The NFL Playoffs continued Saturday with two divisional round games, sending a No. 1 seed home early:
Baltimore Ravens 21 Pittsburgh Steelers 28
It appeared heading into halftime that the Ravens would be AFC Championship contenders as they led 21 to 7 into halftime. In fact, 94% of playoff teams in that position win, according to Elias Sports Bureau. It didn’t matter that the game was being played at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field, because every bounce was going the ravens way. In one play an incomplete pass by Ben Roethlisberger was actually a fumble on the ground that Baltimore defensive end Corey Redding recognized and returned for a touchdown. Then, it was downhill for the Ravens. The Steelers scored 21 unanswered points, and Baltimore was forced to make a game-tying drive. On a crucial fourth down Ravens wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh dropped a Joe Flacco pass that ended the Ravens’ hopes. Pittsburgh heads into the AFC Title game.
Green Bay Packers 48 Atlanta Falcons 21
The No. 1 seed Falcons had a tremendous season, achieving the best record (tied with New England) at 14-2. Regarding the postseason, however, it was one and done for the “dirty birds.” The Packers, a No. 6 seed, stormed into the Georgia Dome, and took the air right out of the venue. Green Bay cornerback Tramon Williams won last week’s game with a Michael Vick interception. This time around he did one better, putting two in the INT column as Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was now the victim. The latter pick was returned for a touchdown. Aaron Rodgers was as impressive, throwing for 3 touchdowns and running for another. Green Bay punches its ticket to the NFC Championship Game.