See who was able to pass go and who did not collect their $200 in this weekend's divisional NFL playoffs. (Spoiler alert! All of the home teams won). The games weren't without a “coin-troversy” and there were enough onside kicks to make a statistics nerd squeal.
Heads or tails,
The LNG Team
NFL (National Football League)
Kansas City Chiefs 20 vs New England Patriots 27
- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (aka Mr. Gisele Bündchen) was lights out in this game.
- In a play that ended up being the turning point in the game, Patriots Chandler Jones stopped the Chiefs momentum by causing a fumble. (Remember Jones was the player who showed up disoriented at the police station after a bad reaction to synthetic marijuana).
- The Chiefs had poor time management toward the end of the game and while they rallied in the fourth quarter, they ran out of time to seal the deal.
- At the end of the game, the Chiefs attempted an onside kick. The play didn’t go as planned as the Patriots recovered the ball.
- Patriots will play Broncos in Denver on Sunday at 3:05 pm (EST) on CBS.
Green Bay Packers 20 vs Arizona Cardinals 26
- The Packers played better than expected but the game came down to the last seconds.
- Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, threw a 41-yard pass with no time left to Jeff Janis in the end zone which sent the game into overtime.
- The Cardinals won the coin toss and scored a touchdown on the first drive in overtime to win the game. (See the coin toss controversy below).
- Cardinals’ franchise player and all-around good guy, Larry Fitzgerald, scored the winning touchdown. In the postgame interview he gave a sweet shout out to longtime NFL insider Chris Mortensen of ESPN, who is battling throat cancer.
- Cardinals will play Panthers in Charlotte on Sunday at 6:40 pm (EST) on FOX.
Seattle Seahawks 24 vs Carolina Panthers 31
- The Seahawks must have been Sleepless in Seattle as the Panthers scored 31 unanswered points in the first half of the game.
- It must have been one heck of a halftime pep talk because Seahawks came out and scored 24 unanswered point in the second half.
- Those 24 points were still not enough and the Panthers took home the win.
- This game also came down to an onside kick. Seattle kicked a field goal and was down by seven points with 1:12 left in the game. They tried an onside kick in hopes they could recover it and then have the opportunity to score a touchdown. It didn’t go the way they planned and the Panthers recovered the kick. Game over.
- Panthers will play Cardinals in Charlotte on Sunday at 6:40 pm (EST) on FOX.
Pittsburgh Steelers 16 vs Denver Broncos 23
- Defense was the name of the game. There were only two touchdowns in the game - one in the first quarter for the Steelers and the Broncos’ game winner in the fourth quarter.
- Steelers had the momentum throughout the game until the fourth quarter when Fitzgerald Toussaint fumbled and Broncos recovered. The Broncos offense then scored the aforementioned touchdown for the lead and the eventual win.
- The Steelers joined the club and also tried an onside kick to salvage the game with little time left. After scoring a field goal, Steelers attempted an onside kick which failed - the Broncos recovered. (If you haven’t learned anything yet, onside kicks aren’t often successful).
- In a clutch move, Broncos gave Demaryius Thomas the game ball to give to his mom who was attending her first ever game. Thomas’ mom had been incarcerated since he was 11 and had never seen him play a game in person. She is now out of prison and was able to attend on Sunday. She picked a great game as Thomas' team pulled out the win and he set a Broncos record for most postseason catches with 50.
- Broncos will play Patriots in Denver on Sunday at 3:05 pm (EST) on CBS.
- Land down under. The Australian Open began on Sunday in Melbourne. This tournament is one of the four Grand Slam Tournaments, the most important individual competitions in tennis. The three other Grand Slam Tournaments are the Roland Garros (French Open), Wimbledon and US Open. Last year’s winners, Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic, are favored to win this year as well. You can find the match schedule here.
- Before we go into the coin toss controversy, here’s a little background. In overtime, the first possession is determined by a coin flip. If your team wins the coin flip you can either opt to receive the ball or kick the ball to the opposing team.
In this instance, Packers called tails. The ref flipped the coin but it didn’t rotate in the air and landed on heads. He then made the executive decision to retoss the coin but didn’t give the Packers a chance to change their call. The coin landed again on heads (it flipped this time), therefore the Cardinals won the toss and opted to receive the ball. They went on to score a touchdown for the overtime win. (FYI- there’s no NFL rule that says the coin actually has to flip in a coin toss).
- According to ESPN, 12 of the 13 last Super Bowls will have either featured Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Ben Roethlisberger.
- What is an onside kick? The team who kicks an onside kick is typically losing the game and does so in hopes that they can recover the kick, regain possession and quickly score again. It’s a long and complicated story, but the two things that you need to know are that the kicking team cannot touch or recover the ball until it goes 10 yards. If they do or if it goes out of bounds, the opposing team gets the ball at that spot. The risk with this play is that if it doesn’t work out, the opposing team will be much closer to their end zone (i.e. scoring) than they would be with a kickoff. Therefore, an onside kick typically happens late in the game when it’s your only option and you need to score again.
Yes, it’s complicated to explain. Watch this video as it should help.