NFL Divisional Round: Chiefs explode, Titans fairytale continues

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15). (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

The NFL’s Divisional Round did not disappoint after a frantic Wild Card weekend.

Four games over Saturday and Sunday narrowed the field down to the league’s last four as favorites rolled and underdogs upset, setting the AFC and NFC Championship Games next Sunday.

Here is how Divisional Round went down:

VIKINGS 10, 49ERS 27

After upsetting the Saints in New Orleans, the Minnesota Vikings proved to be no match for the NFC’s top seed as the San Francisco 49ers powered their way to a 17-point win.

San Francisco’s defense stifled a Vikings attack that was largely predicated on the ground attack headlined by Dalvin Cook. The Minnesota rusher was held to just 18 yards on nine carries, forcing quarterback Kirk Cousins to try and play catchup through the air.

It didn’t work as the 49ers limited Cousins to 172 yards while sacking him six times on the day. Joey Bosa led the Niners’ pass rush with two of those sacks.

Meanwhile, the 49ers offense beat the Vikings at their own game, pounding out 186 rushing yards. Tevin Coleman accounted for 105 of them on 22 carries.

His efforts were more than enough for 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to just manage the game as he attempted just 19 passes, completing 11 of them for 131 yards and a touchdown.

TITANS 28, RAVENS 12

Tennessee’s Cinderella story emphatically continued on Saturday night.

One week after upsetting Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, the Titans went into Baltimore and took down the AFC’s top seed, the Baltimore Ravens, and NFL MVP favorite Lamar Jackson.

Running back Derrick Henry had another monster night for Tennessee, going for 195 yards on 30 carries. Dating back to Week 17 of the regular season, he became the first player in NFL history to rush for 180 yards or more in three-straight games.

Henry’s lone touchdown, however, came via the air as he delivered a perfect jump pass to Corey Davis from three yards out in the third quarter to put the Titans up 21-6.

While Henry is getting plenty of accolades, Tennessee’s defense was masterful against Jackson despite the superstar quarterback passing for 365 yards and rushing for an additional 143.

The Titans forced three Jackson turnovers and scored touchdowns off two of them.

 

TEXANS 31, CHIEFS 51

The Kansas City Chiefs put on an offensive showcase, setting an NFL record by scoring seven-straight touchdowns, blowing out the Houston Texans to advance to their second-straight AFC Championship Game.

The Chiefs looked dead in the water after miscues and shoddy defense staked the Texans to a 24-0 lead with 10:58 left in the second quarter.

Questionable playcalling from Bill O’Brien left the door open for Mahomes, who kicked it down, as he passed for four touchdowns in nine minutes to give the Chiefs a 28-24 lead at the break.

Kansas City would tack on two more touchdowns on their first two drives of the second half through, both from Damien Williams, before Watson ended the Chiefs’ 41-point run with a five-yard scramble of his own.

But the Chiefs never slowed down.

Mahomes’ fifth touchdown pass of the day extended the Chiefs’ streak of consecutive touchdown drives to seven, becoming the first team in NFL history to win a playoff game by 20 after trailing by 20 or more.

Joe Pantorno