’s the Cowboys for ya.
The number of incomplete passes thrown by Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts in Philly’s 31-15 loss to Tampa Bay.
Hurts was 23 of 43 with 2 picks and just 1 touchdown thrown – and most of that yardage came in garbage time in the 4th quarter after the Eagles fell behind 31–0.
Tampa Bay played single high safety looks almost the entire game – forcing Philly to abandon their strong run game which got them into the playoffs and force Jalen Hurts to beat them over the top. Time and time again, Hurts proved that he was not capable of beating a high caliber team like the Buccaneers with his arm.
The Eagles rushed for just 95 yards as a team. Hurts was the leading rusher with 8 scrambles for 39 yards. The Eagles were right around 60 rushing yards for the entire game until Boston Scott broke loose for a 34-yard rushing touchdown once the game was already out of reach in the 4th quarter.
Tampa absolutely neutralized Philly’s run game and banked on the fact that the Eagles could not pass the ball deep.
The Philadelphia Eagles were the league’s top rushing team in the regular season. The Buccaneers without their top two options at running back – Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones. The Eagles were held to 60 rushing yards for the majority of the game while the Buccaneers eclipsed 100 yards and scored twice on the ground.
On one hand, it is sad that the Eagles were beaten in this fashion. On the other hand, it is scary that the Buccaneers were capable of utterly destroying a team and beating them at what they do best while not even at full strength.
Hurts’ top target in the game was his tight end Dallas Goedert. Goedert caught 6 passes for 92 yards but could never get behind the defense for a touchdown.
Rookie wideout Devonta Smith was Hurts’ next option – catching 4 passes for 60 yards and also failing to find the end zone.
This poor performance from Jalen Hurts and the Eagles passing game has lead many to question whether or not the 23-year-old is the long-term answer in Philadelphia. Sunday’s game was not an isolated incident – the Eagles struggled to pass the ball deep for the entire season.
Many around the Eagles fear that Jalen Hurts is the classic mobile college quarterback who cannot replicate his success in the pro game.
Fortunately, the Eagles are not without options. The team possesses 3 first-round picks for the 2022 NFL draft (15th, 16th, and 19th). There is really one of two ways they could go.
Philly could choose to roll the dice with Hurts and use those picks to beef up the playmakers around him.
The other oft-mentioned option is that the Eagles could use those picks as trade capital to bring in an experienced quarterback like Russell Wilson.
The number of incompletions by Bills quarterback Josh Allen in Buffalo’s 47–17 annihilation of division foe New England.
I’m a millennial. For most of my life the New England Patriots have dominated the AFC East and the Buffalo Bills have been an afterthought. The Bills now dominate this rivalry.
Josh Allen has been the best player on the field, by far, the last 2 times these teams matched up. These rivals met in Week 16 and then again this Saturday in Super Wild Card Weekend.
In these 2 games, the Bills won by a combined score of 80-38. Josh Allen was sensational – throwing for over 600 yards with 8 touchdowns, no picks, and no punts! Zero punts! Against Bill Belichick.
Mondays in the NFL are labeled “overreaction Monday” because we are hit with an information overload of 16 professional football games and then have a whole week to stew over the results.
These overreactions are heightened in the postseason, and the Patriots are yet another franchise who is now severely discontent with their quarterback play and evaluating their options moving forward.
Bill Belichick says he plans to be back to coach another year and he must decide whether he’d like to be a 70-year-old coach with Mac Jones at quarterback. Of course they could always make a move for someone like … oh, I don’t know … Russell Wilson.
These last two games against the Bills were not even close. New England was outmatched at quarterback, receiver, running back, and defensive playmaking ability.
This brings up the popular question of whether Bill Belichick is capable of out-scheming his opponents with subpar athletes without Tom Brady.
Since it’s overreaction Monday, my take will fit right in with the rest: I think the Patriots are a mediocre team who is destined for a lot of 18 week seasons unless they upgrade their offense.
Think about some of the amazing offenses in the AFC. You got the Bills, the Bengals, the Chargers, the Chiefs. Each of these offenses are dynamic, can win games in multiple ways, and are led by young quarterbacks who are not going away anytime soon.
If Belichick wants to remain relevant and not end his career on a sour note he needs to upgrade at the most important position on the field – quarterback.
The number of years since the Cincinnati Bengals last won a playoff game.
25-year-old Joe Burrow lifted the Bengals to a one-touchdown victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday with a terrific performance in his first ever playoff game. Burrow completed 24 of 34 passes for 244 yards and 2 touchdowns in Cincinnati’s 26-19 victory.
This was a huge win for the young quarterback but also for the city of Cincinnati. The Bengals got to host a cold-weather playoff game and the starving, postseason-deprived fans came out in droves to support their cats.
The crowd was hype, their team played well, and the fans now get to send the Bengals off to face the AFC‘s top team – the Tennessee Titans.
The opening line has Tennessee as 3-point favorites.
The number of empty possessions by the Kansas City Chiefs before putting their foot down and scoring 42 against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
Kansas City entered the game as 13.5-point favorites – the largest-ever spread in Wild Card Weekend history.
This large spread combined with the Chiefs walloping of Pittsburgh late in the regular season led many to empathetically claim that the Steelers held no chance in this contest.
If you’ve been around sports long enough, you know that games in which one side supposedly has “no chance” are often the juiciest underdog bets to take.
The way the game started, Steelers fans and bettors were elated as it appeared they made the right decision.
The Chiefs punted 3 times and turned the ball over twice in their first 5 possessions – causing the scoreboard to read 7–0 Pittsburgh with 5:45 left in the second quarter.
As we’ve seen countless times before, the Chiefs will start slow and then begin playing some of the best offensive football we’ve ever seen.
Their 51-31 playoff win over Houston in January of 2020 comes to mind. The Chiefs fell behind 24-0 in this game and then went on a 51-7 tear starting in the 2nd quarter.
Kansas City quickly made up for their poor start on Sunday by scoring touchdowns on 6-straight possessions – beginning with a Jerick McKinnon 4-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.
5 of these 6 scores were Patrick Mahomes tosses – tying him with Josh Allen for the most touchdowns thrown in Super Wildcard Weekend this year.
The Chiefs did not stop scoring until they were up 42 to 14 in the 4th quarter. With the game well in hand, the Chiefs began to look onto the Bills next week while Pittsburgh had to come to grips with the fact that they were soundly beaten by the Chiefs twice and are now losing their franchise quarterback.
The Chiefs now get to host the Buffalo Bills in the Divisional Round and open as 2-point favorites in a highly-anticipated matchup.
See you on top, boppers!