Two games were played and won by the visitors in the NFC Wild Card on Saturday. Green Bay advanced to next stage much easier than expected while Seattle eliminated Minnesota with enormous luck.
The Vikings hosted Seahawks in Minneapolis and start of the game was on their side. Vikings defence played magnificently, especially Griffin and Greenway. Seattle struggled to move the ball in the absence of Marshawn Lynch and Jimmy Graham, Russell Wilson couldn’t connect with receivers until the last period when Seattle finally penetrated a stubborn Vikings D. We saw only one touchdown in this game and the Seahawks scored it.
Minnesota took a 9-0 lead throughout the first three-quarters of the match, thanks to a triple field goal scores from Blair Walsh. It looked like the fans will not see a TD in this one, but Doug Baldwin (who else?), caught a pass from Wilson and took it to the end zone to cut the lead to two points early in the last period. Hauschka’s kick was good eight minutes before the end and Seattle managed to take the lead for the first time in the game. Adrian Peterson’s fumble caused his team those three points.
The hustle and scrambling of QB Wilson kept the Seahawks alive in this one and even though the Vikings stopped him in the first 45 minutes, a two time in a row Super Bowl participant showed skills in big fashion.
The last drive of the game saw Teddy Bridgewater and Kyle Rudolph connecting for a couple of important plays and the Vikings came close to 12 yards of the Seattle end zone and Walsh stepped in to kick it from 27 yards. A kick went wide left of the post and Mike Zimmer, and Minnesota fans couldn’t believe it. Usually reliable Walsh missed a cheap-shot and knocked his team out of the playoffs. He later took the full responsibility for the miss. Seattle escaped with a narrow and lucky 10-9 win, and they will face the best team in the regular season, Carolina Panthers. The game will be played in Charlotte, on Sunday.
Washington and Kirk Cousins were red-hot before the game with Green Bay and started in same fashion. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense couldn’t get going and after a couple of dropbacks and hits, Rodgers was sacked in the end zone for a safety after only five minutes.
Hopkins scored a field goal to give a 5-0 lead to the Redskins and chemistry between Cousins and tight end Jordan Reed exploded for a touchdown early in the second quarter. From that point, only one team was truly on the field, and that were the Packers. Rodgers rallied the troops really well coupled with a magnificent performance from the offensive line, last year’s MVP had plenty of time in the pocket to create some big plays.
Green Bay scored 17 unanswered points in the second quarter, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams caught passes for touchdowns, with Crosby’s field goal in between to give the Packers a 17-11 lead at the halftime. Washington managed to claw back five minutes after the interval with Cousins’ rushing touchdown. An interesting fact is that he is a team’s leading rushing TD scorer this season. Kirk scored his sixth in this drive.
Sadly for the Redskins, that was all from them this year, and Green Bay took over. The Packers scored 18 points in a row to seal the victory and prove everybody they are not pushovers as many people thought after a couple of awful games before the playoffs. Starks and Lacy rushed for touchdowns, and Crosby kicked the last field goal of the game for the final result, Washington 18, Green Bay 35. The Packers will travel to Phoenix to meet Arizona. The Cardinals crushed them a few weeks ago; it was 38-8 for the Cards.