10 Biggest Surprises From NFL Divisional Round Weekend

By Jason Fletcher

In the NFL divisional round, all four home teams walked away with victories, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. Each game was decided by seven points or less with three requiring onside kick recoveries and the other featuring a game-winning touchdown in overtime. Let’s take a look back at the 10 biggest surprises from last weekend’s exciting action.

10 Biggest Surprises From NFL Divisional Round Weekend
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10. Panthers' Defense

Panthers' Defense Credit: Getty Images
The Panthers' defense struggled mightily with the Seahawks' passing attack, especially in the second half. Although the Seahawks were in catch-up mode and passing on almost every down, they took advantage of newcomers Robert McClain and Cortland Finnegan in the Panthers' secondary. It could spell problems for Carolina next week against the Cardinals.

10. Panthers' Defense

The Panthers' defense struggled mightily with the Seahawks' passing attack, especially in the second half. Although the Seahawks were in catch-up mode and passing on almost every down, they took advantage of newcomers Robert McClain and Cortland Finnegan in the Panthers' secondary. It could spell problems for Carolina next week against the Cardinals.

9. Packers Hang With Cardinals Despite Missing Top 3 Receivers

Packers Hang With Cardinals Despite Missing Top 3 Receivers Credit: Getty Images
After losing Randall Cobb to a bruised lung early in Saturday night's game, the Packers were still able to take the Cardinals to overtime with Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Cobb all out. Jeff Janis showed that he could be a solid option for the Packers in the future.

9. Packers Hang With Cardinals Despite Missing Top 3 Receivers

After losing Randall Cobb to a bruised lung early in Saturday night's game, the Packers were still able to take the Cardinals to overtime with Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Cobb all out. Jeff Janis showed that he could be a solid option for the Packers in the future.

8. Larry Fitzgerald Puts Cardinals On His Back

Larry Fitzgerald Puts Cardinals On His Back Credit: Getty Images
After a ridiculous Hail Mary from the Packers, the Cardinals could've easily headed into overtime hanging their heads and in a state of shock. Instead, Fitzgerald took the first play 75 yards down to the 5-yard-line, and two plays later he caught the game-winning shovel pass to send University of Phoenix Stadium into pandemonium.

8. Larry Fitzgerald Puts Cardinals On His Back

After a ridiculous Hail Mary from the Packers, the Cardinals could've easily headed into overtime hanging their heads and in a state of shock. Instead, Fitzgerald took the first play 75 yards down to the 5-yard-line, and two plays later he caught the game-winning shovel pass to send University of Phoenix Stadium into pandemonium.

7. Seahawks' Second-Half Comeback

Seahawks' Second-Half Comeback Credit: Getty Images
After heading into halftime down 31-0, the Seahawks came out of the break with a purpose and nearly pulled an epic comeback as the Panthers had to recover an onside kick in order to finally put the game on ice. It was a remarkable showing by Russell Wilson.

7. Seahawks' Second-Half Comeback

After heading into halftime down 31-0, the Seahawks came out of the break with a purpose and nearly pulled an epic comeback as the Panthers had to recover an onside kick in order to finally put the game on ice. It was a remarkable showing by Russell Wilson.

6. Packers' Hail Mary

Packers' Hail Mary Credit: Getty Images
I'm not sure what the success rate is on Hail Marys in the NFL, but it has got to be minuscule. Aaron Rodgers happens to laugh in the face of statistics as the Packers completed their second Hail Mary of the season to send their game against the Cardinals to overtime.

6. Packers' Hail Mary

I'm not sure what the success rate is on Hail Marys in the NFL, but it has got to be minuscule. Aaron Rodgers happens to laugh in the face of statistics as the Packers completed their second Hail Mary of the season to send their game against the Cardinals to overtime.

5. Panthers' Run Game Shreds Seahawks' Run Defense

Panthers' Run Game Shreds Seahawks' Run Defense Credit: Getty Images
The Panthers ran the ball with surprising success against the No. 1 run defense in the NFL. On the first play from scrimmage, Jonathan Stewart rumbled 59 yards on his way to 19 carries for 106 yards and two touchdowns on the day as the Panthers rushed for 144 yards as a team.

5. Panthers' Run Game Shreds Seahawks' Run Defense

The Panthers ran the ball with surprising success against the No. 1 run defense in the NFL. On the first play from scrimmage, Jonathan Stewart rumbled 59 yards on his way to 19 carries for 106 yards and two touchdowns on the day as the Panthers rushed for 144 yards as a team.

4. Julian Edelman

Julian Edelman Credit: Getty Images
Edelman saw his first game action since breaking his foot and having surgery earlier in the season. Typically, it would take guys some time to find their rhythm, but Edelman responded with 10 catches for 100 yards.

4. Julian Edelman

Edelman saw his first game action since breaking his foot and having surgery earlier in the season. Typically, it would take guys some time to find their rhythm, but Edelman responded with 10 catches for 100 yards.

3. Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski Credit: Getty Images
Gronk entered the game against the Chiefs with knee and back injuries that were supposed to limit him according to some reports. Instead, he reeled in seven catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns as the Patriots advanced.

3. Rob Gronkowski

Gronk entered the game against the Chiefs with knee and back injuries that were supposed to limit him according to some reports. Instead, he reeled in seven catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns as the Patriots advanced.

2. Panthers Take 31-0 First-Half Lead On Seahawks

Panthers Take 31-0 First-Half Lead On Seahawks Credit: Getty Images
The first half of the Panthers and Seahawks game was shocking. The league's best defense got gashed for huge runs by Jonathan Stewart, and two interceptions thrown by Russell Wilson allowed the Panthers to take a 31-0 lead into the locker room.

2. Panthers Take 31-0 First-Half Lead On Seahawks

The first half of the Panthers and Seahawks game was shocking. The league's best defense got gashed for huge runs by Jonathan Stewart, and two interceptions thrown by Russell Wilson allowed the Panthers to take a 31-0 lead into the locker room.

1. Steelers Hanging Tough With Broncos Despite Missing Antonio Brown And DeAngelo Williams

Steelers Hanging Tough With Broncos Despite Missing Antonio Brown And DeAngelo Williams Credit: Getty Images
The Steelers were without their two biggest weapons on offense, three if you count Le'Veon Bell, and nearly walked out of Denver with a victory. Ben Roethlisberger was playing with a bum shoulder, but he and the defense kept the Steelers in the game.

1. Steelers Hanging Tough With Broncos Despite Missing Antonio Brown And DeAngelo Williams

The Steelers were without their two biggest weapons on offense, three if you count Le'Veon Bell, and nearly walked out of Denver with a victory. Ben Roethlisberger was playing with a bum shoulder, but he and the defense kept the Steelers in the game.

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