NFL Divisional Recaps: Cardinals & Patriots Advance To Conference Title Games
The higher seeds prevailed in the NFL divisional round playoffs on Saturday. Here’s a recap of the day’s action:
Arizona 26, Green Bay 20 (OT)
Larry Fitzgerald’s 75-yard catch and run set up his winning touchdown on a shovel pass from Carson Palmer, and the Cardinals outlasted the Green Bay Packers, 26-20, in overtime in the NFC divisional playoffs in Glendale, Ariz. on Saturday night. The Cardinals advanced to next Sunday’s NFC title game with the thrilling win.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw a 41-yard ‘Hail Mary’ touchdown pass to Jeff Janis on the final play of regulation to force the overtime. The Packers trailed 20-13 with just 1:55 to play thanks to Palmer’s nine-yard TD pass to Michael Floyd with 3:44 left that was deflected by Damarious Randall, giving Arizona a 17-13 lead.
After Green Bay subsequently turned the ball over on downs, Chandler Catanzaro kicked a 36-yard field goal that set up the miraculous finish for both the Packers and the Cardinals. Arizona got the ball first in the extra session, but the officials needed to flip the coin twice after the first attempt didn’t flip.
Palmer threw for 349 yards, with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Fitzgerald caught eight passes for 176 yards and the game-winning score.
Janis caught seven passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns for Green Bay. Rodgers threw for 261 yards, with two TD passes and an interception.
The Cardinals will play the winner of Sunday’s Seattle-Carolina game for the NFC title next week.
New England 27, Kansas City 20
Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes to Rob Gronkowski, and the New England Patriots beat the Kansas City Chiefs, 27-20, in the AFC divisional playoffs in Foxborough, Mass. on Saturday. With the victory, New England snapped Kansas City’s 11-game win streak and advanced to their fifth consecutive AFC title game.
The Patriots never trailed, marching 80 yards on the game’s first drive which ended with Brady’s eight-yard touchdown pass to Gronkowski. New England added another score when Brady plunged into the end zone from a yard out with 3:23 left before halftime.
The Chiefs managed just two field goals from Cairo Santos in the first half and trailed 14-6 at intermission.
Kansas City got the ball back to start the second half, but their first drive ended when Knile Davis fumbled at the Patriots’ 40-yard-line. The ensuing drive saw Brady find Gronkowski for a 16-yard score that pushed the New England lead to 21-6 with 8:24 left in the third quarter.
The Chiefs rallied for two late touchdowns, including Charcandrick West’s 1-yard run with 1:13 to play, but it wasn’t enough to beat the defending Super Bowl champs.
Brady finished 28-for-42 passing for 302 yards and the two touchdowns. He was not sacked in the game.
Patriots receiver Julian Edelman, who missed his team’s last seven games with a broken foot, caught 10 passes for 100 yards.
New England will meet the winner of Sunday’s Pittsburgh-Denver game next Sunday for the right to go to Super Bowl 50.