2021 NFL Wild Card Game Recaps
The Cleveland Browns headed to Heinz Field to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Find out which AFC North team is moving on to the Divisional Round.
Chris Ransom Last Updated: January 10, 2021.
Game Recap: BUFFALO-Philip Rivers is 4-0 in the wild card round. This is Buffalo's first playoff game they hosted since the 90's before I began watching football.
Philip Rivers threw a first down. Jared Veldeer started for Anthony Castonzo last week at left tackle. He did well last week and earned the start today. Rives threw a completion to Michael Pittman Jr. Jonathan Taylor ran for a first down on third down as he kept his legs driving thanks to an awsome block by Ryan Kelly. Indianaapolis began this game 1/1 on third down conversions. Quinton Nelson opened up a lane for Jonathan Taylor. Buffalo caused a loss of 1 on the run. Michael Pittman Jr. dropped a pass on second down as matt Milano tipped a pass on second down making it third and eleven. T.Y. Hilton made a great effort as Micah Hyde made a huge play at free safety to make a defensive stop. Indianapolis had the ball for 4 minutes and 12 seconds, but punted it to Buffalo after having 66 points on their first series which is second most in the NFL behind the Green Bay Packers.
Buffalo went three and out on their first drive. Indianapolis deserves some credit for executing a defensive stop.
Philip Rivers threw a first down to T.Y. Hilton. Matt Milano was also called offsides on the third down. Michael Pittman Jr. defeated Tre'Davious White in coverage to get another first down for Philip Rivers. Tremaine Edmunds had the tackle. Buffalo held Indianapolis to a field goal. Rodrigo Blankenship gave Indianapolis a 3-0 lead.
Josh Allen ran for a first down. Stefon Diggs caught a 37-yard pass from Josh Allen. Allen threw a first down on the run to Gabriel Davis. Josh Allen threw a first down to Zack Moss. Allen looked at two different targets before having that third read on his progressions to Moss. Josh Allen sells the run before throwing a touchdown pass to Dawson Knox. Josh Allen put together an 8-play 85-yard touchdown drive. Tyler Baas made it 7-3. Buffalo led 7-3 late in the first quarter and maintained that lead after one quarter of play.
Darius Leonard made a huge stop by anticipating Josh Allen's scramble on third down. That led to Buffalo punting the ball to Indianapolis.
Indianapolis got the ball from their own 35-yard line. Indianapolis put together an 9-play 65-yard drive that took up 5 minutes and 27 seconds. Jonathan Taylor capped the drive off with a rushing touchdown. Indianapolis led 10-7.
Indianapolis held Buffalo to a three and out. DeForest Buckner made the stop as Buffalo punted it back to Indianapolis.
Philip Rivers threw a completion to Michael Pittman. Pittman caught the screen pass and made things happen in the open field. Indianapolis had 7 plays of 10 yards or more in the first half compared to Buffalo's 3. Rivers threw a completion to Jack Doyle. Indianapolis got one more first down to make it first and goal. Buffalo made a few stops to make it third and goal heading into the two minute warning.
Buffalo made a stop on third and goal. Michael Pittman Jr. dropped a pass on fourth and goal. That was Pittman's second dropped pass of the first half. Indianapolis has to capitalize in that situation if they want to win and pull the upset.
Josh Allen threw on the run to Gabriel Davis. Buffalo went for it on fourth and three. Kemoko Turay jumped on fourth down which prevents a Josh Allen interception. Josh Allen threw a pick that resulted in a touchback. It honestly looked like an incomplete pass. The officils made the right call by calling it an incomplete pass. Josh Allen scrambled for a first down. Josh Alleb got a rushing touchdown. Buffalo led 14-10 at halftime.
Buffalo got a field goal on their first possession in the second half. Buffalo led 17-10.
That field goal was the only score in the third quarter. Buffalo led 17-10 after three quarters of play.
Josh Allen threw a touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs. Buffalo led 24-10.
Philip Rivers threw a touchdown to Zach Pascal. Indianapolis attempted the two point conversion and did not get it Buffalo led 24-16.
Tyler Bass made another field goal. Buffalo led 27-16.
Philip Rivers threw a touchdown pass to Jack Doyle. Doyle got by Matt Milano as Matt Milano gave up a big play in coverage. Rivers threw a two point conversion to Jack Doyle. Buffalo led 27-24.
Jonathan Taylor got a fourth down conversion. Tre'Davious White broke up a pass on third and ten. Zach Pascal caught a pass on fourth down. Rivers heaved a hail mary. It wasn't enough. Buffalo won 27-24.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs were the only guys who warrant player of the game honors. Josh Allen went 26/35 with 324 passing yards, 54 rushibg yards, 378 total yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 rushing touchdown, 3 total touchdowns, and no interceptions. Stefon Diggs had 6 receptions for 128 receiving yards and 1 receiving touchdown. I gave Diggs the edge over Allen in this contest even though both star players on the Buffalo Bills offense stepped up. Gabriel Davis, Cole Beasley, Zack Moss, and Devin Singletary caught every targeted pass Josh Allen threw their way and that's how Buffalo needs to play if they want to go far into January.
Buffalo will host another playoff game next week. They will host the highest seeded AFC team while the Kansas City Chiefs will welcome the lowest seeded team in the AFC next week.
7. Indianapolis Colts 11-6-0
2. Buffalo Bills 14-3-0
Game Recap: SEATTLE-Jared Goff was active. John Wolford got the start.
Los Angeles got a field goal. The Rams led 3-0, but the bigger story wa Wolford's neck injury which led to Jared Goff entering the game.
Aaron Donald had two sacks on Seattle's next drive. Seattle punted the ball back to the Los Angeles Rams.
Carlos Dunlap swatted a pass down on third down. Los Angeles punted the ball back to Seattle. Los Aneles led 3-0 after one quarter of play.
Both teams traded field goals in the second quarter. Los Angeles led 6-3.
Russell Wilson threw a pick 6. Los Angeles led 13-3 thanks to Darious Williams.
Russell Wilson threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to D.K. Metcalf. Los Angeles led 13-10.
Cam Akers got a rushing touchdown. Los Angeles led 20-10 at halftime.
Seattle got a field goal in the third quarter. Los Angeles led 20-13 after three quarters of play.
Los Angeles got a field goal in the fourth quarter. Los Angeles led 23-13.
Jared Goff threw a touchdown pass to Robert Woods. Los Angeles led 30-13. Los Angeles won 30-20.
Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers was my player of the game. Cam Akers had 28 carries, 131 rushing yards, and 1 rushing touchdown. Sean McVay also improved to 37-0 when leading at halftime.
6. Los Angeles Rams 11-6-0
3. Seattle Seahawks 11-6-0
Game Recap: WASHINGTON-Tom Brady headed to Washington. Tom Brady now tied former Washington quarterback George Blanda as the oldest quarterback to start a playoff game.
Tampa Bay got a field goal on their first drive which only lasted 3 minutes and 11 seconds. Tampa Bay led 3-0.
Tom Brady threw a touchdown pass to Antonio Brown. Tampa Bay led 9-0 after one quarter of play thanks to a issed extra point.
Washington got a touchdown thanks to McKissic. Tampa Bay led 9-7.
Tom Brady threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Chris Godwin. Tampa Bay led 15-7 after a missed two point conversion.
Tampa Bay got a field goal. Tampa Bay led 18-7 at halftime.
Washington got a field goal on their opening drive in the third quarter on a 7-play 47-drive that lasted 3 minutes and 14 seconds. Taylor Heineke put together a pi drive. Tampa Bay led 18-10.
Washington's defense adjusted. They held Tampa Bay to a three and out in the third quarter. Tampa Bay put together a 3 minute drive, but Da'Ron Payne stripped rookie Ke'Shawn Vaughn on the fumble. Washington got a touchdown from that fumble, but failed to get the two point conversion. Tampa Bay still led 18-16 even with these blunders in the third quarter.
Tom Brady threw a first down to Cameron Brate. Tom Brady threw another first down to Mike Evans on a big completion to end the third quarter. Tampa Bay led 18-16 after three quarters of play.
Tampa Bay kicked a field goal on their first drive in the fourth quarter. Tampa Bay led 21-16.
Leonard Fournette got a rushing touchdown. Tampa Bay led 28-16. Tampa Bay won this game 31-23.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady went 22/40 with 381 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, and no interceptions. Washington secured the nineteenth pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12-5-0
4. Washington Football Team 7-10-0
Game Recap: TENNESSEE-Last year Baltimore got home field only to be eliminated by the six seed Tennessee Titans. Now Baltimore goes to Tennessee hoping to get revenge after losing to the Titans in the regular season.
Both teams went three and out on their first offensive possessions. Both defenses made critical third down stops early in this game.
Tennessee put together a 10-play 75-yard drive that took up 6 minutes and 11 seconds. Ryan Tannehill threw a touchdown pass to A.J. Brown. Tennessee led 7-0.
Lamar Jackson threw an interception to Malcolm Butler. The former Patriot made former Patriot now Titans head coach Mike Vrabel proud with that interception. Tennessee got a field goal following the interception. Tennessee led 10-0 after one quarter of play.
Baltimore put together a 12-play 60-yard drive that took up 6 minutes and 39 seconds. Tennessee managed to hold Baltimore to a field goal. Tennessee led 10-3.
Baltimore got the ball from their own 18-yard line. Baltimore put together a 7-play 82-yard drive that took up 4 minutes and 3 seconds. Lamar Jackson had a 48-yard rushing touchdown. Baltimore tied this game at 10-10 heading into halftime.
Baltimore got the ball from their own 23-yard line to start the second half. Baltimore put together a 10-play 77-yard drive that took up 5 minutes and 59 seconds. J.K. Dobbins ran it in for a rushing touchdown. Baltimore led 17-10 after three quarters of play.
Tennessee got a field goal early in the fourth quarter. Baltimore led 17-13.
Baltimore drove downfield hoping to get a field goal. Justin Tucker's kick was wide right.
Ryan Tannehill threw a first down to A.J. Brown. Derrick Henry had an 8 yard gain. Tennessee threw it on second and two and third and two with the leagues leading rusher in Derrick Henry who won back-to-back rushing yards titles so the play calling by Tennessee threw me off. The Titans also chose to punt it on fourth and two rather than going for it.
Baltimore put together a 9-play 62-yard drive from their own 15-yard line. Justin Tucker made the 51-yard field goal after missing a 52-yard field goal on the previous drive. Baltimore led 20-13.
Ryan Tannehill drove the ball downfield. Marcus Peters, the Kansas City Chiefs 2015 first round pick who Baltimore traded for intercepted Ryan Tannehill.
Tennessee had all three timeouts. Lamar Jackson and Gus Edwards ran for first downs. Baltimore won 20-13.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was my player of the game. Lamar Jackson went 17/24 with 179 passing yards, 0 passing touchdowns, 16 carries, 136 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, and 1 interception. Lamar wasn't spectacular as a passer. He did his thing on the ground and that was enough to win this game. Lamar Jackson became the second quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft to win a playoff game joining Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills.
5. Baltimore Ravens 12-5-0
4. Tennessee Titans 11-6-0
Game Recap: NEW ORLEANS-Chicago did not have Roquan Smith at 3-4 middle linebacker. Roquan Smith is the heart and soul of Chicago's defense.
Chicago won the coin toss, but deferred to the second half. Drew Brees had their offense back at full health for the first time in a few weeks. Drew Brees threw a 13-yard completion to Michael Thomas on third down. Right guard Cesar Ruiz made a great block. New Orleans couldn't score on their first drive. Michael Thomas got his first receiving touchdown in 385 days as he scored despite being triple covered. New Orleans led 7-0 after one quarter of play.
Chicago managed to muster a field goal in the second quarter despite some early turnovers. New Orleans led 7-3.
P.J. Williams stripped a fumble from David Montgomery and Malcolm Jenkins returned it for a touchdown. The call got overturned so the score remained 7-3. New Orleans led 7-3 at halftime.
Drew Brees threw his second passing touchdown to Latavius Murray. New Orleans led 14-3 in the third quarter.
Alvin Kamara got a rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter. New Orleans led 21-3. New Orleans almost got another touchdown from Drew Brees before it got overturned.
Chicago got a garbage time touchdown. New Orleans won this game 21-9.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was my player of the game. Drew Brees went 28/39 with 265 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, and no interceptions. Brees nearly had a rushing touchdown.
7. Chicago Bears 8-9-0
2. New Orleans Saints 13-4-0
Game Recap: PITTSBURGH-Cleveland headed to Pittsburgh. Neither team had their number one cornerback thanks to Covid-19. This applies to both Denzel Ward and Joe Haden.
Cleveland won the coin toss and deferred. Pittsburgh got the ball to start this game. Maurkice Pouncey botched the snap as he turned to the left. Ben Roethlisberger could not recover the fumble. Cleveland recovered the fumble and got a touchdown. Cleveland led 7-0.
Myles Garrett got by Chukwuma Okorafor on third and three. Garrett with the bull rush. Ben Roethlisberger threw a first down to James Conner. Derek Watt ran for a first down on third down making Pittsburgh 2/2 on third down conversions. Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception thanks to pressure by Karl Joseph. Cleveland got the ball.
Baker Mayfield overthrew the ball. Baker Mayfield threw a completion to Austin Hooper. Baker Mayfield got the third down conversion. He also threw a touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry. Cleveland led 14-0.
Pittsburgh gave the ball to James Conner. Pittsburgh gave the ball back to James Conner. Larry Ogunjobi made the defensive stop by stopping Derek Watt. Pittsburgh punted the ball to Cleveland.
Nick Chubb ran for a gain of 17 rushing yards. Jedrick Wils Jr. did a great job. Michael Dunn made a nice block at left guard. Nick Chubb ran for another big first down. Rashard Higgins made another big catch by getting by Steven Nelson. Kareem Hunt got a rushing touchdown. J.C. Tretter made a fantastic block at center. Cleveland took a 21-0 lead.
Ben Roethlisberger threw a first down to Diontae Johnson. Matt Feiler the left guard had the holding penalty.
Ben Roethlisberger threw a second intercepiton. Cleveland got the ball back.
Kareem Hunt got another rushing touchdown as the Browns executed on third down. Cleveland led 28-0 in the first quarter. Cleveland now has the most points in the first quarter of any game in playoff history.
Matt Feiler got called for his second penatly in the first quarter. Eric Ebron dropped a pass at tight end. Eric Ebron got a first down on a third down conversion. Cleveland led 28-0 after one quarter of play.
Alejandro Villanueva had a false start penalty. Cleveland tackled JuJu Smith-Schuster. That set up a third down. Pittsburgh got a first down. Ben Roethlisberger threw another first down to James Washington. Ben Roethlisberger entered a third and eight. Ben Roethlisberger underthrew that pass a lot on third down. Pittsburgh punted despite being in field goal range.
Rashard Higgins dropped a pass on second down. Pittsburgh with their first three and out. James Pierre with a huge stop as the undrafted Steeler out of Florida Atlantic made the stop in coverage. Cleveland punted it back to Pittsburgh.
Cleveland stopped James Conner. That set up a third down. Porter Gustin intercepted Ben Roethlisberger.
Nick Chubb ran for a first down. T.J. Watt with a tackle ofr a loss. Kendall Lamm with a holding penalty. Austin Hooper dropped a pass. Cleveland got a nice third down due to Kareem Hunt. Cleveland avoided a delay of game penalty thanks to burning a timeout. Cleveland punted it to the Pittsburgh 11-yard line.
Pittsburgh went from thier own 11-yard line down to the Cleveland 24-yard line. Pittsburgh has been clicking on this drive despite the rough start. It's third and short. Cleveland made the defensive stop to set up fourth and one heading into the two minute warning.
James Conner got the first down. Conner ran it in for a touchdown. Cleveland led 28-7.
Baker Mayfield scrambled for the first time. That play resulted in a third down conversion for Cleveland. Baker Mayfield threw a screen pass to Nick Chubb. Chubb ran for a huge gain. Kareem Hunt ran for a first down. Cleveland at the Pittsburgh 12-yard line. Baker Mayfield threw a passing touchdown to Austin Hooper. Cleveland led 35-7.
Pittsburgh drove downfield, but Chris Boswell made it. Cleveland led 35-10 at halftime.
Cleveland got the ball to start the second half. Baker Mayfield threw a 16-yard completion to Rashard Higgins. Pittsburgh with a huge defensive stop.
Pittsburgh drove the ball downfield. Ben Roethlisberger threw a touchdown to tight end Eric Ebron. Cleveland led 35-16 after Pittsburgh missed the two point conversion.
Pittsburgh's defense held Cleveland to a three and out. Diontae Johnson made a huge catch on third down. Pittsburgh continued to get third down conversions on this drive. Cleveland finally made a stop on third and goal. Pittsburgh went for it on fourth and goal. JuJu Smith-Schuster got a touchdown. Pittsburgh had a lot of momentum heading into the fourth quarter. Cleveland led 35-23.
Nick Chubb got a rushing touchdown. Cleveland led 42-23.
Pittsburgh quickly rallied back. Ben Roethlisberger threw a touchdown pass to Chase Claypool. Pittsburgh failed to get the two point conversion.
Nick Chubb ran for a first down. Baker Mayfield threw a first down to Kareem Hunt. Baker Mayfield threw a completion to Jarvis Landry. Cleveland set up a first and goal. Pittsburgh made the third down stop so Cleveland settled for a field goal. Cleveland led 45-29.
Ben Roethlisberger threw his fourth interception. Sione Takitaki picked off Ben Roethlisberger. Cleveand got a field goal. Cleveland led 48-29.
Ben Roethlisberger threw a touchdown to Chase Claypool. Pittsburgh got the two point converison, but failed to recover the onside kick. Cleveland won 48-37.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield was my player of the game. Baker Mayfield went 21/34 with 23 passing yards, 3 passing touchdowns, and no interceptions. Cleveland's offensive line did well in pass protection despite the abundance of injuries that Cleveland had on the offensive line. Also M.J. Stewart had 9 solo tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, and 1 interception. Stewart stepped up at cornerback for Cleveland.
Cleveland heads to Kansas City on Sunday. Baltimore will face Buffalo on Saturday. The AFC North Division Champions are eliminated and will be over $21-million in cap space next season. Ben Roethlisberger cried after the game. It was so brutal that David Johnson of WPXI looked like Scott Tenorman on South Park when he cried after Cartman got his revenge on Scott. The soy is real in Pittsburgh.
6. Cleveland Browns 12-5-0
3. Pittsburgh Steelers 12-5-0
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