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2015 NFL Divisional Round Game Recaps

Baltimore Ravens 11-7-0
New England Patriots 13-4-0

Game Recap: NEW ENGLAND-Baltimore came into New England hoping to defeat the Patriots. Most anticipated a Patriots win. Once kickoff started and the Ravens found out that Eugene Monroe and Ricky Wagner were out you thought a Patriots victory was in the bag.

Joe Flacco played like Broadway Joe early in Gillete Stadium completing his first 8 passes going 9 for 10 to begin the game with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions.

New England had their backs against the wall following Flacco's awesome start. Tom Brady started to rally the Patriots by firing a 46 yard pass to Rob Gronkowski before rushing into the end zone and spiking the ball like Gronkowski.

Danny Amendola caught the touchdown that tied this game at 14 in the second quarter. You thought the Patriots had momentum with the game tied and New England receiving the ball to start the second half.

Two big mistakes put the Ravens ahead to end the first half. First Tom Brady fired a reception to Daryl Smith of the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens middle linebacker caught a pick from Brady after catching Ray Lewis's job in free agency following Baltimore's Super Bowl 47 win two years ago.

The defensive mistake took place on Revis Island. Darrell Revis had his first of two game-changing penalties late in the first half when Revis got called for pass interference. The pass interference play set up a Ravens touchdown. Baltimore led 21 to 14 at halftime.

Revis was not the only player to get called for pass interference. Brandon Browner got called for a pass interference penalty on 4th down and 6. The Browner pass interference play set up a Ravens touchdown. Justin Forsett ran it into the end zone. Ravens led 28 to 14.

Rob Gronkowski caught a touchdown that gave Pats fans hope later in the third quarter. Gronkowksi re-energized the Patriots at the right time by catching Tom Brady's 46th career passing touchdown. The ball Gronkowski caught from Brady allowed Tom Brady to surpass his childhood idol Joe Montana for most playoff touchdowns by a quarterback in NFL history.

Another play Patriots fans loved was the Tom Brady trick play. Brady fired a pass to Julian Edelman before Edelman threw a touchdown to Danny Amendola who caught his second touchdown of the game after tying the game at 14 earlier in the first half.

This game was tied at 28 after 3 quarters. Justin Tucker gave the Ravens a 3 point lead. That lead lasted until Brandon LaFell put the Patriots ahead 35 to 31. Duran Harmon intercepted Flacco in the end zone on the next drive following LaFell's game-winning touchdown.

The Patriots got held to 3 and out with 14 seconds left. Flacco fired one more hail mary hoping to knock the Patriots out of the playoffs once again. The ball got batted and tipped out of the end zone. New England survives 35 to 31.

Tom Brady struggled early. One thing I will say is that Brady displayed phenomenal composure throughout this contest. Joe Flacco struggled in the second half throwing two interceptions. I will not blame Flacco for the loss though because both of his offensive tackles were injured and he had a backup rookie starting at left tackle in James Hurst who was practically flawless in the first half.

This game elevated the character for the Patriots. It also helped them fight through adversity. It will be interesting to see if the Patriots carry that momentum over to next Sunday Night when they welcome either the Colts or the Broncos to Gillette Stadium.

Carolina Panthers 8-9-1
Seattle Seahawks 13-4-0

Game Recap: SEATTLE-The Legion Of Boom Entered the 2015 NFL Playoffs hungry to silence their doubters. Jesse Lucas recaps the Carolina Panthers VS Seattle Seahawks game.

Saturday nights victory over the Panthers makes it 5 straight wins for the Seahawks over the Panthers. This game was not nearly as much of a blow out as the final score might suggest. Actually until the fourth quarter the biggest lead of the game was 7 points.

The missing chemistry between Cam Newton and his receivers showed again this week with Newton only completing about 63% of his passes. Wilson did a little better with 68%. Russell Wilson also threw 3 touchdowns without throwing a pick.

Jermaine Kearse was the biggest difference maker for the Seahawks. He had 129 yards on only 3 receptions. That’s a ridiculous 43 yards per reception. Besides Kearse, it was the Seattle defense that got the win for the Seahawks.

More specifically Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. Kam had 8 tackles and 1 INT and Earl Thomas had 5 tackles, 1 INT, and a forced fumble. Chancellor had a 90 yard interception that resulted in a touchdown to put Seattle ahead 31 to 10. Richard Sherman did well in coverage too, but he did not stand out like the safeties.

Defense is the name of the game in Seattle and that continued this week and the Seahawks advance to the Conference Championship for the second year in a row.

Dallas Cowboys 13-5-0
Green Bay Packers 13-4-0

Game Recap: GREEN BAY-The Ice Bowl took place Sunday afternoon. It was not snowing like the 60's, but the classic Cowboys VS Packers rivalry at Lambeau Field took place.

Dallas did nothing on their first series. A critical third down sack by Julius Peppers forced Dallas to punt the ball. Left guard Ronald Leary missed his assignment when letting Julius Peppers get by him.

Eddie Lacy had two first downs before setting up Green Bay with a touchdown. Dallas tied the game on the next series. Both teams were tied at 7 after one quarter.

Tony Romo fired his second passing touchdown of the first half to Terrance Williams in the second quarter. Williams recorded his third receiving touchdown putting the Cowboys ahead 14 to 7.

Dan Bailey had a chance to give the Cowboys a 10 point lead. He missed a critical field goal before Rodgers drove the Packers downfield. Mason Crosby made it a 4 point game near the end of the first half.

Green Bay recovered a fumble and had a chance to gain the lead. A skirmish caused by right guard T.J. Lang kept the Packers from gaining the lead as the Packers had to settle for a field goal.

The Cowboys offensive line displayed a lot of discipline on the following drive once Green Bay made it a one point game. Everyone did a fabulous job as five guys came together on numerous plays. You saw flawless pass protection that gave Romo enough time to execute a 20 yard pass to Dez Bryant along with a 15 yard pass. The run blocking was there too. A 13 yard run by Joseph Randle set up a first down thanks to run blocking by left tackle Tyron Smith and left guard Ronald Leary. Right guard Zack Martin and center Travis Frederick did a fabulous job creating a running lane for Murray, who scored a rushing touchdown thanks to such stout blocking. Offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Bill Callahan deserves credit for orchestrating such a flawless drive.

DaVante Adams dominated on the following series. Adams caught a 46 yard touchdown to make it 21 to 20. The rookie from Fresno State played like a seasoned veteran in his NFL Playoff debut.

Dallas led 21 to 20 in the fourth quarter. We saw Wilson to Wilson on Saturday when Russell Wilson connected with Luke Wilson. Now Green Bay had Rodgers to Rodgers. Aaron Rodgers threw a go-ahead touchdown to Richard Rodgers.

The most controversial play occurred on 4th and 2. Tony Romo fired a pass to Dez Bryant. It looked like a catch, but the call got reversed and ruled an incompletion. The play resulted in the Packers retaining possession. The Packers ran out the clock and won 26 to 21.

Statistically, Green Bay dominated on offense. Aaron Rodgers went 24 for 35 with 316 passing yards, 3 passing touchdowns, and no interceptions. Eddie Lacy barely exceeded 100 yards with 101 rushing yards after such a strong first half. Lacy was awesome in the first quarter, but did less as the game progressed. Lacy did not have a rushing touchdown, but he did enough on the ground to set up the passing game for Rodgers.

The Packers' receivers were just as phenomenal as Aaron Rodgers. DaVante Adams caught 7 receptions for 117 receiving yards , and 1 receiving touchdown. Randall Cobb caught 8 receptions for 116 receiving yards. Tight ends Andrew Quarless and Richard Rodgers did not dominate statistically, but both Packer tight ends caught a receiving touchdown from Rodgers. The biggest surprise was that Jordy Nelson got held to 2 receptions for 22 receiving yards. Kudos to Brandon Carr for keeping Jordy Nelson in check at cornerback for the Cowboys after doing an awesome job against Calvin Johnson during the Cowboys wild card win over the Lions last week.

As far as the offensive line goes, the Packers dominated. Everbody was effective in pass protection except right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who got abused by DeMarcus Lawrence. The run blocking by Green Bay was phenomenal. Right guard Josh Sitton had a costly penalty that kept Green Bay from scoring a touchdown in the third quarter. Outside of Sitton's penalty and Bulaga's pass protection, the play by the Packers offensive line was excellent. This was practically a complete game by the Packers offense thanks to such consistent blocking.

The biggest concern from todays victory had to be the penalties. The Packers had 10 penalties. Green Bay cannot get to Arizona if they commit that many penalties.

Green Bay will face Seattle next Sunday for the NFC. This will be the Packers first trip back to Seattle since their week 1 meeting. I am certain SportsCenter will replay the Hail Mary touchdown that gave the Seahawks a victory over Green Bay on Monday Night Football a few years ago.

Indianapolis Colts 13-5-0
Denver Broncos 12-5-0

Game Recap: DENVER-Denver hosted the Colts again. Denver won in the regular season. It appeared we were heading for a Broncos versus Patriots rematch with Gosder Cherillus out at right tackle.

Peyton Manning began the game 3 for 3 guiding the Broncos downfield for a touchdown on his first drive. Denver maintained a 7 to 0 lead after one quarter.

Daniel Boom Herron tied it up in the second quarter on a rushing touchdown. Andrew Luck threw a passing touchdown that gave the Colts a 14 to 7 lead.

Indianapolis never looked back after Dwayne Allen's touchdown. Luck threw another touchdown to Hakeem Nicks which gave the Colts a 21 o 10 lead.

Both secondaries deserve credit for playing defense. Covering effectively. You saw both teams break up passes limiting what the opposing receivers could do.

D'Qwell Jackson had 10 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle, and 11 total tackles. Jackson's exceptional play at middle linebacker guided the Colts to a 24 to 13 victory. Indianapolis will play New England in the AFC Title game.

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