Saturday’s NFL Playoffs Recap

Published On January 6, 2013 | By Hung Vong

AFC Saturday Wild-Card Game Recap

Cincinnati (10-6) vs. Houston (12-4)

Final score: Texans 19, Bengals 13.

The Bengals lost to the Texans in the wild card round for the second year in a row. The Texans came in and proved their doubters wrong. After starting the near-perfect season at 11-1, they lost three of their last four games and missed out on a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs to rivals Denver Broncos and New England Patriots.

The Bengals were doomed by their failure to contain Houston’s running game. They let the Texan defense set the tone throughout the game, stuffing the run and batting down balls on crucial third downs. Bengals receivers struggled to get separation from the Texan defenders throughout the game. The only Texan touchdown of the game came on a one-yard carry by Arian Foster, but the Bengals consistently allowed the Texans to reach field goal territory. Field goals proved to be the difference-maker, as Shayne Graham was a perfect 4-for-4, putting up 12 points in a close game.

Keys to the win:

  • The Texans rallied back back from a demoralizing pick-six by Bengals cornerback Leon Hall in the second quarter
  • The Houston defense shut down Bengals offense as they didn’t allow a single touchdown
  • Arian Foster made NFL history by rushing for over 100 yards in his first three playoff games. He recorded 140 rushing yards in the Texans win.

Reasons for the loss:

  • Bengals star receiver A.J. Green did not catch a pass in the first half.
  • The Bengals went 0-for-9 on third downs

Player of the game:

Arian Foster had 32 carries for 140 yards and one touchdown. With a subpar performance from Matt Schaub, who had 262 passing yards and one interception that led to points for the Bengals, Foster carried the team on his back to a close win over one of the best defenses in the NFL.

Quote of the game:

Texans RB Arian Foster:

“Anytime you reach any milestone and touch any part of history in this league it’s a big deal. It means a lot but it’s not just me. It’s this team, my offensive line, the receivers making key blocks, the tight ends, and the quarterback making plays and read checks.  It’s always a culmination of your team, so it’s a nice feeling.”

Looking forward:

The Texans will face the Patriots in the AFC Divisional playoff game on Sunday Jan. 13 at 4:30 p.m. The last time the two teams played was back in Week 14, when the Patriots demolished the Texans in a 42-14 rout. New England contained Foster to 46 yards on the ground and star receiver Andre Johnson to 95 yards.

Look for the Texans to attempt to contain Tom Brady (21/35, 296, 4 TDs, O INT) in the air, but an opportunistic Stevan Ridley might break loose on the ground. New England is superbly balanced this season, and there lies the challenge for the Texans.

NFC Saturday Wild-Card Game Recap

Green Bay (11-5 ) vs. Minnesota ( 10-6)

Final score: Packers 24, Vikings 10.

It was pass city for the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The home team made sure to use crowd to its advantage after coming home from a Week 17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Aaron Rodgers played mistake-free football and dissected the Vikings defense with Green Bay’s spread offense.

By the time the third quarter was over, Viking players were on the sidelines looking distraught. It was too little, too late. Down by 21 in the fourth quarter, Vikings receiver Michael Jenkins caught a 50-yarder from Joe Webb to tighten the game to a two-score deficit, but the final score was misleading considering the nature of the game. The Packers did their homework after giving 409 yards on the ground to Adrian Peterson in the teams’ last two meetings this season. Peterson could not get around the edges, where the defensive ends flushed him inside for the linebackers to do the cleaning up.

Keys to the win:

  • The Packers were 3-for-4 in the red-zone while the Vikings were unable to convert the only time they were within 20 yards of the end zone.
  • The Packers caused three Viking turnovers.

Reasons for the loss:

  • Christian Ponder had a triceps injury before the game and was replaced by Joe Webb, who never threw the football in the regular season and missed his targets most of the night
  • Adrian Peterson couldn’t find space. After torching the Packers for 210 and 199 yards in the last two games and coming up nine yards short of making NFL rushing history, Peterson was held in check throughout the game.
  • The Vikings fell behind early and played turnover-football, which was a deadly combination against a healthy Rodgers-led offense.

Interesting fact:

Aaron Rodgers connected with 10 receivers, an NFL record, leading the Packers to a lop-sided win

The Vikings gained 157 of their 324 yards in the fourth quarter

Player of the game:

Aaron Rodgers was plain scary in the pocket. Rodgers completed the night with 274 yards and completed 23-of-33 passes while throwing for one touchdown. Rodgers did miss a couple of throws down the stretch, but by then, the game had been already out of reach, with barely any time remaining.

Quote of the game:

Christian Ponder was injured when Morgan Burnett took him down to the turf on a blitz last weekend.  The injury was thought to have been an elbow injury, but it was later determined to be a bruise in the triceps that would limit Ponder’s flexibility and power. The quick six-day turnaround was not enough time to recover, so Webb’s number was called.

Here’s what Ponder has to say on the injury:

“I can play with pain. The biggest thing is the loss of flexibility,” Ponder said. “I couldn’t get the ball in the position to where I could throw it normally and lost a lot of power and everything. It wouldn’t have been wise to play.”

Looking forward:

Green Bay will visit the San Francisco 49ers and Robert Griffin III next weekend. If the Packers can play mistake-free football like they did against the Vikings and pressure Griffin in the pocket, the rookie might just make enough mistakes for Green Bay to book a trip to the NFC Divisional Championship game. Remember though that the Packers lost to the Niners in Week 1 at Lambeau Field.

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