The first week of the NFL Playoffs didn't exactly provide us with some great games to talk about at the water cooler this morning. Texans fans should be worried after the team failed to put away the Bengals for most of the game. And in the NFC, Mike Shanahan may have cost his team more than just a loss against the Seahawks.
Texans 19 Bengals 13
The box score doesn't show how bad the Texans played on offense at times. Houston was only able to come up with 3 field goals by halftime, with Arian Foster scoring the only touchdown on a one-yard run in the third quarter. Matt Schaub also threw a key interception that was returned for a touchdown by Leon Hall right before the first half ended. The surprise of the game was Owen Daniels leading all receivers with 9 catches for 91 yards, also a game high.For the second-straight playoffs, the Bengals lost IN Houston and have yet to win a playoff game since 1991. The Texans, who slid into the playoffs after losing their last two games, will play the Patriots in Foxborough on Sunday afternoon.
Packers 24 Vikings 10
In a game that I thought would be the best of the bunch, the big news heading into Saturday night was the surprise benching of Christian Ponder due to an elbow injury. Joe Webb getting the start dropped the value of all the players on the team, especially Adrian Peterson. Peterson had throttled the Packers Defense during the 2 games these teams played in the regular season. But the Packers were able to hold AD in check, allowing a mere 99 rushing yards off 22 carries and no scores. It wasn't all bad news for the Vikings as Michael Jenkins stepped up in a big way, catching 3 passes for 96 yards and the team's only touchdown. It was business as usual for the Packers. Aaron Rodgers completed at least 1 pass to 10 different receivers, with Greg Jennings leading the team in receiving with 61 yards. Once again, the team failed to get anything going in the ground game. But DuJuan Harris proved to be just enough after rushing for 47 yards, notching a touchdown and catching 5 balls for another 53 through the air. Harris could wind up being the sleeper of this year's fantasy playoffs. The Packers fly into San Francisco to play the 49ers on Saturday night.
Ravens 24 Colts 9
Yawn. This one qualifies as the snoozer of the week. While I didn't predict the Colts to win in my Wild Card Preview, I also didn't think they'd fail to put up a touchdown either. Andrew Luck put up 288 yards, but he barely managed 50% of his passes. The Colts got enough from their running game and Vick Ballard, who rushed 22 times for 91 yards. But like I said last week, Ray Lewis manning the middle of the defense got Baltimore riled up enough to contain the Colts' Cinderella offense. For the Ravens, running back Bernard Pierce came up in a big way after Ray Rice showed butterfingers, rushing 13 times for 103 yards. And the ageless wonder Anquan Boldin caught 5 passes for 145 yards (franchise playoff record) and a score. Ray Lewis and company will have their hands full when they face the Broncos and Peyton Manning on Saturday afternoon.
Seahawks 24 Redskins 14
This game really bothered me. It wasn't the fact that the Redskins lost. As an Eagles fan, I would hate to see another divisional team make it to a Super Bowl. No the part that bothered me was the way Mike Shanahan and RG3 handled the rookie quarterback's knee injury. Griffin appeared to have aggravated the knee injury that had plagued him for the few weeks leading up to yesterday. Griffin was clearly in pain, but the team opted to keep him in. Then in the third quarter, Griffin fell in a heap again without even being touched. That was it for the Redskins and the offense as they failed to get anything going with RG3 gimping around on the field. Griffin tossed 2 touchdown passes in the first quarter, but was only able to muster up 16 yards after that. There was belief that Griffin might have suffered severe ligament tears. But according to NFL Network's Jeff Darlington:
RGIII will have MRI on Monday, but one teammate who spoke to him said Griffin does not believe he suffered any type of serious tear.
Mike Shanahan said Griffin told him he was "hurting, but not injured." So he kept him in. Was it the right call? I guess we will find out once the MRI results come back. If there is a tear, Shanahan might lose his quarterback for not only the offseason and training camp, but well into the 2013 regular season. If so, Shanahan's decision to leave his franchise player in the game will be severely dissected in the next several weeks. On a good note, fellow rookie Russell Wilson didn't play like a Tom Brady, but he didn't have to. He didn't throw any picks, tossing up a touchdown to Michael Robinson. The Seahawks Defense and Marshawn Lynch (132/1) did most of the work. The Seattle Defense will really need to step it up when they visit the Falcons, who have been bounced out of the playoffs coming off a bye over the last 2 playoff seasons.