Super Wildcard Weekend Shakes up the NFL


Photo courtesy of: The NFL

Ben Huber, Web editor


Super wildcard weekend kicked off on Saturday afternoon when the Colts traveled to Buffalo New York to take on the Bills. The Bills jumped out to an early lead and despite a strong 4th quarter surge by the Colts the Bills held on for the 24-27 win. The Bills were able to rely on their superstar duo Josh Allen and Steffon Diggs to advance to the next round. With that win from the Bills, it became their first playoff victory since 1995. At that time their starting quarterback was not even born yet.

The next game on Saturday was a defensive battle between the Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks. MVP candidate quarterback Russel Wilson of the Hawks was held to a measly 174 yards and even threw a pick-six to Rams cornerback Darius Williams. The Rams offense was not spectacular either but they were able to rely on rookie running back Cam Akers who amassed 176 receiving/rushing yards. The defense was the story of the game though with lockdown corner Jalen Ramsey and defensive end Aaron Donald taking over the game stifling the once-great Seahawks offensive attack.

For the third game of super wildcard weekend, it was the inexperienced journeyman quarterback Taylor Heinicke and the Washington Football Team facing off against Tom Brady’s juggernaut Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday night. Heineke was in the middle of finishing his degree in engineering when the front office of Washington called him telling him he was going to be “the guy” in their playoff game. Although Heinicke was inexperienced he put on a show throwing for 306 yards and scoring 2 touchdowns, one of which was passing and the other was rushing. The underdog Washington team ended up falling short of the victory but it was to no fault of Heineke who played a near-perfect game. No one had given Washington a chance against the Buccaneers but after the close game, NFL fans are excited to see what the young team can do next season.

On day two of super wildcard weekend, the Tennessee Titans battled the Baltimore Ravens and reigning MVP Lamar Jackson. The Titans were favored in the game and it was largely due to the fact that they had the best running back in football Derrick “King” Henry who rushed for over 2,000 yards in the 2020 season. Despite the nickname, Henry was anything but royal rushing for only 40 yards against the stingy Ravens defense. That proved to be detrimental to the Titans’ success as they fell 20-13 to the Ravens.

The second game on day 2 was a bit of a sleeper with the 8 win Chicago Bears taking on the 12 win New Orleans Saints. This game was a bit unique due to the fact that it was being broadcasted on Nickelodeon for the first time in NFL history. Many fans enjoyed the creative graphics and jovial play by play that Nick provided and are now urging the NFL to have more games played on Nick in 2021. The Saints were able to secure a win 21-9 on the backs of running back Alvin Kamara and wide receiver Micheal Thomas who led the Saints offense. Despite the loss Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubiski was awarded the very first NVP award, an award exclusive to Nickelodeon which acted as their version of a game MVP.

The final game of wildcard weekend was played on Sunday night and was a surprising game between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers were the last standing undefeated team in the regular season taking their first loss in week 14. Despite this, the underdog Browns jumped out to a 28-0 lead in just the first quarter. This was largely due to the Browns defense which the Steelers had to answer to. After the first, the Steelers rallied and narrowed the margin to 12 heading into the 4th quarter. Even though the Steelers made it close it was to no avail as the Browns emerged victorious 48-37.

Super wild card weekend was surely a great way to kick off 2021 and contained games that NFL fans will never forget. For the next round of the playoffs, the divisional round, we will have a similar format but this time being 4 games instead of 6. The matchups will be the following: Los Angeles Rams vs Green Bay Packers 4:35 Saturday, Baltimore Ravens vs Buffalo Bills 8:15 Saturday, Cleveland Browns vs Kansas City Chiefs 3:05 Sunday, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs New Orleans Saints 6:40 Sunday. These matchups are much anticipated and if they are even half as exciting as last weekend’s games fans will not be disappointed.