The 2013 NFL Divisional Playoffs proved to be thrilling with explosive passing plays, tremendous defenses, and some heart-breaking ends to promising seasons. The AFC and NFC Championship games are right around the corner, steaming from the previous action.
Here’s a quick recap of the games and their action:
Indianapolis Colts Vs. New England Patriots: Andrew Luck and his Colts were riding high after an unbelievable comeback victory against the Kansas City Chiefs. Heading into Gillette Stadium and pulling off another victory like that wasn’t likely; Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are post-season experts who cannot be beaten with late-game heroics. Luck was forced into mistakes, his team slipping into a big deficit, never able to recover. Belichick’s scheming and preparation exposed the Colts’ flaws along with Luck’s youth. Luck threw four interceptions with two touchdown passes. Brady, on the other hand, threw no touchdown passes as all of the Patriots’ offensive scores came from rushing. The Patriots crushed the Colts’ dreams, 43-22.
New Orleans Saints Vs. Seattle Seahawks: CenturyLink Field showed no mercy to the Saints on their second trip back. The Saints were man-handled by Seattle. New Orleans struggled to find rhythm offensively; their passing threat was quieted as Drew Brees was limited to one touchdown pass with a 55.8 completion percentage. Russel Wilson and his offense scored when needed with great clock-management. Seattle showed New Orleans they weren’t at the Super Dome, sending them home with a 23-15 defeat.
San Francisco 49ers Vs. Carolina Panthers: Many expected this to be a defensive battle and it was — until the second half. The 49ers led the game 13-10 at half-time. With excellent adjustments, they dominated the rest of the game. Colin Kaepernick found rhythm in the passing game as Frank Gore’s power-running came to life. San Francisco’s defense was as sturdy as a steel door, preventing any score for the rest of the game. Cam Newton and his offense looked out-of-place when needing to consistently pass, influencing a 23-10 beat-down.
Denver Broncos Vs. San Diego Chargers: Peyton Manning received his first playoff win in a Broncos uniform, throwing two touchdown passes with 230 passing yards. He was a robot on the field, scanning and decoding San Diego’s schemes, allowing Denver’s offense to rack up 363 total yards while dominating nearly 35 minutes of possession to San Diego’s 24. The Chargers’ offense was anemic early on, failing to move the chains. San Diego received their first score in the fourth-quarter, but by then it was too late; Manning and his Broncos were too far ahead. With some big-time completions late in the game, Denver was able to drain the remaining clock-time. The Broncos headed into the locker room with a 24-17 victory.
Next week’s AFC and NFC Championships are going to be burning with intensity. New England Travels to Denver as San Francisco travels to Seattle. Regardless of the outcome, this upcoming Super Bowl is primed to be great.