Welcome to the Sunday Review of NFL Divisional round coverage. You can find Saturday Reactions here. There were some great games today and we’re here with some quick reactions/takeaways. The conference championship round is set for January 19th with the following games:
1. Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs, 3:05 EST
2. Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers, 6:40 EST
This may be different than what you expected/hoped to see. Maybe you expected the Ravens, or maybe you hoped for a Seahawks upset. We’ll break down the Sunday games with our best takes. Let’s start with the afternoon game.
- Houston Texans, 31 @ Kansas City Chiefs, 51
This game reminded me why I watch football. What an exciting one. The Texans jumped out to a 24-0 lead, and then the Chiefs went on a 51-7 run, turning it into a 20 point rout. I’d like to start with some coaching decisions on the Texans side first. The Texans were up 21-0 early in the second quarter. With 4th & 1 from the Chiefs 14 yard-line, Texans coach Bill O’Brien decides to kick a FG. This kept Houston’s win percentage around 91%. After the Chiefs go down and score a quick touchdown, the Texans are faced with 4th & 5 from their own 30 yard-line. This time, they attempt a fake punt and get stopped. The Chiefs score less than a minute later to make it 24-14, as the momentum shifted completely to the Chiefs side. These decisions were baffling to me. O’Brien showed a clear lack of consistency here, and an odd passion for taking unnecessary aggressive shots. The fake punt wasn’t even close to a first down, but yet you’re not confident Deshaun Watson can sneak for 1 yard? Very inconsistent and hurtful to the team. Now, onto the Chiefs. There’s not a QB I want for the next 10-15 years over Patrick Mahomes. He’s going to back-to-back AFC Championship games, and there’s no doubt in my mind he’s going to keep doing this. When the team was down three scores early, he was postively coaching and motivating the rest of the offensive team on the sidelines. He never believed they were going to lose, and why would he knowing they can put up 50 points. For entertainment’s purposes I am hoping the Chiefs can handle the Titans and make a Super Bowl appearance.
- Seattle Seahawks, 23 @ Green Bay Packers 28
Unlike the Texans, the Packers were able to jump out to an early lead and hang on for the win. The Packers were up 21-3 at the half, and snuck away with a 28-23 victory over the visiting Seahawks. We’ll skip ahead to the 4th quarter, where the Seahawks have the ball with 3:30 left, down 5. They are facing a 3rd and 6 when QB Russell Wilson takes a sack, bringing up 4th and 11 and a big decision by the Seahawks coaching staff. Seattle still has 3 timeouts left, and the 2-minute warning to try and get a defensive stop to give Wilson another shot so they decide to punt. This drove me crazy. If the best player on your team is Russell Wilson, why punt the ball? If I am a Packers fan, all I want is for the ball to be out of Wilson’s hand and in the hands of Aaron Rodgers. As a Seahawks play-caller, you have to stay aggressive and do the thing that would scare your opponent the most. I’m going for it with Wilson 10/10 times. If I lose the game because of Wilson, I am okay with that. He’s going to win the game more times than not. Instead, they punted away and Rodgers was able to get the clock to run out with two key first downs. I have doubts about the Packers team going forwards. They were unable to score in the 4th quarter and appear to have a pedestrian offense at times. Rodgers game has lost a step so I’m curious to see if he can make the plays he needs against the 49ers. Regardless, they are going to the NFC championship game.
Thanks for reading. Do you have any other thoughts about the games on Sunday to share? Do you think the Seahawks should have punted? Tweet me @jaredbrinn and let’s talk about it.