NFL Recap: Mild Card games finally got there in the end

Our resident gridiron expert tackles the weekends goings on in the National Football League…


Anything was going to be better than last year’s Wild Card round. Surely.

Wasn’t it? Well, it was. Just about.

There was a real slog on the way to Sunday night’s game, but we got there in the end. If you’ve survived Buffalo and Jacksonville – congratulations. Here’s your recap.

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Kansas City and Tennessee had some level of promise. What it delivered, was another Andy Reid masterclass in throwing away a big lead in a pressure situation.

A lot of people don’t believe in the ‘clutch gene’ that the NFL has brought into prominence.

It would go a long way to explaining just why the same people make the same big-time mistakes consistently. Andy Reid is one of those people.

The first playoff game that Reid took charge of was in 2014 – against Andrew Luck and the Colts. At various stages of that game, the Chiefs lead 24-7, 38-10 and 41-24. The latter, with only seventeen minutes remaining. They’d go on to lose 45-44. Improbable.

It would be the blueprint. It happened again, to a small extent, but against a far worse team than those Colts.

Andy Reid’s had five postseason games with KC, and won one. They won it because Brian Hoyer was the quarterback. On Saturday, they let Kareem Hunt carry the football only eleven times. Go figure.

The Falcons and the Rams was a tale of experience versus inexperience. Poor Andrew Whitworth has now been involved in seven Wild Card games and lost all seven of them.

Sean McVay is certainly the Coach of the Year, but he’ll learn from this one.

Matt Ryan stood in the face of pressure, and the Falcons designed runs that went away from Aaron Donald. Avoiding that behemoth is always a nice gameplan. What the Rams need, is a series of seasons like this before they can tackle a team that went to a Super Bowl the year previously.

With a young nucleus, things are looking bright for them, but as we saw the other night – there’s no substitute for experience.

If you don’t like the NFL, and even if you do, the Buffalo and Jacksonville game was hard to sit through.

They’ll be using it as a torture method in various countries around the world over the next decade.

Young Nathan Peterman was thrown into the fire – down seven – with time almost expired – in his second ever game in the NFL. Tough one, kid.

The drought might have been painful for Bills fans, but having to watch that on Sunday was hardly the payoff they would have wanted.

Thankfully the Saints and the Panthers lived up to its billing and we got Brees versus Newton.

Despite the flashy offence on display, the talking point once again, is about the concussion protocol.

Newton took a hit late in the game and got smashed into the turf. As he tried to make his way off the field, he fell to the ground – before claiming it was his eye the whole time. He went onto lead the Panthers to a touchdown drive, but it would ultimately be too little, too late.

Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey are the future of the NFL, and expect players with similar skill sets to have their draft stock rise considerably over the next five years.

And then there were eight. Unfortunately for the viewing public, four of those eight are Case Keenum, Marcus Mariota, Nick Foles and Blake Bortles.

Of course, you knew all of the above would happen if you’d read this weekend’s preview of the games – which also advised a winning 10/1 acca in the process.

Until next week, gridiron gladiators.

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