NFL Today, Wild-Card Playoffs
The Associated Press
Saturday, Jan. 13
Atlanta at Philadelphia, 4:35 p.m. EST. Matt Ryan passed for 218 yards and hit Julio Jones for an 8-yard touchdown with 5:48 to play to lead the defending NFC champion Falcons (11-6) past the Los Angeles Rams 26-13 in the wild-card round. Nick Foles played well for the first five quarters he filled in for the injured Carson Wentz, but then struggled in the past five for the Eagles (13-3), who had a first-round bye.
Tennessee at New England, 8:15 p.m. EST. The Titans (10-7) earned their first playoff victory in 14 years when Marcus Mariota rallied Tennessee to a 22-21 win over Kansas City after trailing by 18 points at halftime. Tom Brady and the Patriots (13-3) have home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs as they begin their postseason with an opportunity to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
— Drew Brees, Saints, passed for 376 yards and two touchdowns, and New Orleans held off Carolina’s late comeback bid to seal a 31-26 victory in their NFC wild-card game.
— Cam Newton, Panthers, threw for 349 yards and two TDs in a losing cause as Carolina fell to New Orleans.
— Blake Bortles, Jaguars, ran for 88 yards and passed for 87 yards and a touchdown in Jacksonville’s 10-3 win over Buffalo, becoming the second starting quarterback in the past 25 seasons to win a playoff game with more yards rushing than yards passing.
— Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn Jr., Saints. Thomas had eight catches for 131 yards, while Ginn caught four passes for 115 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown against Carolina.
— Ben Koyack, Jaguars, caught the go-ahead 1-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter of Jacksonville’s victory over Buffalo.
— Greg Olsen and Christian McCaffrey, Panthers. Olsen had eight receptions for 107 yards and a score, and McCaffrey caught six passes for 101 yards, including a 56-yard TD.
— Brad Nortman, Jaguars, booted nine punts for a 42.0 net average, including a 62-yarder, in Jacksonville’s win over Buffalo.
— Graham Gano, Panthers, made up for an early miss by kicking field goals of 27, 39, 58 and 29 yards in Carolina’s loss to New Orleans.
— Jalen Ramsey, Jaguars, tipped and then intercepted Nathan Peterman’s third pass of the game in place of the injured Tyrod Taylor to seal Jacksonville’s 10-3 win over Buffalo.
— Vonn Bell, Saints, had nine total tackles and the victory-sealing sack of Cam Newton in New Orleans’ victory.
STREAKS & STATS
Jacksonville’s 10-3 win over Buffalo was its first playoff victory since beating Pittsburgh 31-29 in the wild-card round on Jan. 5, 2008. … Drew Brees’ 80-yard TD pass to Ted Ginn Jr. in New Orleans’ 31-26 win over Carolina was the longest play from scrimmage by the Saints this season and their longest score in the playoffs since Reggie Bush’s 83-yard punt return in 2009. It was also the longest play from scrimmage allowed by Carolina this season. … The playoff game between the Saints and Panthers marked the first since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 in which kickers from both teams made a field goal of 55 yards or longer: Carolina’s Graham Gano made a 58-yarder and New Orleans’ Wil Lutz kicked a 57-yarder.
Blake Bortles’ 88 yards rushing in Jacksonville’s 10-3 win over Buffalo were the most by a Jaguars quarterback in a single game in franchise history — regular season or playoffs. … New Orleans became the first team in NFL history to score 30 or more points against a team (Carolina) three times in a single season and win all three games. The Saints are also the first team to beat an opponent three times in the same season since the 2009 Dallas Cowboys did it against Philadelphia.
BLAKE THE SNAKE
Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles became the second starting quarterback in the past 25 seasons to win a playoff game with more rushing yards than passing yards (88 rushing, 87 passing). The other was Atlanta’s Michael Vick in the 2004 divisional round against the Rams (119 rushing, 82 passing).
SPREADING THE WEALTH
New Orleans’ 31-26 win over Carolina was the first playoff game to feature multiple 100-yard receivers for each team since the 2009 AFC championship game. The Saints’ Michael Thomas (131) and Ted Ginn Jr. (115), and the Panthers’ Greg Olsen (107) and Christian McCaffrey (101) joined Indianapolis’ Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie, and the New York Jets’ Jerricho Cotchery and Braylon Edwards in performing the feat.
Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor slammed his helmet hard against the ground after getting thrown down by Dante Fowler Jr. with 1:27 remaining in the Bills’ 10-3 loss at Jacksonville. Taylor had to be helped off the field and forced backup Nathan Peterman into the game. … Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny left with a hip injury, tried to return and then headed to the locker room for further evaluation. He was listed as questionable and returned to the sideline after halftime. Receiver/punt returner Jaydon Mickens left with a hamstring injury and did not return. … Saints starting left guard Andrus Peat was carted off the field with a left shin injury in New Orleans’ win over Carolina. His replacement, Senio Kelemete, later needed help off the field for an undisclosed injury.
“That’s usually not ideal for a quarterback.” — Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles, who became the second starting quarterback in the past 25 years to win a playoff game with more rushing yards (88) than passing (87).
“We wanted it more. I mean they’ve been to their Super Bowl, let ’em go to another one next year. We want our run.” — New Orleans’ Cameron Jordan after the Saints held on to beat the Carolina Panthers.
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