Welcome to the NFL Playoffs and Wildcard Weekend! The first batch of playoff games were last night, and while the matchups may have been slightly underwhelming, they still happened. Let’s get into it.
Houston squeezes past Cincinnati 19-13
Despite the Texans dominating the game on paper in every possible way, including outgaining Cincinnati 420 yards to 198, holding the ball for 38:49 of the game, and forcing the Bengals to go 0 for 9 on third downs, Houston barely squeezed by the Bengals by less than a touchdown to move on to the next round and a matchup against the New England Patriots.
Houston was led by Arian Foster, who ran for 140 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Matt Schaub had an efficient game through the air, completing 29 of 38 passes for 262 yards, but he also provided the only touchdown for Cincinnati, throwing a second quarter interception to Bengals defensive back Leon Hall that was returned 21 yards for the score.
Luckily for Schaub, the Texans defense overcompensated, forcing Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton into a terrible performance to the tune of 14 for 30 passing for 127 yards and an interception, good for a dismal 44.7 quarterback rating on the day. Without Dalton able to get anything going in the passing game, the Bengals were unable to mount a last minute comeback victory. Their final drive resulted in a turnover on downs at the Houston 28 with 3:18 to play. They would not get the ball back.
It makes you wonder why you don’t take the 52-yard field goal in that situation. Cincinnati had two timeouts plus the two-minute warning left. If Bengals kicker Josh Brown, who had already made a 47-yarder in the game, hits the 52-yarder, you conceivably can stop Houston, get the ball back with a little under two minutes to go, and have a shot to tie the game with a field goal or win it with a touchdown. I normally support going for it on fourth down, but considering the situation, not to mention that it was fourth and 11 and Andy Dalton was playing like absolute garbage, I can’t see the logic in letting your terrible quarterback try to will the team to victory there. Take the points and hope your defense, which had held Houston to 19 points despite everything else, can get one stop. Oh well. Something to think about this summer, I guess.
Packers beat up on Vikings, make Adrian Peterson look merely ‘great’ instead of ‘amazing’
Aaron Rogers threw for 274 yards and a touchdown, DuJuan Harris and John Kuhn added two more on the ground, and Packer defense did the rest as Green Bay blew out Minnesota 24-10 with only a meaningless touchdown in the fourth quarter keeping the Vikings from being truly humiliated.
The Vikings were playing without starting quarterback Christian Ponder because of a triceps injury, so backup quarterback Joe Webb saw his first action of the season in a playoff game. And it showed. Webb had just 11 completions in 30 attempts for 180 with one touchdown and one incompletion. Take away his 50-yard touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins in the fourth quarter when the game was already too far gone and his numbers are even worse.
Not to dogpile on him too much. He hadn’t played all season. How did you think he would perform?
Meanwhile, Adrian Peterson had a “respectable for anyone else, but pedestrian for him” game with 99 yards on 22 carries. Considering he’d run for 199 and 210 yards against Green Bay in their two previous matchups this season, his 99-yard performance Saturday was a bit disappointing to say the least. But it’s hard to put too much on Peterson for this game considering he was literally the Vikings’ only weapon without Ponder in the lineup.
Green Bay moves on to face San Francisco in the next round.
All statistics via ESPN