NFL Wild Card Weekend Recap

The Playoffs are here! And it is time to get into the nitty gritty. Starting out with Wild Card weekend. TSX gave you a preview of all the teams, and the picks turned out to be not bad at all. Some great games Sat., and a Wild finish to one on Sunday.

Saturday Night:

NY Jets 24, Cincinnati 14- Mark Sanchez didn’t have the best rookie season, he did not have the heralded praise that say, Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco had a year ago, but he came of age in the big stage. Sanchez went 12-15 for 182 yards with a touchdown, finishing with a QB rating of 139.4, and Gang Green’s rushing game took care of the rest. Rookie Shonn Greene ran for 135 yards on 21 carries with a touchdown, and Thomas Jones added another one, and the Jets got their first playoff win since 2004 by beating the Cincinnati Bengals for the second week in a row 24-14. Two good things happened for Cincinnati from their meeting at the Meadowlands last week. They ran the ball well, which was led by Cedric Benson, who ran for 169 yards (Bengals playoff record) and a 47 yard touchdown run (longest run in Bengals playoff history), and they also scored. Carson Palmer threw a touchdown pass to Laveranues Coles to put the Bengals up early. Chad Ochocinco, who was shut out last week by Darrelle Revis, was a non-factor again, with only two catches for 28 yards. The Bengals just never looked like the same team that dominated the AFC North after the passing of teammate Chris Henry. The Jets move on, and quite possibly can be a dark horse in the playoffs.

Philadelphia 14, Dallas 34- In another rematch from Week 17, the Dallas Cowboys did something that they havent done in 4,760 days: win a playoff game. Tony Romo went 23-35 for 244 yards, and threw a couple of touchdowns, Tashard Choice and Felix Jones ran for touchdowns, and for the second week in a row (and third time this season), the Dallas Cowboys destroyed the Philadelphia Eagles, sending the Eagles packing for the eighth time in the decade. Wade Phillips and Tony Romo finally got their wins in the playoffs, after Phillips was 0-4 as a head coach, and Romo was 0-2 as a starting quarterback. The Cowboys winning ways in December finally carry over in January, where the last win was in the 1996 NFC Wild Card round, and it took 13 years to just get a win, and the Dallas defense forced fumbles, and made things difficult for Donovan McNabb and Mike Vick. Both QBs did throw for touchdowns, but while Vick tied the game, McNabb’s came after the Eagles were down 34-7. The Cowboys look like the hottest team in the NFC right now, but they have to travel to the Metrodome to take on Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings. Sidenote: The Cowboys won the Super Bowl in Texas Stadium’s first year (1971), and Cowboys Stadium opened in 2009.

Sunday Afternoon:

Baltimore 33, New England 14- The team of the previous decade got dismantled in the first five minutes of the game. The Baltimore Ravens, who came in with the best win percentage on the road for any NFL team, went into Gillette Stadium (a place where New England has never lost in), and put up a 24-point first quarter led by Ray Rice’s two touchdowns, and the Ravens cruised to a 33-14 victory over the once-invincible Patriots. Rice finished the day with 22 carries for 159 yards, and the Ravens stifling defense forced New England into four turnovers, and forcing boos to reign over the team that was so dominant that it was widely assumed that they could not be beat in the playoffs. The Ravens proved that on Sunday that they can be stopped and executed the game plan to perfection. The Ravens will now travel to Indianapolis to face the four-time MVP Peyton Manning and the Colts, sending the New York Jets to San Diego to face the Chargers.

Green Bay 45, Arizona 51 (F/OT) The highest scoring game in NFL playoff history with two teams. A man on his last hurrah, against a man playing in his first playoff game. How does it end? On defense. Karlos Dansby returned an Aaron Rodgers fumble 17 yards for a touchdown and gave the Arizona Cardinals a dramatic 51-45 win over the Green Bay Packers. Kurt Warner, who, according to sources will retire after the playoffs, started his last hurrah by going 29-33 for 379 yards and five touchdowns, and Arizona jumped out to a 31-10 lead. The Packers bounced back and responded with Rodgers, bringing his team back to tie the game at 38. After trading points and a missed field goal by Neil Rackers, Rodgers and the Packers won the toss in overtime, and after a penalty, Michael Adams forced a fumble and the ball bounced off Rodgers’ foot, and into the hands of Dansby, sealing the win and setting off a wild celebration. No shame though in Rodgers’ performance, going 28-42 for 422 yards and 4 touchdowns, and he ran for one as well. The Cardinals now go to New Orleans, and with the way the Saints score points and this game, it could potentially be a shootout. Arizona is now 3-0 in postseason games at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Stay tuned to TSX for the Divisional Playoff Thoughts and Previews and Picks. Keep it locked here!

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