So there is only Division winners left because the Home Team won every game but here is what i thought
Cincinnati @ Houston Texans 31 Bengals 10
The Bengals jumped out with a quick score but one the Texan D settled in it was all over. Foster was a beast, and Yates managed the game hitting Johnson for a big TD. Cincy was just overmatched and their youth really showed itself. Dalton threw 3 picks (1 for score) and the Bengals managed just 76 yards rushing on 19 attempts. The Bengals had a great year and it’s nice to see, they are really young and have a solid foundation in Dalton, Green and Gresham.
Biggest play- with 30 seconds left in the 1st half tied at 10 AJ Watt jumped up and picked off a Andy Dalton pass and took it to the house for a 17-10 half time lead.
Detroit @ New Orleans Saints 45 Lions 28
The Saints kept rolling but it was a little harder than the score might suggest. The Lions played well in the 1st half to take a 14-10 lead but the saints came out firing on all cylinders in the second half and scored td’s on 5 straight possessions. The game played out the way it should have for the most part but what I take away from it is that the Saints put the ball on the carpet 2x and if that trend continues no way do they beat the Packers in Green Bay. (Assuming they both win next week) The Saints are hot and playing well and Brees is out of his mind.
The Lions are in the same boat as Cincy but are in better shape they are deep in a lot of positions and Stafford, Johnson and Suh are elite players and will continue to grow look for big things from this team in the future.
Play of the game. Brees TD pass to Henderson to begin the 2nd half set the tone and gave N.O their 1st lead of the game.
Atlanta @ NY Giants Giants 24 Atlanta 2
Atlanta made the playoffs for the 1st time in 2 straight seasons but it was the same result as every other appearance in the Matt Ryan/Mike Smith Era. The Falcons were out played and the G-men consistently made huge plays on both sides of the ball. Eli was fantastic again when he needed to be and the Run game was potent. The Giants offensive line was outstanding in both protection schemes and opening gaping holes in the Atlanta d-line. The NY D was outstanding but I really have question the decision making on the 4th down calls by Smith. These 2 plays definitely changed the game, I agree with going for it but it’s the actual calls that bothered me.
Lets examine- the 1st one was on a 4th and 1, score 0-0. So tie game 1st play of 2nd quarter in Field goal range Smith decides to go for it. Great decision you’re on the road, you’re moving the ball good and you want to get the lead. You have one of the best power runners in all of the NFL and you run a qb sneak Giants were ready and it went nowhere. The second attempt was even more perplexing down 8 with the ball at the Giants 21 driving for a possible tying score they tried the same thing but this time with an empty backfield but had same result. The 1st attempt set the tone for the game, the second attempt just deflated the entire team and 3 plays later Nicks blew past the entire team on a crossing route to go 72 yards for a score and blow the game open.
Hind sight will always be 20/20 but with these two particular plays the Falcons needed to have a different approach. In both of these situations you have to go with what works and if the Falcons watched tape of the previous week they would see Romo tried same thing twice and also failed. Give Turner the ball, or run play action, hell spread out the field. Don’t run slow ass Matt Ryan up the middle it was a huge mistake and it cost them dearly.
Play of the game- I think I covered that!!
Pittsburgh @ Denver Broncos 29 Steelers 23 (OT)
“Big Ben gets Tebowed” should be the headlines in the Denver papers. Tebow and his lord and savior pull out another one and keep that train moving. I have written posts praising Tebow and ripping him. I didn’t want to see him win this game I have nothing against the Broncos but I want good matchups in the playoffs and Pittsburgh @ New England is a good matchup Denver @ New England is not but more on that later this week.
So the Broncos took some time to settle in. Ben was horrible in the 1st half after getting 2 1stQ Field Goals the Broncos scored on 4 straight possessions to take a 20-6 lead into the half. Tebow was a big play machine. After starting the 2nd Q with a incompletion his next 3 passes went for 50 yrds to Thomas, 30 to royal for Td and 58 to Thomas to set up his own 8 yrd rush TD. He then threw one incompletion and on the next throw he hits Fells for 40 yrds. So rack it up Tebow for the 2nd quarter he was 5-9 186 yards 2 tds 20 points. Maybe Jason Suedekis helped out early this week.
The Steelers have battled injuries all year but that shouldn’t be an excuse. They are a talented, veteran laden squad who should be able to overcome adversary and they showed they could in the 2nd half. After forcing a punt to start the 2nd half they drove 88 yards in 11 plays to score and get back in the game. The teams traded FG’s to start the 4th then with Denver driving MaGahee put it on the carpet and Woodley recovered. Ben hit Cotchery for a 31 yd TD to tie it up. The Steelers got the ball back and were at the Denver 45 and Dumerville makes the play of the game a sack fumble knocking the Steelers back 9 yards. If Ben completes a pass in that spot they have a game winning FG shot, didn’t happen.
I was hoping to see the new OT rules go to work for the 1st time but that didn’t happen either, all game long the Broncos were throwing for big yards on 1st down, on the 1st play of OT the Steelers got aggressive and went with 0 Coverage and they got burned. Tebow hit Thomas in stride a stiff arm was given and the game and season was over for the defending AFC Champs.