NFL playoffs Divisional round: Seeding, matchups, scores and dates


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Bengals Kicker, Evan McPherson, one of three kickers to kick a game winner in the Divisional round. McPherson, a rookie from the University of Florida, has hit 85% of his field goal attempts and 96% of his extra point attempts this year.

Jackson Crispin, Editor in Chief

After the NFL Wild Card round, six teams were knocked out of the playoffs, including: The Las Vegas Raiders, the New England Patriots, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Dallas Cowboys, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals. With the Wild Card out of the way, the Divisional round picture was set.

On Saturday, Jan. 22, the Cincinnati Bengals played the Tennessee Titans for the first game. The second game Saturday consisted of the San Francisco 49ers and the Greenbay Packers. Sunday’s first game featured the Los Angeles Rams in Tampa Bay to play the Buccaneers. The Kansas City Chiefs hosted the Buffalo Bills for the last game of the Divisional round on Sunday.

All four games of the weekend were seen as “nail biters” that came down to the end and had a final drive win.

In the first game, the Bengals and Joe Burrow came into Tennessee to play against a returning Derrick “King” Henry and a griddy defense. Burrow drove his offense down the field twice in the first quarter ending in a field goal for both drives, putting the Bengals up 6-0. Tennessee responded with a Henry 3-yard touchdown (missed the extra point), the game was tied at 6-6. The Bengals kicker Evan McPherson hit his third field goal of the game before halftime going up 9-6. In the third quarter, the Begals scored first with a touchdown from Joe Mixon, but was responded by a Tennessee field goal and touchdown tying the game at 16 apiece. Late in the fourth quarter, Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill was intercepted by the Bengals with 28 seconds left in the game. Joe Burrow got his team in a position to win the game with a field goal from 52-yards out with 4 seconds left on the clock. Bengals Kicker Evan McPherson hit his fourth field goal of the game advancing his team to the Conference Championship. After the game, Joe Burrow told reports McPherson called his shot saying “Looks like we’re going to the AFC Championship.”

The 49ers were forced to travel to Green Bay, for a cold and snowy game. The temperature in Green Bay for this game was 14 degree Fahrenheit. The Packers led all game being up 3-10, until it was fourth down back at the Packers own 12-yard line and Green Bay was forced to punt the ball. The punt was snapped and blocked by the 49ers defense and then returned for a touchdown, tying the game at 10. Late in the fourth quarter, the Packers punted the ball back to the 49ers with 3:20 on the clock. The 49ers drove down the field using up all the clock and called a timeout with 4 seconds left on the Packers 27-yard line. 49ers kicker Robbie Gould, who has never missed a postseason field goal, came out to kick a 45-yarder. The ball was snapped and Gould kicked the ball up and through the goal posts to win the game, 13-10, being the second team to upset the number one seed of the day.

The Los Angeles Rams went to play the reigning champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Rams got off to a big start being up 20-3 at halftime, but as most NFL fans know Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady has come back from worse deficits before. To begin the second half, the Rams scored another touchdown, extending the lead to 27-3. The Buccaneers went on a 24-0 run tying the game late in the fourth quarter with 46 seconds remaining. With little time left the Rams had another shot to win the game, getting the ball at their own 25-yard line. Rams QB Matthew Stafford threw to “Triple Crown winner” Cooper Kupp for a 20-yard gain and quickly threw to him again for a 44-yard gain putting them in perfect position to win the game with a field goal with 28 seconds on the clock. With 4 seconds on the clock, Rams kicker Matt Gay kicked a 30-yard field goal to win 30-27.

The first three games all included an upset and a game winning field goal.

The final game was a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship where the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Buffalo Bills to go to the Super Bowl. The Bills came out quick with an opening drive touchdown from Devin Singleterry. The Chiefs then responded with a touchdown of their own from QB Patrick Mahomes, tying the game at 7-7. In the second quarter both teams scored a touchdown tying it at 14-14 going into halftime. In the third quarter the Chiefs scored twice going up 14-23, from a Harrison Butker field goal and a Mecole Hardman 25-yard rushing touchdown. The Bills responded with a 75-yard receiving touchdown from Gabriel Davis, cutting the lead to 21-23. In the fourth quarter the Chiefs hit a field goal going up 21-26. Late in the fourth quarter with 2 minutes on the clock, Bills quarterback Josh Allen threw a 27-yard touchdown to Gabriel Davis on fourth & 13 and then converted the two-point conversion to Steffon Diggs, taking the lead 29-26. Mahomes passed to Tyreek Hill down the middle for a 64-yard touchdown, regaining the lead 29-33. The Bills got the back with 1:02 on the clock at their own 25-yard line. They drove down to the Chiefs 19-yard line, then finished the drive with a Josh Allen touchdown to Gabriel Davis, scoring Davis’s fourth receiving touchdown of the game (setting new NFL playoff record for most receiving touchdowns in a game), going up 36-33 leaving thirteen seconds on the clock. The Chiefs got the ball back on their own 25-yard line with thirteen seconds left. Mahomes quickly threw left to Tyreek Hill for a 19-yard gain, stopping the clock with a timeout. The next play started with 8 seconds left; Mahomes dropped back and quickly threw the ball to Travis Kelce in a gap for a 25-yard game and got down with three seconds left on the clock. Butker kicked a 49-yard field goal, tying the game and forcing Overtime. The Chiefs won the coin toss and elected to receive the ball (NFLOvertime rules state “Each team must possess, or have the opportunity to possess, the ball. The exception: if the team that gets the ball first scores a touchdown on the opening possession.”) The Chiefs got the ball at their own 25-yard line. With the Chiefs driving down the field, Patrick Mahomes threw to Travis Kelce in the back right of the endzone for an 8-yard touchdown, winning the game 36-42.

All the teams that won move onto the Conference Championship on Sunday, Jan. 30. The Cincinnati Bengals play the Kansas City Chiefs at 2:00 P.M. (CT). The San Francisco 49ers play the Los Angeles Rams at 5:30 P.M. (CT).