NFL scores and more, divisional playoffs: 32 things we learned
The 32 things we learned from the Divisional Round of the 2021 NFL Playoffs:
1. The second round of this playoff more than made up for a Largely forgettable not-so-super-wild weekend. In fact, has there ever been a quartet of playoff games this good? All four field goals came in the last regulation game – the last sending the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills to overtime in an instant classic won 42-36 by two-time defending champions AFC. The Chiefs’ touchdown on the first possession of overtime will resurrect questions about the fairness of the NFL format given that Buffalo never got to possess the ball in overtime. (Kansas City suffered a similar fate just three years ago on the same ground at Arrowhead Stadium, when Tom Brady and the New England Patriots won the 2018 AFC Championship Game in the first practice of ‘OT.) But those are the rules for now, and Kansas City capitalized in spectacular fashion — capping a tsunami of goals in the final five minutes and counting, which featured 31 combined points. The bar is now set pretty high for championship weekend, when the Chiefs host the Cincinnati Bengals while the San Francisco 49ers visit the Los Angeles Rams for the second time in three weeks.
2. Average margin of victory in the wild-card round: 17.2 points. Average margin of victory in the divisional round: 3.8 points. Average margin in the divisional round after four quarters: 2.3 points.
3. Kansas City’s victory was the weekend’s only victory for the home teams, which were 5-1 in the wildcard round.
4. Did you know: You can give up four TD catches to a player and still qualify for a conference championship game? The bosses knew.
4a. Did you know: you can allow nine sacks and still qualify for a conference championship game? The Bengals knew.
4b. Did you know: You don’t need to score an offensive touchdown to qualify for a conference championship game? The 49ers knew.
4c. Did you know: You can lose four fumbles and still qualify for a conference championship game? The Rams knew.
5. This playoff is the first since the 2009 season that will not include Brady or Aaron Rodgers in the championship round.
6. A week after Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and Bills QB Josh Allen each threw five touchdown passes in wildcard blowouts, the two accounted for four touchdowns in Sunday’s showdown. It could very well become the Brady-Peyton Manning rivalry of this decade.
6a. Mahomes also rushed for a career-high 69 yards. Allen has run for 1 yard less … despite going over 69 eight times in his career.
6b. Mahomes is 5-0 in playoff games heading into the championship round and has never lost a postseason game to a quarterback not named Brady.
seven. The Bills owned the league’s No. 1 scoring defense in 2021, but this was the fourth time it had been burned for at least 33 points.
8. Last season marked the first time a team (the Buccaneers) played the Super Bowl in its own stadium. The Rams are one win away from going two years in a row.
9. It’s worth nothing, however, that Super Bowl 56 is pretty much set. After all, the Bengals have never lost an AFC Championship game – advancing from the previous two appearances to lose the Super Bowl to the 49ers, who emerged victorious on Super Sunday after beating the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs. . Niners-Cincy trilogy, anyone?
ten.The 49ers will play their 17th conference championship next weekend, most franchises since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.
11. San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan is pretty good against his former underlings. Saturday’s win at Green Bay made it 3-2 against Packers coach Matt LaFleur, including two playoff wins. Next, Shanahan will face Rams coach Sean McVay, who worked for him in Washington. McVay’s team has lost seven of 10 to the Shanahan 49ers, including the last six.
12. The NFL has been touted as a “quarterback-centric” league for a few years now. But after a weekend that saw Rodgers and Brady, who will likely finish 1-2 in MVP voting this season, go down the drain, would you rather have the best passer…or the best team?
13. Namely, the 49ers have won four in a row — including two playoff wins — but QB Jimmy Garoppolo has a sub-90 passer rating in all of them with five interceptions. He has yet to throw a TD pass in the playoffs.
14. Since joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020, Brady is 0-3 against the Rams.
15. Rams QB Matthew Stafford (barely) got the better of Brady in their first postseason game. Stafford is 1-3 in his other playoff appearances.
16. Stafford joins Nick Foles, Eli Manning, Jake Plummer, Mark Sanchez and Ryan Tannehill as the only quarterbacks to remain undefeated against Brady in the playoffs. Manning is the only one who went 2-0.
17. sunday was First TB12 playoff loss to Rams, whom he helped beat in two Super Bowls with the Patriots. Despite a mediocre performance, Brady last defeated them in Super Bowl 53.
17a. Brady’s first playoff loss with the Bucs came in his sixth playoff start for Tampa Bay, which was also the first when the Buccaneers failed to score 30 points.
17b. And the Super Bowl man with the seven rings now owns his first penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, flagged for the infraction on Sunday after complaining to referee Shawn Hochuli about the bloody lip he suffered from Rams OLB Von Miller.
18. Perhaps the Niners consulted a crystal ball when they opted out of drafting No. 1 overall Rodgers in 2005. They are undefeated in the playoffs against the Northern California native, the record 0- 4 in the Rodgers postseason against them the worst a quarterback has against a single team. in the Super Bowl era (since 1966).
18a. Rodgers may own the Chicago Bears, but maybe Colin Kaepernick and Garoppolo should team up for a PSA to remind the three-time MVP that his NFL daddy is in Silicon Valley.
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18b. It’s been 20 years since the Packers beat the 49ers in the playoffs. Rodgers’ predecessor, Hall of Famer Brett Favre, was 4-1 in playoff games against San Francisco – the loss coming on Steve Young’s incredible TD catch of WR Terrell Owens during the 1998 round.
19. Garoppolo has an .800 winning percentage (4-1 record) in the playoffs for the 49ers. Joe Montana’s playoff win rate with San Francisco was .737 (a 14-5 record).
20. The Tennessee Titans are 0-3 as the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
21. Rodgers is 1-3 when the Packers are the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
21a. Rodgers is 7-9 in the playoffs since the Packers went 4-0 en route to winning Super Bowl 45 at the end of the 2010 campaign. He is 5-4 at Lambeau Field in the playoffs .
22. The Bengals’ Joe Burrow is the first quarterback drafted No. 1 overall to reach a championship game in his second season.
22a. Next, Burrow hopes to join Kurt Warner, Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and Russell Wilson as sophomore quarterbacks to win the Super Bowl. Pretty good company there.
23. Burrow’s teammate, WR Ja’Marr Chase, became the first rookie in league history with multiple 100-yard receiving games during the same postseason.
24. Heading into Saturday, Cincinnati was 0-7 all-time in road playoff games.
25. A star could be born, Buffalo WR Gabriel Davis with those aforementioned quartets of TD catches, a playoff record for one game. He had 201 yards on eight catches.
26. Sunday was the first time this season that Tampa Bay’s first defense played together. The Buccaneers lost.
27. Saturday was the first time since Week 6 that Tennessee’s first-string offense played together. The Titans lost.
27a. RB Derrick Henry returned, but his 62 rushing yards were his fewest since Week 1, when he scored 58.
28. Buffalo P Matt Haack, who hadn’t kicked in three of the Bills’ previous four games, kicked four times on Sunday.
28a. It might have been more work for Haack, but the Bills were 4-for-4 on fourth down. Remarkable stones.
29. Speaking of stones, the props of kickers Harrison Butker (Chiefs), Matt Gay (Rams), Robbie Gould (49ers) and Evan McPherson (Bengals), all of whom have ice water in their veins and showed it with huge conversions this weekend. Gould, who has never missed a kick in his playoff career, might be exceptionally exceptional … but all of these teams are in good hands – or on good legs – as critical time becomes less and less. indulgent.
30. TE Chiefs Travis Kelce finished with 96 receiving yards on Sunday, including the game-winning 8-yard TD snatch. He missed 4 yards to become the first player with five consecutive 100-yard receiving efforts in the playoffs.
31. Highlights in Athens, Georgia, home of the national college football champion, the University of Georgia Bulldogs. Stafford couldn’t do what Stetson Bennett IV did at the college level, but the Rams gunslinger could become the first former Dawgs QB to win the Super Bowl. Fran Tarkenton went 0-3 on Super Sunday for the Minnesota Vikings in the 1970s.
32. We end with the GOAT, just in case this is the end. If Sunday was Brady’s last NFL appearance – and there seems to be a growing buzz that, even though he’s under contract for 2022, he could opt for retirement over a 23rd season – he gave his fans one last thrill with a near-epic comeback against the Rams. His haters also enjoyed some satisfaction that the Bucs couldn’t finish him, their repeat bid foiled with TB12 taking the loss. Brady deflected questions about his future after the defeat, but the The story of the offseason could be to watch if he fulfills his long-held desire to play until he is 45. Either way, so many memories, so many yards, so many teammates, so many rings, so many touchdowns. Even if you’re not a fan, don’t you want to see this man in the arena for another year?
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.