WEEK 18 REVIEW – WILDCARD PLAYOFFS
It is hard to believe the regular season for the 2013 season is over and we can all hope the rest of the Playoffs are as entertaining as the Wildcard match ups. The Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos all got an extra week off waiting to see who they will face in the first round of the Divisional Playoff games.
Their were four Wildcard Playoff games and honestly, all four games were very entertaining and three of the four games were close with winning margins ranging from one to three points and all three came down to the end to determine the winners.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts
The Wildcard Weekend started with the #5 Kansas City Chiefs who finished the regular season 11-5 facing the #4 Indianapolis Colts who finished their season also at 11-5. The Colts hosted the game which was a shoot out from the beginning. Midway through the First Quarter, Alex Smith connected with Dwayne Bowe for a 6 yard touchdown pass and K.C. was up 7-0. Minutes later Andrew Luck threw a 10 yard touchdown to T.Y. Hilton to tie the game at 7. The Chiefs returned fire and Ryan Succop kicked a 19 yard field goal with 53 seconds left in the First Quarter giving them a 10-7 lead. Early in the Second Quarter, Luck threw an interception. Alex Smith quickly capitalized on the mistake and threw a pass to Donnie Avery that went 79 yards for a touchdown giving the Chiefs a 17-7 lead just 21 seconds into the Second Quarter. The Colts got the ball back and Luck threw another interception. Kansas City took advantage again and Smith completed a 5 yard touchdown pass to Anthony Sherman with 13:05 left in the half and the Chiefs led 24-7. On the next possession, Luck was able to move the ball into field goal position and Adam Vinatieri kicked a 37 yard field goal cutting the Chiefs lead to 14. With 1:51 remaining in the half, Knile Davis ran in a touchdown from 4 yards out and the Chiefs were winning 31-10 at halftime. The Kansas City Chiefs received the opening kickoff in the second half and quickly marched the ball down the field and Smith completed a 10 yard touchdown pass to Davis and the Chiefs led 38-10 and for all intents and purposes, the game was over, or was it? Down by 28 and with most of the second half left to play, the Colts drove down the field and Donald Brown ran in a touchdown from 10 yards out and the Chiefs lead was cut to 21 points. Four minutes later Brown caught a 3 yard touchdown pass from Luck and the score was now 38-24 as the Colts trailed by 14 with 7:32 left in the Third Quarter. The Chiefs were able to kick a field goal on their next possession from 42 yards in increased their lead to 17 with 4:12 left in the quarter. Less than 2 minutes later, Luck completed a 12 yard pass to Coby Fleener for a touchdown and the Chiefs lead was now down to 10 points at the end of the Third Quarter. One of the most exciting plays of the game happened in the Fourth Quarter when Andrew Luck handed the ball off Brown who fumbled near the goal line and Luck picked it up and dove into the end zone for a touchdown from 5 yards out cutting the Chiefs lead to 3 points with 10:38 left in the game. At this point, the Chiefs had lost all of their steam but were able to kick a 43 yard field goal with 5:36 remaining in the contest and the lead was back up to 6 points. On the next drive, Andrew Luck threw a pass to T.Y. Hilton who scored a touchdown from 64 yards out and gave the Indianapolis Colts their first lead of the day with 4:21 left on the clock and the score at 45-44. The Colts were able to keep the Chiefs from scoring again and won the game and moved on to face the New England Patriots in the Divisional Playoff match up. Down 28 points at one point, the Chiefs overcame the largest deficit ever in a Playoff game to win and advance to the next round to challenge Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.
New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The second game of the day was equally exciting with the #6 New Orleans Saints who finished the regular season 11-5 pitted against the #3 Philadelphia Eagles who finished the regular season 10-6. The First Quarter was back and forth and basically a shut out for both teams. The first points went on the board mid way through the Second Quarter when Shayne Graham kicked a 36 yard field goal putting the Saints up 3-0. On the subsequent drive, the Eagles marched down the field and Riley Cooper caught a 10 yard pass from Nick Foles for a touchdown giving the Eagles a 7-3 lead with 1:48 left in the half. The Saints took advantage of the remaining time on the clock and moved the ball into field goal range and Graham kicked a field goal from 46 yards with no time left in the first half bringing the Saints to within 1 point. The real action started in the Third Quarter with Drew Brees connecting for a touchdown from 24 yards out to Lance Moore and the Saints regained the lead at 13-7. Philadelphia was unable to do much on their next drive and punted. The Saints proceeded to move the ball again and Mark Ingram scored a touchdown from the 4 yard line giving the Saints a 20-7 lead with 3:54 remaining in the quarter. On the next possession, the Eagles were able to maneuver the field and LeSean McCoy ran in a touchdown from the 1 and cut the Saints lead to 6 points with 32 seconds left in the quarter. Early in the Fourth Quarter, the Alex Henery kicked a 31 yard field goal and cut the Saints lead to 3 points. The Saints countered with a field goal of their own from 35 yards out and re-established a 6 point lead. On the next possession, Nick Foles connected for a touchdown to Zach Ertz from 3 yards out giving Philadelphia the lead with 4:54 left in the game. The Saints then methodically moved the ball eating up the play clock and kicked a game winning field goal from 32 yards out with no time left on the clock. The New Orleans Saints beat the Philadelphia Eagles 26-24 and move on to the Divisional rounds next week to face Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks.
San Diego Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
On Sunday January 5th, the Wildcard Playoffs continued starting with the #6 San Diego Chargers who finished the regular season 9-7 pitted against the #3 Cincinnati Bengals who finished the regular season 11-5. The First Quarter was quiet as each team tried to establish their offensive presence and with 48 seconds remaining in the quarter, the Chargers were the first to put points on the board when Danny Woodhead ran in a touchdown from 5 yards out giving the Chargers a 7-0 lead. The Second Quarter was dominated by the Bengals and Jermaine Gresham caught a 4 yard pass from Andy Dalton with 5:59 remaining in the half tying the game at 7 a piece. Mike Nugent capped off the quarter with a 46 yard field goal with no time remaining in the half and the Bengals led at half time 10-7. The rest of the game belonged to San Diego. Ladarius Green scored a touchdown on a 4 yard pass from Philip Rivers to bring the score to 14-10. Minutes later, Nick Novak kicked a 25 yard field goal giving the Chargers a 7 point lead at the end of three. With just 44 seconds off the clock, Novak kicked a 23 yard field goal and the Chargers led 20-10. After a few possession trade offs, San Diego capped off the game with a 58 yard run for a touchdown from Ronnie Brown and the San Diego Chargers beat the Cincinnati Bengals 27-10 and move on to the Divisional Playoff round to face Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers
The second game of the day proved to be much more exciting with #5 San Francisco 49ers who finished the regular season 12-4 facing off against the #4 Green Bay Packers who finished the regular season 8-7-1. San Francisco got off to an early lead with a 22 yard field goal from Nick Dawson with 9:00 minutes left in the First Quarter. Dawson was able to kick a 25 yard field goal with 2:17 left in the quarter and the 49ers led 6-0 at then end of one quarter. In the Second Quarter, Aaron Rodgers connected with his favorite target, Jordy Nelson, from 5 yards out for a touchdown and the Packers led 7-6 with 5:50 left in the half. The 49ers countered with a 10 yard touchdown run from Frank Gore putting them back up 13-7. With no time remaining in the first half, Mason Crosby kicked a 34 yard field goal brining the deficit to 3 points at the half. The Third Quarter was relatively quiet and with 12:06 left in the Fourth Quarter, John Kuhn scored on a 1 yard run and the Packers had the lead 17-13. The 49ers quickly countered with a touchdown of their own when Vernon Davis caught a 28 yard pass from Colin Kaepernick putting them back on top 20-17. With 5:06 left in the game, Mason Crosby tied the game with a 24 yard field goal. On the ensuing possession, San Francisco maneuvered into position to kick a 33 yard field goal with no time remaining giving the San Francisco 49ers the lead and the win over the Green Bay Packers to move onto the next round in the playoffs to face off against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.
The Wildcard Playoff weekend was exciting and now the winners move on to face the Division winners in the Divisional matchups against four well rested and prepared teams.
Saturday January 11th
New Orleans Saints (11-5) at Seattle Seahawks (13-3)
Indianapolis Colts (11-5) at New England Patriots (12-4)
Sunday January 12th
San Francisco 49ers (12-4) vs. Carolina Panthers (12-4)
San Diego Chargers (9-7) vs. Denver Broncos (13-3)
The winners will go onto the Divisional Championships beginning Sunday January 19th.
WILDCARD PLAYOFF GAME SCORES
- Indianapolis Colts defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 45-44
- New Orleans Saints beat the Philadelphia Eagle 26-24
- San Diego Chargers easily beat the Cincinnati Bengals 27-10
- San Francisco 49ers won over the Green Bay Packers 23-20
WEEK 18 HIGHLIGHTS
- Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts overcame a 28 point deficit to beat the Kansas City Chiefs who was undefeated until Week 11 of the season and moved on to the Divisional Playoff game against the New England Patriots. In the game, Luck completed 64.4% of his passes for 443 yards and 4 touchdowns while throwing 3 interceptions in the game.
- Mark Ingram ran the ball 18 times for 97 yards and 1 touchdown averaging 5.7 yards per carry.
- Colin Kaepernick completed 53.3% of his passes for 227 yards and 1 touchdown with 1 interception. He also ran 7 times for 98 yards averaging 14.0 yards per carry.
- Marvin Jones caught 8 passes for 130 yards averaging 16.3 yards per reception.
- Andy Dalton threw for 334 yards and 1 touchdown with 2 interceptions.
- Michael Crabtree caught 8 passes for 125 yards averaging 15.6 yards per reception.
- Dwayne Bowe caught 8 passes for 150 yards and 1 touchdown averaging 18.8 yards per reception.
- T.Y. Hilton caught 13 passes for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns averaging 17.2 yards per reception. Hilton had a 64 yard catch and run for a touchdown in the game to give the Colts the first lead of the day and the win over the Chiefs to move into the Divisional round.
- Alex Smith completed 65.2% of his passes for 378 yards and 4 touchdowns with zero interceptions in the Chiefs loss to the Colts.