NFL Today, Divisional Round

The Associated Press
·10-min read

SCOREBOARD

Sunday, Jan. 24

Tampa Bay at Green Bay, 3:05 p.m., Fox. The Buccaneers (13-5) advanced to the NFC championship game for the first time since the 2002 season, en route to winning the Super Bowl. Quarterback Tom Brady will be playing in his 14th conference title game, but first for Tampa Bay. The Packers (14-3) reached the NFC championship game for the fourth time in seven seasons as they chase their first Super Bowl berth in a decade. It will be their first NFC title contest at Lambeau Field since hosting for the 2007 season, when they fell to the New York Giants 23-20 in overtime. Aaron Rodgers was on Green Bay’s roster during that 2007 season backing up Brett Favre.

Buffalo at Kansas City, 6:40 p.m., CBS. A rematch of the teams' Week 6 matchup, won 26-17 by the Chiefs. The Bills (15-3) are in the AFC championship game for the first time in 27 years, getting there with a 17-3 victory over Baltimore. Josh Allen and Buffalo enter the game having won eight straight to match the franchise's best streak since 1990. The Chiefs (15-2) will host the AFC championship game for the third straight season to join the 2002-04 Philadelphia Eagles — also coached by Andy Reid — as the only teams to host three consecutive conference championships. All eyes will be on quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who left Kansas City's 22-17 win over Cleveland with a concussion.

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STARS

Passing

— All-Pro Aaron Rodgers, Packers, threw two touchdown passes and also ran for a score as top-seeded Green Bay defeated the Los Angeles Rams 32-18 in an NFC divisional playoff game Saturday.

— Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs, completed 21 of 30 passes for 255 yards and a touchdown, and also had a rushing score before leaving Kansas City's 22-17 win over Cleveland in an AFC divisional playoff game Sunday.

— Tom Brady, Buccaneers, had two touchdown throws and added a 1-yard TD run to lead Tampa Bay past New Orleans 30-20 in an NFC divisional playoff game Sunday night.

— Josh Allen, Bills, went 23 of 37 for 206 yards and a touchdown in Buffalo's 17-3 victory over Baltimore in an AFC divisional playoff game Saturday night.

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Rushing

— Aaron Jones, Packers, ran for 99 yards and a touchdown on just 14 carries in Green Bay's 32-18 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

— Darrel Williams, Chiefs, had 78 yards on 13 attempts in Kansas City's 22-17 win over Cleveland.

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Receiving

— All-Pro TE Travis Kelce and WR Tyreek Hill, Chiefs. Kelce caught eight passes for 109 yards and a touchdown and Hill had eight receptions for 110 yards to help Kansas City beat Cleveland 22-17.

— All-Pro WR Stefon Diggs, Bills, had eight receptions for 106 yards and a TD in Buffalo's 17-3 victory over Baltimore.

— All-Pro WR Davante Adams, and Allen Lazard, Packers. Adams caught nine passes for 66 yards and a touchdown, and Lazard had four receptions for 96 yards and a score to help Green Bay top the Los Angeles Rams 32-18.

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Special Teams

— Ryan Succop, Buccaneers, booted field goals of 26, 37 and 36 yards to help Tampa Bay top New Orleans 30-20.

— Mason Crosby, Packers, kicked field goals of 39 and 24 yards in Green Bay's 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams.

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Defense

— Taron Johnson, Bills, returned an interception of Lamar Jackson 101 yards for a touchdown to help seal Buffalo's 17-3 win over Baltimore.

— Devin White, Buccaneers, had 11 total tackles, including 10 solo, a tackle for loss and an interception in Tampa Bay's 30-20 victory at New Orleans.

— Kenny Clark and Rashan Gary, Packers. Each had 1 1/2 sacks in Green Bay's 32-18 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

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MILESTONES

The Kansas City Chiefs will host the AFC championship game for the third straight season to join the 2002-04 Philadelphia Eagles – also coached by Andy Reid — as the only teams to host three consecutive conference championships. ... The Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes joined Steve Young (1993-94) as the only players in NFL history to have a TD pass and a TD run in three straight playoff games. ... Aaron Rodgers’ 1-yard touchdown run in Green Bay's 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday was the first by a Packers quarterback in a playoff game at Lambeau Field since Bart Starr’s winning sneak in the Ice Bowl against Dallas on Dec. 31, 1967. ... The Packers became the first playoff team in NFL history to have more than 475 yards of total offense, more than 175 yards rushing, no sacks allowed and no turnovers in a game. ... Buffalo's Taron Johnson tied the NFL playoff record for longest interception return for a touchdown when he took one 101 yards in the Bills' 17-3 win over Baltimore on Saturday night. Green Bay's George Teague also had a 101-yard INT return for a TD against Detroit in the 1993 NFC wild-card round. ... Tampa Bay's Leonard Fournette joined Marcus Allen, Arian Foster and Franco Harris as the only players in NFL history with 350 or more yards rushing, five or more TD runs and one or more TD receptions in their first five career playoff games.

STREAKS & STATS

The Packers reached the NFC championship game for the fourth time in the last seven seasons with a 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday as they chase their first Super Bowl berth in a decade. It will be their first at Lambeau Field since hosting for the 2007 season, when they fell to the New York Giants 23-20 in overtime. ... Buffalo's Josh Allen joined Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes (2019) and Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger (2005) as the only QBs under the age of 25 with multiple wins and a passer rating of over 100 in a single postseason. Both Mahomes and Roethlisberger went on to win the Super Bowl in those seasons. ... Buffalo has won eight straight, matching its best streak since 1990. ... With Tampa Bay's 30-20 win at New Orleans on Sunday night, Tom Brady will start his 14th conference championship game. He has more conference championship wins (9, all with New England) than any other QB has starts. Joe Montana is second with seven conference title game starts.

GOING FOR IT

With Patrick Mahomes sidelined with a concussion and backup Chad Henne in the game, Kansas City coach Andy Reid opted to run a play on fourth-and-inches rather than punt with just over a minute left. Henne, who ran for 13 yards on third-and-14, lined up in the shotgun and appeared to be looking to draw Cleveland offside — but then called for the snap and completed a 5-yard pass to Tyreek Hill that sealed a 22-17 victory Sunday. Reid said he never thought about punting. “We go through all those Saturday night with the quarterbacks, those situations: ‘Fourth-and-1 to win the game, what do you want?’” Reid said. ”My coaches were on board, they all did a great job with the spot, with the calls, everything — they were spot-on. It was a great job.”

BYE-BYE, BREES?

The Drew Brees era in New Orleans could be over after 15 seasons. The Saints' 30-20 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday night may have been the last in the Superdome for the 42-year-old Brees, who is under contract for one more year but has not discussed any plans to play beyond this season, and has sometimes hinted at his impending retirement. If it was his last game, it won’t be one he’ll want to remember. The NFL’s all-time leader in completions and yards passing was 19 of 34 for 134 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

PACKERS PROTECTORS

Green Bay didn’t allow Aaron Rodgers to be sacked by the Los Angeles Rams' top-ranked defense in the Packers' 32-18 victory Saturday despite playing without injured All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari. The offensive line also cleared the way for Aaron Jones to run for 99 yards and a touchdown on just 14 carries, including a 60-yard burst to open the second half. Rodgers called the Packers’ O-linemen “the star of the game tonight.”

DOUBLE DOINKS

Baltimore's Justin Tucker was 11 for 11 on field goal attempts inside of 50 yards during his postseason career entering the Ravens' game at Buffalo on Saturday night. But he went 0 for 2 in the 17-3 loss, hitting the left upright on a 41-yard attempt and hitting the right upright on a 43-yarder — both in the first quarter. Tucker also missed a 52-yarder in Baltimore's 20-13 win at Tennessee last week.

SIDELINED

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes suffered a concussion in the third quarter of the Chiefs' 22-17 win over Cleveland on Sunday. Coach Andy Reid said Mahomes was “doing great right now” after the game, but the QB will be evaluated during the week to see if he can play the Buffalo Bills in the AFC title game next Sunday. ... The Chiefs also lost cornerback Bashaud Breeland to a concussion in the fourth quarter, while the Browns lost left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. to an ankle injury on their first offensive play and his backup, Kendall Lamm, to an elbow injury. ... Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson did not return after being evaluated for a concussion following the final play of the third quarter of the Ravens' 17-3 loss at Buffalo on Saturday night. ... Green Bay running back A.J. Dillon injured his quadriceps when he fumbled in the fourth quarter of the Packers' 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday. ... Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald played one week after a injuring his ribs, but the unanimous All-Pro selection clearly wasn’t himself and had just one assist. Los Angeles played without leading receiver Cooper Kupp (knee) and usual starting left guard David Edwards (ankle). ... Tampa Bay linebacker Jack Cichy went out with an elbow injury in the first quarter of the Buccaneers' 30-20 win at New Orleans on Sunday night. The Saints' Deonte Harris, who returned the first Tampa Bay punt 54 yards to set up a field goal, left with a neck injury in the first half.

SPEAKING

— “That’s why we love Big Red. He’s always on time. He’s like our spirit warrior out here behind the scenes. He’s always trying stuff." — Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu on coach Andy Reid, whose call to go for it on fourth-and-inches sealed Kansas City's 22-17 victory over Cleveland on Sunday.

— “I’m definitely a little emotional, just thinking about what we’ve been through. It got me emotional with the crowd out there today.” — Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who will play a conference championship game at home for the first time in his Hall of Fame-caliber career after the Packers beat the Los Angeles Rams 32-18 on Saturday. The game at Lambeau Field was played in front of 8,456 fans, a crowd that included paying spectators for the first time all season.

— “You saw our defense. The game plan our coaching staff put for that offense was unbelievable. You don’t get style points for winning in the playoffs. You either go home or you advance to the next round. We’re on to the next one.” — Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen after the Bills advanced to the AFC championship game for the first time in 27 years with a 17-3 win over Baltimore on Saturday night.

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