Kickers were the winners of the Divisional weekend
Three out of the four Divisional Round playoff games were decided by walk-off field goals and the fourth was brought into overtime because of one.
What an unexpected and exciting weekend of football we had for the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs! Both the top seeds for the AFC and NFC were eliminated with the Bengals upsetting the Titans and the Niners defeating the Packers. Not only that, but the top two MVP candidates, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, were knocked out of Super Bowl contention and both were asked immediately about the future of their careers (and both seemingly frustrated by these questions).
Walk-off field goals decide the wins
It was a wild weekend of underdog wins, but the craziest part is that the three of the four games were decided by a field goal in the final seconds of the game, and the fourth wasn’t too far off. It was a field goal to take it into overtime that decided the win.
The Titans and Bengals game was all defense, with Bengals QB Joe Burrow getting sacked a total of nine times. Incredibly, they were still able to get the win after Titans QB Ryan Tannehill threw an interception with 20 seconds left in the game. It was a tie game to end the third quarter and Titans had the ball with seconds left in Bengals’ territory, but that pick put the Bengals within field goal range and McPherson nailed the 52-yard attempt (not to mention three more field goals earlier in the day) to get the walk-off win, 19-16 and send the Bengals to the AFC Championship game.
The 49ers and Packers was all about defense and special teams for Kyle Shanahan’s side. The Niners started out rocky, with several three-and-outs and no points in the first half. The Niners didn’t get a single point until the third quarter when Gould got them a field goal, and the score would remain 7-3 until early in the fourth quarter, when the Packers scored their second touchdown of the night. Special teams saved the Niners when Hufanga picked up a blocked punt and ran it back into the end zone to tie up the game. Rodgers looked off all night and when they went three and out, Garoppolo got the Niners down the field and Gould got them the winning field goal with a second left in the game,13-10.
The Rams and Buccaneers game looked like it was in the Rams’ hands. At halftime, they were leading 20-3 and by the 3rd quarter, they were up 27-3. As we know from experience though, the game ain’t over til the whistle is blown and Tom Brady is off the field crying. The second half was nothing short of a nail-biter. The Bucs came back from that 24-point deficit to tie the game 27-27, and it wasn’t pretty for either side. Both the Bucs and the Rams just kept turning it back over to each other for a while there. It looked like the Bucs had the game in the bag after Fournette ran 9 yards to tie up the game with under a minute left to play. Matt Stafford and the Rams had other plans. Stafford made two deep passes to connect with Cooper Kupp and get them within field goal range. Gay’s 30-yard field goal was the third walk-off one of the Divisional weekend to give the Rams the win, 30-27.
The Chiefs and Bills game did not disappoint either, with both teams scoring on their opening drives. They traded off scores for the rest of the game and with just two minutes left in the game, the two teams scored 4 times total. Titans receiver Gabriel Davis scored his third touchdown of the night with just under two minutes left to put the Titans up by 3. The glee the Titans were feeling didn’t last long as Mahomes gave the ball to Tyreek Hill, who ran it 64 yards into the end zone to put the Chiefs ahead again. The Bills didn’t give up. With 13 seconds to go, Davis made his NFL playoff record fourth touchdown of the night to put the Bills ahead again. Mahomes is such a talented player, though, and he’s able to get the ball into field goal range in two plays and 10 seconds. Butker set up the 49-yard try and it was good, sending the game into overtime, where the Chiefs won the toss and got the ball into the end zone on an eight-yard pass to Travis Kelce to send the Chiefs to the AFC Championship game for the fourth year in a row.
The AFC Conference Championship kicks off Sunday, January 30 at 3 p.m. ET with the KC Chiefs hosting the Cincinnati Bengals. Here's how you can watch the action.
The NFC Conference Championship kicks off Sunday, January 30 at 6:30 p.m. ET with the LA Rams hosting the San Francisco 49ers.