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NFL Playoffs — And Then There Were Four

by Sam Newman

On January 11th the NFL Divisional round came to a close. Four teams were eliminated, and four moved on to the championship game. Here’s a quick recap of what happened.

The Divisional round started on January 10th with the Ravens flying to Foxborough to take on the Patriots.

Final Score: Ravens: 31 Patriots: 35

Key Stats:  Joe Flacco- 28 for 45, 292 passing yards, 4 passing TD’s, 2 INT’s

Justin Forsett- 24 carries, 129 yards, 5.38 YAC, 1 receiving touchdown

Tom Brady- 33 for 50, 367 passing yards, 3 passing TD’s, 1 INT, 1 rushing TD

Rob Gronkowski- 7 receptions, 108 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

Danny Amendola- 5 receptions, 81 receiving yards, 2 receiving TD’s

Analysis: The Ravens looked unstoppable in the first half but all that changed in the second half. The Patriots overcame two separate 14 point deficits and showed that they are a 4th quarter team. Their running backs were rarely used in this game; the Patriots were very one-dimensional. Flacco had two second half interceptions. One of the picks came inside the two minute warning in the fourth. The Ravens couldn’t hold a lead or produce points consistently in the second half. The Pats kept the Ravens secondary off balance by using various receivers and routes. They were able to score on a trick play and drew a 15 yard penalty on a classic Alabama play.

 

In the next game we saw the Panthers sprint over to Seattle to attack the Seahawks.

Final Score: Panthers: 17 Seahawks: 31

Key Stats: Cam Newton: 23 for 36, 246 passing yards, 2 passing TD’s, 3 total turnovers

Jonathan Stewart: 13 carries, 70 rushing yards, 5.38 YAC

Kelvin Benjamin: 7 receptions, 75 yards, 2 receiving TD’s

Russell Wilson: 15 for 22, 268 passing yards, 3 passing TD’s, 0 turnovers

Jermaine Kearse: 3 receptions, 129 receving yards, 1 receiving TD

Kam Chancellor: 10 total tackles, 1 INT, 1 defensive touchdown (90 yard return on INT)

Analysis: At the half this game looked close. The Seahawks were only up four. Then Carolina’s secondary broke down and allowed a ton of huge plays. The Panthers offense looked stagnant and ended up trying to come back in the fourth. It was ended by the pick six. The Panthers looked like a completely different team in the second, and that wasn’t a good thing. Seattle’s Legion of Boom and explosive offense was too much.

 

The next day was started off with a showdown between the Cowboys and the Packers.

Final Score: Dallas: 21 Green Bay: 26

Key Stats:  Tony Romo: 15 for 19, 191 passing yards, 2 passing TD’s

DeMarco Murray: 25 carries, 123 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD, 4.92 YAC

Aaron Rodgers: 24 for 35, 316 passing touchdowns, 3 passing TD’s,

Davante Adams and Randall Cobb: Combined 15 receptions, 233 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

Eddie Lacy: 19 carries, 101 rushing yards, 5.32 YAC

Analysis: This game was back and forth for a while. The Packers scored thirteen unanswered points to win the game. The Cowboys relied on the run for most of the game. Lacy stepped up for the Packers and helped them pull out the win; Adams also stepped up and performed well for a rookie. It would have been a completely different game if Dez Byrant fourth down catch wasn’t overturned by the “Calvin Johnson rule”. The Packers performed well on offense and played a great fourth quarter.

 

In the final game of the Divisional round we saw the Colts giddy-up over to Denver to take on the Broncos.

Final Score: Indianapolis: 24 Denver: 13

Key Stats:  Andrew Luck: 27 for 43, 265 passing yards, 2 passing TD’s, 2 INT’s

Dan Herron: 23 carries, 63 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD

Peyton Manning: 26 for 46, 211 passing yards, 1 passing TD, 1 fumble lost

C.J Anderson: 18 carries, 80 rushing yards, 4.44 YAC

Analysis: The Broncos played like complete trash. Manning tried to play through a torn quad and did the best he could but it was nowhere near enough. The Colts balanced offense helped them take control of this game. They were able to take an early lead and they never looked back.