By Bo Pierce
Now only the best of the best remain in the playoffs, meaning there are only two games left until we find out who’s in Super Bowl 51. Let’s recap the rematches that’ve happened in this round:
20 Seahawks 36 Falcons
A Week 6 rematch between the Seahawks and Falcons in which Seattle won 26-24. This time Atlanta made sure to keep up with the Seahawks, as they won 36-20. Seahawks were able to get on the board first with a touchdown from Russell Wilson to Jimmy Graham, but Atlanta didn’t let the Seahawks keep the lead for long as they scored their own touchdown with the help of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. After Seattle had kicked a 33 yard field goal, Atlanta failed to get much on their drive and had to punt. Luckily for the Falcons, they had the Seahawks pinned back in their own 5; resulting in Wilson getting sacked for a safety. Falcons then drove down the field and kicked a 35 yard field goal to make it a two point game 12-10. Later on in the 2nd Quarter, Atlanta was able to drive down the field and score another touchdown; making it a 19-10 game going into the half. Sadly for Seattle, the second half was all Atlanta as they Falcons defense was able to get 2 interceptions on Russell. The game ended 36-20, Atlanta heads to the Conference Championship looking to punch their tickets for the biggest game of the season.
16 Texans 34 Patriots
A Week 3 rematch between the Texans and Patriots in which the Patriots blown out Houston 27-0. This time Houston kept it close, for the first half. The Patriots were able to get on the board first with a 2 play drive in 65 yards with a 13 yard pass from Tom Brady to Dion Lewis. Texans were able to get on the board with a 33 yard field goal, but the Patriots weren’t going to let up that easy. Patriots scored a touchdown on a 98 yard kick return with Dion Lewis to set them up with a 14-3 lead. In the second quarter, the Texans made their mark as they kicked a 27 yard field goal and a 10 yard pass to C.J. Fiedorowicz; the half ended 17-13 with New England scoring a 19 yard field goal. In the second half, the Patriots held the Texans to only a field goal in the 4th Quarter. As New England scored 2 touchdowns, passing and rushing, they also kicked a 43 yard field goal. Patriots Dion Lewis scored on a kick return, reception, and a run; making him the 5th Patriot to score 3 touchdowns in a postseason game. Patriots head to their 6th straight Conference Championship game hoping to make the Super Bowl for the 7th time in the Brady-Belichick era.
18 Steelers 16 Chiefs
A Week 4 rematch between the Steelers and Chiefs, another blow out game in which the Steelers won 43-14. How about them Killers B’s??? Big Ben, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell all had a great game. But the real Killer B that helped Pittsburgh win was their kicker Chris Boswell who kicked a postseason record 6 field goals to help the Steelers surpass the Chiefs. The game started off promising for the Chiefs when they were able to stop the Steelers to a 22 yard field goal, and then drive down the field and score on an Alex Smith 5 yard pass to Albert Wilson. On the Steelers next drive their scored another field goal this one being a 38 yard field goal. Pittsburgh was able to shut down Kansas City and get the ball back to score a 36 yard field goal, making the score 9-7. On the Chiefs next drive, Alex Smith’s pass was deflected and picked off by Ryan Shazier. After the interception, Steelers got inside the Chiefs 5 yard line only for Roethlisberger’s pass to get deflected and picked off by Eric Berry. Chiefs weren’t able to capitalize on the turnover as they punted the ball back to the Steelers. The Steelers ended their drive with another Chris Boswell field goal, putting the game at 12-7. Kansas City got the ball back with 50 seconds and was driving down the field until Charcandrick West fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Pittsburgh. Chiefs received the ball, but to no avail couldn’t drive down the field and make the game closer. Pittsburgh on the other hand was able to get in their 5th field goal of the game, making the score 15-7. Later on in the 3rd Quarter, Kansas City was able to score their own field goal; a 48 yard field goal by Cairo Santos ending the 3rd Quarter 15-10. Chiefs defense continued to be firm as they held Pittsburgh to their 6th field of the game, giving the Chiefs nine in a half minutes to try and tie up the game. Kansas City drove down the field including some penalties on both the Chiefs and Steelers including the Unnecessary Roughness penalty that gave the Chiefs the ball at the 12 yard line. Chiefs were held, but on a 4th and 2 Kansas City went for it and converted to setup new downs. On the very next play, Spencer Ware went up the gut for a 1 yard touchdown; but the Chiefs still needed the two-point conversation. On the two-point conversion try, Alex Smith was back in the pocket looking for an open receiver when he found Demetrius Harris for the conversion. Upon further review, Chiefs Eric Fisher was flagged for holding which nullified the two-point conversion and sent the Chiefs back to the 12 yard line. Chiefs then were unable to succeed on the conversion and had to hope that they could stop Pittsburgh for a second chance. The Steelers had the ball with 2 minutes and 38 seconds left, and their first play was a 2 yard gain by Le’Veon Bell who had 170 yards on the night. Their next play was a 5 yard pass from Roethlisberger who had 224 yards on the night. Finally on a 3rd and 3, Big Ben threw a 7 yard pass to Antonio Brown who had 108 yards on the night. The Steelers won 18-16 scoring nothing but field goals, and now they’re headed to the Conference Championship round.
34 Packers 31 Cowboys
Another Week 6 rematch between the Pack and the Boys, where Dallas beat Green Bay by 14 in a 30-16 win. The game started off well in Green Bay’s favor, as they were able to keep Dallas out of the red zone for most of the first half. Dallas did score a 50 yard field to get on the board first, but the Packers scored 21 unanswered points through the first two quarters. Cowboys were able to cut the deficit in the 2nd Quarter with a 40 yard pass from Dak Prescott to Dez Bryant and a 33 yard field goal. Packers had the lead 21-13, but the Packers wanted a bigger lead. In the 3rd Quarter, they scored on a 3 yard pass to Jared Cook that gave the Packers a 28-13 lead. After drives and drives later, it was the 4th Quarter and Dallas was still down by 15. The Boys were able to drive down the field and score on back to back plays with a 7 yard touchdown to Dez and a 6 yard touchdown to Jason Witten; that touchdown was Witten’s first postseason touchdown. On the Cowboys second touchdown in the 4th, they still needed the two-point conversion to tie the game up. On the attempt, Dak Prescott was back to pass when in fact it was a QB Draw and Prescott run up the gut to get the two points to help Dallas tie the game up. On Green Bay’s next drive, they were able to drive down the field and kick a 56 yard field goal. Dallas still had a minute and thirty-eight seconds to drive down the field and either kick a game tying field goal or score a touchdown to win the game. On Dallas’s drive, they had two big plays that helped them get into Packer territory; a 24 yard pass to Terrance Williams and a 11 yard pass to Jason Witten. After Prescott spiked the ball, it gave the Boys 48 seconds to score. On a 2nd and 10, Cole Beasley caught a pass for 7 yards to set up a 3rd and 3. Dallas was unable to get the first down due to Nick Perry batting the ball down at the line of scrimmage. Dallas then preceded to kick a 52 yard field goal to tie the game, but the Boys gave Aaron Rodgers and Co. 35 seconds to pull off another postseason win. Aaron Rodgers first pass was incomplete deep, but his next pass to Ty Montgomery was for 17 yards to the 42 yard line on Packers side. Aaron Rodgers was then sacked for a loss of 10, putting them back at the Packers 32 yard line. Another pass attempt deep down field went incomplete and the Packers were facing a 3rd and 20 with 12 seconds left. Instead of the Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary moment we all were expecting, Rodgers threw a pass to Jared Cook that went out at the Dallas 33 yard line. At first, the call was incomplete and the game looked like it was going into overtime; but after further review the pass was called complete. Due to the completion, Green Bay was in range to kick a 51 yard field goal to win the game. After Dallas tried to ice Mason Crosby by using a timeout, his second attempt at kicking the game winner looked bad at first but leaned into the goal post for a Green Bay win. The Packers are going to the Conference Championship to try and make their 2nd Super Bowl appearance in the Aaron Rodgers era.
As it stands, the Conference Championship round is set to be the #3 Seed Steelers versus the #1 Seed Patriots and the #4 Seed Packers versus the #2 Seed Falcons. Well that’s all for this weeks playoff recap, next week I’ll be recapping the Conference Championship round and who will be playing in the most important game of the season; Super Bowl 51.