What We Learned in Wild Card Weekend:
- Kansas City’s rested starters get injured during epic playoff collapse
- New Orleans picks perfect time to not suck on the road
- Cincinnati continues playoff futility
- Colin Kaepernick runs all over Green Bay
When you’re watching the playoffs and you don’t have a team playing there are only two things you can hope for. One is that any team you’ve sworn to hate loses in embarrassing fashion and the other is that there are exciting games. Thankfully, Wild Card Weekend didn’t disappoint.
In Week 17 the Kansas City Chiefs were locked into their 5th seed spot in the AFC playoffs and couldn’t advance or drop in the standings. Because of that, head coach Andy Reid decided to rest 20 out of 22 of his starters in order to save them for the impending playoff game and prevent any injuries. We all know how that game went so no need to rehash that nightmare. Well, Reid’s reward for saving his starters for the playoffs were watching Jamaal Charles leave the game during their first offensive series with a concussion and a score of other injuries to players like Brandon Flowers and Justin Houston.
Even with all those injuries the Chiefs held a 28 point lead into the third quarter of the Wild Card game against the Indianapolis Colts. What happened next was a collapse of epic proportions and one of the most exciting finishes in Wild Card Weekend history. To his credit, Chiefs QB Alex Smith played quite possibly the best game of his career with four touchdown passes and 378 passing yards. Andrew Luck tossed three interceptions in the first half for the Colts but then the Chiefs’ defense were completely unable to stop him and TY Hilton, who racked up 224 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Also Chiefs’ kicker Ryan Succop made all three of his field goal attempts so, there’s that. The Colts will now go on to play the Patriots in the divisional round.
Even though the New Orleans Saints had one of the best offenses this season they weren’t scaring anyone going into the playoffs after they failed to win their division and guarantee a home playoff game. The Saints have been less than stellar on the road in 2013. Apparently all they needed was the calendar to change to 2014 to turn on their road warrior mentality. Nick Foles saved his worst game for the worst possible moment and even Ben Roethlisberger thinks he was holding onto the ball too long. New Orleans’ defense was the big difference maker holding Philadelphia to 256 total yards but Drew Brees and the offense on the final drive eating up just under five minutes of clock to have Shayne Graham kick the game-winning 32-yarder is what is sending the Saints to Seattle next weekend to try and keep their road magic alive.
If you actually put money on the Cincinnati Bengals and Marvin Lewis winning a playoff game this weekend you deserve what you get. Even though the Chargers punched their playoff ticket by, let’s just say questionable circumstances, they certainly lucked out by earning a trip to Cincinnati to keep their hot-streak alive. Andy Dalton was all Andy Dalton-like throwing two interceptions and fumbling the ball to account for 3 of the 4 Bengals turnovers. On the other side of the ball, San Diego was running the ball at will against a Bengals defense which was allegedly good all season. On paper, the Bengals should have easily taken this game; but that paper would have also said that they’re the Bengals so obviously that wasn’t the case. Twenty three years and counting since the last Cincinnati playoff win.
With all the talk about how cold it was going to be in Green Bay for the final game of Wild Card Weekend it kind of got lost how hot the San Francisco 49ers were going into the playoffs. Last year, the Packers were unable to stop Colin Kaepernick from running all over the place and kissing his bicep. History repeated itself on Sunday evening as Kaepernick, probably running towards the heaters because he was going sleeveless like a dumbass, racked up more rushing yards than any of the Packers running backs. The 49ers now have the pleasure of going up against another hot team, the Carolina Panthers.
Here’s hoping the divisional round will have as much excitement as this weekend did. At this point it’s more about rooting against teams than rooting for anyone. If the Patriots can implode Bengals-style and we can have a little less Harbaugh going forward in the playoffs next weekend will be a success.
Here we go Steelers!