By DJ Harding and Stephen Ur III –
Kansas City Chiefs 27, Jacksonville Jaguars 20
The first Divisional Round playoff game was a rematch of Week 10 as the Jacksonville Jaguars traveled to Kansas City once again as Chiefs head coach Andy Reid took on his former offensive coordinator from 2013 Doug Pederson, who now coaches the Jaguars.
Pederson also was a quarterback in Green Bay when Reid was a quarterbacks coach. Pederson was also Reid’s first quarterback in Philadelphia, which was Reid’s first coaching job.
When asked about this history, Pederson said “That’s a lot of years. That’s almost 30 years of my life that he’s influenced me.”
The game opened up with a quick Jaguars drive that lasted three plays. The Chiefs responded with a 12 play, 83 yard drive that saw Travis Kelce catch four passes including the final one for a touchdown. The Jaguars responded with a touchdown of their own after a 63 yard return by Jamal Agnew. Christian Kirk caught a touchdown, his second in his postseason career.
Mahomes would suffer a high ankle sprain on a second quarter drive that would end in a Harrison Butker 50 yard field goal. The Jaguars wouldn’t hold the ball for long as after two minutes of possession they would give the ball back to Chad Henne who replaced Mahomes for the time being as he led a 12 play 98 yard drive which was highlighted by a Isaiah Pacheco 39 yard run along with another Travis Kelce receiving touchdown. The Jaguars picked up three more points on a field goal.
Mahomes returned after the half and executed a drive that resulted in three points to end the third quarter. With a 10 point lead, the Jaguars made a last chance at a comeback after a wild comeback last week.
Travis Etienne ran for a touchdown, his only of the day, before Mahomes threw another touchdown to Marquez Valdes-Scantling, which put the game out of reach.
The Chiefs will make it to their fifth straight AFC Championship as Travis Kelce became third in receiving yards and touchdowns after a 98 yard two-touchdown performance. This is the Chiefs sixth straight win.
Philadelphia Eagles 38, New York Giants 7
In a battle of two NFC East teams, the Philadelphia Eagles dominated the New York Giants in every which way en route to a 38-7 victory. Quarterback Jalen Hurts completed 16 of 24 passes for 154 yards and two touchdown passes. He also rushed nine times for 34 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Kenneth Gainwell led the run game for Philadelphia as he rushed for 112 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown. Miles Sanders came close to a 100-yard rushing game, as well, rushing 17 times for 90 yards.
Four Eagles tied with five total tackles on defense with Hasson Reddick and Darius Slay recording four solo tackles each. Reddick also recorded a sack and a half.
As for the Giants, quarterback Daniel Jones completed 15 of 27 passes for 135 yards and an interception. He was also sacked five times.
Saquan Barkley led the run game with 61 yards on nine carries. Matt Brieda scored the lone touchdown for New York, an eight yard run in the third quarter.
Jaylon Smith led all defensive players with 14 total tackles, eight of them being solo. Julian Love also recorded eight solo tackles for the Giants.
Cincinnati Bengals 27, Buffalo Bills 10
The game to determine who would play the Chiefs was a winner take all as the bengals looked to make their second straight AFC Championship. As the Bills look to make their second in three years. Both teams came in hot as the Bills had eight straight wins and the Bengals had nine straight wins, the most ever in a divisional matchup.
This matchup also had emotional significance as their week 17 game was canceled due to the tragic event that was Damar Hamlin collapsing. Hamlin was in the building today, which was met by cheers. His family was also in attendance.
This great matchup quickly turned into the Cincinnati Bengals show early on as the Bengals got out to a quick 14-0 lead. The Bengals dominated the first quarter having 10 first downs and 160 total yards with Joe Burrow thoring two touchdowns, first to Jamar Chase and the second to Hayden Hurst.
The Bills, on the other hand, had 11 total plays for eight yards. The Bills finally put a drive together with 15 plays going 75 yards and ending in a Josh Allen rushing touchdown. He became the first quarterback in team history with multiple rushing touchdowns as Jack Kemp is the only other quarterback with a rushing touchdown back in 1964. This score was returned with a Bengals field goal to make it 17-7 at halftime.
Coming out of the half, the Bills were first on the board with a Tyler Bass field goal which was the last points scored by the Bills. The Bengals scored two more field goals in what was a 27-10 victory.
Josh Allen going in had the most offensive yards per game in a minimum of five starts with 353.9 yards per game. The Bengals held him under that average with 265 passing yards through the air and 26 yards rushing. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow said in a postgame interview “This might be our most complete game of the season”.
A great game for the Bengals it was as they looked to replicate last year and go to Kansas City to book a ticket to the Super Bowl once again. The good news for Cincinnati is Joe Burrow is now 3-0 on the road in the playoffs.
San Francisco 49ers 19, Dallas Cowboys 12
A classic non-divisonal rivalry was renewed as the 49ers and Cowboys met in the 2022 NFL Divisional Round at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA on Sunday night. The two teams had a combined 10 Super Bowls among them and were also meeting in the postseason for the second consecutive season.
San Francisco defeated Dallas in the 2021 NFL Wild Card round last season at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, 23-17. The 49ers were also looking to get back to the NFC Championship Game for the second consecutive postseason.
The lone score of the first quarter was a 26 yard field goal from Robbie Gould that gave the 49ers a 3-0 lead with 2:12 left in the first quarter. Dallas scored the first touchdown of the game with 9:25 left in the half as Dak Prescott threw a four-yard touchdown to tight end Dalton Schultz.
Kicker Brett Maher, who missed all four extra points in the Cowboys’ 34-14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Wild Card, missed the extra points once more, although this one was blocked, keeping the score at 6-3. Gould would add two field goals for San Francisco, giving the 49ers a 9-6 lead at halftime.
Maher would score the only three points of the third quarter with a 25 yard field goal with 9:08 left in the quarter, tying the game at nine heading into the final frame.
Running back Christian McCaffrey scored on a two-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter to give the 49ers a 16-9 lead.
In the end, down 19-12, Prescott was sacked on a third down and with all three timeouts, head coach Mike McCarthy decided to punt the ball. They didn’t get the ball back until only 45 seconds left on the clock, and they started at their own six yard line.
As Prescott put it after the game, “we just weren’t able to get anything going.” The 49ers would go on to win by a final score of 19-12.
The win for 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, selected last overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, earning him the title of Mr. Irrelevant, improves him to 7-0 as a starting quarterback.
“Man, we’re just excited that we won,” Purdy said after the game. “Everyone did their part. It’s playoff football, it’s never easy, but we’re moving on.” Purdy becomes the third rookie quarterback in NFL history to win his first two playoff games, joining Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez.
He will look to become the first rookie quarterback to lead his team to the Super Bowl as they will travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game at 3 p.m. ET next Sunday.