NFL | Feb 04, 2022

NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round Recap

By Harry Bazley

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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. All 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 - this past weekend we were blessed with some of the best football played all year and perhaps ever.

Mahomes D Iving

(Charlie Riedel/AP)

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 was on full display. 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 taking the QB down 9 times.

Neither quarterback could hit a 100pt 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 looks for a QB in the upcoming draft or even pushes for a Wilson or Rodgers move in the offseason.

This game 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 saw 2 punts and a turnover on downs in the first 14 minutes.

The final 60 seconds of the match-up foreshadowed the intensity of the weekend ahead, giving fans the first of four walk-off wins with this game-winning field goal kick:

49ers vs Packers, 13-10

In what was an equally defence-driven game - this 49ers vs Packers showdown became a 4th-down punt fest until just the final few minutes.

Even with veteran QB 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 somehow 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 with a 91.9QBR.

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 heating up.

After making it a 7-point lead in the fourth quarter, Green Bay had the game in their hands if they could just keep Aaron Jones on the move. But to Rodger's demise, the 49ers 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.

Green Bay got the ball back but failed to get ahead of the sticks yet again, punting after 3 short-lived attempts. What followed was Garoppolo leading a 9 play drive in just under 3 minutes to give kicker Robbie Gould his moment of fame. With just 4 seconds on the clock, he sent a 45-yard field goal through the uprights and sent San Francisco to the Championship round along with it. Despite such a slow start, this game turned out to be a nail biter in the end.

Click the image below to watch the highlights:

Packers 49ers

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 Tom 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 conceding 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 very respectable 121.2 rating against the Bucs defence, while Brady only managed 72.2 with one touchdown through the air and one pick alongside it.

Although they could have shut the game down in quarter 3, LA decided they'd rather throw away their lead entirely, just so they could add another game-winning field goal to the mix. Much more interesting right?

In their attempt to lose the game, Cam Akers had his first two fumbles of the year, Stafford threw an end-zone interception and put the ball on the turf in the final drive, they fumbled a snap some-40 yards backwards without recovery and missed a field goal between conceding 3 consecutive touchdowns.

40 seconds on the clock left Matthew Stafford desperate, so he turned to the undisputed receiver of the year for help. Cooper Kupp caught two completions for 64 yards to set up a 30-yard field goal. Matt Gay put the ball cleanly through the posts and the Rams Super Bowl dreams were kept alive.

Watch LA's best plays here:

Chiefs vs Bills, 42-36 OT

In what was undeniably the greatest-ever weekend of postseason football, this year's Divisional Round certainly saved the best for last. This game provided the best fourth-quarter we've seen all year - with three touchdowns and a game-tying field goal all scored in the final two minutes, plus the added excitement of Overtime.

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 looked to end the fourth-quarter tug-of-war with a two point conversion, leaving just 1:54 on the clock with a 3-point lead. But, in the next 90 seconds we saw back-to-back touchdowns from Tyreek Hill and Gabriel Davis - the madness wasn't over yet.

From their own 25-yard line, the Chiefs had 13 seconds 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 sailed it smoothly between the posts and the game went to OT.

Kansas won the toss and took the ball. What followed was an impressive 8 play, 75-yard drive, without a single incompletion. Mahomes threw to the always-open Kelce, who caught an endzone pass to win the game in overtime and send the Chiefs to the Conference Championship vs the Bengals.

The Chiefs highlights are must-see to say the least: