NFL Divisional Roundup: Ravens, Falcons, 49ers advance
The Patriots-Texans wasn’t the only game this weekend, as the three other games gave football fans plenty to cheer, including one of the most memorable games of the season Saturday afternoon in Denver.
Baltimore Ravens 38 Denver Broncos 35
In a double overtime thriller, Justin Tucker’s 47-yard field goal 1:52 into the second overtime period sent the Ravens back to Baltimore happy, upsetting the AFC’s No. 1 seed.
In a game which was competitive from the start, it came down to the final possession in regulation with Baltimore trailing 35-28. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco found receiver Jacoby Jones for a 70-yard touchdown with just 31 seconds remaining in the game to force overtime.
Flacco finished the game 18-34 for 331 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Ray Rice had a productive afternoon rushing for 131 yards and a touchdown. Torrey Smith was the Ravens’ leading receiver catching three passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns.
Denver, winners of 11 in a row coming into the game, turned the ball over three times with the biggest coming in overtime when Peyton Manning threw an interception at midfield as the Broncos were driving. They never saw the ball again as Baltimore scored on the ensuing possession.
Manning finished the afternoon 28-43 for 290 yards, three touchdowns and two critical interceptions. With the loss it was Manning’s ninth one-and-done in the playoffs of his career. He now has a playoff record of 9-12. On the other hand, with the win Baltimore will be playing in the AFC Championship for a second straight season.
San Francisco 49ers 45 Green Bay Packers 31
This game wasn’t nearly as close as the score indicated as the 49ers dominated the Packers at home. Leading the way was San Francisco’s ground attack as they rushed for 323 yards and 579 yards of total offense.
Colin Kaepernick, making his playoff debut, had an unbelievable performance rushing for 181 yards and two touchdowns, while throwing for 263 yards and two more touchdowns.
The game was tied 24-24, with 8:25 left in the third quarter, but San Francisco scored the 21 of the games final 24 points to run away with the win.
Atlanta Falcons 30 Seattle Seahawks 28
In another thriller, the Falcons came back after allowing 21 fourth quarter points, including a touchdown with 34 seconds remaining to defeat the Seahawks 30-28 on a 48-yard Matt Bryant 49-yard field goal with eight seconds to play in regulation.
Atlanta was rolling, leading 27-7 with two minutes left in the third quarter, but Seattle never gave up, coming back to make it an intense finish.
Matt Ryan threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns, while his counterpart rookie Russell Wilson threw for 385 yards and two touchdowns, also rushing for 60 yards and a touchdown.
It was the first playoff win for many of the Falcons including Ryan, and true NFL pro tight end Tony Gonzalez. Atlanta will host San Francisco in next weekend’s NFC Championship.