2014 NFL Playoffs: 12 Thoughts from Wild Card Round Games
2014 NFL Playoffs: 12 Thoughts from Wild Card Weekend
With 2014 upon us, there's the 2014 NFL Playoffs and wild card weekend kicked off. Eight of the 12 playoff teams took to the field this weekend, and all four wild card games failed to disappoint. Heading into the weekend, there were many headlines to follow as well as new headlines being written post-game. As with any playoff weekend, some teams disappointed and others stepped-up and advanced to the next round.
As Saturday and Sunday approached, the frigid weather in Philadelphia and Green Bay dominated the pre-game shows and analysis. However, the weather didn't affect the play and the away teams, the New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49ers impressed, and the games were closer than many people expected.
On the individual side, certain quarterbacks showed their true colors from reaffirming their elite status to showing that they aren't a good playoff player. Likewise, their surprise performances from team's newest weapons.
Overall, wild card weekend wants football fans wanting more football. Since the games were so great, many wish that the game could have go to six quarters, but unfortunately that did not happen.
If this weekend of NFL playoff action is any indication, the next three rounds will provide fans with excitement, heartbreak, nervous moments and unbelievable plays. Some fans will go home cold, sad and disappointed, but other fans will be jumping for joy as their favorite team is one step closer to Super Bowl XLVIII and winning the Lombardi Trophy.
Take a look at 12 thoughts from this weekend's action. What did we miss? Do you agree or disagree with the thoughts? Let your voice be heard in the comment section below.
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12. Andrew Luck Shows Why He's the Indianapolis Colts Leader
The Colts were down and basically out of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs. However, Andrew Luck believed in his team and led them to victory. Watch out Peyton Manning and company because the Colts are coming to town.
11. T.Y. Hilton Is Key to Indianapolis Colts' Postseason Success
T.Y. Hilton put on a show in the second half against the Chiefs. Between him and Andrew Luck, the Colts play for another week. If the Colts want to beat the Broncos, Hilton and Luck will need to be on the same page.
10. Andy Reid's Clock Mismanagement Is Still An Issue
Philadelphia Eagles fans remember the many times Andy Reid mismanaged the clock. Despite being in a new location, his old habits stuck with him. One of the reasons Kansas City blew their lead was because of Reid's poor clock management.
9. Future Is Bright for the Philadelphia Eagles
While the Eagles lost on a last-second field goal, their future is bright. Between a great head coach and quarterback, they also have a threatening run game. Don't be surprised if the Eagles run away with the NFC East next season
8. New Orleans Saints' Run Game Surprisingly Leads Team to Victory
The Saints' run game, not Drew Brees, surprisingly led the team to victory. Darren Sproles and Mark Ingram led the rushing attack. The Eagles were able to guard the Saint's passing game most of the night, but the running backs found and created holes in the Eagles' defense, making their opponents look like Swiss cheese.
7. New Orleans Saints' Late Season Shayne Graham Signing Paid Off
New Orleans made the right move signing Shayne Graham on December, 17 2013. On Saturday against the Eagles, Graham was went 4-for-4 on field goal attempts including the game-winning 32-yard attempt. Graham's success will dictate whether or not the Saints move forward in the future.
6. Andy Dalton Shows His True Ability in Playoff Loss
Andy Dalton struggled Sunday against the Chargers. In the loss, he showed his true colors and showed why he's never won a playoff game. Additionally, the Cincinnati Bengals should think long and hard about possibly finding a new quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft or free agency. How about paging Mark Sanchez?.
5. Philip Rivers Leads San Diego Chargers to Victory
Unlike Andy Dalton, Philip Rivers showed CBS and national viewers why the Chargers have gone 5-2 in the last seven games. They had a slim chance of making the playoffs, and Rivers and the Chargers showed up big on the road Sunday.
4. Cold Weather Means Nothing for Southern Teams
All week long, San Francisco 49ers and the New Orleans Saints heard they couldn't win on the road or in the rather frigid temperatures. Well, both teams proved their haters wrong and are playing football next weekend.
3. Aaron Rodgers Shows Us Why He's an Elite QB
Aaron Rodgers is arguably one of the top three NFL quarterbacks this season. I understand he was out for part of the season, but when he played, the quarterback was on his game. On Sunday, Rodgers struggled in the first half because of the offensive line's inability to block and protect him.
In the second half, Rodgers found a way to expose San Francisco's defense and take the lead. On one play, he somehow escaped the pressure and found a wide receiver down the field. At the end of the game, Green Bay lost, but it was not Rodgers' fault.
2. San Francisco 49ers' Defense Is for Real
For most of the game, San Francisco's defense was on their game. From pressuring Aaron Rodgers to stopping Eddie Lacy from big runs, they were there. As a result, when the offense wasn't producing, they kept it close and prevented Rodgers from running the show.
1. Colin Kaepernick's Mobility Leads to San Francisco Success
It seems like Colin Kaepernick's has the Packers' number going 3-0 in three meetings. On Sunday, it was clear why the San Francisco QB was successful. When his passing targets were guarded and unopened, he didn't worry or freak out, but calmly found the first-down running open down field.
On the final drive, Kaepernick ran for the first down that set up Phil Dawson's game-winning field goal. Without Kaepernick's mobility, San Fransisco would have lost with no winning chance. If it hasn't been clear yet, his mobility is why they kept Kaepernick over Alex Smith.