Wildcard weekend in the NFL is always a toss up when it comes to game quality. Normally you’ll have pretty one sided games with some eleven win team from a loaded division beating down on the nine win warriors of the league, and the first two games seemed destined for more or the same. Here are your X’s & O’s for day one of the play in games.
Tennessee Titans (9-7) @ Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)
Vice President Doug already touched on what an all-time blunder this was from Andy Reid in Kansas City. In a clash of the not-so Titans, two teams fell face first into the playoffs. The Chiefs went into the halftime up 21-3 and somehow in the back of everyone’s minds, they all knew Andy would find a way to lose this game. Trudging on in true KC fashion to score zero points in the second half, and letting a lackluster Tennessee offense rip them apart. As a big stat guy this game produced some great ones for my amusement. For example, Marcus Mariota has a 131.1 passer rating when throwing to himself, along with both a passing and receiving touchdown on that one play. Next up comes the Atlanta Falcons award for blowing big playoff games, which has now been broken by Kansas City’s record two playoff losses in which they’ve lead by at least eighteen points in the game. To top all of that, the Chiefs have now lost eleven of their last twelve playoff games. That’s almost Bengals levels of crushing a fanbases dreams over and over again. Either way we’ve probably all seen the last of Alex Smith in Kansas City, so cheers to that? Or pour one out? Still not sure where we all stand with that guy.
Atlanta Falcons (10-6) @ Los Angeles Rams (11-5)
This game just felt so weird to watch for so many reasons. In one of the best Wild Card matchups the League has seen in years, two teams set out to prove everybody wrong. Atlanta was coming off the most embarrassing Super Bowl loss of all time and a groggy first half this season. After their Super Bowl hangover was cured with a pep talk and some Pedialyte, they regrouped to become one of the hottest teams in football in the second half. As for the Rams, Los Angeles had a team fresh off a relocation with heaps of young talent but almost no experience. Thirteen year old head coach Sean McVay had the best offense in the league this year and a solid enough defense for a -6 line in favor of his Rams. All signs pointed to a potentially great game coming, but was that the case?
Instead of a great game it turned to a confusing one sided final score that didn’t match the play itself. To be fair the field looked more like an ice rink than turf, and you’d expect a billion dollar league to provide any semblance of field of play standards after RGIII lost a leg a few years back. A thirteen point win where Atlanta stifled the LA offense seems like a comfortable game, but the Rams were no slouch themselves. Jared Goff played well enough, and Todd Gurley did more Todd Gurley things with a solid 100 yards over 14 carries. How did this team only score 13 points? Pharoh Goddamn Cooper.
Image from RamsWire
I mean this All-Pro return man fumbled once and lost his team the ball two other times. After yesterday’s AP blog I talked up this Rams special teams unit like it was a blind Nascar driver, and they do this to me? Unbelievable. Matty Ice picked apart the LA defense slowly and methodically throughout the game to the tune of 200 yards and a touchdown for 70% completion rating. It’s almost sad this is most likely the last time the Falcons win this year with a tough game in Philly next week. I truly hoped for another Super Bowl appearance for the Dirty Birds just so I could watch New England crush the hopes and dreams of the city one more time. Either way a weird game throughout and congrats to Atlanta for finally playing their best football.
Woodcock Chalk Talk will return tomorrow morning for Wild Card Day Two, stay tuned.