WEEK 19 REVIEW – DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
After an entertaining Wildcard Playoff weekend, it comes down to 8 teams battling it out to take the next step toward the AFC Championship and NFC Championship games which will determine this year’s Super Bowl contenders. In and of itself, winning the Conference is a feather in the cap for any team and the Super Bowl becomes a formality to crown a single victor for the season.
There were four Divisional Playoff games and honestly, all four games were very entertaining even if the scores did not reflect that sentiment.
New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks
The Divisional Playoff Weekend started with the New Orleans Saints who finished the regular season 11-5 facing the Seattle Seahawks who finished their season at 13-3. In what on paper looked to be one of the best match ups of the weekend, proved to fall a little short. In the First Quarter, Steven Hauschka kicked two field goals from 38 and 49 yards respectively giving the Seahawks a 6-0 lead after one quarter. The second field goal came with 37 seconds left in the quarter and less than a minute later, Marshawn Lynch scored a touchdown from 15 yards out putting the Seahawks up 13-0 with 14:17 left in the half. New Orleans could not put anything together in the first half and Hauschka kicked a 26 yard field goal with 1:18 left in the first half and Seattle led 16-0 at the half. In the Third Quarter both defenses stepped up allowing no points from either team and in the Fourth Quarter, New Orleans finally put points on the board when Khiry Robinson ran in a touchdown from 1 yard out. The Saints went for 2 points after the touchdown and converted making the score 16-8 with 13:11 left in the game. Toward the end of the game, Marshawn Lynch scored again running the ball 31 yards for a touchdown and the Seahawks were up 23-8 with 2:40 left in the game. The Saints put together a drive with Drew Brees connecting with Marques Colston from 9 yards out for a touchdown with 26 seconds left in the game trailing by 8 points. The onside kick attempt was thwarted and the Seattle Seahawks beat the New Orleans Saints 23-15 and move on to the NFC Championship game next week.
Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots
The second game of the day was the Indianapolis Colts who finished the regular season 11-5 pitted against the New England Patriots who finished the regular season 12-4. The game started quickly as LeGarrette Blount scored a touchdown from 2 yards out just 1:19 minutes into the game putting the Patriots up 7-0 in rapid fashion. Blount scored another touchdown from 2 yards out with 7:17 left in the First Quarter and New England was up 14-0. The Colts countered and 3 minutes later, Andrew Luck completed a pass to LaVon Brazil for 38 yards and a touchdown cutting the lead to 7 points at the end of one quarter. Blount, who had a monster game, scored another touchdown from 2 yards out with 10:54 remaining in the half increasing the Patriots lead to 14 points. With 5:35 left in the first half, Adam Vinatieri kicked a 36 yard field goal and the Patriots led 21-10. The Colts were able to shut down the Patriots on their next possession and on a bad snap, Punter Ryan Allen was not able to field the snap and fumbled the ball through the end zone and the Colts chalked up a Safety and added 2 points to their total. In the second half, the Colts started out and converted a field goal from 21 yards and the cut the Patriots lead to 6 points. 3 minutes later, Stevan Ridley scored a touchdown from 3 yards out and also ran in the 2 point conversion and the Patriots led 29-15. One minute later, the Colts scored again when Andrew Luck completed another touchdown pass to LaVon Brazil from 35 yards cutting the lead to 7 points. At this point it looked as if the Colts were mounting a comeback but LeGarrette Blount quickly took the wind from their sails running 73 yards for a touchdown, his fourth of the day with 12:55 left in the game. The Colts threw an interception on the next possession and Stevan Ridley scored another touchdown from 1 yard out increasing the Patriots lead to 21 points with 11:12 left in the game. The rest of the game was a defensive battle and the New England Patriots went on to beat the Indianapolis Colts 43-22 and move on to the AFC Championship game next week.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Carolina Panthers
On Sunday January 12th, the Divisional Playoffs continued starting with the San Francisco 49ers who finished the regular season 12-4 pitted against the Carolina Panthers who also finished the regular season 12-4. Carolina started off slow and San Francisco put up the first points of the game with a 49 yard field goal from Phil Dawson with 9:12 left in the First Quarter. Dawson kicked another field goal from 33 yards with 4:33 remaining in the quarter and the 49ers led 6-0 after one quarter. In the Second Quarter, the Panthers were able to move the ball and Cam Newton threw a 31 yard touchdown pass to Steve Smith and the Panthers led 7-6. Carolina was able to convert a 24 yard field goal from Graham Gano with 3:41 left in the half and the Panthers led 10-6. With 5 seconds left in the first half, Colin Kaepernick threw a 1 yard pass to Vernon Davis for a touchdown giving the 49ers a 13-10 lead at the half. Mid way through the Third Quarter, Kaepernick scrambled and ran in a touchdown from 4 yards out increasing the lead to 10 points. The 49ers Defense was stingy and shut down the Panthers Offense for the most part. Phil Dawson added three points with a 34 yard field goal in the Fourth Quarter and the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Carolina Panthers 23-10 and move on to the NFC Championship game next week.
San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos
The second game of the day proved to be much more exciting with the San Diego Chargers who finished the regular season 9-7 facing off against the Denver Broncos who finished the regular season 13-3 with their 3 regular season losses coming from the Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots and the San Diego Chargers. The Denver Broncos have been one of the most successful teams this season and typically get off to a fast start scoring on most of their opening drives but that was not to be in this game. Torid rivals over the years, the game went back and forth and with 2:25 left in the First Quarter, Peyton Manning completed a 2 yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas and the Broncos led 7-0 after one quarter. The Broncos Defense did a great job putting pressure on Philip Rivers and shutting down his passing game. With 6 minutes remaining in the half, Wes Welker caught a 3 yard touchdown pass from Manning and the Denver Broncos led 14-0 at the half. With almost no time left on the clock, Manning threw an interception at the back of the end zone and San Diego kept themselves in the game trailing 14-0 at the half. Six minutes into the second half, Matt Prater kicked a 45 yard field goal increasing the Denver lead to 17 points. Throughout the game, it looked like Denver would dominate and early in the Fourth Quarter, San Diego put their first points on the board when Philip Rivers threw a 16 yard touchdown pass to Keenan Allen cutting the Denver lead to 10 points. Denver countered when Knowshon Moreno ran in a touchdown from 3 yards out bringing the lead back to 17 points with 8:12 remaining in the game. Two minutes later, Rivers connected again with Allen for a 16 yard touchdown and cut the Denver lead to 10 points. San Diego then kicked an onside kick and recovered the ball and moved into field goal position and Nick Novak was able to convert a 30 yard attempt for three points and the Chargers trailed by 7 points with the Broncos leading 24-17. With almost 4 minutes left on the clock, the Chargers put their hopes on their Defense and they were unable to stop the Broncos from making 2 first downs and the Denver Broncos were able to run out the clock and beat the San Diego Chargers 24-17 and move on to the AFC Championship game next week.
The Divisional Playoff weekend was exciting and now the winners move on to the Conference Championship games to determine who goes to the Super Bowl.
Sunday January 19th
AFC Championship Game
New England Patriots (12-4) at Denver Broncos (13-3)
NFC Championship Game
San Francisco 49ers (9-7) at Seattle Seahawks (13-3)
The winners of the Conference Championship games will go onto face each other in Super Bowl XLVIII February 2nd in New York.
DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF GAME SCORES
- Seattle Seahawks defeated the New Orleans Saints 23-15
- New England Patriots killed the Indianapolis Colts 43-22
- San Francisco 49ers beat the Carolina Panthers 23-10
- Denver Broncos won over the San Diego Chargers 24-17
WEEK 19 DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF HIGHLIGHTS
- LeGarrette Blount carried the ball 24 times for 166 yards and 4 touchdowns.
- Keenan Allen caught 6 passes for 142 yards and 2 touchdowns averaging 23.7 yards per reception.
- Drew Brees completed 55.8% of his passes for 309 yards and 1 touchdown.
- Marshawn Lynch ran the ball 28 times for 140 yards and 2 touchdowns averaging 5.0 yards per carry.
- T.Y. Hilton caught 4 passes for 103 yards averaging 25.8 yards per reception.
- Peyton Manning completed 69.4% of his passes for 230 yards and 2 touchdowns while throwing 1 interception in the Broncos win against the San Diego Chargers.
- Ted Ginn caught 4 passes for 104 yards averaging 26.0 yards per reception.
- Marquis Colston caught 11 passes for 144 yards and 1 touchdown averaging 13.1 yards per reception.
- Andrew Luck threw for 331 yards and 2 touchdowns with 4 interceptions in the Colts loss to the New England Patriots.
- Anquan Boldin caught 8 passes for 136 yards averaging 17.0 yards per reception.