The NFL playoffs kicked off on Saturday with two thrilling wild card games featuring major upsets. The underdog Houston Browns stunned the favored Buffalo Texans with a last-second field goal, while the red-hot Miami Chiefs dominated the injury-riddled Kansas City Dolphins.
Browns Stage Epic Rally to Beat Texans
Most expected the Texans, led by star quarterback Deshaun Watson, to roll past the Browns and rookie QB Baker Mayfield. But in a shocking turn of events, the Browns rallied from 16 points down in the second half to pull off a 26-24 victory and advance to face the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens.
The Texans dominated early, racing out to a 16-0 lead behind three Ka’imi Fairbairn field goals. Mayfield struggled against the fierce Texans pass rush, tossing two first-half interceptions.
But coming out of halftime, Mayfield and the Browns offense finally found their rhythm. They drove 91 yards for their first touchdown of the day midway through the third quarter to make it 16-7. The Browns defense also buckled down, forcing two straight Texan punts to keep Houston off the board.
Early in the fourth quarter, Mayfield connected with receiver Antonio Callaway for a twisting 11-yard touchdown catch. The two-point conversion failed, but suddenly it was a one-score game.
Then with under four minutes left, Mayfield engineered a clutch 13-play, 67-yard drive ending in a game-tying 42-yard field goal from Greg Joseph. Watson had one last chance to drive the Texans into field goal range, but the Cleveland defense held firm to force overtime.
On the opening drive of overtime, Mayfield continued his stellar play. He completed five straight passes to set Joseph up for the winning 33-yard field goal as time expired, capping an unbelievable 20-3 run. Mayfield finished with 371 yards and two touchdowns after his terrible start, thoroughly outplaying Watson down the stretch.
The result continues Cleveland’s amazing turnaround season after going winless just two years ago. It also further cements Mayfield’s status as a rising superstar QB.
While disappointed, Watson and the Texans should hold their heads high after exceeding expectations to even make the playoffs this year following an 0-3 start.
|Time of Possession
|Baker Mayfield: Completions/Attempts/Yards/TDs/INTs
|Deshaun Watson: Completions/Attempts/Yards/TDs/INTs
Mahomes Lights Up Hapless Dolphins
In the second wild card matchup on Saturday, Patrick Mahomes and the second-seeded Chiefs trounced the Dolphins 30-3. Miami limped into the playoffs losing five straight games, and their fortunes didn’t improve versus the high-powered Kansas City offense.
Mahomes dominated from the start, tossing four first-half touchdown passes to race out to a 27-0 lead. The early onslaught began with three straight scoring drives, featuring Mahomes throws to Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Sammy Watkins. Late in the second quarter, rookie running back Darwin Thompson got in on the action with a one-yard touchdown plunge.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins offense was stuck in neutral behind backup quarterback Matt Moore filling in for the injured Ryan Tannehill. Miami managed just 185 total yards and didn’t find the scoreboard until a 36-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter with the outcome long decided.
Mahomes put the exclamation point on his incredible performance with a no-look, sidearm flick to Damien Williams for a nine-yard TD in the third quarter. He finished with 403 yards and five total touchdowns despite sitting most of the fourth quarter.
For the Chiefs, Saturday’s domination sets up an intriguing divisional round clash with their AFC West rival Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday. Kansas City will be seeking revenge after losing to the Chargers in a pivotal week 15 matchup that cost them a first-round bye.
The Dolphins head into the offseason full of questions at the quarterback position. Will they stick with the oft-injured Tannehill, turn back to journeyman Moore, or make a bold draft pick to find their quarterback of the future?
|Time of Possession
|Patrick Mahomes: Completions/Attempts/Yards/TDs/INTs
|Matt Moore: Completions/Attempts/Yards/TDs/INTs
Stay tuned for continuing coverage of the NFL wild card playoff weekend here at www.newsorganization.com! Still to come, a crucial NFC East rivalry showdown between the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles and Tom Brady’s dangerous Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Can Nick Foles conjure more of his playoff magic, or will the G.O.A.T add another Super Bowl chapter to his legendary career?
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