2018 Wild Card Recap

Timothy M. Christopher I, Staff Writer

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Every year around the beginning of January, fans look forward to what they hope will be their favorite NFL teams in the playoffs. This year’s NFC teams consisted of the Eagles, Vikings, Saints, Falcons, Rams, and Panthers. For the AFC, the Titans, Chiefs, Jaguars, Bills, Patriots, and Steelers were in the running. All these teams are competing for the title of being Super Bowl 52 champion.

 

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Kicking off the playoffs was the AFC’s Titans V. Chiefs. The game started just as expected with Helix alumni Alex Smith driving down the field to set up the NFL’s rushing leader and rookie Kareem Hunt on a 1-yard touchdown run. Although the Chiefs didn’t let up with another amazing drive down the field, ending the drive and the quarter with a 13-yard touchdown throw from Alex Smith to Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce. The second quarter began and came by fast with almost a scoreless quarter but the Titans managed to put up 3 points with 2 minutes left in the half. That didn’t phase the Chiefs as they score a touchdown on a quick drive,  ending the second quarter with a score of 21-3.

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The Titans weren’t going to let their season end. In the first half, a young quarterback Marcus Mariota and runningback Derrick Henry worked together to score a touchdown and the only score in the 3rd quarter. The Chiefs offense started losing focus and suddenly stopped connecting and their defense was beginning to get torched by the very young Titans offense. Allowing Marcus Mariota to store down the field and score 7 points.He didn’t stop there, connecting with his tight end in the end zone for another touchdown, making the score 22-21 (Titans), and ending the game with an amazing comeback and advancing from the wild card.

 

 

Shortly after that game, the NFL’s Rams hosted the Falcons. In a game favored towards the Rams, the Falcons weren’t going to give up quickly.

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In the first quarter the Falcons kicked off the game with a field goal kick by Matt Bryant, only to hold possession of the ball once again and set Matt Bryant again for a field goal of 51-yards. The second quarter kicked off with a bang. Rams’ kick returner muffed the ball ultimately leading the a Falcons recovery. With a couple of short, accurate passes, Matt Ryan was able to let runningback Devonta Freeman pound in a touchdown, making the score 13-0. But the Rams were not going to let the Falcons run all over then on their home turf.

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The Rams immediately took charge down the field with a pair of passes worth 25+ yards, putting the Falcons on the 14-yards line. Allowing QB Jared Goff to throw a quick over the shoulder pass to rookie sensation WR Cooper Kupp, making the score 13-7. With 2 minutes in the 2nd quarter the falcons were unable to produce any points and punting to the Rams with 42 seconds on the clock. Jared Goff, with one chance left to put point on the board before the half, threw a deep pass to WR Robert Woods, setting up Rams kicker to kick a field goal making the score 13-10 and the end of the half.

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Once the Falcons got to the field at the start of the half, they kicked a field goal adding 3 points and stretching the score to 16-10. The Rams offense was not able to put points on the board turning over the ball to the Falcons who manage to score another field goal making the score 19-10 ending the 3rd quarter. At the start of the last quarter and the Rams with possession, they drove down the field only to merge. The Falcons offense seemed invincible because the Falcons came out on top with a 26-13 victory to stay alive

 

Image result for bills vs jagsThe next day, the the Jaguars hosted the bill in the last AFC Wild card game. The opening quarter was scoreless. In the second quarter the Bills were able to shift momentum making it 3-0. Jacksonville’s highly rated defense stepped up and forced the Bill to punt the ball, leading the Jags to score a field goal late in the 2nd quarter, making the score 3-3. There was no score until late in the 3rd when QB Blake Bortles was able to move with his feet and set himself up for a touchdown, giving them a 10-3 edge. The Bills were unable to score. With 5 minutes left in the last quarter, the Bills had one more chance to score and tie with the Jaguars, but the opportunity slipped through their hands and they turned the ball over to the Jags to lose the game 10-3.

 

 

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In less than 30 minutes after the Bills vs. Jaguars game, the New Orleans Saints battled the Carolina Panthers at New Orleans to move advance in the playoffs. The game kicked off with Carolina driving down the field. Once the Saints were able to possess the ball,  they were able to score their first play on a deep pass from quarterback Drew Brees to wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. and end the first quarter. The Panthers managed to storm down the field once and a second time around, kicking a field goal early. Although that didn’t phase New Orleans

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because step by step they passed their way onto the other side of the field and score off another pass from Drew Brees, making the score 14-3. The panthers had a quick 3 and out, giving Drew Brees the ball and allowing him to score another touchdown, stretching the score to 21-3. Cam Newton uncovered his way to the saints side of the field yet had to settle for a field goal as he wasn’t able to connect with his wide receivers ending the half. The Panthers with the ball again had to settle for another field goal resulting in a 21-12. The saints managed to score down the field once again. After a touchdown was scored by both teams and a couple of field goals by the Saint the score rested at 31-26 for the remainder of the game, allowing the saints to advance.Image result for nfl playoffs

 

The wild card was finally finished and the teams who won were one more than excited to move on to the divisional rounds. The next round is surely going to be something to watch.

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