(NTNE SPORTS TEAM)
This weekend, the air was crisper, the atmosphere at NFL stadiums carried more decibels and even the popcorn was fresher. There was a win-or-go-home mentality that carried a palpable brand of urgency. Games of inches will become games of millimeters.
Twelve teams, six games, two conferences, one focus: The Vince Lombardi Trophy at Super Bowl LVII in Arizona.
Welcome to the 2022 NFL season Super Wild Card Weekend.
With the addition of a third Wild Card team in each conference and the subsequent expansion of the playoffs in 2020 has resulted in a Super Wild Card Weekend of NFL action, and for the third consecutive season, there were six games, with two on Saturday, three on Sunday and, for the second consecutive season, one on Monday.
San Francisco 49ers 41, Seattle Seahawks 23
The Seahawks actually led this game 16-14 at halftime, but the 49ers scored 25 consecutive points in the third quarter against their NFC West rival to advance to the Divisional Playoffs.
Jacksonville Jaguars 31, Los Angeles Chargers 30
Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw four interceptions in the first half and the Chargers led 27-0 at halftime. Lawrence then threw four touchdown passes in the second half and Riley Patterson kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired to complete the third largest comeback in NFL postseason history.
New York Giants 32 – Minnesota Vikings 24
On Sunday the New York Giants returned to Minnesota for the second time this season to take on the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in the Super Wild Card Round. In the first quarter, after twelve plays and 75 yards, Kirk Cousins got Minnesota on the board first with a touchdown. The point after attempt by Greg Joseph was good to make this a 0-7 Minnesota game. But the Giants would answer right back after 5 plays, and 75 yards Saquon Barkley got the first touchdown of the game for the Giants. The point after attempt by Graham Gano was good to make this a 7-7 game. With just a little over one minute remaining in the first quarter, after 4 plays, and 81 yards, Daniel Jones connected with Isaiah Hodgins to get the second touchdown of the game for the Giants. The point after attempt by Graham Gano was good to make this a 14-7 Giants game. In the second quarter, after 20 plays, and 85 yards, Graham Gano made a 25 yard field goal to make it a 17-7 Giants game. With just forty-five seconds remaining in the second quarter, after 8 plays, and 75 yards, Kirk Cousins completed a pass to K.J. Osborn to get a Vikings touchdown. The point after attempt by Greg Joseph was good to make it a 17-14 Giants game. In the third quarter, with just 11:37 on the clock, Daniel Jones completed a pass to Daniel Bellinger. The point after attempt by Graham Gano was good to make it a 24-14 Giants game. With 7:46 on the clock in the third, Kirk Cousins completed a pass to Irv Smith Jr. and the point after attempt by Greg Joseph to make it a 24-21 game. In the fourth quarter with 12:34 on the clock, Greg Joseph made a 38 yard field goal to make it a 24-24 game. But the Giants answered back with Saquon Barkley getting a touchdown. The point after attempt by Graham Gano was good to make it a 31-24 game.
Miami Dolphins 31 – Buffalo Bills 34
On Sunday the Buffalo hosted the Miami Dolphins for their fifth playoff meeting and their first since January 2nd, 1999. Six of the current players on the Bills, were not yet even born the last time these two teams met in the playoffs. With a 31-34 win on Sunday, the Bills lead the all-time playoff series with Miami, 4-1. In The first quarter the Bills had two touchdowns to make it a 0-14 Bills game. In the second quarter the Bills made two field goals while the Dolphins made three field goals and completed a touchdown to make it a 17-20 Bills game going into the half. In the third quarter The Dolphins had one touchdown and the Bills had two touchdowns to make it a 24-34 Bills game going into the fourth quarter. The Dolphins in the fourth quarter had one touchdown to make it a 31-34 Bills game.
Baltimore Ravens 17 – Cincinnati Bengals 24
To end Sunday Night action there was a repeat of week 18 matchup of the Baltimore Ravens visiting the Cincinnati Bengals. Cincinnati scored on their opening drive with a field goal to open the game up 3-0. The Bengals Defense then forced an interception which led to a Joe Burrow passing touchdown received by Jamar Chase. The Ravens then took up most of the quarter with a 10 minute touchdown drive to bring themselves within two points. After a Cincinnati turnover Justin Tucker hit a field goal to end the half with Baltimore up 10-9. Coming out of the Half a quick series by the Ravens which ended in a punt was quickly answered by a Joe Burrow rushing touchdown and a 2 point conversion to put the Bengals up 7. Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley quickly answered with a 41 yard touchdown pass to Demarcus Robinson to even the game back up at 17 a piece. The Bengals proceeded to go three and out and give the ball back.. But when all the momentum was on Baltimore’s side. The Cincinnati defense stepped up when it had to most, when linebacker Logan Wilson forced a fumble on the 1 yard line which defensive end Sam Hubbard scooped up and took 98 yards to the house. The ravens never recovered because after a series of punts the Ravens had one final drive in which they came very close with the final play where a hail mary attempt hit the fingertips of a ravens receiver but when the game ended the Bengals came out victorious and now travel to Buffalo for their next matchup.
Dallas Cowboys 31 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14
The Final game of wild card weekend had the Dallas Cowboys visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a matchup where the winning team would play San Francisco in the Divisional round. What started as a series of punts to begin the game quickly turned into the Dallas Cowboys show. Dak Presscott threw 2 touchdowns to Dalton Schultz along with a rushing touchdown. Going into Halftime it was 18-0 as even though Dallas put on a show kicker Brett Maher missed 3 extra point attempts scoring as much as the Buccaneers did in that half. Coming out of the Half it was more of the same as the Cowboys scored a 4th touchdown which also led to a 4th missed kick by Maher which became a NFL record for most missed extra points. Despite Mahers performance the Cowboys scored 5 touchdowns for 31 total points. The Buccaneers attempted a comeback but it was too little too late. The Dallas Cowboys won their first road playoff game since 1992 as they now attempt to win in the Divisional round and make their first NFC Championship since 1995.
Stephen Ur III, DJ Harding and Tiffany Williams contributed to this article