The AFC and NFC Divisional Playoffs
With Super Bowl LVII only three weeks away, AFC and NFC teams are competing for their spot. Saturday, January 21, two teams secured their spot for the divisional championship games next week.
The Jacksonville Jaguars visited Arrowhead Stadium to compete against the No. 1 seed in the conference, the Kansas City Chiefs. A highly anticipated game within the AFC, the results did not disappoint. Kicking off the first quarter, the Chiefs were quick to score with 7:56 left in the first using TE Travis Kelce. Isaac Pacheco posted great plays right off the bat as well and continued the momentum throughout the game, leading with 95 rushing yards. Trevor Lawrence had 217 passing yards for 1 touchdown and 1 interception during the game.
Patrick Mahomes limped to the sidelines near the end of the first quarter due to a high-ankle sprain, allowing Chad Henne to get some play time in. Henne, the 37 year old veteran QB, threw his first career touchdown in an NFL postseason game, giving the Chiefs a 17-7 lead for the first half. Jamal Agnew was ready to run during a kick-return at the Chiefs six-yard line, but instead fumbled at the five-yard line that ended the Jaguars shot at a comeback.
Agnew, after the game, tweeted out “Wish I could have that one back, I let this team down no doubt! BUT that one play won’t define me. Damn proud of what this team was able to accomplish. Hell of a run! This one hurts, but we’ll be back. Appreciate you rocking with us all year DUUUVAL. Love!” For Trevor Lawrence, this game ended his surprising stat of never losing on a Saturday since high school. The 23 year old QB had not lost on a Saturday, dating back to 2014 and while the streak may be over, the QB has to be proud of the game the Jaguars fought.
A 8:15 p.m. game at Lincoln Financial Field meant lots of beers and lots of hope in the Philadelphia Eagles. Respectively the No. 1 seed in the NFC took on the New York Giants in an almost blowout game. Jalen Hurts showed the league just how explosive of a player he can be by giving 154 passing yards for 2 touchdowns. Five minutes into the first quarter, the Eagles had the ball down the field for a touchdown. Shortly after with a little over a minute left in the first quarter, Hurts passes to DeVonta Smith for a nine yard touchdown.
The Giants pushed back throughout the game trying to stop the Eagles offense and fight their defensive line. During the third quarter, the NYG gained their first and only touchdown of the game in an eight yard rush by running back Matt Breida. Jason Kelce, center for the Philadelphia Eagles, was key to winning the game; when going up against the impressive Giants defensive line, Kelce showed no concern. Pushing back Justin Ellis, defensive tackle for the NYG, with only one hand. Kelce also is being called “A Man of the People” after signing a fake baby for a fan after beating the Giants 38-7.
AP Photo/Seth Wenig - Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) celebrating the touchdown by tight end Hayden Hurst (88), Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023.
With snow falling at Highmark Stadium, the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals took the field for the final AFC playoff game. A highly anticipated game between the No. 2 and No. 3 seed of the AFC division. Every fan was ready to see the faceoff between Joe Burrow, QB for Cincinnati, and Josh Allen, QB for the Bills, and to see Damar Hamlin supporting the team from the stands. As the game began the Bills, their fans and more were anticipating a championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta versus the Kansas City Chiefs. Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals overturned that notion in their 27-10 win. Between the Cincinnati defense and Burrow’s passes, the Bills stood no chance. The win puts them back in the AFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs, who they beat during last year’s AFC championship 27-24. “It’s going to be a fun one,” said Burrow. “Two of the top guys in the league, two of the top teams in the league, great defenses, great overall teams, great coaches.”
The last divisional playoff game kicked off at 6:30 p.m. between the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers’ defense came back during the playoff game after a below-standard showing over the past few months. Stopping Dallas QB Dak Prescott was the highlight of the 49ers’ defense during the game. The 49ers’ got two interceptions made by Fred Warner, linebacker, and Deommodore Lenoir, cornerback. The Dallas defense tested 49ers’ rookie quarterback Brock Purdy more in the playoffs which allowed him to become the first rookie QB to throw for 200 years with no interceptions in a playoff game. With five minutes, 19 seconds left in the third quarter Purdy found TE George Kittle in the middle of the field which when caught led for a 29-yard gain. Soon after, the Niners’ offense found traction, which led to a defensive play for the books in their 19-12 win over Dallas.