Sports betting news | Jan 24, 2022
NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round Recap
By RTR Alex
The last few days of the NFL have been action-packed to say the least. Four nail-biting games graced our screens, each delivering edge-of-your-seat fourth quarters and all ending with walk-off wins.
Superbowl favourites, Green Bay Packers, fell short in an upset loss to San Francisco. The Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills put their stellar offences on display in a last-minute showdown. The Los Angeles Rams almost threw away a 24-point lead against none-other than 'Comeback King' Tom Brady. Joe Burrow continued to stun the crowds with Rookie of the Year favourite Ja'Marr Chase alongside him, while Derrick Henry just couldn't get into his usual stride.
Although some fans may still be reeling over a surprise loss or simply taking a breather from all the madness that occurred - this past weekend we were blessed with some of the best football played all year.
Bengals vs Titans, 19-16
With 9 punts, 4 interceptions and just one touchdown pass in this Bengals-Titans match-up, the defensive prowess of both sides cannot be exaggerated. The Titans d-line put on quite a show, with a record-tying 9 sacks on Joe Burrow. Despite this, the Cincinnati Bengals still managed to secure their place in the AFC Championship Game, making Tennessee the first team since 1966 to lose a playoff game while making 9 sacks.
Neither quarterback could hit the 100 mark in their rating, but Burrow came out on top with 93.1. Tannehill's 3 interceptions and 66.7 rating surely puts his starting-spot in question. With No.17 returning to the inconsistency that sent him out of Miami, we wouldn't be surprised if Mike Vrabel makes an upcoming QB draft pick or even pushes for Wilson or Rodgers in the offseason.
We entered half-time with just a 9-6 scoreline in Cincinnati's favour. Thankfully the third quarter produced much more action, bringing us two touchdowns and a field goal. The teams were tied at 16-16 as they entered the final quarter, which only produced 2 punts and a turnover on downs in the first 14 minutes.
The game boiled down to the last 25 seconds. The Titans had a 3rd&5 just inside their own half and decided to go for the win. Tannehill darted a pass just inside Bengals territory and was tragically intercepted at midfield.
Joe Burrow got the ball back with 20 seconds and just 20 yards needed to get into field goal range for Evan McPherson. Burrow throws a 19-yard strike to the always-reliable Ja'Marr Chase and gives hope to Cincinnati's Super Bowl dreams. After a few timeouts and a -2-yard rush attempt, 4 seconds remained for McPherson, who converted a 52 yard field goal for the first walk-off win of the week.
49ers vs Packers, 13-10
In what was by-far the most defence-driven game of the week - this 49ers vs Packers matchup became a 4th-down punt fest until the final few minutes.
Even with veteran Aaron Rodgers at the helm, 'The Pack' still racked up 6 punts and 3 offensive turnovers between fumbles and interceptions. The 49ers punted 5 times themselves and failed to score an offensive touchdown all game. Jimmy Garoppolo left the field with a measly 57.1 QB rating and Rodgers couldn't reach the respectable century mark either - finishing up with a slight-better 91.9.
Following a touchdown on Green Bay's opening drive, not a single ball crossed the line or even passed between the posts until midway through the third quarter. The last 15 began with a 7-3 score to the Packers and finally, things started getting interesting.
After making it a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, Green Bay had the game in their hands if they could just keep Aaron Jones on the move. To Rodger's demise, the 49ers defence forced a punt in what became a game-changing play. San Francisco blocked the kick from the 12-yard line and Talanoa Hufanga ran it in for 6, tying the score 10-10 with a successful extra point.
The 49ers got the ball back with 3 minutes left and only needed a field goal for the win. After completing a vital 3rd&7 to get within field goal range, they ran the clock down and kicked a walk-off 45-yard field goal to knock the playoff-favourites out of contention and proceed to the Conference Championship.
Despite such a slow start, this game turned out to be a nail biter in the end. Watch the ESPN post-game reaction here:
Rams vs Buccaneers, 30-27
Given the Rams' 99.5% win probability with 4:31 on the clock, it's hard to believe this game was almost 50/50 with 40 seconds left, but with Brady on the field anything is possible. The notorious 'Comeback King' was in Falcons-Super Bowl form - hunting down a 24 point deficit from midway through the 3rd quarter, to tie the score in the final minute.
Los Angeles fans will be seeing this as more of a 'non-loss' after 4 fumbles and 24 points unanswered in 21 minutes. One thing they could be proud of is Stafford's 0 interceptions after leading the league with 17 this season. He achieved a respectable 121.2 rating against the Bucs defence, while Brady only managed 72.2 with one touchdown and one pick.
Although they could have shut the game down in quarter 3, LA decided they'd rather throw away their lead entirely, just to add yet-another game-winning field goal to the mix. Much more interesting right?
The fourth quarter began with a forced fumble and recovery from Von Miller, which was immediately followed by an errant snap at the Bucs 25-yard line. Tampa Bay recovered the ball some 40-yards downfield but couldn't convert on the gift of a lifetime.
A missed field goal from the Rams and a Bucs TD made the score 27-20. The Rams simply needed to run down the clock with a few first downs. 2 plays later, Cam Akers fumbled at the 30 yard line and the Bucs picked up the ball. Leonard Fournette converted a 4th&1 for a 9-yard touchdown, leaving just 40 seconds in the game.
What Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp did next will remain in the history books forever. After another fumble, but fortunate recovery from Stafford on 1st&10, he threw a 20 yard pass to Kupp who got out of bounds at the 45-yard line. Stafford then launched a nearly 50-yard pass to Kupp to take them all the way to the Bucs 10-yard line. With no timeouts remaining, the offence rushed to the line and spiked the ball with just 4 seconds left, to set up a field-goal chip shot.
Watch the Rams best plays here:
Chiefs vs Bills, 42-36 OT
In what was undeniably the best weekend of NFL postseason ever, this year's Divisional Round certainly saved the best for last. This game provided the greatest fourth-quarter football we've seen all year, with three touchdowns and a game-tying field goal all scored in the final two minutes.
Six collective touchdowns were scored in the first 45 minutes, along with 3 points from a Chiefs field goal, but the final 15 is where the magic happened.
Josh Allen was playing catch up most of the game, but started the fourth-quarter tug of war with a two point conversion to Steffon Diggs leaving 1:54 on the clock.
Patrick Mahomes came right back, with a 64-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill to make it 33-29 to Kansas City. Allen didn't hesitate for a second, hitting Gabriel Davis three times on a 75-yard drive, who eventually caught a 19-yard touchdown reception to put the Bills ahead.
From their own 25-yard line, the Chiefs had 13 seconds left to make a field goal and tie the game. Somehow, Mahomes completed two passes to Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill to give the Chiefs a shot at a 49-yard field goal. Harrison Butker smoothly sailed it between the posts and the game went straight into Overtime.
Kansas won the toss and took the ball. Mahomes led an impressive 8 play, 75-yard drive, without a single incompletion, to win the game in overtime and send the Chiefs into the Conference Championship game versus the Bengals. These highlights are must-see to say the least.