There were some big games lined up for this season’s NFL Wild Card Playoffs. The likes of Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, and the Buffalo Bills featured over the weekend.
There were some eye-catching moments as NFL fans from across the globe tuned in to watch their favorite footballers play their hearts out to make the Divisional Round.
There were some major upsets in store for audiences at home as the Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers suffered upsets. Let’s take a quick glance at the most peculiar events that unfolded in the 2021 NFL Wild Card Playoffs.
Josh Allen led the Buffalo Bills to their first playoff win since 1994 on Saturday. Sean McDermott’s boys made their way to a narrow 27-24 win over AFC South big boys, Indianapolis Colts.
The likes of Allen and WR Stefon Diggs put together another strong display as the Bills secured a spot in the AFC Divisional Round.
The Bills needed to maintain their focus as the Philip Rivers-led Colts kept fighting right up until the end of the 4th quarter. They will go up against the Lamar Jackson-led Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Playoffs on Saturday night.
With the exit of Dwayne Haskins and an injury to backup QB Kyle Allen, Washington had to rely on veteran Alex Smith to play in the Wild Card Round.
But to their misfortune, even Smith was ruled out for Saturday’s game at the FedEx Field in the American capital. Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera was forced to field 4th-choice QB Taylor Heinicke in the Playoffs.
But to the surprise of many, Heinicke did not crash and burn as was expected prior to the start of the game. The 27-year-old went 26 of 44. Throwing for 306 yards with 1 passing touchdown and 1 interception.
Not to mention he scored one hell of a rushing touchdown against the Buccaneers. However, he could not guide his team to a win as they lost by a 23-31 scoreline.
There was a lot of doubt surrounding Lamar Jackson’s post-season form ahead of the game against the Tennessee Titans. But all those doubts were finally silenced as the reigning NFL MVP put together a dazzling display to lead the Ravens to a 13-20 victory at the Nissan Stadium in Nashville.
On 16 carries, Jackson rushed for 136 yards, including the 49-yard rushing touchdown towards the end of the second quarter. In doing so, the former Heisman Trophy winner got his name in the NFL record books with the 2nd-longest rushing TD in a playoff game. Colin Kaepernick’s 56-yard dash against the Green Bay Packers in 2012 remains number one on this list.
John Harbaugh’s boys got off to a poor start on Sunday as they fell to a 10-0 deficit in the first quarter itself. It looked like Derrick Henry and Co. were marching towards another win.
But all that changed after QB Lamar Jackson leveled the score with his record-breaking rushing TD. But the job was not done yet.
Ravens’ defensive star Marcus Peters then put the visitors in control with an interception in the dying stages of the 4th quarter. This was the final nail in the Titans’ coffin who were knocked out of the Playoffs.
NFL fans were treated to a host of new graphics and visuals during the weekend’s NFL Wild Card Playoffs. This was courtesy of popular kids’ cartoon channel, Nickelodeon as they were given the rights to broadcast the first round of the Playoffs.
The fans welcomed the change. They found the commentary to be fun. The sportscasters also simplified the rules, which made it easier for kids to understand the game. Also, the slime in the Endzone was a nice added feature!
After a week filled with drama, Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns geared up for a tough outing against AFC North rivals, Pittsburgh Steelers.
They were without Browns Head Coach Kevin Stefanski and a bunch of starters, who were ruled out of the game due to COVID-19 protocols. But that did not stop the visitors from going all out against Mike Tomlin’s Pittsburgh Steelers.
The visitors made a sensational start to the game as they raced away to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter itself. This is, in fact, the second-largest lead a team has gotten in an NFL game (Regular and Playoffs).
The largest lead record belongs to the Buffalo Bills. The Bills marched away to a 31-0 lead against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1 of the 1964 season.
The Drew Brees-led New Orleans Saints made their way to a comfortable 21-9 win over NFC North big boys, Chicago Bears. How did they celebrate? By drowning their Head Coach Sean Payton with a bucket of slime, of course.