NFL News: Wild Card Weekend Recap
The NFL had a very successful inaugural six-game Super Wild Card Weekend. It was ripe with competitive games and even some upsets.
The weekend kicked off with the Buffalo Bills winning their first playoff game since 1995. They sent the Indianapolis Colts into their offseason with the 27-24 win.
Speculation that this was Philip Rivers' last NFL game before retiring this offseason is already starting. Colts head coach Frank Reich has already stated publicly that he wants Rivers back under center for the Colts in 2021.
Saturday's games continued with the Los Angeles Rams upsetting the NFC West rival Seattle Seahawks on the road, 30-20. The Rams did so without starting quarterback Jared Goff in the lineup due to the thumb surgery he'd had the week prior.
Goff came off the bench to lead the Rams to the win and subsequent trip to Green Bay this weekend for the divisional round.
The nightcap almost saw the future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady get outdueled by a practice squad quarterback in Taylor Heinicke. Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did end up winning the game, beating the Washington Football Team, 31-23.
Heinicke put up a valiant effort starting for injured quarterback Alex Smith for the Washington Football Team, throwing for 306 yards with one touchdown and an interception. He also added 46 yards rushing and scrambled for a score.
Sunday started with a defensive slugfest between the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans. The Ravens took a 17-10 lead shortly after halftime and never looked back en route to the 20-13 victory.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was rather pedestrian through the air but was electric with his legs, rushing for 136 yards and a touchdown. It was a vintage rushing performance for Jackson, the kind that led to him winning the NFL MVP just a season ago.
The afternoon game had the New Orleans Saints beat the Chicago Bears, 21-9. This game wasn't even as close as the final score reflects.
The Saints were up 21-3 in and saw the Bears score a touchdown on the game's final play. Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw for 265 yards and two scores while running back Alvin Kamara ran for 99 yards and a touchdown while adding two receptions and 17 yards through the air.
The final game of Wild Card Weekend might have been the wildest of them all. The Cleveland Browns raced to a 28-0 first-quarter lead against the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers and never looked back.
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield was electric, throwing for 263 yards and three touchdowns. On the other side, the Steelers' future Hall of Fame quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, was abysmal.
He threw for 501 yards and four touchdowns, but most of that was in garbage time with the game out of hand and after he had thrown four first-half interceptions.
Belichick Turns Down Presidential Medal Of Freedom
Future Hall of Fame head coach of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick, elected not to attend a ceremony at the White House this week that would honor him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In a statement released by Belichick on Monday, he eluded to the catastrophic events that took place at the Capitol Building last week; he didn't feel it was an appropriate time for such a personal honor.
He cited his connection to improving racial relations in the NFL and outside the league as a reason for respectfully declining the invite to the White House.
For Dunkel Index picks of this weekend's playoff games, check out our NFL picks page.