NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round Recap

For Americans, the Super Bowl is perceived as the pinnacle of sports and an acclaimed form of entertainment. Whether you’re excited about the game itself or the commercials in between, The Super Bowl draws crowds of all kinds to watch the two best teams football has to offer. While the big game itself is fascinating, the road to get there can be considered just as captivating. The 2022 NFL Divisional Round Playoff games were, to say the least, nothing short of spectacular. 

Saturday Games

Joe Burrow has been on a hot streak lately with the young and fun receiving core featuring fellow LSU Tigers Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and running back Joe Mixon. First seed Tennessee was eliminated in the divisional for the second straight year. A lackluster  performance by quarterback Ryan Tannehill could be to blame for the game as he threw a costly fourth-quarter interception that led to the Bengals getting in position to kick the game-winning field goal. This win means that the Bengals will make their first appearance in the conference championship since 1988. 

The freezing cold at Lambeau Field stunted both offensive units in the red zone, leading to only a touchdown and two field goals from both teams. While San Francisco’s offense was unable to put points on the board, their special teams made up for their failures by scoring a touchdown on a blocked punt. Kicker Robbie Gould nailed two field goals, one of those being a 45-yarder as time expired to seal the win. This is the third straight year Green Bay has exited the playoffs and come short of the Super Bowl, and one can only wonder about the future of the organization and MVP caliber quarterback Aaron Rodgers. 

Sunday Games

In what looked like a blowout win, The Los Angeles Rams led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-3 until the closing minutes of the third quarter. However, if there is anything that is certain about this unpredictable sport is that you can never count Tom Brady out of a game. With that being said, the 44-year-old relic kept his cool and was able to tie the game at 27 with only 42 seconds left. This game could have gone into overtime, but Matthew Stafford was ready to move on as he hit star receiver Cooper Kupp twice to get in prime position for Matt Gay to hit the game winning field goal. Stafford has found success in the postseason for the first time in his 12-year career, and we can’t help but root for the gunslinger. In the meanwhile, we mourn the fact that Tom Brady was unable to pull off another magical comeback and that Tampa Bay will be unable to repeat as Super Bowl champions. 

The Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills matchup was the final divisional round game of the weekend, being arguably the most competitive one of the four given that it was a one score game for nearly the entire afternoon. Four lead changes after the two-minute warning left many fans watching on the edge of their seats. What looked like an amazing game-winning drive by Josh Allen and the Bills turned out to be a choking hazard for their defense as they surrendered a field goal before the end of regulation and a touchdown in overtime to seal the fate of the Bills. While there is a clear winner and loser, this game should also go down in history as one of the ultimate quarterback duels of recent years, as well as a stellar performance by Gabriel Davis in what should be a promising career. 

Four games, four walk-off scores. As we head into this weekend to watch the conference championships take place, these teams mustn’t forget where they came from and what they went through to get here.