NFL wildcard round recap


Lucas Hiatt

The Buccaneers were trailing the Cowboys on Monday night at the beginning of the first half.

Lucas Hiatt, Staff Writer

The NFL Wildcard weekend has come to an end which sends the league one step closer to the Super Bowl. The AFC’s wildcard matchups ended up between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Jacksonville Jaguars. This conference’s next matchup put two AFC east teams against each other with the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins. The final AFC matchup on Sunday was between the AFC north winner, the Cincinnati Bengals, up against their division rival: the Baltimore Ravens. The NFC’s wildcard matchups started off on Saturday with the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers. Sunday had an NFC matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants. Finally, Monday night’s matchup was between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys.

With the matchup between the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills. And finally, the Los Angeles Chargers went head-to-head with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The NFC’s matchups included the New York Giants versus the NFC north division winners, the Minnesota Vikings. Furthermore, the Seattle Seahawks were pitted against the San Francisco 49ers.

The Saturday matchups started with the Seahawks and the 49ers which was an interdivisional matchup with the 49ers being the division winners and the Seahawks who barely squeezed into the playoffs on a 9-8 record. It was very doubtful whether the Seahawks stood a chance against their rivals, especially having lost twice to them in the regular season. That said, San Francisco continued with the trend as they defeated Seattle by a commanding lead of 18. Led by Mr. irrelevant, Brock Purdy threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns, helping the 49ers to advance to the divisional round with a 41-23 final score.

The final Saturday matchup was between the Jaguars and the Chargers which looked as if it was a decided game by the second quarter as the Chargers had a 27-3 over the Jags heading into halftime. However, the Jaguars made history with the third-biggest comeback in NFL playoff history as Trevor Lawrence led Jacksonville to a 30-31 victory over Los Angeles. Though not the prettiest win for Lawrence as he threw 4 interceptions, the rookie managed to send his team to the divisional round.

Sunday’s matchups started with another divisional matchup between the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins which was a back-and-forth battle after the Bills shut out Miami in the first half. The Dolphins, without their first or second-string quarterbacks, were less than 50 percent in completions. The Miami season was unfortunately made much more difficult due to many complications from injuries. With the Bills’ strong roster, they will be a force in the continuing playoff games. However, they will need to break their curse of losing in the playoffs.

The following matchup was between the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants. The Vikings’ offense has thrived all year off of Justin Jefferson’s amazing route running and catching ability which was not present in this game. With only 47 receiving yards from Jefferson, Minnesota did not have their first option dialed throughout the game. Not only this, the Vikings were unable to stop their opponents in the receiving game or in the backfield, a huge driving factor in this 31-24 Vikings defeat.

Sunday’s last matchup was between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals. These two teams had played each other in the previous week where the Bengals defeated the Ravens 27-16. This wildcard matchup was not much different than their week 18 game. This was a sloppy game for the Ravens as they could not seem to capitalize on third down with only three of 11 of their first down plays being successful in moving the chains. This was a defensive battle that decided the game as the Bengals acquired an interception and a 98-yard fumble recovery which was taken to the house by Cincinnati defensive end Sam Hubbard. 

Monday’s matchup was between the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This game was a beatdown from the Dallas Cowboys as they scored 24 unanswered points through the third quarter. It was only until the final seconds of the third quarter in which the Buccaneers were able to finally score a touchdown with an end zone pass to Julio Jones. The Cowboys offense was able to run and throw all over their opponents with ease. The final score ended up at 31-14 in favor of the Cowboys. Heading into the following round, the Cowboys will need to dial in their special teams as their kicker missed four of his five extra points on Monday night.

Fans should make sure to tune in this weekend to the divisional round of the NFL playoffs as each team is fighting for a spot in the NFC and AFC championships. On Saturday, the Chiefs will be playing the Jaguars and the Giants are matched up against the Eagles. The following matchups this Sunday are between the Bengals and the Bills as well as the Cowboys who will face the 49ers.