NFL Divisional Round Recap: Best Weekend of Football Ever?

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Travis Kelce celebrates after catching the game-winning touchdown. Photo by Reed Hoffman, AP

The 2022 NFL Divisional Round will go down in history as one of the best weekends of football in history. Every single game could very well crack the top ten games of the year. But game quality aside, how did each of these games go down? Let’s look back at the 2022 Divisional round.

Cincinnati Bengals def. Tennessee Titans 19-16

In the first game of the weekend, the AFC’s number one seed, the Tennessee Titans, took on the Cinncinati Bengals, coming off of their Wild Card win over the Raiders. The Titans started with the ball, and they started hot on the first play of the game, as Ryan Tannehill threw an interception. This would become a trend for this game.

The Bengals would capitalize on their hot start, scoring a field goal to take an early 3-0 lead. The first touchdown of the game would not come until about halfway through the second quarter when the returning Derrick Henry punched it in from three yards out. The Titans would decide to go for two after the Bengals were penalized for too many men on the field on the touchdown. Tennessee would not convert, and the score would remain tied 6-6.

The Bengals would add a field goal before the end of the half to go up 9-6 at halftime. Cincinnati would finally score a touchdown on their first drive of the second half when Joe Mixon ran it in from 16 yards out.

The Titans would respond by driving deep into Bengals’ territory, but Mike Hilton would make a clutch play to force the interception and stop the Tennessee drive dead in its tracks.

The Titans would force a three and out and then add a field goal to get within a touchdown of tying the game. The next Bengals drive after the field goal, the Titans would intercept Joe Burrow on a very controversial interception, as it looked like the ball hit the ground. Nonetheless, the ruling of an interception would stand, and the Titans took over.

Tennessee would take advantage of the pick with a touchdown on an unreal catch by AJ Brown, tying the game at 16 apiece.

A big story in this one was the number of times the Titans were able to get to Joe Burrow. The Titans sacked Joe Burrow eight times, stalling the Bengals’ drives. About halfway through the fourth quarter, with the score still tied, the Titans went for it on fourth and one, but Derrick Henry was not able to pick it up.

The Bengals would punt after killing four minutes of clock, giving Ryan Tannehill the ball with just over two minutes left. They were almost to midfield when Tannehill would throw his third and most crucial interception of the game. The Bengals took over at about midfield with twenty seconds left.

Joe Burrow would connect with Ja’Marr Chase to get the Bengals in field goal range, and rookie kicker Evan McPherson would seal the deal, sending the Bengals to the AFC Championship.

San Francisco 49ers def. Green Bay Packers 13-10

The NFC’s one seed, the Green Bay Packers, would hope for better luck than the other one seed, as they took on the San Francisco 49ers. Green Bay got the ball to start the game, and they kicked off the game with an AJ Dillon touchdown from six yards out. This would be the only offensive touchdown scored this game.

The next Packer drive ended in a turnover, as Marcedes Lewis would fumble the ball away, forced by all-world linebacker Fred Warner.

The teams would then exchange punts for almost the entirety of the first half until the very end when the 49ers were driving into Green Bay territory. Jimmy Garopollo would then throw a killer interception in the endzone, and the 49ers would get no points out of a promising drive.

The Packers would respond with a 75-yard pass to Aaron Jones, who could have potentially scored a touchdown on the play, but an attempted cut slowed him down.

The 49ers would block the last-second field goal attempt, as Green Bay’s special teams could not block the 49ers’ rush. This will come into play again later.

The teams would exchange field goals and punts throughout the second half until the 49ers would face a fourth and one where they would go for it and could not convert.

The Packers would be forced to punt, but Green Bay’s special teams would come back to bite them once again, as the 49ers blocked the punt and took it into the endzone for the touchdown to tie the game.

The Packers got the ball back but were once again forced to punt, this time getting it off. The 49ers would get the ball, kill the rest of the clock, and sent out longtime Bears kicker Robbie Gould to send the Packers home and the 49ers to the NFC Championship.

Los Angeles Rams def. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-27

The first game on Sunday was to determine who would host the 49ers in the NFC Championship. The first score of the game came near the end of the first quarter when Matthew Stafford found Kendall Blanton to put the Rams up by 10.

The Bucs would add a field goal, but the Rams would look to the skies, and they would find gold, as Stafford and Cooper Kupp, the NFL’s receiving triple crown winner, would connect on a 70-yard touchdown.

At the two-minute warning, Tom Brady would try to get the Bucs back in it, but he would throw an interception to Nick Scott, setting the rams up at Tampa Bay’s 31.

The Rams would get to the one-yard line, but Cam Akers would fumble it away, and the Rams would miss a great opportunity to add on to their lead, while the Bucs were able to stay in it.

In the second half, the Rams would once again get to the one-yard line, and this time they would capitalize, as Matt Stafford would score on the QB sneak.

Down 27-3, there’s no way the Bucs can come back, right? Well, the Bucs have Tom Brady, who’s been here before. From this point on, things get wacky. Cooper Kupp would fumble, and Tom Brady would lead the Bucs 30 yards downfield and would score the touchdown on a 1-yard run by Leonard Fournette.

The Rams would punt, and then, in an odd turn of events, the teams would exchange fumbles, as Von Miller strip-sacked Tom Brady, and then an errant snap gave the ball right back to the Bucs.

Tampa Bay would turn it over on downs, and the Rams, on their next drive, would send out their Pro Bowl kicker Matt Gay for a 47-yard field goal, where his kick would come up short. Very odd for a Pro Bowl kicker to not be able to reach from 47 yards, especially in Florida, where the weather conditions would not be having too much of an effect on the ball.

Tampa would turn it over on downs again and then force a Rams punt. Things looked bleak for the Bucs, with Tampa Bay down 14 with 4 minutes left. Then Mike Evans burned Jalen Ramsey, who is regarded as the best cornerback in the league, for a 55-yard touchdown.

The Rams were looking to take down the clock as if they could get it to two minutes left since the Bucs had no timeouts left, they essentially would have had the game. Unfortunately for the Rams, Cam Akers had a fumbling problem today, as he would give it back to the Bucs.

Tampa would hand it to Leonard Fournette on a 4th and 1, and he wouldn’t just get the one-yard. He would go all the way and tie the game for Tampa Bay.

It would look like the game was destined to go to overtime, right? Well, Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp decided against it, as they would connect on a deep shot to get the Rams in position for a 25-yard field goal, which Matt Gay would hit, and the Rams would set up an NFC West clash for the NFC Championship

Kansas City Chiefs def. Buffalo Bills 42-36

So with those three games out of the way, how were Buffalo and Kansas City going to find a way to top all that had happened? Buffalo started hot, with an opening touchdown from Devin Singletary.

The Chiefs would respond with a long drive of their own, capped off with a Patrick Mahomes Superman dive for a touchdown to tie it up at seven.

The teams would exchange punts, including Buffalo’s first punt in the entire postseason. Inside the two-minute warning, the teams would exchange touchdowns, with Patrick Mahomes finding Byron Pringle and Josh Allen finding Gabriel Davis. A missed field goal by Harrison Butker would send us to halftime tied at 14.

The first touchdown in the second half was scored by Mecole Hardman on a jet sweep. Kansas City added a field goal beforehand, making the score 23-14 in favor of Kansas City.

Buffalo, now down two scores, knew they needed to respond and did not waste any time, as Josh Allen found Gabriel Davis for a one-play touchdown.

Kansas City kicked a field goal to go up 26-21, and then we hit the two-minute warning. And oh boy, did things get crazy here. Buffalo scored a touchdown from 27 yards out via another Josh Allen to Gabriel Davis. And please, have a second look at this route by Gabriel Davis.

It was now Kansas City’s turn to respond, and they most certainly did. Tyreek Hill got a chance to show off his blazing speed on a 64-yard touchdown to give the Chiefs the lead back.

Buffalo got the ball back once again, this time with 1:02 on the clock. They drove down the field, using a considerable amount of clock. Josh Allen would then find Gabriel Davis in the endzone for the touchdown, giving him a ridiculous stat line of 8 rec, 201 yds, and 4 TDs, while leaving 13 seconds on the clock. That’s not enough time for anything, right?

Wrong! Somehow, someway Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs down the field and got them into Harrison Butker’s range, sending this game into overtime.

You kind of figured that whoever got the ball first would win the game. Well, Kansas City got the ball first, and to nobody’s surprise, they won the game on the first drive, as Patrick Mahomes found Travis Kelce in the endzone. This was without a doubt the game of the year, and Kansas City will now host Cinncinati in the AFC Championship.