It was a wild weekend for the NFL as the playoffs finally kicked off with wild card weekend. Drew Brees aired out 466 yards and 3 TDs to lead the Saints to a win over the Lions, the Texans recorded their first ever playoff win behind Arian Fosterâ€™s 153 yards rushing, the Giants defense dominated the Falcons as they earned a win, and finally yet again fans witnessed â€œTebow Timeâ€ as he led the Broncos to an OT win.
Saints 45, Lions 28
It was an offensive affair as the Saints set an NFL record for the most all-purpose yards in a playoff game with 626.
Although the Saints defeated the Lions handily, they were forced to recover from a slow start. The Lions struck first and put up the only points scored in the first quarter through a 10 yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Will Heller for the score.
The Saints finally got on the board in the second half when Darren Sproles ran in a 2 yard score to tie the game. But, the Lions quickly answered with a 13 yard touchdown pass from Stafford to Calvin Johnson to retake the lead. The Saints managed to get a 24 yard field goal just before the half to pull within 4.
Despite their lackluster start, it was all Saints in the second half. Brees and the Saints put up 5 touchdowns in the second half. Three touchdowns were passes from Brees to Devery Henderson for 41 yards, Jimmy Graham for 3 yards, and Robert Meachem for 56 yard scores. The other two touchdowns came from a 17 yard Darren Sproles run and a 1 yard run from Pierre Thomas.
The only two scores for the Lions in the second half were a 1 yard run from Stafford and a 12 yard touchdown pass from Stafford to Johnson.
With the win, the Saints will advance and travel to take on the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round of the playoffs next week.
Houston 31, Bengals 10
The Texans used turnovers and a solid defensive effort combined with a 153 yard, 2 touchdown performance from Arian Foster to handily defeat the Bengals.
The first half was competitive as both teams were able to get on the scoreboard early. The Texans got scoring from all over the field. Their 17 points came from three different sides of the ball which included an 8 yard TD run from Foster, a 39 yard field goal from Neil Rackers, and also a 29 yard interception return for a score by J.J Watt.
The Bengals put up 10 in the first half through a Cedric Benson 1 yard score followed in the second quarter by a Mike Nugent 37 yard field goal. They trailed by 7 at the half.
However, in the second half the Texans defense was dominant which allowed them to pull away and get their first playoff victory in franchise history.
In the third quarter, T.J Yates tossed a 40 yard touchdown pass to Andre Johnson. In the fourth quarter, Arian Foster added a 42 yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 21 to which the Bengals could not come back.
Houston will travel next week to Baltimore to take on the Ravens and attempt to add on to their first playoff victory with another.
N.Y Gians 24, Atlanta 2
The N.Y Giants used a dominating defensive performance to shut down the Falcons offense leading them to the victory.
The Falcons were able to strike forced as they pressured Eli Manning in the end zone forcing an intentional grounding call in the end zone resulting in a safety and 2 points.
However, the N.Y Giants defense stepped up and shut down the Falcons not allowing a single point for the game (the safety being given up by the offense). The defense only gave up 199 passing yards and a dismal 64 yards rushing to the Falcons.
On the other hand, Eli Manning and Hakeem Nicks had impressive performances to power the N.Y Giants to 24 points. Manning threw for 277 yards and 3 touchdowns which gave him an impressive 129.3 QBR rating. Nicks caught 6 passes for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The Giants will advance to take on the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau field in the divisional round this weekend.
Broncos 29, Steelers 23 F/OT
Tebow Time! NFL fans yet again got to witness behind Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos as they defeated the Steelers on a 80 yard touchdown pass from Tebow to Demaryius Thomas in Overtime.
The Broncos had a great second quarter that enabled them to take a 20-6 lead in to halftime. The 20 points came via a 30 yard touchdown pass from Tebow to Eddie Royal, an 8 yard touchdown run from Tebow, and two field goals from Matt Prater coming from 20 and 28 yards. Shaun Suisham kicked two field goals to account for the Steelers scoring in the first half.
In the second half, the Steelers put together three scoring drives versus the Broncos one. The Steelers used a 1 yard touchdown run from Mike Wallace, 37 yard field goal by Shaun Suisham, and finally a 31 yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Jerricho Cotchery. The Broncos lone score in the second half came via a 35 yard field goal from Matt Prater. The Steelersâ€™ second half surge enabled them to force overtime.
However, on the first play of Overtime, Tim Tebow connected with Demaryius Thomas on an 80 yard touchdown pass to win the game.
Tebow used this TD pass to cap off a great game in which he threw for 316 yards and two TDs while also running for 50 yards and a touchdown.Â The Steelers had no answer for the deep pass to Demaryius Thomas as he just caught 4 passes, but for a monster 204 yards and a touchdown.
With the win, the Broncos will take on the New England Patriots this weekend.
A Look at Divisional Weekend
The divisional round of the playoffs will be a great weekend for NFL fans. New Orleans will battle the San Francisco 49ers, Denver will look for more magic against New England, Houston will take on Baltimore, and finally N.Y will face Green Bay.