NFL 2012-2013 Wildcard Recap
Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans was the Saturday afternoon game. With both of these teams expected to be dispatched by next week, this would come down to who wanted it least. Houston dominated the game, but could not put it away.
After an exchange of punts, the Texans took over at their own 5. Yet Matt Schaub would hit Owen Daniels for 18 and Arriun Foster ran for 17 and 4 more and Martin added 16. On 3rd and 2 from the Cincy 30 Schaub threw incomplete. Shane Graham would hit a 48 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Texans. That was a common theme in this game as each team struggled to reach the end zone. Houston got it back at their 31 and Schaub led a 12 play, 7 minute drive. Yet early in the second quarter, on 3rd and 8 from the Cincy 14, a short pass came up 3 yards short Graham hit from 27 to make it 6-0 Texans.
Houston was in total control of the game and got it back with a critical 3rd and 3 from their own 19. Schaub threw a sideline pass, but Leon Hall jumped the rout and returned the interception back the other way for a 21 yard touchdown. Despite no offense, The Bengals had a 7-6 lead with 9 1/2 minutes left in the half. Schaub stayed calm, and after a touchback led another lengthy drive covering 13 plays and 7 more minutes. Yet again on 3rd and 3 from the Cincy 4, Schaub threw incomplete. Again it was Graham with a 22 yard field goal with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half. Despite dominating the game, the Texans only led 9-7 at halftime.
The Bengals went 3 and out to start the third quarter and the Texans took over just shy of midfield. On 3rd and 2 from the Cincy 43, Schaub threw incomplete. Yet defensive holding kept the drive going. Schaub then hit Foster for 11 and Johnson for 22. Foster ran for 4 and then got the final yard as the Texans finally cracked the end zone to lead 16-7. Yet the Bengals kept hanging around.
After a touchback, Andy Dalton found A Green for 5, Hawkins for 7, and then deep to Green for a 45 yard gain. Yet on 3rd and 3 from the Houston 16, Dalton threw incomplete. Josh brown hit a 34 yard field goal as the Bengals were within 16-10 midway through the third quarter. Houston would punt on 4th and 1 from midfield, but with 3 minutes left in the third quarter Dalton was intercepted. The Texans took over at the Cincy 26. On the first play of the fourth quarter, the Texans faced 3rd and goal at the 11. Schaub completed a short pass to Foster, who was tackled at the 6. Graham’s fourth field goal from 24 yards out made it 19-10 Texans.
The Bengals took over at their 39, and with 11 1/2 minutes left Marvin Lewis decided to go for it on 4th and 1 from the Houston 39. Benjarvus Green-Ellis gained 2. Yet on 3rd and 9 from the 36, a completion to Green came up 2 yards short. Needing 2 scores, this time Lewis decided not to gamble. Brown hit the 47 yard field goal as the Bengals were back within 6 with a full 9 minutes to play.
Houston would punt, and the Bengals took over at their 20 with 6:15 to play and a chance to win it. Dalton hit Green for 16. With 4:17 to play the Bengals faced 3rd and 11 from their 35. Dalton threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant a 15 yard gain. Dalton hit Jones for 15 more. With 3 minutes left the Bengals faced 3rd and 11 from the Houston 36. Dalton went for it all deep and Green beat the defenders. It was a monumental collapse from the Wade Phillips defense. Yet Dalton overthrew Green incomplete. On 4th and 11 Dalton hit Jones, but Jones came up 3 yards short.
Houston took over at their 28 and Cincinnati still had 2 timeouts left. On 3rd and 2 from the 36, the Bengals took their last timeout. Everybody knows the next play has to be a run to take the clock down to the 2 minute warning. An incomplete pass would stop the clock and preserve 30 seconds. Gary Kubiak has big cojones, which is called idiocy if a gamble fails. He called a pass play, and Schaub hit Graham for 7 yards. A personal foul against Cincinnati tacked on 15 more yards, but actually saved the Bengals by stopping the clock. So instead of kneeling down, the Texans had to run plays. Yet Foster gained another 10 yards for the final first down.
The Bengals lost on the road to the Texans for the second straight year. The Bengals are 0-4 in the playoffs under Marvin Lewis. The Bengals have not win a playoff game in 22 years. The Texans now travel to New England, where they were blasted a few weeks ago. They will be underdogs, but they have now won a playoff game in consecutive years. 19-13 Texans
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers was the Saturday night game. 6 days ago the Vikings rode Adrian Peterson for 199 yards, 9 yards short of the all time season rushing record. The final carry led to Blair Walsh hitting the winning field goal in a 37-34 thriller. Yet the rematch was in Green Bay, and Christian Ponder was scratched 90 minutes before the game with a bad elbow. Joe Webb had not thrown a pass all season, and now he had to win a playoff game on the road.
Early on Leslie Frazier kept it on the ground. On 3rd and 3 from their 39, Webb ran for 17. Peterson ran for 8, 7, and 11. Yet on 3rd and 7 from the Packers 15, Webb threw incomplete. Walsh hit a 3 yarder to make it 3-0 Vikings. Yet after their first drive, Minnesota did virtually nothing.
After an exchange of punts, the Packers took over at their 18. On 3rd and 2, the Vikings jumped offsides. Aaron Rodgers finally got going, hitting Harris for 16, Finley for 10, Harris for 12, and Ryan Grant for 16. On 1st and goal from the 9, Harris got the carry and was ruled down just shy of the goal line. Yet Mike McCarthy challenged the call, and it was reversed to a touchdown. Harris did get in to make it 7-3 Packers after the first quarter.
With 8 1/2 minutes left in the half the Packers got it back at their 27. Rodgers hit Crabtree for 10 and Jones for 20 more. On 4th and 5 from the Minnesota 34, McCarthy decided not to have shaky kicker Mason Crosby hit a 52 yarder. Rodgers threw short to Jennings, who broke a tackle and raced for a 32 yard gain and 1st and goal at the 2. Yet on 3rd and goal from the 1, Kuhn did not get in. McCarthy on 4th and goal at the 1 opted for the field goal. Crosby hit from 20 as the Packers led 10-3 with 3 1/2 minutes left in the half.
Minnesota went 3 and out, and the Packers took over at their 38 with 1:48 left. Yet 28 minutes of close football gave way to Aaron Rodgers obliterating Minnesota in the 2 minute drill. He hit Jordy nelson for 22, Greg Jennings for 14, and Nelson again for 23 more down to the 3 yard line. Kuhn got in this time on the next play as the Packers led 17-3 at the half. The second half was a formality.
Green Bay took over in the third quarter and soon faced 3rd and 2 from their 28. Rodgers hit Jones for 9. On 3rd and 4 from their 43, Rodgers hit Jones for 19 and Harris for 4 and 14. On 4th and 4 from the Minnesota 14, the Packers lined up for a field goal. Yet again the Vikings jumped offsides. For the second time, it was a killer penalty. Rodgers hit Kuhn for the 9 yard touchdown on the next play as the Packers led 24-3. The rest of the game was uneventful as the Packers coasted.
Minnesota moved from their 20 to a 4th and 3 at the Packers 38, but Webb was sacked and fumbled. Clay Matthews got the sack and the recovery for the Packers. Minnesota got it back at their 19 and moved to the Packers 46. Yet Webb went deep as the third quarter ended and was intercepted by Sam Shields at the 8 yard line. In the fourth quarter the Vikings moved from their 22 to a 4th and 4 at the Packers 43, yet Webb threw incomplete.
Green Bay played a nearly flawless game, but did have a breakdown late. From midfield, Webb went deep to Jenkins, and somehow there were no defenders anywhere. The gift touchdown had the Vikings within 14. With 3 1/2 minutes left Leslie Frazier decided not to go onsides kick. On 3rd and 5 from their 25, Rodgers hit Nelson for 6 to end it. Minnesota had a good season end, while the Packers have a rematch with San Francisco. San Francisco beat them in Week 1 in Green Bay, but the Packers are a much better team now. 24-10 Packers
Indianapolis Colts or Baltimore Ravens was the Sunday morning game. The first 28 minutes was a slog. Baltimore took over after an Indy punt at their own 48. Thee Ravens moved to a 2nd and 6 at the Indy 11, but Ray Rice fumbled and the Colts took over at that spot. Indy held the ball for 7 minutes and moved to a 3rd and 5 at the Baltimore 30. Yet Andrew Luck was sacked, with McPhee recovering for the Ravens.
The Ravens began the second quarter at their 29. and Brad Pierce ran for 6 and 5. Joe Flacco went to Torrey Smith for a 22 yard gain. Pierce gained 5, 7, 18, and 3. Yet with the running game working perfectly on 2nd and goal at the 5, Flacco threw incomplete twice. Justin Tucker hit the 23 yarder to make it 3-0 Ravens with 11 1/2 minutes left in the half. An exchange of punts had the Colts at their 20 with 8 minutes left in the half. On 3rd and 5 Luck hit Wayne for 8 and Allen for 22 and 13. Luck was sacked to end the drive, but Adam Vinatieri connected from 48 to make it a 3-3 game with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half.
The Ravens faced 3rd and 4 from their 43, and Flacco hit Rice for 8. After almost 29 minutes of defensive football, the Ravens faced 2nd and 10 just shy of midfield. The play of the game had Flacco dump the ball off to Rice, who raced for a 47 yard gain. On the next play Vonta Leach got the lst 2 yards, just barely breaking the plane of the goal. With 50 seconds left in the half the Ravens led 10-3.
The Colts had their timeouts, and after a touchback Luck hit Hilton for 4 and Wayne for 13 and 20. With 12 seconds left in the half an intentional grounding call had the Colts with 3rd and 26 at their 41. Luck went deep to Hilton for a 25 yard gain. 4th and 1 was irrelevant since only 3 seconds remained. The gain was enough for Vinatieri to just barely make a 52 yard field goal as the Colts only trailed 10-6 at halftime.
After an exchange of punts in the third quarter, the Ravens took over at their 25. The second half became a game of pitch and catch between Joe Flacco and Anquon Boldin. On the previous series they connected for 50 yards, although no points came out of it. This time Flacco hit Boldin for 10 and then went deep to him again for 46 yards. Flacco hit Pitta for a 20 yard touchdown as the Ravens led 17-6.
The Colts took over and used up almost 8 minutes of clock, taking the third quarter with them on a 15 play drive. The Colts had the ball for over 37 minutes in this game. Luck converted on 3 3rd and short situations, but on 3rd and 4 from the 8, Luck threw incomplete. Again the Colts had to settle for Vinatieri from 26 yards out. The Colts were kept out of the end zone but only trailed 17-9.
After a touchback Flacco hit Boldin for 21 and Ray Rice gained 18 more. Yet Rice fumbled for the second time in the game, and again the Colts recovered. Luck moved the Colts to a 1st and 5 at the Baltimore 18, but the Colts went backward from there. Vinatieri was 3 for 3 on the day, but his fourth try from 40 yards out was no good. The Colts had a chance to tie it 17-17, but instead momentum swing in the other direction. On 3rd and 1 from their 39, Pierce got around the end for a 43 yard gain. Flacco went to the end zone for Boldin and the 18 yard touchdown put the game on ice with 9 minutes left.
Luck would move the Colts from their 20 to a 3rd and 1 at the Baltimore 18 with 5 1/2 minutes left. Luck threw incomplete, and on 4th and 1 Luck was intercepted by Williams, who returned it 41 yards to the Indy 44. Indy got it back with 3:46 left at their 10. A couple of very questionable defensive penalties moved the ball to the Indy 40, and with 2:14 left the Colts had 4th and 5 at the Ravens 37. Luck threw incomplete. With 1:57 left the Ravens faced 3rd and 6 at the Indy 41. Pierce gained 13 yards and it was over.
For the final kneel down, Ray Lewis came to the game on offense and stayed in the backfield. After the kneel down Lewis did his dance one final time for the home crowd. Players mobbed Lewis, and in a very classy gesture, also mobbed and hugged their former defensive coordinator, Colts Coach Chuck Pagano. The Colts have a very bright future while John Harbaugh and Baltimore travel to Denver for a game in 6 days. Denver won easily at Baltimore a few weeks ago, but now Ray Lewis is back. 24-9 Ravens
Seattle Washington @ Washington Redskins was the Sunday afternoon game. Early on it looked like a coronation for the home crowd as Washington jumped all over the Seahawks. From their 20, Alfred Morris gained 8, RGIII hit Pierre Garcon for 9, and Morris gained 9 more. RGIII went back to Garcon for a 30 yard gain and Morris gained 18 more to the Seattle 3 yard line. On 3rd and goal at the 4, RGIII hit Evan Royster for the touchdown as the Redskins led 7-0.
Seattle went 3 and out and Washington got it back at their 46. On 3rd and 3, Griffin hit Santana Moss for 10 and gained 8 himself. On 3rd and 1 from the Seattle 15, Griffin hit Paulsen for 11 yards. On 3rd and goal from the 4, Griffin hit Paulsen for the score as the Redskins had a 14-0 lead. Yet after that the game turned drastically.
Seattle began at their 20 and started the second quarter with 2nd and 9 from their 31. Russell Wilson ran for 19 and hit Marshawn Lynch for 9. Wilson went deep to Sidney Rice for a 27 yard gain. Yet on 3rd and 7 from the 9, a false start killed the drive. Field goal kicker Stephen Hauschka was hobbled, but he made a 32 yard field goal to get Seattle on the board down 14-3.
Seattle got it back at their 27. Lynch gained 8 and 5, and on 1st and 5 from the Seattle 45 things turned sandlot. Wilson fumbled, but Lynch picked it up and gained 20 yards. Wilson then hit Robinson for 19 and ran for 11 to the 5 yard line. Wilson threw a 4 yard touchdown pass to Robinson as the Seahawks were only down 14-10 with 4 1/2 minutes left in the half.
2 plays later Griffin went bombs away into double coverage and was intercepted by Earl Thomas at the Seattle 26 with 3 1/2 minutes left in the half. O 3rd and 5 Wilson hit Danny Baldwin for 6 and again for a 33 yard gain. Lynch gained 6 and 5. With 30 seconds left in the half Seattle faced 3rd and 7 at the Washington 16. Wilson hit Golden Tate, but 2 yards short of the first down. 29 yards was tough for the hurt Hauschka, but he got the field goal as the Seahawks only trailed 14-13 at intermission.
In the third quarter Seattle began at their 30 and Lynch quickly ran for 26 yards. Lynch would add another 17 yarder on the drive. Yet on 2nd and goal from the one, Lynch got the carry and got blasted. Washington recovered the fumble and protected the lead. Seattle got it back at their 30 and moved to a 2nd and 8 at the Washington 28. After an incompletion, Wilson was sacked for a 9 yard loss as Seattle was pushed out of field goal range and had to punt. The fourth quarter began with Seattle getting it back with 3rd and 2 at their 45. Yet Wilson was sacked again. Washington had awful field position and no offense in the third quarter, but still clung to the one point lead.
With 11 minutes left Seattle got it back at their 21. Wilson hit Tate for 7 and Lynch gained 18 more. On 3rd and 10 from their 46, Wilson hit Zach Miller for a 22 yard gain. On 3rd and 5 from the Washington 27, Lynch got the carry out of the pistol, and with Wilson blocking down field, Lynch banged off of 3 defenders like a pinball and ended up in the end zone. Midway through the fourth quarter, Seattle had the lead for the first time all game and tried their first 2 point conversion of the year. Wilson hit Miller as Seattle led 21-14.
Washington took over at their 24 and disaster struck. First, with all kinds of time, RGIII was sacked for a 12 yard loss. On the next play a bad snap went past RGIII. In trying to pick it up he crumpled to the ground and did not get up. He had been playing all game on a questionable knee and it finally gave out. After a long delay where a silent crowd watched in horror, RGIII eventually walked off he field. Yet he was done for the day. Making matters worse, Seattle recovered the fumble at the Washington 5 yard line.
Pete Carroll for some reason at this point decided to call pass plays rather than run out the clock. Incompletions were luckily for Seattle not intercepted. Hauschka made the 22 yard kick. Seattle led by 10, but Washington had 5 1/2 minutes left instead of 4 minutes. Kirk Cousins came in and completed a couple solid passes to Hankerson for 15 and 12, but after that the Seattle defense clamped down. Another bad snap hurt Cousins, and on 4th and 14 he threw incomplete from the Washington 41. With 3 1/2 minutes left on 4th and 1 from the Washington 32, Wilson hit Miller for 6 yards as Carroll kept risking pass plays. On 4th and 4 from the 20 Wilson threw incomplete, but only 1:16 to play. Besides, it was better than risking a blocked field goal with a wounded kicker.
Mike Shanahan has a team that will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come, but on this day it was Seattle who got it done after withstanding the early barrage to score 24 unanswered points. The Seahawks travel next week to face the top seeded Atlanta Falcons. It was the first Seattle road playoff win in almost 30 years. 24-14 Seahawks
The divisional playoffs next week are set.
In the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos and the Houston Texans @ New England Patriots.
In the NFC, the Seattle Seahaws @ Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers @ the San Francisco 49ers.